KNOXVILLE -- A Sevier County man is suing his former church in South Knoxville, after he claims he was overcome by the spirit, fell backward and hit his head.
Matt Lincoln, 57, says pastors at Lakewind Church should have made sure someone caught him.
His attorney is asking for $2.5 million to cover medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering.
"I've fallen out in the spirit before, but have always been caught," Matt Lincoln says. "I always trusted that the catchers would be there because they always were." The case stems from a Wednesday night service at Lakewind in June 2007, when a visiting minister was praying for members individually.
"I just closed my eyes. I was just asking God, I wanted to have a real experience. It's like you faint. It's almost like you pass out," Lincoln says.
He also says that wasn't unusual.
"I've fallen out in the spirit before, but have always been caught," Lincoln says. "I always trusted that the catchers would be there because they always were."
This time, he says, was different.
"I hit. I hit full force backwards," he says.
After one year and two surgeries, Lincoln says he still hurts all the time.
"It's pain in the back and it goes down my legs," he says.
Lincoln says he only decided to file a lawsuit when his claim for medical bills was denied by the church's insurance company.
"There's no amount of money that can compensate for what's happened to me. My life is totally altered. There's so much I won't be able to do for the rest of my life," he says.
Lawyers for the church didn't want to go on camera, but say in an answer to the lawsuit that Lincoln was observed that night by other congregants to be on the floor laughing, that he failed to look out for his own safety and that court involvement with the ministry of this church would be unconstitutional.
Matt Lincoln's lawyer expects the case to go before a jury sometime next year.