On the 63rd day of his 100-day rooftop vigil to raise funds for a transformative community center on the South Side of Chicago, Pastor Corey Brooks raised this issue with his assistant pastor at New Beginnings Church, TJ Grooms.
“We had five kids who, in less than 24 horas, who were shot and killed,” the pastor said. “We have churches everywhere, and we have a lot of great pastors who pastor these churches. But I’ll be the first to say, even me, even you, even our church, we’ve not done enough for young people. Do you think that maybe we can solve a lot of these issues with the violence if our churches were getting more engaged?”
“You can have a collection of churches, but having a connection of churches is totally different,” Grooms said. “I think what happens is, we get caught up in being in our own islands and our own silos, and I think it’s one of two parts. One is a little bit of ego. Y dos, I think that sometimes we wonder if God is really big enough to handle our work and somebody else’s.”
Grooms went onto say that he believes God is. “I believe what the scripture says about it, ‘If you’re faithful of another man’s work, he’ll make sure he gives you your own.’”
“But how critical is it if churches don’t step up and get more involved, just how critical is it?” the pastor pressed.
“I think it’s extremely critical, because I think that’s where the hole is. That’s where the void is,” Grooms answered. “If there’s no church, there’s no direction, and people become a law unto themselves, and that’s what we don’t want to happen.”
There is little doubt that many of the churches provide guidance, spiritual and practical, to working folks in the neighborhood, but it has not been nearly enough.
Grooms added that if the churches came together they would strengthen their spiritual and communal powers to “help love on these teenagers and these young people in areas and in ways that they’re not seeing at home…to help bring them out of what they’re in.”
The pastor then asked Grooms what adjustments the churches need to make.
“I think we got to start getting out of the box, beyond the four walls, which is why I’m so grateful that (nuestro) church does,” Grooms said. “I think that we’re really going to have to start looking at ourselves in the mirror and saying, ‘What is my priority? Am I truly, and truly, realmente, truly concerned about what’s going on in my city? And if I am, what am I doing to make sure that I’m playing my part to make that change?"”
“That’s one of the reasons why we created Project H.O.O.D.,” the pastor said. “Because we wanted an avenue to reach more young people.”
“You can’t change what you fear,” Grooms added. “Some of the people that we deal with, they can be scary, they can be rough. But we understand that if we want to make an impact, we can’t fear who we’re trying to help.”
Grooms continued: “You’ve taught us to get out there, not be fearful, because once you show love, it will be reciprocated, because that may be the first time that they’ve ever received it and seen it in their own lives.”
The pastor nodded along in agreement.
“I really do believe that the local church is the hope of the world,” the pastor said. “When we were without colleges, it was the church that started HBCUs. When we needed the civil rights movement, it was the church that was in the forefront. The abolitionists abolishing slavery, it was the church that was in the forefront. And now here we are, removed from those things, but it’s just as critical, just as dire. And I really do believe that, just like in the past, how the church was in the forefront of bringing about transformation, I really do believe we’re going to need the church to step up big time.”
The churches are already in the community, the manpower there, the problems known, and the solutions within reach. What is not known yet is if the churches possess the will to come together in a manner that overwhelms the violent elements within the community.
Follow along as Fox News checks in Pastor Corey Brooks each day with a new Rooftop Revelation.
Para más información, please visit Proyecto H.O.O.D.
Eli Steele es un documentalista y escritor.. His latest film is “What Killed Michael Brown?” Gorjeo: @Hebro_Steele.
Camera by Terrell Allen.