Christian Coffeehouses and Clubs Spring Up

( [email protected] ) Mar 20, 2004 04:16 PM EST

TAMARAC, FL.--Since the early 20th century, university campuses have been the dominant niches other than churches to foster an environment for Christian fellowship gatherings. That has changed in the 21st century as more Christian coffeehouses and nightclubs are springing up attracting Christians young and old.

On its opening night in January, Harmony Café Club in a shopping plaza in Tamarac, Fla., experienced an overall attendance of 350 people. The Christian coffeehouse offers a place where people can enjoy smoke-free and alcohol-free environment over a light menu. At night, the coffeehouse will operate like a nightclub.

Michael Berrios, who manages the Harmony Club Cafe, explains what sets the Christian club apart from secular ones.

"This is not your typical nightclub," says Berrios. "Here, young believers can gather not only to dance and have a good time, but also to enjoy Christian fellowship and share the Gospel message."

Harmony joins other already-established Christian clubs in Minneapolis, Dallas, El Paso, Texas, and Fort Worth, Texas.

Many of the opening night’s attendants were in their thirties, including Dave Smith, 36, who brought along some of his friends. Smith, who leads Christian singles’ club in Hollywood, Fla., says Christian clubs are a “great way to meet other people who share similar values.”

All the entertainment offered at Harmony was intended to follow Christian principles. The first night set the tone for the atmosphere that can be expected in the future from Harmony: Bibles passed out at every table, Christian worship songs played by the DJ and different age groups enjoying the favor of all people. Berrios said there was even a blind man dancing while holding his walking stick.

“There were people out on the dance floor raising their hands and singing along,” he recalls. “Seeing that was awesome.”

It’s all about having good fun says Adriana Salgado, a 27-year-old schoolteacher.

"'Thou shalt party in a Godly way' didn't make it in the Commandment Tablets, but the need for a place where one can have good clean fun is there,” says Salgado.

Youngters can even enjoy the non-violence video games at the clubs Friday Teen Night or listen to Christian trance with an embedded Gospel message.

“We are going to have DJs playing tracks and have a preacher talking over, giving Christian messages,” says Berrios.

Although the $10 cover charge and occasional donations from the club goers is not enough to make much profit yet, Berrios has faith the club will develop.

"Right now, we just hope to make enough money to survive and pay the rent," he says. "But my vision is that we grow enough to move into a bigger venue, where we can eventually attract Christian artists and host live performances."

Berrios hopes that people will come and line the door.