Crossfire is, first and foremost, about helping young men and women find meaningful new lives through Jesus Christ. This ministry intends to engage street gang members in their home setting with a message of hope, love, understanding, and trust. The ministry is inspired by the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to offer the “abundant life” promised in the Bible. Our mission is rooted in the Gospel (Good News) that Jesus revealed to the world when he opened the book of Isaiah in his hometown of Nazareth and declared:
“The spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has annointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”
Luke 4:17-19 (quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2)
Crossfire is, therefore, an outreach conducted by followers of Jesus Christ, under the auspices of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago that seeks to reach Chicago street gangs with the transforming power of the Gospel through street evangelism and personal communication. We believe this ministry is inspired by God and sanctioned by the Biblical mandate to take the Gospel to every corner of the world, including the darkest parts of the inner city. The ministry is fundamentally aware of the fact that “we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers of this dark world, and against evil spirits in heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11-13). Because of that, our tools must be spiritual and we must rely on prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit to initiate change. Crossfire’s goal is to present Jesus as the one whose death and resurrection makes that change possible. The Crossfire strategy includes the penetration of local neighborhoods and the development of relationships with local influencers of culture. Crossfire does not intend to “colonize” local neighborhoods, but to use Willow Creek’s unique geographic position in Chicago as a means of coming alongside and supporting local ministries who are in struggling to contain gang violence in their home areas. It also intends to bring opportunities to the neighborhoods through partner organizations such as GOSO. The goal of Crossfire is not to break up the gangs but to establish beachheads where the Holy Spirit can speak to individuals who want to experience real and abundant life. The transformation of lives is critical and to accomplish that we plan to harmonize our outreach with efforts to insert holistic intervention into the transformative process. So, while the primary thrust of Crossfire is to provide God with an authoritative voice in the midst of the gang culture, the practical thrust of this operation would include education, mentoring, job training, skill acquisition, and family support. Much of this intervention would be accomplished through referral to local ministries that are already established in local communities. In the end, the synthesis of Crossfire evangelism and local intervention is critical to the success of our long-term goal of producing solid God-honoring individuals who witness to God’s power to transform lives, and who become positive assets to their residential and spiritual communities
In the end, the mission Jesus proclaimed that day in Nazareth remains our mission today.