We’re a church.
We’re a bar.
Don’t overthink it.
As founder and pastor of The Junction ATL, I find I’m most myself around a table - even more so with a cold beer in my hand. And it’s not so much the beer or the food. It’s the company. And it’s the way that the table becomes a place where tough conversations, true emotions, and lost stories come to light. There’s something about coming together at a table that lets grace creep in through the cracks of our exterior.
But we haven’t been able to do that lately. And to be honest, even before the pandemic I’m not sure how often we really made time for sincere table fellowship. People are busy and meals need to be easy. Throw a pandemic in there and the idea of going out for a drink or meal as a way to get to know new people goes out the window.
So I ask, “Are we crazy to be opening a cafe and beer garden in the midst of a pandemic?” Possibly. “Are we crazy to think that a cafe and beer garden is the perfect place for church?” Definitely not.
The church universal has done a lot of good. But it has also done a lot of harm. And to be honest, I’m not sure which way the scale tips. At a minimum, the church has a reputation of perpetuating conformity and rigidity both blatantly and unconsciously. We’ve made a habit of suggesting, asking, and even demanding that people change who they are in order to be welcomed fully. We’ve shied away from important and difficult conversations for the sake of civility and preserving the status quo.
Scriptures tell us time and time again that this rigidity is not how Jesus approached ministry. Jesus used the communal nature of the table to engage the community and demonstrate what the radical love of God looks like. At the table, Jesus welcomed the unwelcome, challenged the powerful, and kept the party going when it was time to celebrate.
This atmosphere is what we aim to create at The Junction. There is something holy in coming together at the table – the table that is set not just in our homes and in our churches, but the table that is set in and for our community, no strings attached. We are called to create a space in which the radical hospitality of Christ is front and center, where joy and happiness abound, and where barriers, both perceived and real, are erased.
How will we do that?
2021 is turning out to be a big year for The Junction. We’ve secured a location in SW Atlanta in the Capitol View Neighborhood. We’re partnering with local small business owners to open a coffee spot and café this fall. We will also begin hosting monthly worship services in our unique and beautiful outdoor setting. We have several fall events in the works, and by the spring of 2022, we plan to open our beer and wine garden.
Our plan is big - too big to tell you all about here. So I hope you’ll take a moment to follow us on social media (Instagram @junction.atl & FB @junctionatl) so you can keep an eye on what we're up to.
We find joy and happiness at the table.
So come as you are.
Explore your faith, your doubts, your fears and your joys.
Welcome to the table.