The faith-based meeting place is the latest effort in the Mullinaxes’ youth ministry, seeking to give young people a safe place to fellowship and worship.
“We’ve been involved with some youth groups for a while trying to help put on events for different groups in different towns, but it had always been a dream of mine to have a place where we could just have Christian events, concerts, comedians and things like that,” Dewayne Mullinax said. “We just started networking with the right people and it happened by accident. We were eating at Los Arcos one day, noticed it was empty and took a look at it. It had the kitchen and everything, so I told my wife it was perfect and we pursued it from there.
“We didn’t want to start a church, because we didn’t want to turn anyone off. Because if you were a Baptist and I started a Church of God, you probably wouldn’t come to my church, or vice versa — but if we just had a Christian venue, where it didn’t matter what denomination you are, you could come enjoy music, a good cup of coffee and a sandwich. And that gives us an opportunity to share our faith or help other ministries grow, give them some exposure, that’s our goal.”
Local bands and musicians have taken the stage nearly every Friday and Saturday since The Gate opened in November. With no admission charged, except for special fundraising events, The Gate looks to become a home for burgeoning local artists and all fans of Christian music.
“We want to get the word out. Really and truly, I’m not here to make money — I have another job that pays the bills, but we want to grow the venue to help young people and help build others trying to get started in the ministry,” Mullinax said. “We don’t charge admission to any events, no cover charge, the bands don’t get paid to play here — we take tips at the end of the night for them — so essentially, the cafe and coffee shop will have to keep the lights on.
“Ultimately, our goal is to become a launchpad for young people who have a heart to help the community.”
Outside of Christian ministry opportunities, The Gate also will serve as an event space for secular nonprofits. An upcoming event to raise funds for a young victim of Hurricane Sandy has already sold out and organizers are planning additional events to help his family pay for medical expenses. Dewayne Mullinax also is looking at partnerships with The Hope Center, Habitat For Humanity and other organizations.
“There’s a lot of people in this town that have fantastic ideas and big hearts, but a lot of times they just need a place to be,” Mullinax said. “So we’re really trying to keep our ears to the ground for people that are looking to make a difference.”
Tonight, The Gate will kick off a new series called Saturday Night Life with youth performers and a message from Shannon Boatfield, area director for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Beginning tonight at 9 p.m., Saturday Night Life will be a monthly offering at The Gate.
The 3,000-square-foot event venue also incorporates a full coffee shop open six days a week with a cafe and light menu of soups, sandwiches and salads. Beyond formal events, The Gate is open to all small groups, Bible studies and business meetings. The Gate also offers a selection of Christian music, books and apparel in addition to a kids corner for parents attending events.
The Gate Coffee Shop is located at 952 N. Tennessee St. in Cartersville next to Los Arcos in the Highland Crossing shopping center. For more information, including events and specials, call 770-334-8389 or search for The Gate on Facebook and Twitter. The Gate can also be found online at www.thegate2011.blogspot.com.
The Gate Coffee Shop is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.