But by the time he was 30, Mullinax said he realized that even though he professed to be a Christian, there was little evidence of his beliefs in his everyday life.
“It was very traumatizing,” Mullinax said.
He said he soon strayed from his roots and was caught up in a “subculture” within Bartow County that was far removed from the auspices of the Biblical teachings of his youth.
“I spent about 10 years doing some crazy stuff,” Mullinax said.
The Cass High School graduate said he was finally able to turn his life around, but it wasn’t until he hit rock bottom. Now an ordained minister, Mullinax said after he found a solid foundation, he thought of the lost souls within that community who remain disconnected and lost spiritually.
“My life was better and I thought, ‘What is it I can do to help other people’s lives be better?’” Mullinax said.
Mullinax said right here in Bartow County people are searching for a relationship with God but are cynical about attending a traditional church.
He also said Christians are constantly looking to gather at a place with an atmosphere that is positive and does not compromise their beliefs.
He said God spoke to him and told him to open a venue where both could fellowship and share their experiences without judgment. Mullinax said he wasn’t sure he would be able to open such a place since he was well short of the six figures needed to open until New Year’s Eve two years ago when he prayed for confirmation from God to move forward. Mullinax said he was in Dalton for a church service when the speaker for the evening stepped forward and started off by giving the title of his sermon.
“He said the title of his sermon was ‘Open the Gate,’” Mullinax said.
And that’s exactly what he did.
Mullinax and his wife opened The Gate Coffee Shop on N. Tennessee Street in Cartersville in 2013 and Mullinax said from day one it has been a success. The Gate is a full-service coffee shop with both a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, as well as a concert venue, but Mullinax said don’t call it a church or club.
“We just wanted a non-threatening environment where people can come and have a good time,” Mullinax said. “We try to build a relationship with people where they are.”
Local musician Ahmad Hall, of Adairsville, has hosted concerts at the venue and said it is a place where people can come and find their own path to God.
“Dewayne Mullinax has done an amazing job of transforming the building into an atmosphere that is relaxing and when you walk in the door you feel the presence of God,” Hall said. “It is very rare to find somewhere outside of the four walls of the church that is as inviting and welcoming.”
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