Jared and Erin

Church Planting in Chattanooga’s Southside:
An Update from Restoration Southside

 

Restoration Southside celebrated its first anniversary on April 21st and, according to Pastor Jared Huffman, “things are booming.” Jared Huffman has been a pastor for more than ten years, spending six of them working as an assistant pastor at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church (LMPC). Jared is married to Erin and they have five amazing kids. When Jared and Erin set out to plant Restoration Southside in 2018, they were filled with questions:

  • Is this the right time?
  • Do I have what it takes?
  • Will anyone show up? 

Though church planting presented uncertainties, Jared and Erin have seen God’s extraordinary provision first-hand.

Restoration Southside was planted as a caring, open, and community-oriented church, a place where “messy people” encounter the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jared notes that he and his staff are “excited about welcoming those exploring the faith, as well as those coming back after taking a break.”  

In addition to welcoming those who are re-entering the church, Restoration Southside has seen growth on all frontiers of its ministry. Ben and Anne Charlotte Hooper were also sent to Restoration Southside and have been a part of the effort since the very beginning. Through men’s and women’s bible studies, city groups, and community events, many unchurched, dechurched and curious have come to try Restoration Southside. Jared attributes the church plant’s growth to the welcoming and safe presence of its staff and committed launch team. 

Chattanooga’s Southside is growing quickly. “The area is flooded with new businesses of every kind,” says Jared. All kinds of people come together to worship at Restoration Southside because they are generally seeking the same thing. “In our current culture, people’s biggest desires are to have meaningful experiences. They want to have a full friend circle and a fulfilling job. They find meaning from their experiences,” says Jared. “Everybody is different, representing multiple cultures and backgrounds; they have their own niches, but our hope is that they all find community here at Restoration Southside. We are thrilled to have a strong committed group of people from all ages.”

While Restoration Southside is experiencing growth now, getting the church planted was not easy. Moving on from a beloved place like LMPC was painful for Jared and Erin and finding a space for the church plant proved to be a headache. In addition to that, the young church experienced two devastating losses. The first was Ted Strawbridge, who played an important part in starting Restoration Southside, and the second was Elizabeth Dyer’s brother one week later. By facing trials and discouragement, Jared and Erin clung to the church body and to Jesus. “God continues to provide through difficult times,” says Jared. Jared and Erin also learned how to receive help from their congregation when they needed it. “When we’re discouraged, the congregation will encourage us and even bring meals,” says Jared. “The congregation’s care has been amazing.”

Jared and the staff of Restoration Southside ask for prayer:

  • Pray for many more that are exploring faith to come to Restoration Southside.
  • Pray they will be a welcoming place for the hurting and discouraged.
  • Pray they will always lean on the Lord and never become self-reliant.

Visit restorationsouthside.org if you would like to learn more about their mission and support their ministry.

Tennessee Valley Presbytery (Presbyterian Church in America)
C/O Covenant Presbyterian Church
8451 E. Brainerd Road
Chattanooga, TN 37421

tel: 423-899-5377
email: tvpclerk@gmail.com