21 May, 2024

Dan Garrett Talks about His New Book, ‘From Poles to Pews’

by | 16 April, 2024 | 1 comment

In his new book, From Poles to Pews: How America’s Most Infamous Strip Club Became a Church, our friend Dan Garrett tells the story of the closure of Atlanta’s Gold Club and its unlikely transformation into Christian Church Buckhead. 

The back cover of the self-published book states: “Drugs, prostitution, sports stars, and the Mafia all played a role in the downfall and closure of one of America’s most popular stripper venues. . . . Step into the renovation process and see a decaying structure being revived by a visionary pastor and his flock of passionate and diverse members committed to reaching people in the heart of Atlanta’s financial district.” 

We spoke with Dan about his new book and his career in Christian ministry. 

_ _ _ 

CHRISTIAN STANDARD: Tell us a little about your ministry background and where you are serving now.  

DAN GARRETT: I grew up in a small town in East Tennessee. Once I stepped foot on the campus of Cincinnati Bible College, I knew it was where I was supposed to be and ministry was what I was called to do. I served as youth minister for the largest Christian Church in the South for 11 years [Mt. Carmel Christian Church], traveled and spoke to youth conferences and churches full-time, led a small-town church, started a church in Atlanta, and pastored a suburban church. 

I now work with Christian City, a large ministry serving children through group homes and foster/adoption agency, along with homes for low-income and retirees. We have 1,000 people living on our campus.  

How did this book project come about?  

I sensed that our unique setting for planting a church was something special, and I journaled throughout the process. Based on those notes and memories, the book sort of wrote itself. In the years since the church was birthed, I have been continually asked about the adventure, and it became apparent this story is compelling and worth recording.  


The strip club becoming a church was just one of the stories of transformation, correct?  

The whole project was a testimony to the power of God’s redemptive intent. The renovation of a nasty old building, once used for nefarious purposes, was a fantastic metaphor for the way our heavenly Father works in the lives of his children. I was able to share this story many times through television interviews, in the Atlanta newspaper, and with national media coverage, including CNN, Paul Harvey, and many other channels. 

I often joked that when you start a church in an old strip club, you don’t really need a sign saying, “Everyone Is Welcome.” All sorts of individuals and families, some with tremendous challenges, became part of our family, and we saw God work in their lives.   

Is the book being well-received?  

It is truly humbling and satisfying to hear how this inspiring story has impacted others. One of the top responses has been, “I couldn’t put it down.” The stories of God being at work ahead of us, and the description of the locker room, seemed to have made significant impressions on many readers. 

Are you planning any more books? 

I’m still recovering from getting this one out there, but yes, I think I have a few more stories which need to be told. 

_ _ _ 

From Poles to Pews: How America’s Most Infamous Strip Club Became a Church is available from Amazon

Read more about the origins of Christian City and Dan Garrett’s work there in our 2022 article, “Still Loving Kids.” 

1 Comment

  1. Al Forthman

    What a wonderful story of transformation!

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