Nightclub church targets teens
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – A local pastor believes his new worship venue is the kind of sanctuary needed for troubled teens and young adults in Kansas City.
Phase II Entertainment is a south Kansas City nightclub. So, hearing hip-hop and seeing heads bob is normal. However, the musicâ€™s purpose was different Sunday morning.
â€œWeâ€™re going to be having church here at the nightclub,â€ said Pastor Marvin Kirkwood of the Contagious Revival Church.
Starting Sunday, Kirkwoodâ€™s church worships beneath stage lights, beside alcohol ads inside Phase II. Their dress code is very relaxed.
â€œThis is an out-the-box church,â€ said a church member who goes by the name Po Rich tha Kid.
As a former gang member turned pastor, Kirkwood said the service targets young people who are gang affiliated or teens who feel left out.
â€œ(We are) starting at ground zero where the people come on Fridays and Saturdays,â€ Kirkwood said. â€œSo itâ€™s going to be going down. We have radical praise and worship. Itâ€™s just like a traditional or regular church service. We are just in the club doing it.â€
â€œWe are showing them that we are real people out here living in the real world, just like them,â€ said Po Rich tha Kid. â€œWeâ€™re going through some of the same things that they are going through. We just want to show them that God loves them.â€
Supported by longtime community activist Alvin Brooks and three Kansas City council candidates, Tracy Ward, Diana Kennedy and Brandon Ellington, Kirkwood hopes his message saves lives. To do so, Kirkwood is willing to endure whatever criticism comes from having church in a club.