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On Sundays, Taylor's Tavern Offers Burgers, Beer and Religion

The Hickory Flat restaurant is the home of Allpoints Church, a ministry that offers an unconventional path to God.

Banks Brazell and Chris Taylor have been neighbors in the Hickory Flat community for nearly 10 years.

And both men have united in an unusual partnership.

Taylor, owner of Taylor's Tavern & Grille, has allowed Brazell, lead minister of Allpoints Church to use his restaurant as the gathering spot for his worship services.

Affectionately coined as "Church At The Tavern," the services are held between 9 a.m.and 11 a.m. on Sundays at the restaurant.

Brazell said his church formerly held services at a location behind Hickory Flat Orthodontics, but Brazell approached Taylor and asked if he could meet at his restaurant.

Taylor said he was more than happy to provide a place for his neighbor to hold his services.

“I’ve looked at this as a way to help a neighbor," he said. "As a fellow Christian, I was more than happy to provide a place for worship."

Both men said they hope the partnership will provide an opportunity to attract Christians who may be turned off by a formal church setting.

“We want to be a place to show the heart of the Father to everyone who comes in and to be a place where everyone can be made whole," Banks added.

The church currently has around 30 members who regularly attend services.

Banks, 58, said the main message he wants to send to those who are curious about his services is that he's "not big on doctrine." 

“I’m hoping that people who would never go to a church door again may feel comfortable enough to walk in here and at least reconnect with God,” he said.  

Taylor added he believes the church's creed of not shoving official doctrine down the throats of its members is what makes Church at the Tavern unique.

"Whoever you are, come in and see what it’s all about," he said, adding he offers 50 percent off for those who choose to stay for lunch. "And if you want to watch football and have a beer after church, I believe that’s okay."

Banks grew up in middle Georgia and has lived in north Georgia since 1991. He served as the senior minister at First United Methodist Church of Monroe between 1991 and 2003 before striking out on his own. 

He started Allpoints Church and first met in East Cobb for 18 months and then moved his church to Hickory Flat.

Banks and wife Kendra have two children Eric and Michael.

While he wants to offer an unconventional way of worshipping God to the Hickory Flat community, Banks noted the community has pulled together and helped him through a dark time in his family's lives.

His oldest son Kenneth in 2008 committed suicide, which he said "really rocked the community." 

Kenneth's funeral drew nearly 1,000 people and the minister said in the aftermath of his son's death, he'd heard of nearly a dozen teenagers who decided to seek help. 

He also said he heard from at least two fathers who told him "your son saved my life," noting those fathers felt a wave of depression immediately after his son's passing.  

Taylor, 51, has for years been an established business owner in the Hickory Flat community. He ran and operated Beef O'Brady's in Hickory Flat for nine years before getting out of the franchise and opening his latest venture in the same location.

Taylor started with the now defunct Steak N' Ale restaurants and worked with the company for eight years. He later worked with Ruby Tuesday for seven years before starting his franchise with Beef O'Brady's.

He has three children Kyle, Collin and Cameron. 

Banks said church offers the support needed to navigate a life designed by God to be tough so people can "realize that we need each other."

“The bottom line is I don’t think God wants to leave anyone behind," he added. "I don’t think you can have an effective walk if you’re walking by yourself."

Taylor said Allpoints Church offers a place where Christians can come together in a non-judgmental atmosphere and develop a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ.

"I think what people don’t understand is everyone messes up, but we are not going to judge you," he said. "What matters is you have a relationship with Jesus Christ." 

Barbara Holloway February 03, 2013 at 12:33 PM
This is good. All things Gods hand is upon will surly succeed I often say we the people have too much religion and not near enough Christianity James 4:4 (I think). Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. I personally will pray for this outreach
Ann A. Jones February 03, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Wow, no doctrine - not shoving things down people's throats. Perfecr 21st century garbage. The "Come, feel good, have a beer" approach without clear teaching is heading for disaster. Of course, Jesus is our foundation, but without doctrine, there is nothing to hold the roof up. Churches with doctrine have enough trouble. If the need for salvation (sin) isn't made clear with doctrine, and the solution for it (Jesus) is not also made clear by doctrine, then there can be no reason to expect people to come to Christ. I pray that you will reach people, but don't let them dangle without understanding the Christian faith, which requires sound doctrine, or your people with be as children, tossed about by every wind that comes along.

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