E-mail Crossfire at either:
Smile now, Cry later!
The phrase "Smile now, cry later" refers to a kind of street philosophy that speaks to the underlying idea that a gangbanger should enjoy the gangster lifestyle of women, drugs, money, and power now, while he can, because the other shoe will drop soon enough and it will be time to cry in jail or in the grave. The theme is frequently depicted in gangster tattoos showing a laughing or smiling face juxtaposed against a second crying face.
The Church in the Hood
"Here (in Christ) there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian Scythian, slave or free (and we might add, no Latin Kings or Maniac Latin Disciples, no Vice Lords or Gangster Disciples, no Folks and no People), but Christ is all, and is in all."
Gangs Anonymous is a program run in conjunction with Crossfire that addresses the addiction of gang life through a unique recovery program. For further information contact the following:
Willow Creek Community Church - Chicago
Prison Prayer Partners
Prisoner Prayer Program is a program run in conjunction with Crossfire and the Willow Creek Prison Ministry that attempts to bring a personal touch to the lives of incarcerated inmates through prayer, correspondence, and visitation. For more information please contact:
Willow Creek Prison Ministry
Mom 2 Mom
When a gang member is incarcerated, its often the mom and other family members that suffer the most. They remain in the hood and are subject to both opposition threats and neighborhood sneers. Mom 2 Mom is a program to provide the moms of gang members with the support and help they need. Its a program to help build respect and to develop potential in moms and their families, one mom to another. Holler at us if you are interested.
CHESS (Chicago Entrepreneurial Skills School) is a program designed to help inmates develop skills that will help them start their own businesses once they are released from Jail. The program is patterned after the Prison Entrepreneurial Program (PEP) in Texas (go to: http://www.prisonentrepreneurship.org/). The idea is to create classes of individuals who are willing and able to learn and develop creative business opportunities. We expect to bring in experts in the business world to help hone the skill set of these men before they leave prison so they can get a running start on their own businesses. These experts would include university professors, local business leaders, entrepreneurs, and experts in the social graces. The idea would be to build into these individuals the ethics, skills, and graces that a good Christian Businessman would employ in their own business. Because this set of individuals will have a difficult time in the traditional job market, it is important to give them new sills that can be used in today's job market. CHESS wil provide them with skills that they can use to build their own legitimate businesses without having to rely on people who would view their arrest and incarceration records as a hiring deterrent. This is a still developing program so there are no current classes or meeting times, but if you are interested in this program, stay tuned for future developments. Feel free to contact me if you are interested or if you have friends who might be.
A very productive way to minister to guys and gals is by providing them with solid Christian books. Book 'em is an educational ministry aimed at getting books into the hands of prisoners so that they can read and come to have a better understanding of just who God is. If you have books that you would like to donate to Book 'em, please get in touch with Crossfire so we can arrange to have them processed. The books must be soft covers andcan not be leather bound. AND, if you have friends or relatives that you think could prosper from some good Christian books, please let us know. This ministry takes place primarily in Cook County Jail as some of the other facilities do not allow books at all. OK, let's Book 'em!
I’ll close with this; I know what I am proposing seems like a big vision, a lot to undertake, but when I started thinking about things in that way, I was reminded of the words quoted in John Ortberg’s book, If you want to Walk on Water, You have to get out of the Boat. Herein John quotes Henry Blackberry as saying:
“Some people say, “God will never ask me to do something I can’t do. I have come to the place in my life that, if the assignment I sense God is giving me is something that I know I can handle, this it probably is NOT from God. The kind of assignments God gives in the Bible are always God-sized. They are always beyond what people can do, because he wants to demonstrate his nature, his strength, his provision, and his kindness to his people and to a watching world. This is the only way the world will come to know him.
~Henry Blackberry) quoted by John Ortberg in the book If you want to walk on Water, you have to get out of the boat, p. 70)
That being said, we can thank God that the Holy Spirit is leading us in this adventure and not some human orchestrator. As always, I pray that I will remain,
In His Grip,