As CBS News Correspondent
The charismatic pastor of the True Bethel Baptist congregation sees layering on the gospel and layering on the cold cuts as part of the same process.
"Often times we've gotten into the theology that says pray and it's going to happen and not said pray, it'll happen as you work toward it," says Rev. Darius Pridgen.
And work is the key. In an east-side neighborhood in Buffalo where unemployment and violence are as high as opportunity is low, where anybody who can afford to get out has long since gotten out, the church opened the sub shop not just to raise money but to raise expectations.
"We wanted to change the atmosphere by teaching customer service, by teaching young people how to get a job," says Pridgen. "Teaching young people how to show up at an interview and then teaching them why it was important."
Danielle Brown is a classic case in point. Of 10 friends in her crowd, only two have jobs.
For her, working in the sandwich shop is an escape route from the despair she sees all around her.
"They just give up and a lot of people just sit around, do nothing, drink," says Brown.
This is an experiment built on faith and hope. Faith that given a chance, job skills can be learned. And hope that when people leave here there will be real jobs where those skills can be applied.
The plan is to only allow people to work here a year or so and then use that experience to move up the job ladder.
It's a big ambition, but ambition is what Pridgen is all about. When he took over, the church had 25 members and was failing. Today, it's a whole different story.