An evangelical church in Tennessee that garnered national headlines a couple of years ago for coming out as pro-gay marriage is selling its property to a growing theologically conservative church.
GracePointe Church, a progressive congregation headed by the Rev. Stan Mitchell, reached a leasing agreement with Cross Point Franklin.
"Cross Point Franklin has signed a lease with GracePointe to move into the church at 5125 Franklin Pike, with the option to purchase the property in the future," reported the Tennessean on Tuesday.
"GracePointe announced it was selling its Williamson County building in June. Founding pastor Rev. Stan Mitchell told The Tennessean at the time that the congregation felt it 'may be better suited to those living in an urban environment.'"
According to the "Beliefs & Values" section of their website, Cross Point Franklin states that although "Cross Point's ministry is innovative, what we believe about God is not."
"Our core beliefs are centered in Christ and His message as found in the Bible," stated their site. "The Bible presents a dangerous message of life change. We expect every person to be moving closer to seeing Christ fully formed in their lives."
In January 2015, GracePointe Pastor Stan Mitchell announced that his church was going to give "full membership" to LGBT individuals, including marriage ceremonies.
"Some two- and-a-half years ago, we were thrust, I believe, by a divine wind into a prayerful, mindful, painful, invigorating, careful, and hopeful conversation regarding sexual orientation and gender identity," stated Mitchell in a sermon at the time.
"Our position that these siblings of ours, other than heterosexual, our position that these our siblings cannot have the full privileges of membership, but only partial membership, has changed."
At the time, Mitchell acknowledged that this decision had received backlash, as financial giving and worship attendance saw a sharp decline immediately following the announcement.
At its peak, GracePointe had a regular worship attendance of 800-1000, which dropped to below 500 two weeks after the pro-LGBT announcement.
Jeff Walton of the theologically conservative Institute on Religion & Democracy penned a column published by The Christian Post on Tuesday noting that the decline continues.
"A visitor to a recent service counted approximately 240 attendees, a fraction of the number that once participated," wrote Walton.
"GracePointe has listed the 12,000-square-foot modernist chapel and 22 acre property where the church has met since 2009. The property, initially listed in February at $7.5 million, was dropped to $5.7 million in March and $4.9 million in April according to real estate records."