Chicago’s hard statistics . . . 20 murders on one night, 50 murders over one weekend . . . prompted us to call to check on some of the ministries which recently ordered materials from our Cru Resources office.
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF)
Jonathan King, Metro Director of Chicago CEF, explained that the violence actually opens doors for their ministry. Because of the greater awareness of the need, there is a greater openness for the CEF ministries. He ordered 500 copies of the Story of Jesus DVD (children’s version of the JESUS Film) to distribute through Backyard Bible Clubs, after-school Good News clubs, block parties, anti-violence prayer marches, and other ministry outreach events.
Gifted and energetic, Marvella Black (Chicago’s CEF South Side Coordinator, second from the left) trains volunteers from various churches and ministries (including Cru) how to disciple children and youth. Each Tuesday afternoon Marvella, a couple of her friends, and Cynthia Massie, a full-time Cru staff member, meet to undergird their various ministries with prayer (Cynthia and her husband direct the Cru Agape Community Center).
Cru Inner City
Cru Inner City comes alongside inner-city pastors to foster cooperation between churches in outreach activities and to help develop local Christian leaders. Two hundred Chicago churches serve as partners with Cru, distributing compassionate care gifts, including school supplies, wintertime homeless care kits, and Thanksgiving meals for entire families. Each box or bag includes one or more gospel booklets from our Cru Resources office and contact information for Cru and the participating churches.
Local Church Ministry
For the past eight years José Pérez and his wife, Maritza, have served a mainly Spanish-speaking congregation, Iglesia de Jesuscristo Roca Eterna, on Chicago’s west-central side. The regular attendance runs 80-100 but is growing and is beginning to include more English speakers. “We all are worried about violence,” Pastor Perez admits. The church is trying to minister to some ex-gang members and ex-convicts. And they are preparing to launch a new weekly ministry to women in the neighborhood using both the Spanish and the English versions of The Significant Woman life-coaching and discipleship materials from our Cru Resources office.
Cru as Catalyst for Peace Campaign
The past three summers Marc Henkel, one of the directors of Cru Inner City, has coordinated an initiative called The Peace Campaign. Every Friday night from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day ten churches take turns “hosting” a bold prayer and witnessing gathering on the “hottest” corner in the community (identified by the police department as the place where more crime is liable to take place between 9:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.). About 25 people meet on that corner during that same time frame to pray for peace in the community, sing, share the gospel, and pray with individuals who walk by. Then they close with Communion. This summer they saw 25 people trust Christ through The Peace Campaign!
You won’t hear it or see it on prime-time news, but these snapshots from Chicago encourage our hearts as we see Christian ministries serving together. How grateful we are for the opportunity to supply some of the ministry tools they use to “brighten the corners” where they are. Thank you for your partnership with us!