What We're Reading / October 2018


Reading (the bible and outside of the bible) is a great way to grow in your discipleship to Jesus. If you enjoy reading, we're beginning a monthly series for you called "What We're Reading" where our pastors, Kent and Jeff, will share the books they're learning from lately. We hope these posts are helpful for you and give you a look behind-the-scenes at the topics our pastors are exploring!

Below are the books they're reading this month!


Instagram Q&A / How We Think About Sex


So we had a little fun over on our Instagram today. Starting around noon, we opened up the opportunity for folks to ask follow-up questions about Sunday's teaching, How We Think About Sex. The teaching discussed the difference between lust and love and how it relates to the sexual ethic of followers of Jesus.

We thought some of the questions sent in were really good ones, so wanted to repost a few of them here. We'll try to do more Instagram Q&A's in the future, so feel free to follow us there.

What We're Reading


Reading (the Bible and outside of the Bible) is a great way to grow in your discipleship to Jesus. If you enjoy reading, we're beginning a monthly series for you called "What We're Reading" where our pastors, Kent and Jeff, will share the books they're learning from lately. We hope these posts are helpful for you and give you a look behind-the-scenes at the topics our pastors are exploring!

Below are the books they're reading this month!

amazon Block
Search for an Amazon product to display. Learn more

We've Got a Big Announcement...

As a church, we are excited to announce that we have a location to begin hosting monthly Gatherings early next year. 

We've found a home at Jackson Terminal at the corner of South Gay Street and West Jackson Avenue. The former railroad freight depot has been a part of Knoxville's history since the late 1800s, and we're excited to have it as our home on Sundays. The venue is in a great location, connecting the Old City to the great 100-block of downtown. 



Want to take a look around the venue? Use the gallery below:

With our location secured, we'll begin hosting Sunday Gatherings on the first Sunday of every month. We'll kick things off big with our first Gathering on February 5, followed by a Super Bowl Party there at the venue later in the day.


First Sunday of Every Month
beginning February 5
at 10:30am


2/5/17 ∙ 3/5/17 ∙ 4/2/17 ∙ 5/7/17 ∙ 6/4/17

Want to find out more or plan to visit for a Gathering?

Our Friendsgiving & Meet Zoe

Meet the Team

In the survey from our last newsletter, many of you mentioned that you'd love to meet our City Church team members, so we listened! In upcoming newsletter, we'll spend some time introducing you to our core team so you can get to know this wonderful group of people.

Meet Zoë


Tell us a little about yourself.
I started school at the University of Tennessee this past August. Currently I'm majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Linguistics and a minor in French.

What do you love most about Knoxville?
I love that I can explore downtown or go hiking instead.

What made you want to join up with City Church? I loved being a part of the Midtown family (our sending church) and I figured it would be something great that would help keep me Jesus-centered as I go through college.

What are you most excited to see happen through City Church? 
I am excited to see the church reach more college kids on campus.


  • We held another Family Meeting. On the first Sunday of November, we covered the final piece of our identity statement–what it means to be "on mission." You can listen to the teaching on our website here. At the next Family Meeting in December, we'll give everyone a chance to ask Jeff & Kent any final questions before becoming an official City Church member. We're excited to take everyone through this process!

  • We hosted a Friendsgiving celebration. On November 17, we had a chance to get our team together for a little Thanksgiving celebration of our own, called Friendsgiving. This was an opportunity to get everyone together to be thankful for a great fall (and eat delicious food of course). 

  • Kent & Ana visited Columbia and shared about our progress. In early November, Kent and Ana traveled to Columbia, and got to spend time at Midtown Fellowship's staff sync about how things are going in Knoxville with City Church. Here's a photo: 

How to Pray

  • Pray for meeting space. As the fall comes to a close, we're still looking for a meeting space to house us on Sundays going forward. Pray for favor with local venues and businesses who might be interested in partnering with us in this way.

  • Pray for our upcoming pastor planning. In the next few weeks, our pastors will be taking several days to look forward to the upcoming season and plan some. They'll be setting goals, looking at timelines, and figuring out how to best shepherd and lead our family for the coming months. Prayers that that time would be fruitful and productive are very appreciated!

Want to receive these updates directly to your inbox?

Sign up for our newsletter here.

How the Church Becomes a Family & Lake Day Photos

It's been another great month at City Church. As the leaves start to change here in Knoxville, we're continuing to build momentum and heading towards launching Gatherings in the near future. 

Here's some specific updates on what's been happening the past month:


  • We hosted our second Family Meeting. As we've mentioned before, on the first Sunday of each month, we get our team together for a Family Meeting. At these meetings, we discuss a piece of our identity as a church, and then have a big cookout and party afterwards. At our most recent one, we discussed what it means that the church is a family. You can listen to a recording of the teaching portion here.
  • We had a great turnout at our Lake Day. On October 8, we hosted a Lake Day in West Knoxville for our team to enjoy the weather, eat together, and play some games. The water was a little cold for swimming, but we had a great time! View some photos from the event here.
  • Kent was invited to preach at a west Knoxville church. Providence Church here in Knoxville invited Kent to come preach a sermon in their Luke series, and we took some of our team to go connect with another great Knoxville church. You can listen to the sermon on their website here.

How to Pray

  • Pray for Gathering space. As the end of the year approaches, our goal is to find a place to host Sunday Gatherings beginning in January or February. Join us in praying for favor with a venue here in Knoxville where we could meet on Sundays and initiate a great working relationship.

Want to receive these updates directly to your inbox?
Sign up for our newsletter here.

One Year in Knoxville

We're kicking off this month's email with an update from Alyssa Antal. Her and her husband Hayden were the first team members to move to Knoxville from Columbia, and have now been here for just over a year.

We asked Alyssa to share some things from their first year in Knoxville.

It’s hard to believe Hayden and I have been in Knoxville for over a year now. When I think about everything the Lord has been doing through City Church over the past year, three words come to mind:

  • Friendship. One of the things I love so much about Knoxville is how connected the city is. Spend a day here and you will quickly learn one thing: Knoxvillians LOVE Knoxville. The city is really big on supporting small businesses, which I love, but what I love even more is that the businesses support each other. Because of that, Knoxville feels like one big family. It’s like that country song, “...everybody knows everybody, everybody calls you friend.” And it’s true. We have made friends at our jobs, at restaurants, and even at the dog park. Everywhere we turn, we run into people we know...which puts our job of spreading the gospel within a literal arms reach. Additionally, Jesus has been so good with growing friendships within the City Church core team. As more team members have moved up, Hayden and I have had the pleasure of getting to know people on the team who we weren’t as close with before moving. How sweet it is to finally have community again and share that with this new city.
  • Family. Our goal as a body of believers is to be a Jesus-centered family on mission–and I've been so thankful for how God has really grown us into that. Over the past year, I have seen so many set aside their preferences for the benefit of the team. People giving up entire Saturdays to help team members they might have never met move into their new homes. People volunteering their houses as a meeting space for City Church events. People being vulnerable, confessing and sharing hard news with the group and asking for prayer. And then an outpouring of love and gospel-centered encouragement in return. What a beautiful picture of family.
  • Faithfulness. What has stuck out to me the most over the past year is Jesus’ faithfulness through it all. If you’ve been following these updates, you know that we have consistently been asking for prayer for jobs and housing for the remaining team members. I have been in awe at how Jesus has been answering those prayers and providing exact needs. It seems like almost once a week a team member gets a job they needed or finds a house to live in. Would you rejoice in that with me?

Another thing we have been asking for you to pray is for the relationships and health of the team here in Knoxville. We have been amazed at how quickly our little church has been growing in numbers, but even more important than that is how we are maturing. Jesus has been so faithful working in the hearts of team members and growing them in gospel fluency as well as in love for each other.

We are so excited about everything the Lord has done so far and everything He will continue to do.


  • We hosted our first fall Family Meeting. As we mentioned previously, we'll host a Family Meeting each month this fall. At these Family Meetings, we spend some time teaching through a piece of our identity as a church, and then have a big cookout and pool party. If you're interested, you can listen to a recording of the teaching from September's Family Meeting here. Here's a photo from the teaching portion of the meeting:
  • Our City Kids team is up and running. For our Family Meetings, we formed a team of folks from our church family who are passionate about helping parents teach their kids about Jesus. So at the Family Meeting, while adults were downstairs learning about what it means to be Jesus-centered, our City Kids were upstairs teaching the kids that Jesus is the superhero we all need. Here's a photo:
  • Three more families are praying through moving to Knoxville to join City Church. We're excited that more families are excited about what we're up to and are considering joining our team.

How to Pray

  • Pray for the upcoming Family Meetings. We'll host these Family Meetings each month during the fall, as a way of casting vision for the type of church we want to be in Knoxville. Be praying that these meetings would lay helpful groundwork for the identity of City Church.
  • Pray for the families considering joining. We'd love to invite everyone to pray for clarity for those families considering joining City Church. We want them to be 100% clear about whether or not they should come, whatever outcome that leads to.

Celebrating Some Numbers & Our Plans this Fall

It's been a fun full summer for us at City Church. For this reason, we wanted to take a minute and give a quick summary of all that's happened so far in City Church history, so you can celebrate with us:

  • 26 people (30 including kids) moved from Columbia to start City Church.
  • 11 locals (21 including kids) have joined in with us to be a part of City Church.
  • 6 more locals (10 including kids) are hanging out with us and thinking about joining.


  • Our church has now multiplied from one to two LifeGroups. This summer, we quickly outgrew the ability to all meet weekly in the same spot, so we multiplied into two different groups. These two groups are led by our pastors, Kent and Jeff, and their wives, Callie and Ana.
  • We've got a fun fall coming up. As we multiply into two LifeGroups, we wanted to make sure that members of each group still felt connected to the whole church. We also wanted to provide opportunities for our team to invite people into what we're doing. So we have a fall schedule of events. We'll be watching the first UT game, spending time on the lake, going to the drive-in movie, among other things. If you're interested in visiting for some of the events, we'd love to host you! You can find all the details on our website calendar here.
  • We've got a home-grown addition to the team! Brian and Adrienne Notess (two of our team members) welcomed Luke Bernard into the world this week. We can't wait for this little dude to grow up in and around our church family. Also, this is the first of 4 babies that will be born into our church family between now and February (!)

How to Pray

  • Pray for provision for full-time salaries. As we mentioned in last month's update, because of all the growth we've seen so far, Kent and Jeff are hoping to go full-time this fall to best care for our people. They'll be fundraising to provide these salaries, so pray that people would feel led to give! If people want to give, they can do so easily here.
  • Pray for jobs. We have a few remaining team members that are looking for jobs to provide for their move to the Knoxville area. Pray that they'd get connected to the right opportunities, and that God would give them favor with the employers interviewing them.
  • Pray for Gathering space facilities. Because of where we are numerically, we are looking to start renting space for monthly Gatherings beginning in January. Pray for favor as Jeff and Kent begin exploring options in the downtown Knoxville area.

An Update from Kent & Jeff

Hey guys, Kent and Jeff here. Wanted to do things a little different this month in updating you on how things are going with City Church here in Knoxville. First off, Jeff and I are finally living in the same city once again, so that means BFFs reunited obviously. We’re loving both being in Knoxville because it means we get to do a ton of hands-on shepherding together with our people here. 

This summer has been crazy, partly because this is when the bulk of our team is moving to Knoxville. So we’ve been spending a lot of Saturdays loading and unloading trucks, as we get people transitioned to their new lives here in the city.

People, People, and More People

One thing that’s been incredible to watch is how quickly God has added to our church family. In addition to the 30 or so people moving from Columbia, we have been growing organically in Knoxville as well. 

In fact, we’ve been having locals join our church family at the same rate as people moving from Columbia this summer. On average, we’ve had one new family and one individual join City Church in Knoxville each week for the past month. This is a combination of people contacting us through the website, as well as our members being good missionaries in Knoxville. We honestly had no idea that our team would grow this much before we even start hosting any Sunday services at all, and are so very blown away and thankful for it.

In the midst of all of this growth, here’s what we’ve noticed. One of the realities of our church growing much faster than we anticipated, is that both of us as pastors are needing increasingly more time to care for our people well. The reality is that shepherding 52 people just takes more time than shepherding 25. And a central conviction of ours at City Church is that we want to grow in health just as quickly as we grow numerically–if not faster. We don't want to just be a big group of people; we want to be a healthy group of people.

A Cheap & Practical Way to Help

So here’s what we’re wanting to do. For us to care for these new people, we’d love if Jeff and I could go full-time by this fall. In order to do that, we need to raise about $3000/month on top of what we currently have coming in. While that may sound like a lot, all that would need to happen is for each person reading this blog to give an average of $25/month.

We know that for some of you, $25/month is a decent commitment. You may not have that margin in your budget. And if not, that’s totally fine. For others of you, $25 is easy to do and honestly you could easily do $50, or $100 or more. So do whatever amount you’re able to. But if you all gave just an average of $25, we’d be good to go. We’d be set up to love and care for our people well, as well as keep up with the amazing momentum God has given us so far here in Knoxville.

If you do want to give any amount), you can sign up easily using the button below:

Thank You

The reality is God will provide this for us. We’re gonna hit the fundraising trail here pretty soon, and one way or another, we’ll figure it out. But we didn’t want to do that before giving you guys the opportunity to help out first. 

We know so many of you guys do such an incredible job supporting us and praying for us each month, and we’re so grateful for you in that. It means so much to have such a dedicated group of people behind us in this process.

Thank you guys!

Want to receive these updates directly to your inbox?

Sign up for our newsletter here.

June, otherwise known as "Moving Month"

From Kent:

The month of June marks the beginning of what we have affectionately labeled our "summer of craziness." Between now and September, 90% of our team plans to relocate to Knoxville. People will be saying their goodbyes, loading up moving trucks, and settling into new homes and new jobs. 

Casey Dajani moved to Knoxville June 9, so I asked him to share a little bit about how he got connected with our team and decided to join up with City Church:

Going into the summer of 2015 I was a rising senior at USC and I was beginning to think and pray about where I was going to work after I graduated. Pretty much right when that happened the Lord stepped in and took over.

The first person who told me about City Church was Kent Bateman. I remember meeting with him to talk about my brother Josh, who is a student at the University of Tennessee, and how he had joined the church plant. Kent casually mentioned the idea of me joining the church plant after graduation too. It was a casual invite to pray about it but it got me thinking, and Kent wasn’t the only one. During that first month of praying about life after college I had multiple people bring up the idea of Knoxville and City Church. My family, my girlfriend, my friends, everyone seemed to bring up City Church.

So I started seriously asking the Lord if Knoxville was where He was calling me. The more I prayed about the idea and talked it through with people the more I felt it was where I was supposed to go. To top it all off, that summer I was interning with Pepsi and by August I had received a full-time offer to work for them after graduation. I requested to be placed in Knoxville, which would mean switching regions which is very unlikely, but the Lord moved and they quickly found a job for me in Knoxville! The Lord showed himself again when my now fiancé Sara began looking for a job as a nurse. After her first interview they offered her a job before she even left the room!

After seeing how the Lord provided, Sara and I are extremely excited to see how He is going to use us in the City of Knoxville because we both know it is exactly where we are supposed to be.

– Casey Dajani


  • Another local family has joined the team. Meet Brian and Adrienne Notess, another couple from Knoxville that has joined up with our team. They got connected through one of our team members in Knoxville, Hayden Antal. They're joining up along with their kids, Asher (7), Silas (5), and another baby boy due this September.

  • Another Columbia-ite has joined our team. Annie Wheeler will be moving to Knoxville with us as well. Annie has been a part of our sending church, Midtown Fellowship, for many years and we're glad to have her joining us in Knoxville as well. Annie has already bought a house in North Knoxville and will be teaching at Berean Christian School.
  • (At least) 11 team members move this month. The Breretons, Batemans, Walshes, and future Dajanis all move to Knoxville in the month of June. Like we said, summer of craziness.

How to Pray

  • Pray for the team already in Knoxville. We now have 16 adults and 6 kids meeting as a LifeGroup in Knoxville. Pray for this community as new folks get to know everyone, and as they practice being church family together and inviting others into that.

  • Pray for round two of fundraising. Jeff and Kent have begun our second round of fundraising to help provide for our 2017 ministry year. Be looking for next month's special video update to find out how you can help, but in the meantime, be praying for people who want to partner with us financially to see God's kingdom come in Knoxville.

Want to receive these updates directly to your inbox?

Sign up for our email newsletter here.