LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Snakes in a church! No it's not a Samuel L. Jackson movie.
It's a part of services at the Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette.
Snakes, fire, dancing, even speaking in tongues are all regular rituals among the community.
The practicing of handling snakes has origins in a passage in one Bible's version of the Gospel of Mark.
Local 8 News went inside the walls of the church and shows us that there's more to worshiping than just the snakes.
Gospel music fills the room. Folks are singing, dancing and playing instruments, just like most church services.
But it's what's inside boxes on the stage that draws attention to the church, poisonous snakes.
"When you feel the power from god to do such a thing, it's an out-of-this-world experience," said Hamblin.
Pastor Andrew Hamblin is only 21, and handled his first snake just three years ago.
At Friday night's service, several snakes were taken out of the boxes and handled. But Hamblin says sometimes, only a couple or none are seen.
"I can sit here all night and want to do it, but if God don't move on me, there's no safety in doing that," said Hamblin.
At any moment, a serpent can bite and kill. It's a reality that touched one church in West Virginia recently.
But he says he has no fear, and that won't shake his faith. He says those that doubt after a death are hypocrites.
"Because every time they shouted, and took up a serpent, and walk away from it saying God didn't move me, they were liars and hypocrites"
As the music played on, Hamblin says some feel compelled to light the oil, and get down on their knees to pray. He says that's why people come to the church.
"We're not crazy. We're not some kind of sideshow freaks. We're Christians, we're Christian people ... that are trying to reach the lost people," said Hamblin.