It started with three people. Now attendance averages between 150 and 200 on Sundays.
This is the case for the Iglesia de Dios Jesús el Buen Pastor Pentecostal Church.
The church was founded by Pastors Gillman and Iris Soto when they came to the United States from El Salvador 20 years ago.
The church had met in different locations over the years. Around 11 years ago, the church started meeting at 511 North Bellwood Road in Morristown, located behind Honda Morristown. The church had a ribbon cutting ceremony last weekend.
“Our church started with three people,” Daniella Sorto, daughter of the pastor said. “After we got started, we went knocking on doors.”
When the Sortos came to Morristown, the growing congregation met in several different locations before settling in at their present location.
When the opportunity came recently to purchase the property, the Sortos decided the offer was too good to pass up.
“We hadn’t thought about purchasing the property previously,” Daniella said. “We had rented church locations until we came here. The owner put the property up for sale. We negotiated the price and made the purchase.”
The church is the mother church for other churches throughout East Tennessee, according to Daniella.
“This church has birthed churches in Knoxville, Johnson City and Erwin,” she said.
Supported by the Hispanic Region Church of God, the church meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, at 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. Sundays. A children’s ministry, For the Kids, meets once a month on Tuesday, but they also have their own area to meet in at other services.
Attendance at Iglesia de Dios Jesús el Buen Pastor Church ranges from 150 to 200 people on Sundays. The church attracts congregants from Knoxville, Jefferson City and other areas.
In addition to the building, the church also purchased a nearby lot. Long-term goals are to build a bigger sanctuary.
“We want to pay off the mortgage and build a new church with more space,” Daniella said.