Churches come in many shapes and sizes. From inflatable houses of worship to churches that can be parachuted into areas of combat, the diversity of building design is certainly intriguing. And to add to the mix, today, we bring you the highly uncommon tree house chapel.
The 100-foot building, called "The Minister's Treehouse," was built in Crossville, Tennessee, over a period of 11 years. Unlike other houses of worship that are meticulously plotted and blueprinted, this particular building was constructed without any solidified plans.
Rather than stain-glass windows and perfected structure, it features wooden panels and is built -- you guessed it -- around seven trees. Inside, the church is about 10,000 square feet, but its exact dimensions aren't known.
Upon seeing the structure, numerous questions come to mind. To begin, why in the world would someone build a tree house church? RoadsideAmerica.com has the backstory:
In the early 1990s, landscaper Horace Burgess bought some wooded land on the outskirts of Crossville, Tennessee. One of the bigger trees, next to a dirt road, caught his eye. He decided to build the world's largest tree house in its branches.
But Horace had a job and a family. After spending a couple of years on the project, he ran out of lumber and enthusiasm.
"Then I turned my life over to God," Horace recalled. "And the spirit of God said, 'If you build Me a tree house, I'll never let you run out of material.'"
God doesn't make housing offers every day. Horace got himself ordained as a minister and went back to work. God showed Horace what the tree house would look like ("It was like a vision") but didn't tell Horace how big it would be. "If He had," Horace said, "I would've tried to talk Him out of it."
While Horace loves the house of worship, it doesn't come without its problems. The building is frequently vandalized, with smashed windows, graffiti and other negative actions being taken. That in mind, the faithful man plans to continue construction on the building, adding a welcome booth, among other elements (an elevator, plumbing, etc.).
"I built it for God, and God watches over it," he told RoadsideAmerica.com. "He's protected everyone for all these years."
You can find more images of the astonishing tree house on photographer Kristin Sweeting's web site.