‘It seems to be incompatible with church:’ Church turning former adult club into house of worship

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 10:35 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Earlier this year a lawsuit barred the owners of Bucks, Racks and Ribs from operating the club for adult entertainment purposes. Since then, the place has been empty. But it won’t be for long.

Despite what it was, the new owners are looking forward to what it will become. Neon strobe lights and signs of the past are indications of what this building used to be.

A past, Pastor Rich Butler of Hope Church, is not unfamiliar with.

“We’ve known about the story for the last 20 years of what was occupying this place. I mean, our head’s not in the sand,” said Butler.

Bucks, Racks and Ribs has been the center of multiple shootings and a lengthy lawsuit that eventually stripped the owners from operating with adult entertainment. Butler plans to make it a center for something else.

“Because it was a former gentlemen’s club, it seems to be incompatible with church,” he said.

Hope Church has been searching for a Greenville campus location for about a year. Oddly enough, it was the former club that checked all the boxes.

Butler says it’s 30,000 square foot with a second floor, room for office space, high visibility off interstate-385, and two empty acres for parking. He says he understands people are likely to question why a church would buy a club, but he hopes that curiosity will lead people through the church doors.

“It’s not a place maybe that you just wanted to explore and show up unless you were intentional. But our prayers at this place will draw the curiosity of people and say, ‘I don’t know if the church is going to occupy a place that used to be a gentlemen’s club. Out of curiosity, I may want to see what it’s about’” said Butler.

Hope church – has high hopes for this new house of worship.

“People won’t forget maybe what used to be here, but our prayer is that there’ll be so much hope, so much worship, so much life that comes from this location, that it will simply eclipse what used to be,” said Butler.

The church is currently in the due diligence period of the sale. They hope to have a grand opening of the new Hope Church sometime next year.