Friday, May 21, 2010

Callin' Out Da Pastors & Churches

On my favorite radio station WVON AM 1690 Chicago, IL. Mrs. Monique Caradine skillfully used her 2 hour boradcast to call out the church and Pastoral community for its stark silence and amazing absence in taking the lead in tackling Chicago's crime and violence head on.

Mrs. Caradine I personally say THANK YOU and GOD BLESS YOU! It's time for the church leaders to wake up and do the work of HIM that has called us!

The backdrop is this:

Wed. May 19th former Iraqi war veteran and off duty police officer Thomas Wortham IV (30) was visiting his parents in Chatham, IL., the neighborhood in which he grew up. As he was leaving his parents home he was confronted by 4 young people who were acting upon a "dare". The "dare" was to rob somone at gunpoint. The target was a mortorcycle that Officer Wortham owned. Short of the long, the incident left officer Wortham dead, one of the criminals dead, another wounded and in critical condition and two more fleeing for their lives. One of those two eventually turned himself in and the other was apprehended in an unrelated incident.

Officer Wortham was a good man interested in helping the community and doing the right thing. He was ready and willing to what he could do to bring his community back from the destruction that it seemed headed toward. Here are some of his statements regardng crime a short time ago to the Chicago Tribune:
"It's starting to feel like it's expected in this community,"..."When people think of the South Side of Chicago, they think violence. In Chatham, that's not what we see. It's happened. And we're going to fix it, so it doesn't happen again." ~ Officer Thomas Wortham IV
Officer Wortham's death was the most recent in over 145 homicides in Chicago this year. This is after a 2009 total of 458 murders and a declaration that Chicago was the murder capital of the Unied States. An additional part of the problem is that many of the deaths have occurred among them that are 30 and younger. From what we've been able to gather, the murder rate of CPS (Chicago Public School) students and injury rates are at all time highs also. Some reports say that as many as 200 children have been injured either en route or coming home from school by individuals committing street violence.

The Gospel Is The Right Tool For The Job

Romans 1:16 ~ "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

Although there is no quick fix or "feel good" answer to the problem of crime and violence in any community, although I must say that I LOVE the technique of Sistah Caradine in addressing the issue, the church is and has long been a sleeping giant and far too inactive in galvanizing individuals and resources to address the condition of the community. Unfortunately in the areas most devastated by crime, violence and homicides from city to city, the alarming trend is that too many churches have been defly silent. Monique even went as far as to take a survey of 10 churches in a crime area. She asked them did they have an action plan against crime and violence. Out of those that responded and actually knew what she was talking about, only one was taking a specific focus on the issue and taht was through existing programs.

Yes, some churches have existing outreaches such as VBS (Vacation Bible Schools) and the new trend,  YOUTH CENTERS, where children can come study, play video games and chat in a friendly environment,  there yet remanis to be very little that is set forth with a specific action plan to address crime and violence or that represents transformative change.

What Do I Mean By Transformative Change?

Don't get overly literary on me at this point because I already know that transformation indicates and suggests change by itself...I am aware of the redundancy, so flow with me...

First, the preaching of the gospel is essential. Without it hearts cannot and will not be transformed. The problem are empty hearts devoid of moral sense, purpose and self-respect and most of all salvation. All else is secondary to these primary issues. People with salvation, purpose, place and moral balance do not commit such atrocities out of hand.  Any ministry centering itself around prepherial issues such as prosperity, wealth, materialism etc will be ineffective in reaching this demographic and these hearts. Any ministry centered around serving itself and its needs will be ineffective in reaching them also. It will take substance and the power of God to turn the stony heart into a heart of flesh and to illumunate the conscience and ultimately the spirit.

Secondly, the ministry must be interested in the social welfare and physical wellbeing of those with whom they interract. In many churches the needs of the church and individual need takes precidence over community needs or the wellbeing of the community. A church can successfully have church in the poorest and most poverty stricken neighborhoods and not effect the spiritual condition of its neighbors. In some cases and under some circumstances this is unavoidable, but all too often the mission next door is overlooked or minimized. Look at this for instance:

What good is it to care for children or adults in Africa, or South America, when children and adults in the churches backyard are in as devastating if not more devastating condition? There is a thrid world country in many churches front yard.

FACT:  In the month of May 2010, to date, there have been over 30 murders in Chicago, while in Operation Enduring Freedom (a war zone~Afghanistan) there have been 27 US fatalities. Remember the soldiers fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom are fighting in a war zone. There are less deaths resulting from war than from living in the "freedom" of Chicago, IL.   

Where Are The Churches?

  • COLLECTING AND COUNTING AN OFFERING

  • Taking cruises as spiritual retreats

  • Getting ready for the next "conference"

  • Trying to figure out how to win BET's Chior contest or be Next Sunday's Best (and I mean Next Sunday's Best NOT this Sunday)

  • Stealing the property of local churches

  • Seeking fame and recognition 

  • Advertising their ministry aggressively on Facebook and Twitter as if they are the next "Walmart" of ministry

  • Buying TBN airtime to the tune of $500,000 or more per month.

  • Selling their next CD, or Book

  • Using church money to cover child molestation and CSM (Clergy Sexual Misconduct)

  • Driving a Lexus ( an advanced Toyota) with no brakes
Who knows where they are?

The fact is that not many of them are showing up equipped and ready to do battle. They show up with a CD and a book only to find out that many of the individuals that need the information the most either can't read or don't listen to anything that doesn't make them feel like cussin'.  What the church sometimes misses is that the battle is not just in the streets...it's in the classroom, at City hall, at the police department and all places in between. In some cases it's in the choir stand. pulpit, and center isle. The gospel is the agent that delivers transformative change into all of these venues, not like a flash in the pan, but on a consistent basis.

Many of the largest churches are situated in high crime areas. Yet, outside of the rally, vigil and occasional march, where is the liberation for the community? The mission of the church is dead center of what the problem really is. What if, some mega church galvanized the community and had even a quarter of their able membership help in proactively addressing and engaging street crime or other community issues. What if 1,000 members of the local 2,000 member church called City Hall, marched on the liquor commission, or sat in teh public zoning hearings? What if those same one's by mass and accross affiliation, united to speak to these young men both in the street and in teh classroom? There would be a transformative change like never before.

Real Life: My Dilemmas

In our city, after meeting with school administrators at a local high school, I was told that some perverts were driving around exposing themselves and otherwise threatening many of the young ladies walking home with overt stares. In fact one person tried to pull young lady into his car, but thankfully she escaped.

I immediately asked that churches help organize some groups of 5 to 10 persons at a time and take turns monitoring certain strategic positions around the school to see that the children received safe passage. Out of about 50 emails and about 30 churches 10 of which were located in the area, I received ONE response questioning, not how they could help, but how I knew the information??? ONE RESPONSE!!! I ultimately received NO ADDITIONAL HELP in monitoring the situation by the way.

In another instance, in 2007, a triple murder homicide had occurred in a local housing project. I went to a Pastor next to the scene and offered to bring whatever resources we could into that community if he would only help. He told me that he had a fast and shut-in scheduled and that he couldn't deviate his schedule...That was actually OK, IF that's what God said to do...but the problem is that he NEVER followed up and never came back after the fast to ask anything...Needless to say, His church DOES NOT exist any longer.

Can The Church Afford To Be Absentee???

Absolutely NOT!

Neither can we continue to be silent on issues that have such an impact on the community. The church must do better. Until the church places the pressure on those that have no political will and speaks life into the streets we will receive the results that we have bee receiving with added pain and turmoil.



I recommend that ever person readin this blog be involved in a community initiative against crime and violence. I recommend envolvement for a number of reasons which include positioning one's self to be able to minister to the needs of those that have been hurt and are hurting. One such group was recently featured on America's Most Wanted. They are Purpose Over Pain. This group was started by family members of murdered youth in Chicago and are actively seeking and setting forth solutions to crime and violence. 

You may also link up with the Peoria Pastor's Association or join us on Facebook as we roll out community initiatives that we hope are duplicated all around the country.

Let me warn you however...if the church and  leaders of the church are buying the drugs, sleeping with the women and doing the things that the streets are doing....STAY HOME!!!

Acts 9:13-16 ~ "13-Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14-And there were seven sons of [one] Sceva, a Jew, [and] chief of the priests, which did so. 15-And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16-And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."

You need not be out there trying to transform anyone until you've experienced such transformation yourself. This doesn't men that you have to be perfect, just be perfect toward them to whom you are ministering...the streets are smart and those that are in the streets don't want to see another pimp, pusha or user...that's why we spend time on this blog encouraging the church to to live right and be what Christ has called us to be...Because it only right!

Blessed!

Resources:

Purpose Over Pain

Peoria Assn. Of Pastors For Community & Spiritual Renewal

"I Am My Brother's Keeper" Peoria, IL. 2010 Safe Community Campaign

America's Most Wanted ~ The Windy City Fights Back

(Please excuse spelling errors, my spell-checker decided not to work on this post, I'll fix 'em as I find 'em)

30 comments:

  1. A pastor said to me,

    "I would be involved in helping you, but y'u-know we just got in our new church."

    OK, now we can't walk, talk and chew gum at the same time???

    When there's an emergency, there are no excuses for inaction.

    Another said, "We believe prayer will fix it."

    Yes. We know prayer is always in order, but too many use prayer as a cruch for laziness and as some sort of magic potion...The scripture says:

    James 2:26~"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

    Then there's the classic..."The Lord hasn't led me"

    Alllllllrighty then.....

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  2. Ive been in tune to the murder, lawlessness and cresting violence engulfing cities like Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta (down somewhat) and other urban areas. In the crosshairs: young black men and women, boys and girls.

    Sadly, this post reminds me of Luke 14:15-23. Jesus calls, but those with substance, influence and ability reject the call. The churches remind me of mad dogs behind a fence. They "preach" (bark) with ferociousness, but wont come from behind the fence to do anything. The larger problem is that I fear the salt has lost its savor. Not individually, but as a corporate organization.

    I'll never forget I was visiting in Houston once and riding through a urban neighborhood I saw churches literally on every other block. Most if not all were heavily fortified behind iron gates, bars on windows, security signs, etc. I thought the churches seemed more like prisoners in their neighborhoods.

    But as you said, the gospel is an instrument of freedom both for us who preach it and those who hear and heed it. But, now churches are using tricks, gimmicks and relative theory to attract people but the substance and life altering truth of the gospel is put in a back room because it causes "problems".

    I shudder to think where this will end. Nowhere good that's for sure.

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  3. I'm of two minds on this topic..

    First and foremost, churches and their communities can be a strong force for positive change. They can solve problems that prove difficult for politicians and law enforcement. Although the next paragraph may seem to contradict what I'm about to say, I applaud any effort to get churches and churchgoers more involved.

    On the other hand, I'm not so sure that church is going to be 'the solution'. Religion (and thus church involvement/attendance) seems to have no significant effect on crime rates:

    Reference 1 Reference 2 Reference 3

    We can quibble about the details, but there are a number of studies and metrics available, and they all point to the same general conclusion: religion doesn't seem to cut down on crime rates. In some case, the more religious a country is, the more crime appears to be a problem.

    ----

    None of these things suggest that churches shouldn't get more involved. I'll reiterate that I applaud you for doing your part to wake them up, and get people motivated to help. What I'm questioning is the idea that church is what's needed to solve the problem.

    Whaddya think?

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  4. Whatevaman I agree with you in one context. The church is not the solution, its what the church was told by Christ to do that is the solution.

    Pastor Burnett is talking about preaching the gospel which changes the heart of man, thus reducing sin and its manifestation which is crime among other things.

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  5. I wholeheartedly agree. I dont really have a church now as I got tired of the Church as usual foolishness. I want to find a Church that is involved as you mention.

    I remember seeing a Church in the hood in Miami and across from it was small peice of vacant land full of garbage. I said to myself "doesnt the church see the mess that is right oustide their door". PICK IT UP!!

    Now if we wouldnt even do this, I cannot see us going into the neighborhood to make a change.

    Not sure if you know what is happening in Jamaica (http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner//lead/) But I see the same problem. How is it the children got so callous, where were those who were supposed to be teaching wrong from right. Where are the preachers?

    I have said for a long time, the state of the Church is due to what you have stated in the "where are the churches section". The gospel has been watered down so much, if its preached properly people thinks its heresy or legalism.

    I am going to check out the links!

    Thanks Pastor!

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  6. What good is it to care for children or adults in Africa, or South America, when children and adults in the churches backyard are in as devastating if not more devastating condition? There is a thrid world country in many churches front yard.

    Talk to me Pastor! what is the point of that?
    A big problem is also that many Churches dont even take care of the members much less those in the front yard. I have always said, you take care of the poor in the local body, then you reach your community and then branch out.


    Then there's the classic..."The Lord hasn't led me"

    aaarrrghhhh!!!

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  7. Whateverman,

    I understand what you conclude but your articles don't back your conclusions. They are more condemning of religion than you and since you present them I'll address them if not even topically...

    First we're not talking about ""church attendance". Your first article suggest that "church attendance" They say:

    Church attendancehad no significant direct effect on delinquent activities nor did it affect the social control variables (endorsement of conventional moral principles and positive attitudes toward the law and the police). Church attendance was positively associated with beliefs about super-natural sanctions, but no significant relationships were found between these beliefs and criminal activity.

    Now, this argument really and seriously undermine the argument that religion was created and used to be a "control technique" now doesn't it. I mean if religion can't make it's adherents do what it teaches, then how can religion be a control mechanism in a greater context...One or the other could be true, but both can't be.

    At heart I make no such suggestion that church attendance is a crime deterrent. If you see that in the article please let me know so that I can reword it.

    see 2

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  8. 2

    Whateverman,

    I also noticed that the same article plays loose and fast with words and suggestions. They said this:
    They found that church attendance was significantly related to drinking, smoking, and truancy. (Drinking and smoking had been omitted from Hirschi and Stark's delinquency index.) They also found differences between more and less "ascetic" denominations: Personal moral strictness tended to interact with church attendance to curb delinquency."

    What does "significantly related" to mean? Jeb Bush was "significantly related" to George Bush when Florida was given to George??? There's a lot of suggestion, but nothing that asserts that religion is responsible for or the cause of anything negative. The author should be ashamed of themselves for such a sloppy job factually.

    Next up, in a 2005 article the writer simply says:"RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today."

    The article reaffirms what they are looking at here:"He compared social indicators such as murder rates, abortion, suicide and teenage pregnancy."

    He's talking 1- murder rate, 2- abortion, 3- sexual promiscuity (STD's & teen pregnancy ultimately) and 4- suicide.

    They suggest that religion and religious belief contribute to high rates of these things. Now this is where the godless slight of hand normally takes place and you have to pay attention to get it...Look:

    see 3

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  9. 3
    Whateverman,

    He concludes by saying:The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from “ uniquely high” adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.

    Now, he's talking 1- murder rate, 2- abortion, 3-sexual promiscuity (STD's & teen pregnancy ultimately)

    What happened to #4? What was #4?. #4 was suicide.

    Maybe that's because the author also knew that in a 2005 study, the Scandinavian countries which have been the "shining star" of non belief have shown to have a much higher rate of suicide and that suicide is linked to low or intelligence. They said:

    "The study also suggested a complicated relationship between IQ, suicide, and education. Men with low IQ scores and only a primary education were no more likely to kill themselves than men with high IQ scores and a higher level of education. But men with low IQ scores and higher education were at a greater risk of suicide. And men with low IQ scores and highly educated parents were at the highest risk of all."

    Now According to a 2009 NY Times article the Scandinavians don't hold that they are atheists simply because they don't believe or hold their religious belief out to the forefront. So they would rather not be associated with atheism I would suppose.

    Question, does non-belief then link itself to intelligence??? I don't think that's a good link to make either.

    So far as your third link, I don't find anything different and certainly nothing more significant except they bring in the question of wealth as it relates to the equation.

    Short of the long neither of them addresses the target I aim for. I am promoting not simply, church attendance or adherence to doctrine, i am promoting interaction based o biblically and godly practices. These thing work without question...

    Helping others, speaking vision and goals into the lives of others, addressing disparity and inequity doing the work of Christ makes a difference 100% of the time, with no doubt. NONE of the articles address that.

    Based on the numbers a case can be made within my community that when those things happened crime in the community decreased. When those things ceased, crime rose. I allude to that in an article I did at the Pastors Site.

    Now according to the FBI crime is down all over, but within certain communities such as ours, Chicago and others, numbers are high. I believe when the church gets involved, those numbers will decrease.

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  10. I'm sorry, I was having some problems with the previous posting format, I had to change for a bit.

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  11. Pastor,

    I'm reminded of the verse of scripture, "If my people who are called by my name, would humble themselves, seek my face and pray, and turn from there wicked ways. I shall hear from heaven and heal there land." We know the Lord is going to chastise this world, and severally, but my opinion also is, the worlds condition is also based upon the lack of activity from the church, for which I am part, and at times have been guility of.

    Notice the phrase from the scripture verse, "I shall hear from heaven and heal there land", that land could very well be, our families, cities, neighborhoods, and workplaces. We must remember as believers, we will stand before the BEMA Seat of Christ, to give an account of our works, will it be jewelry or hay and stubble.

    The scripture verse rings true, "A wise man loves correction", and I thank you pastor, for helping to cut me off, of any excuse, from my times of inactivity.

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  12. Tony,

    Thanks my friend for the encouragements and I'll share this with you...

    The article wasn't designed to create or incite guilt...but it was designed to open a new dimension of service. IF I hadn't been involved so closely with the school and observed some other things happen with which I am familiar, I would not have had my hands on this so tightly...

    I had an opportunity to take over a church, pretty good size congregation and do the "pastoral" thing...God said "NO, that's not what I want you to do"...I came back to this place and started a small ministry dealing with everything from A to Z...I was able to get a sense of what was going on as I still do today...I'm in the community partially because our members are and I've always served them to that extent...

    If I had been appointed pastor, I probably would have seen the struggle, but not as close up as I see it now...I would have missed some important details and some texture. I know street and pulpit ministry and I know the difference.

    What some of these debate over so furiously, means NOTHING in the street. A hurting soul doesn't want to hear either a 5 point Calvinist message nor a 10 point atheist rebuttal. They want help and when all things are considered, those people that are in pain, can recognize God and can distinguish him from "chance" or random circumstance.

    The church has become so big and debate has become so intellectual that these people are often forgotten. They are mistreated and categorized as being persons less sophisticated and worth less time and energy, but these are our future.

    I feel for these families and children and believe me every interaction I have I consider my own children. I minister to them for the benefit of my family...it's from that depth that I believe that we should serve...see it's personal to me.

    So I realize that some will be challenged, but I want everyone to be like you and some others and be encouraged to do what you can do where you are, because someone is hurting and they need YOU to be there for them!

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  13. What some of these debate over so furiously, means NOTHING in the street. A hurting soul doesn't want to hear either a 5 point Calvinist message nor a 10 point atheist rebuttal. They want help and when all things are considered, those people that are in pain, can recognize God and can distinguish him from "chance" or random circumstance.

    So true. I do love some of the discussion but it can really become a stumbling block to other work that Christ has called us to.

    A part of the problem is as you state that the "lesser" amongst us are not seen in the same light as far as God is concerned. As if God only wants to save "good" educated people. I was a victim of that mindset to an extent as many in the Church wouldnt talk to me and my now wife was thought to be too good for me by my own Pastor! I know how rejection feels but Praise Christ that it is He who saves!

    I also agree with Bro Toney! I am guilty of not doing what I can at times!

    I dont understand why the church has taken a back seat in the community when initially the church was central.

    Please pray for me!

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  14. Paul,

    You said:"I dont understand why the church has taken a back seat in the community when initially the church was central."

    Because the church believes in doing "easy" things.

    It takes time energy and resource to really minister. Look at this, when's the last time you saw a singing group or choir, go to a disadvantaged neighborhood, set up with all the best equipment and put on a concert outreach for free? I mean you may see a minister set up a tent every now and then, but even that is sporadic because it's expensive and people have gotten used to being paid for their service.

    You don't have a lot of people "being led of the Lord" to poor neighborhoods to start ministries either. Then a lot have no community development plan or plan to combat crime and violence other than Sunday service and bible study.

    It's just easier for a pastor to get caught up on the "circuit", become some type of star, and forget about the neighborhood...just let those who come, come, because "It takes God to draw them anyway"

    Now being involved in the community is not for everyone, but i don't believe there is an effective church in any community that is not involved in its community to some degree.

    It really takes a leader to lead a church into the community mission field...another thing is this...members don't automatically flock to the church, that's another reason some don't spend a lot of time on the mission...

    I'm writin' a book about it. It's long overdue and the lady doing the editing and I have to get together later this week so I think we're winding it down. As these trends go, this type of things is bound to become even more widespread and it all begins seemingly in the educational system...when the schools go crazy, crime and violence will follow.

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  15. Pastor Burnett I think you are giving them way too much credit. I dont see a lot of intellectual debate in the affected communities, I see excuses on top of excuses. Which by the way are about as useful as worm in an apple.

    Perhaps if they were actually talking about why they are inneffective in the community as opposed to how to get the next big breakthru, blessing or goody bag then the need come become clearer.

    I'll never forget what my first pastor told me when I started in ministry. Being in the pulpit may be about 10 percent of your ministry. The rest is out there in the jungle of life.

    The glory of being behind that podium receiving the adulation of the crowds for oratorical abilities has created a class of useless leaders as far as the community is concerned.

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  16. Gcmwatch,

    you said:"Pastor Burnett I think you are giving them way too much credit. I dont see a lot of intellectual debate in the affected communities, I see excuses on top of excuses."

    4-Real! "Jump up turn around three times and sit back down into your blessin'!"

    Not too intellectual-LOL!!!

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  17. lol! I see you been to church more than once. lol

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  18. Pastor,

    As I've said before, you definetely have a "pastor's heart." I read your statement, "Now being involved in the community is not for everyone." And that is so true, so many of us are eager to get involved in certain things, but are not equipped to do so, and though the intention is good, we can end up making mess. As you indicated training must also be a prerequiste, as it should be in all things, for without balance, we can sometimes end up in a ditch. And in order to get the proper training, you need the proper leadership, w/discernment to know, how to get the best out of each individual despite even at times, educational background.

    When I served as a Squad Leader, I had to make sure, each person in my squad was properly trained, therein bringing the best of there qualities to the forefront, knowing who was better suited, to perform certain functions, therein not endangering each other and the mission. But as I worked diligently to bring the best out in them, they inturn brought the best out in me. You know Pastor, bringing these communitie outreaches together benefit everyone, the saint and the sinner, but this might sound strange but especially the saint, for in getting involved, and the proper guidance, one will know, what his/her gift and service is, to better bring glory to Christ and edification to one another, and the unbeliever.

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  19. I dont remember any choirs, singers etc setting up in the community for free actually. What I do hear of lot of is people doing questionable songs talking about they are trying to reach people (Mary Mary and David Banner).


    I heard a man say that the church doesnt want babies because they take time and money. I tend to agree with him and you when you say that the reason why the church is at it is is because people dont want to give of themselves.

    I agree with what you have stated and thats why I have had a hard time settling in a Church.

    I am looking for good teaching along with being involved in the community, its not easy to find.

    Yeh, we have some foolish things going on in the church like the dude that ran on the money and said the people whose money who ran on would get a financial breakthrough (stampede of people throwing money down).

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  20. Bro. Paul,

    I'm going to pray that you find a church home, because of the obvious giftings, I've discerned you have, it must be given and shared in love w/a community body. I know because of your obvious spiritual maturity, your not looking for the perfect church, because we flawed individuals' make up the church. I know our constant foolishness, can get on each others nerves, but the same way, we have to deal w/theres, so they w/ours.

    And when you find that church home allow them to be a blessing unto you, as you will undoubtedly be to them. Oh as you already know, they'll be times, as I've stated we'll get on each others nerves, be immature, and can't agree to disagree, but don't allow that to deter you, rise above the subtley craftiness of the enemy, and perhaps your own misgivings. There was awhile my beloved church home was trying to drive me and my wife out, w/all types of mockery, because I challenged certain things, well I and my wife are still there, and the church leadership have received confirmation from what the Lord was giving me to give to them, was it easy, by no means, did the Lord in the end have his way, absolutely.

    Allow the Lord, to use you in the same fashion, but in order for that to happen, you must be "steadfast and immoveable", yes sometimes you end up, having to leave, but let it be the Lord moving you, not the jealousy and sometime ignorance of the brethren. For Christ is not coming for a perfect church, he's coming for a blameless church without spot or wrinkle. Your friend...Tony

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  21. That's the way to minister to one another!

    What strikes me, and Paul hit it well, it takes knowing the people of God" to help each individual maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. You don't place an old lady out on the front dealing with gang-bangers (unless she has that ministry) We try to make things fit our agenda and we end up damaging it all.

    Let the mothers pray, cook and support the efforts in the capacity they can...let the young go to "war" and strategically engage. Not preaching down, but finding out the need and ministering according to those needs.

    Certainly God through your experience is the best teacher in showing how to deal with the restoration of the community.

    My problem is getting enough Pastors on board to join in the efforts. Too many feel that they are giving up something when they follow another minister into things they didn't think of or know how to do...That's sad but true.

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  22. Thanks Bro Toney! I am surely not looking for a perfect church, as you say I only have to look in the mirror to know that I will never find one! I just want what i see in scripture, not perfected but being sought out.

    I think a great example of ministry is when Christ fed the 5000. The people came back and he said, you dont come for me for the truth but for the fish. The great thing is that Christ new that they would be coming back for only food but gave it to them anyway. In doing so he still met the need but gained an opportunity to tell them what the real important food was.

    Here was the conclusion

    John 6
    28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
    29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

    The gospel was presented because Christ met the needs of the people even though they were selfish in there reason for seeking Him.

    Funny as I was writing this what came into my spirit is this is what many in the church are teaching. Get your fish and bread from Jesus, He died to give you an ABUNDUNCE of it. Thats the focus and not who His is and what He has done for us and what can we in turn do for Him. oooh boy...

    Pastor it is a shame that other Patsors cannot humble themselves and be led. We know from scripture that we are one body and no part can boast against another (if we really understand scripture) as the hidden parts are so very important. Each joint supplies strength to the other.

    Its not mans work, its Gods work through man so lets work together regardless of who God puts to lead.

    I would like to encourage in the work that God has given you to do. Its a blessing!

    Blessings!

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  23. Paul,

    You saidIts not mans work, its Gods work through man so lets work together regardless of who God puts to lead.

    First of all, thanks for your encouragements...man people have lost site of Kingdom building. Building Christ's Kingdom. Some only want and know how to build their church and there's a difference.

    See, when we build the Kingdom, all the people may not come to my church...When we build the Kingdom, we may not receive an additional tithe or offering.

    Then there's all kinds of other things that sometimes stand in the way. All egotistical positions must be sacrificed at the alter of HIS service.

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  24. Thank you so much for continuing to hold churches accountable for what they are supposed to do! I also thank you for mentioning my broadcast. I will continue this crusade to demand that church leadership do their part to stop crime in chicago. I trust you will too!

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  25. Monique,

    THANK YOU for making my day and please continue your effort. I was so blessed by you I almost didn't know what to do...not only are you fyinne(LOL) but you're totally on point.

    In my situation and area, we have some churches that won't work across denomination...can you believe that??? The yard is burning up and they're worried about whether you're Baptist, COGIC, or Methodist etc...BACKWARDS!

    When you approached the subject by looking at the main crime neighborhoods and asked what the churches in those neighborhoods were doing in response...I almost fell outta my seat...they said, "a plan against crime and violence??? What is dat?"-(LOL)

    ...but I bet without a doubt they have a plan for the pastor's aid fundraiser or for the Memphis, or should I say St. Louis, report??? Some of 'em even have a solid plan for the fish dinner tomorrow...but no plan against crime and violence.

    I believe it's the Pastors obligation to lead the people into being involved in some degree. Everyone can't do the same but a lot more can do a lot more than what they do. I'll gladly teach a room full of people that want to learn how to engage the community...learn what's happening at City Hall, School District, police dept, liquor commission etc...so we can be informed, make plans and move to support and address needed issues...So far as these thugs, they need strong pastoral figures that won't compromise...they'll respect it when they see it.

    So carry on good soldier, I'll try to make sure I listen for at least some portion of your time every Friday, and I'll start your "fan-club" here in Peoria.

    Thanks and God bless!

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  26. "She asked them did they have an action plan against crime and violence. Out of those that responded and actually knew what she was talking about, only one was taking a specific focus on the issue and that was through existing programs."

    What she calls 'an action plan' is in reality part and parcel a part of the mission of the church. Confronting crime and violence (sin) requires the preaching, teaching and making disciples of the people who are exposed, and those who are involved in the crime and violence. That is the only true remedy. I don't understand how any Pastor would not be able to articulate this simple truth when asked! If she had called me that is what I would have told her!

    The action plan is to make as many people disciples of Jesus Christ thu the preaching and teaching of the Gospel. That is the only action plan that gets to the root of the problem. Programs and activities are ok, but are only a bandaid on the real issue.

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  27. Warren,

    Thanks for your commentary. You said: "The action plan is to make as many people disciples of Jesus Christ thu the preaching and teaching of the Gospel. That is the only action plan that gets to the root of the problem."

    Although I would agree, I would also contend that all of these preachers and churches in this are would say they are doing just that. I mean some of the preachers ministry so far as expounding the word is off da hook...So that's not the problem.

    I think what's being alluded to here is beyond that. It's called putting legs to what is being preached and having a gospel centered plan to impact the community or neighborhood in which that message is delivered. In my opinion that's the problem and that type of ministry must be planned. It doesn't just happen.

    Pastor Jettie Cornett in Racine, Wi. is a good example of that. Some years ago he and his church became tired of the environment and their immediate community of crime, prostitution etc...they set forth a tangible plan, remodeled their church and their community. It was an extension of preaching the gospel. A natural extension.

    I have heard some of the greatest exegetical ministers in the world but without doubt, in order to change a community by and through the gospel there must be a plan in place. Too many however are enamoured with stardom and popularity.

    This is why I commend and support Monique. She places it where it should be. At the churches doorstep. The scope of this is also why some of these churches, although well attended, do not significantly impact their communities.

    Just this...teams of 10 members on corners for 10 to 20 blocks after school in their neighborhoods would make an impact as well as a open a witnessing opportunity...Tell me out of a congregation of 2000 that you can't find 200 people to assist, or get 10 small churches to network??? Legs with the gospel! This makes the preaching come to life even more.

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  28. The problem is that the Church has accepted the violence in our communities. I totally agree that the gospel is the means that is used to transform a sinner but its up to us to be active (put feet to the gospel as Pastor said).

    Another thing is that many have lost a lot of respect for the church due to sexual scandals and money hungry ministers. They dont see any difference between themselves and the church many times. If people dont respect you they will not listen to you most times.

    We must gain the trust of communities as people who are truly trying to walk this thing out.

    Someone was telling me how they listened to TD Jakes at Lakewood and as he looked up into the rafters or whatever full of people he said Joel must be making a killin'!! making a killin' has become the focus of many while the people remain poor! COME ON!!

    Yes Pastor, there is a difference between church builiding and kingdom builiding. Many times a church grows its not even new converts, just sheep thinking the "grass in greener" in a different pasture. Therefore the real Church is not growing at all.

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  29. Friends,

    I'm reminded of a word spoken by Moses during his farewell address, as the Israelites prepared to enter Canaaan, and I quote, "Go proclaim liberty throughout the land and all the inhabitants thereof." That same word was given by our Lord centuries later, "Therefore go into all the world, preaching the gospel, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." As Moses declared it unto the Israelites, so our Lord has proclaimed it unto us, let ALL the people of God say so.

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  30. I've just completed an article regarding this issue in my neck of the woods (Central Illinois) and it's no different than what Monique faces as she presents the issue in Chicago. It's to the church's shame.

    My article can be found at the Peoria Pastor's site.

    Be blessed!

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