When he was 16, he was speaking at a church in Knoxville that had Acts 5:42 on a sign in the auditorium. Chad recalled, “It said ‘and they ceased not to preach and teach Christ.’ When I read that, the Holy Spirit told me that I would one day build and pastor a church, and I was to call it Preaching Christ Church.” In 2001, at the age of 20, Chad did just that. Starting with only 10 people, the church has since grown to several hundred active members.
Born and raised in Kingsport, Chad feels a strong commitment to the community.
“God has placed us downtown, and we often say that we’re in the heart of the city, with a heart for the city,” he said.
Once a year, Preaching Christ Church holds a community service called ‘Rise Together’ at the Kingsport Farmers Market. “How many people are afraid to walk into a church? It’s just intimidating. So we take church there,” Chad said.
In another community event, they partner with Food City to host ‘Hop To It,’ a large Easter egg hunt at Andrew Johnson Elementary School. Families that attend the free event can share prayer concerns with the staff at designated prayer tents. “I think our prayer system is one of the greatest things we have for the community,” said Chad.
Other community services offered by Preaching Christ Church include Friends for the Fight, Celebrate Recovery and Open Doors. Friends for the Fight, an organization which aids families struggling with the burdens and expenses of cancer treatment, was founded by Chad. Over $32,000 was raised at the last fundraiser event. Celebrate Recovery, a Biblical program that helps people overcome life’s hurts, is open to the community every Thursday evening at 6 o'clock. Open Doors, a Hispanic ministry, provides simultaneous interpretation of the Sunday morning sermons in Spanish through the latest technology using wireless, in-ear equipment. A weekly prayer meeting on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 is community-based.
“We have had thousands of prayer requests in the last two years,” Chad said. He stressed that amid the church’s many accomplishments, the one thing that truly defines the church is prayer. “Prayer is the engine that drives this church. It’s how we measure how healthy we are. Prayer is what truly marks us,” he said.
Chad has been to over 40 countries preaching the gospel, training pastors and planting churches. He has also worked with pastors overseas via Skype, which provides video chat between computers. “Two days ago I did a crusade with a pastor in Pakistan via Skype,” said Chad. “Who would have ever guessed? The Lord has given us great, great opportunities.”
Chad said an important goal of Preaching Christ Church is to influence people with the gospel through various resources, such as Skype. “The way that the Lord has instructed us to influence people is to create resources through podcasts, apps, books, CDs, hundreds of articles, blogs, you name it,” he said. Chad explained that they want to be a resource for people whether they attend their church or not. Their ‘Awakened to Grace’ mobile app gives access to sermons, articles, music, podcasts and devotionals. Church services are on six frequencies on ESPN and on an app called One Place, which combines all of the national radio Christian broadcasts that can be accessed daily.
Chad recently published his third book, entitled ‘He’s in the Waiting,’ which he wrote as a result of losing his vision in one eye last summer while on a mission trip in Nicaragua. Due to complications of diabetes, he is completely blind in his left eye and currently having problems with his right eye. “I wrote this book because of this whole process of waiting on the Lord. It is a book of 30 scriptures with teaching on how to wait patiently on the Lord,” he said. Although his condition prevents him from further air travel, Chad stays very active with his preaching, writing and community outreach. Nearly finished with his fourth book, Chad looks forward to seeing what God has in store for Preaching Christ Church. “I hope to be here for the long haul,” he said.
Preaching Christ Church is located at 707 East Sullivan Street in Kingsport. Sunday service is at 11 a.m., with 9 a.m. services being added beginning Sept. 16.
For more information, contact Pastor Chad Roberts at (423) 967-5997 or go to www.preachingchristchurch.com.