Nashville Christian nightclub challenges tradition: No twerking, no drinking, just faith-fueled fun

Silhouette of a group of people dancing at a disco with laser lights. (Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

"Rule No. 1: No twerking. Second rule: No drinking. And a third rule: No smoking." 

Those are the rules at a Nashville nightclub where partying looks a little differently because it's not playing secular music but Christian music instead. 

The Cove is a 18-and-up Christian nightclub popup that was launched last year by seven Black Christian men in their 20s. They sought to build a thriving community and a welcoming space for young Christians outside houses of worship

"We ourselves experienced a pain point of not being able to find community outside of our church, not knowing what to do to have fun without feeling bad for doing stuff that’s conflicting to our values," said Eric Diggs, The Cove's 24-year-old CEO.

"There wasn’t a space to cultivate that. So, we created it ourselves out of that pain point — the loneliness, the anxiety, depression, COVID, and the long quarantine.

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Before their first monthly party in November, they set an ambitious goal: get 1,000 followers on social media. "We ended up getting more than 10,000 followers before our first event, which was insane," said Eric's brother, Jordan Diggs, 22, who manages the club’s social media presence.

Nia Gant, 18, attended the club for the first time. She moved from Grand Rapids, Michigan, four months ago and said she had been praying to make like-minded friends. "I think joy and religion can go together," said Gant, who wore nose piercings, Air Jordans and ripped jeans. "God," she said, "is joy."

The feedback has been mostly positive. Club founders have also faced criticism on TikTok from some who say that dancing and worship don’t go together — or even see it as a sin. Jordan Diggs says he embraces the attention, good or bad — "just the words Christian and nightclub is going to start a lot of conversation."

Other generations are noticing. At some point, Shem Rivera, 26, a worship leader and a founder walked up to 18-year-old Noah Moon on the dance floor, and asked him how he had heard about The Cove.

"My mom told me about it — she sent me a video on Instagram," said Moon, who had just moved from Kansas to Nashville the day before. "That's fire!" Rivera responded smiling.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.