Lebanon Church of God TN Pastor Lavan Thomas

Lebanon Church of God History

The first services of the Lebanon Church of God were held during the summer of 1902 under the leadership of the late Bishop John Riley Inman on Cedar Street. Bishop Inman was a minister in the Presbyterian Church located on Cedar Street and also a school teacher.

The Doctrine of Holiness and Sanctification was being preached in other cities across the United States since the mid 1800’s. Elder I. Fox, a Caucasian Church of God minister was granted permission to preach the Doctrine of Holiness in the Presbyterian Church in Lebanon, Tennessee. Bishop Inman also accepted this doctrine and began preaching holiness and sanctification as the biblical standard of the Christian life. He eventually left the Presbyterian organization to establish a Church of God, Sanctified Church in Lebanon in 1903. Between 1902-1913, services were held in homes, tents, a one-room schoolhouse, a public meeting hall on Sycamore Street and in a church building on Bluebird Road.

In 1933 the East Market Street location was destroyed by a tornado. The Church was rebuilt the same year under the pastoral leadership of the late Elder James N. Church. In 1960, the late Elder D.A. Jarrett accepted the position of the Pastor of the Lebanon Church of God. Being a builder by profession, the desires and dreams of the congregation were united to purchase a new site and erect a monument of memory to the pioneers that labored for the cause of Christ.

In 1967, the congregation purchased 2 1/2 acres from the Lebanon Urban Renewal Authority on the corner of Bluebird Road (now C.L. Manier Street) and McGregor Street and began construction of a new church facility. The dream became a reality on Sunday June 18, 1968, when all of the Churches of God in the Central Tennessee District under the leadership of the late Bishop Henry C. Nesbit, assembled with the Lebanon congregation on East Market and marched to the present site.

The late Elder J. Lester was installed as pastor in March 1971, the church continued to be blessed under his leadership. He was a godly man who preached the word of God without compromise; yet he was a man with a humble spirit who was loved and respected by all. As Elder Lester’s health began to fail him, the late Elder John D. Harris Sr., served as a faithful armor bearer to Elder Lester. Elder Harris was very instrumental in keeping the church functioning during this period; making many sacrifices of his time and energy to keep the church moving forward. The legacy that he left behind will long be remembered.

In March 1982, the Lord sent yet another man of God to serve as the spiritual under shepherd in the person of Bishop Andrew J. Valentine. Bishop Valentine was a community leader and an inspiration to all who knew him. He served as the Overseer of the Church of God Sanctified and implemented many initiatives that moved the organization forward.

In 2011 the church burned down in an electrical fire. Bishop Valentine led the congregation through this difficult time and the rebuilding of a new sanctuary. The late Bishop Andrew J. Valentine’s role and legacy of the Lebanon Church of God is now completed and he will always be remembered as God’s servant-leader. In 2017 Bishop Valentine transitioned to be with the Lord.

In September 2017, Elder Lavan B. Thomas was chosen by God to serve as the Interim Pastor. In September 2018, Elder Thomas was installed as Pastor of the Lebanon Church of God and began to implement and regain structure to move the organization forward. The mandate God has given Elder Thomas is the same as the late Bishop John Riley Inman; preach the Doctrine of Holiness and Sanctification as the biblical standard of the Christian life, and fulfill the great commission.

Who makes His Angels spirits, His Ministers a flame of fire

Psalms 104:4