Pastor Scott Cagle preaches to his NorthStar church members during a Sunday service
Pastor Scott Cagle of NorthStar Church in Knoxville is looking forward to preaching to his congregation in a bar this week. He will hold service at "Cotton Eyed Joe" Monday night.
He realizes the unusual location may raise a few eyebrows, but he insists it will be a religious occasion.
"We're a church that likes to take the gospel outside of the four walls," he said.
He explains, NorthStar is a very contemporary, non-denominational church that regularly incorporates music in its worship. He expects the Monday service to connect with country music fans.
"They love country music, they love wearing their camouflage, they love wearing their cowboy boots, they love doing a little country line dancing. So we're just trying to be relevant to their life and their culture and just take the love of Christ to them in fresh new ways."
Cagle said the service will only last an hour, then church members can stay and dance, play games, and enjoy free, non-alcoholic beverages.
The idea started with one of his church members, Donny Cohen, who travels the country playing country gospel music.
"We still weren't reaching the heart of those people, that, maybe lost hope," Cohen said.
As far the unique location, Cohen explained, it could make perfect sense.
"We feel like if Jesus was here on earth, Cotton Eyed Joe's is where he'd be hanging out," he said. "He didn't sit back in the synagogues and wait for people to come in. He went out and hung out with sinners."
The bar's owner, Gingi Bakri agreed to let the church use his space on Monday nights when the bar is closed. He says people rent his space all the time for parties, concerts, and even weddings. He believes a church shouldn't be any different.
"They're going to have fun! That's cool. I mean, you can be religious and have fun."
Cagle says the service will being Monday night at 6:30. They have another one scheduled for early December.