When people ask Brian Hollaway why he pastors a church that meets in a barn, he has a simple answer.
“Well, Jesus was born in a manger, so we can preach about him in a barn,” he said with a smile.
Hollaway, an avid outdoorsman and former professional archer with two national championship titles under his belt, is the pastor of Timberlake Church, a new church plant in the Boones Creek area that focuses on bringing what Hollaway calls a passion-driven approach to church.
“What that simply means is whatever you enjoy doing — mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, we’ve got a guy that builds RC airplanes — we use that for God’s glory,” he said.
Hollaway believes whatever subject a person is passionate about can be used as a way to reach out to other people. That very belief is practiced in Hollaway’s Non-Typical Ministries, an outreach that caters to folks who enjoy everything from hunting to archery.
It’s also a belief that led to the creation of Timberlake Church.
“In today’s society people want to feel it and see it. I think they’re tired of going to church ... and they’re just going through the motions. There’s no passion. There’s no excitement about it. And that’s what we are,” he said.
Before starting Timberlake, Hollaway, a native of Butler, pastored Mountain View Church in Johnson City for six years. While there, Hollaway said he felt God was leading him on a different path — a path that would open up church to people who might have felt uncomfortable in a typical Sunday morning atmosphere.
But since there’s nothing typical about the church, Timberlake’s short history — the church has only been around for about a year and a half — is a little more colorful than other churches in the area.
The congregation of Timberlake first began meeting, or tried to meet, in a funeral home during its early days. Hollaway said people were somewhat apprehensive to attend church in such a place.
“We found out the living have a lot of anxieties against funeral homes, so it was hard to get people to go to the funeral home,” he said with a laugh.
Shortly after leaving the idea of the funeral home behind, Tammy and Tommy Brotherton, owners of the Barn at Boone Falls event venue in Gray, opened the barn up for Timberlake’s services.
The building might not have stained glass windows or a steeple on its roof, but every Sunday, the barn is transformed into a church. The congregation of about 60 people meets inside the barn, where they drag out folding chairs and worship like any other congregation would.
The laid-back atmosphere is something that fits with the church’s focus on the outdoors, and meeting in a barn certainly doesn’t hurt either. In fact, Hollaway believes Christianity and a love for the outdoors are synonymous, which is what brings churchgoers of all types into Timberlake’s congregation.
“What we do is try to bring the two together. They can come here into this outdoor-type setting and have church and then throughout the week, they can do their Bible studies around their passion, their activities, and they can invite others, because that’s what church is about is inviting others,” he said.
Timberlake will host an open house today from noon to 9 p.m. at the Barn, located at 1770 Old Gray Station Road, to promote the venue space and the church. There will be food, activities and gospel music throughout the day.
On Oct. 30, the church will hold a trunk-or-treat event for children, in addition to holding weekly Zumba classes at the barn every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
For more on the church, visit the church’s page on www.facebook.com or email Hollaway at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Hollaway’s ministry, visit www.nontypicalministries.com.