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Posted on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Curious followers flock to opening night at the Greenroom in Ann Arbor

By Pam Stout


Pastor Scott Crownover speaks to a gathering of community members for the Greenroom, a new spiritual movement in Ann Arbor, which met inside of Dream Niteclub on Sept. 27, 2010.

Angela J. Cesere |

Scott Crownover beamed with enthusiasm last week about the Greenroom community he and his wife Denise are launching in Ann Arbor. With a spark in his eyes and anticipation in his voice, he searched for the right words to describe the new movement and its first public gathering Monday night at the Dream Niteclub space at 314 S. Fourth Ave. in downtown Ann Arbor.

“Although you could call it a church,” he said, “we prefer to think of it as a spiritual movement — it’s nothing like a typical church.” 

For two years, Scott Crownover and his launch team have been asking, “What if a group of rebellious, artistic and creative people gathered together to communicate God’s love and transform the world? What if we created a community that really looks like Jesus and did everything we could to live the way He wanted us to live?”

Turns out it might look a little different.

On Monday night, a large group of curious people gathered outside the Dream Niteclub and were entertained by a jazz group as they waited with anticipation for the Greenroom doors to open. As people entered, friendly bouncers made introductions, gave hugs and stamped hands with the password of the night: “ARTIST."

Inside was a nightclub scene, with techno music, flashing lights, plenty of drinks (coffee and cocoa), and a big screen boldly announcing “God is an artist." Chairs faced the dance floor from all angles.


From left: Bethany Bean of Howell and Ben and Becky Carpenter participate in a dance at the beginning of a gathering for "The Greenroom."

Angela J. Cesere |

After some music and mingling, one man started hip-hop dancing in the middle of the dance floor. A few seconds later, more people joined in, until the floor was full of synchronized dancers who transitioned into a dramatic introduction and repeated the mantra, “In the beginning, God created.

This wasn’t your grandmother’s church prelude.

That’s not to say it was without a deep message. Moving around the room, Scott Crownover shared his excitement about this new movement — a “creative force for the creator God."  He told stories about the creativity God breathed into every unique person and the power to positively impact the world. He described the Greenroom, like the backstage gathering place for actors, as a place to connect, prepare and get ready for the real world that lies outside the door. 

Scott Crownover invoked a story by Tony Campolo and reminded this writer of Rob Bell, both Christian authors and speakers focused on Jesus' way of life. Instrumental and vocal music weaved in and out of the speaking to highlight the message.

As professional actors, Scott and Denise Crownover felt called to reach out to the artistic community who, they said, are often skeptical of established religion. 

While people may reject organized religion or churches for many reasons, “most people still respect Jesus,” Scott Crownover said. The Greenroom, he explained, is a safe place where all kinds of creative artists — including those who might not consider themselves artistic — can gather to experience God’s love and discuss big questions about life and purpose. The idea is to be “transformed by God here” (in the Greenroom) in order to “transform the world out there.” 


Denise Crownover, wife of Pastor Scott Crownover, sings during the gathering at the Greenroom.

Angela J. Cesere |

The nightclub is an ideal setting to launch this ministry, Scott Crownover noted. The Greenroom's website points out that “Jesus would continually shock and many times anger the religious leaders by choosing to hang out in the everyday places of life ... places that were considered unclean, ungodly, or unreligious.” The Greenroom team wants to follow Jesus’ footsteps by showing “radical and compassionate desire to love and be a part of those who live on the fringes of society.” The nightclub setting is symbolic of that effort.

Although unconventional, this is no small-time endeavor. Scott and Denise Crownover helped launch (or “plant," in church terms) The River Community Church in Hartland and served as Teaching Pastor and Drama Director, respectively. Scott Crownover has a seminary degree from Heritage Theological Seminary. The couple has been planning the Greenroom launch for about two years, working with a 35-member lead team and supported by The River and Vision 360, a national organization dedicated to support new, transforming churches.

Throughout the process, the launch team has gathered once a month to “humbly and passionately seek God’s guidance on the shape and the direction of the greenroom.” Every step of the way, they asked questions such as:

• Is it loving?

• Is it accepting?

• Does it seek justice for the oppressed and forgotten?

• Does it truly care about the things God cares about?

If the answer was no, Scott Crownover said, they would let the idea fall by the wayside.

Although they would love to reach crowds of people, “the numbers are not our measure,” said Scott Crownover. “Our measure of success whether we are helping people transform their lives to live more like Jesus.”

The Greenroom gathers at 7:30 p.m. Monday nights at the Dream Niteclub space in downtown Ann Arbor.  

Pam Stout coordinates Faith and Home & Garden coverage for She can be reached at