MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Most people don't associate tattoos with Jesus, but one South Florida congregation meets every Sunday morning at a South Beach tattoo parlor to have church.
"To me it's a story. I don't think the scripture speaks against it, so I don't feel like I am violating any scriptures," said pastor Troy Gramling of Potential Church in Cooper City.
The Bible does not specifically address tattooing, but in the Book of of Leviticus, Chapter 19, Verse 28, it says, "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you."
Gramling said the ritual tattoos of ancient times are not the same as the body art of today.
Pastor Tim Savage founded the South Beach Fellowship, which meets at the Miami Tattoo Company on Miami Beach. Savage said that church is about the people, not about the building.
Savage had actually started at SOBE Live nightclub before preaching at the tattoo parlor. He said there are those who may say it's "not appropriate for Christians" but that it's just about finding a place to have service.
"You can choose to be in shock and awe about a lot of things in this world," said Savage.
Despite the negative stereotypes associated with tattoos, Gramling said it's about expressing oneself through artistic designs.
South Beach Fellowship, which now goes by the name of Calvary South Beach, meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. at the Miami Tattoo Company on South Beach.