Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the project called REACH?
Seventy-seven years ago, Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church was planted in this beautiful pocket of creation, and woven into our identity as a church have been the words “Inwardly Strong, Outwardly Focused,” called to know Christ, to grow as his disciples, and to proclaim in word and act how his gospel still draws us outward, reaching.

As we prayerfully follow God’s call into our church’s next season, our vision is to reach further, to restore our focus outward, and to connect our congregation even more deeply—both with each other and with those who aren’t here yet.

What does the REACH project include and why are we doing it?

REACH: The most visible update to our building will be a connecting space alongside the sanctuary | This is to ensure both a welcoming face of the church as well as better accessibility from one part of the church to the other. As we seek to reclaim and deepen our outward focus, we want our building to be an extension of that outward focus.

RESTORE: Updates and restoration to the music ministry space below the sanctuary and to the sanctuary chancel as well as updated and new restrooms in high-traffic areas of the church | We want the space in which we gather and into which we invite others to convey that God is at work in new ways.

CONNECT: End-to-end indoor accessibility for all mobility levels, repurposing centrally located spaces for a mid-sized fellowship hall and small gathering space, and connecting all staff in the main office area | With connection at the center of the Christian life, our building should foster connection rather than hinder it.

Additionally, as we deepen our engagement within our city, we are partnering with The Restoration House in their new ministry, Olive Tree Early Learning Academy. This project will help establish and support the start up and early operations of this new ministry to provide high-quality early childhood education for families led by single mothers.

When do we expect to begin and how long will the project take?

Our contractor is projecting to start construction late this summer, depending on finalizing plans and permits, and anticipates a timeline of 15-18 months.

Will the renovations and upgrades affect our current ministries?

Because this project affects almost all areas of the church building, many aspects of our ministry may see some degree of disruption. We will need to be flexible! 

On the other hand, we recognize that many, if not most, of our weekly functions can be fully hosted in the Spitzer building and Barron Hall—incidentally where minimal work is being done.

Though not all areas of the building will be impacted all the time, we anticipate there will be stretches of construction during which meetings and activities will be hosted in the Spitzer building. 

The work to be done on the sanctuary Chancel itself should not require a lot of time to complete, but work surrounding and underneath the sanctuary may be more time intensive. So we anticipate that for at least part of construction, worship will take place in Barron Hall. 

Nevertheless, through working with our contractor, we do anticipate having worship in the sanctuary on Christmas Eve and Easter, as well as during other stretches of the project, depending on progress.

How much will all this cost?
To achieve all these goals, we project a total cost of $7.5 million, with $6 million dedicated to building updates and $1.5 million (or 20% of the total) dedicated to our friends at Olive Tree Early Learning Academy.
Can Sequoyah Church raise $7.5 million beyond our annual budget needs?
Through consultation with Generis, our stewardship firm, $7.5 million is an attainable goal. A rule of thumb is that churches typically should reasonably be able to raise around three times their annual giving in a financial campaign. Our annual budget is ~$2.5 million. To put this in perspective in our own church’s history, the ~$5 million raised twenty-five years ago for the Spitzer building, adjusted for inflation, is in fact more than $7.5 million today. In other words, we’ve done this before!

More importantly, mature disciples of Jesus Christ are generous with their time, spiritual gifts, and financial resources. While giving looks different for every person, if we give sacrificially, we will not only meet our goal, but exceed it and experience God’s joy in the process.

Will giving to REACH have a negative effect on funding for the annual budget?

We do not expect giving to have an adverse effect on the normal operating or missions budgets. We believe that as we faithfully follow the Lord’s leading and mature in our understanding of generosity, giving to the annual budget will remain strong. We even expect it to increase.

What is the best way to give to the REACH Campaign?
The most important place to begin is by completing a Commitment Card on which you can indicate what you plan to give over the three-year campaign period. This card is vital as it informs SHPC what to expect and how to wisely plan expenditures.
When the time comes to begin giving, a number of methods will be available:
  • Online giving (via SecureGive on the website), which can be used for all giving to Sequoyah Church
  • Writing a check with the REACH designation in the memo line
  • Stocks/noncash gifts: to arrange a stock or noncash donation, contact the Tim Thurston at 865-522-9804 or
Will I be able to change my 36-month commitment if I need or want to?
Of course! Unforeseen circumstances may cause you to want to increase or decrease your giving commitment in the future. At any time during the 36 months, you can contact Tim Thurston (865-522-9804 or or you can ask for another Commitment Card and turn it in with your revised commitment!
What if I can’t afford to give right now?

Even in times of scarcity, God wants our hearts. The widow who gave her last mite did not make a very big financial contribution, but Jesus said she gave the largest gift of all. REACH is about all of us coming together, giving generously, and trusting God to do the rest. It may mean God is asking you to trust Him by making a faith commitment that you do not know how to fulfill right now. God has supplied our every need in Christ, and we trust He will honor a heart that wants to give generously in response to the gospel.

There may also be ways to be sacrificial with your lifestyle to create a margin for generosity in your life. Look for ways to involve the entire family in the process of giving generously. Use this as an opportunity to teach children and grandchildren to obey the Lord with a generous heart and to trust Him. This is a great opportunity to take a look at our overall stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us.


How are we seeking God’s direction in these efforts?

Sequoyah Church has been steeped in prayer asking for discernment, direction, courage, and unity. Teams of ministry leaders, as well as our Pastors and the Session, have joined together to ask what God wants from us at this time. The direction of REACH is the result of these prayers.