Taking the Gospel to Gangs
Critical to any metro area cityreaching strategy is bringing Christ’s love to those involved in gangs. Decision Magazine’s Joy Allmond captures such a strategy taking place in Chicago’s South Side.
Several years after Pastor Corey Brooks planted New Beginnings Church, he decided it was time to start investing in the lives of those affected by the violence and also those perpetrating it. He slept on the roof of an abandoned motel—where gang and drug activity took place—for 94 nights to emphasize the rampant gun violence on Chicago’s south side. The effort resulted in the establishment of Project HOOD (Helping Others Obtain Destiny). Focused on education, job training and social skills, the mission of Project HOOD is to end violence “one neighborhood at a time.”
Through the project, Brooks and other ministry participants have built relationships with area gang leaders, which gives the ministry the opportunity to meet face to face with gangs, and thereby stay informed about what’s going on in crime-ravaged neighborhoods. Gang members also have access to free counseling and job training.
“The first thing we give them is Jesus,” he said. “You can give a person a job, but if they don’t have Jesus, that job won’t have any meaning or purpose. A lot of these guys come from the prison system. We also work hard at mentoring young children. Most of these kids come from single-parent homes and need educational help. God has a purpose for every individual’s life. We have to lead people toward that, and if we don’t, we’re not fulfilling our purpose.”