Street Intervention forms the core of the Crossfire program. Street intervention is composed of men and women who spend time in local neighborhoods getting to know people, building trust, and delivering the Gospel message. The goal is to win the hearts and minds of the neighborhood and by influencing lives for Christ, to transform lives, to bring opportunity, and to build pride in those neighborhoods. For more information call
Crossfire Gang Outreach
* * *
Gangs Anonymous is a program run in conjunction with Crossfire that addresses the addiction of gang life through a unique recovery program. The underlying assumption in this program is that gang life is addicting, just like alcohol, drugs, or pornography. The gang, which acts to fulfill the basic desires of a gang member’s heart, establishes itself as the central focus of the individual’s life and the power exuding from that relationship acts like a magnet to continually draw the gang member back to the destructive activities of the group. Various subsets of addictive behavior such as thrills, sexual conquest, revenge, anger, and a thirst for power become signifying elements within the larger purview of gang addiction and call for a recovery program that is not dissimilar to those being used to address other addictions. In Crossfire, as with other recovery programs undertaken at Willow Creek Community Church (http://willowcreek.org/recovery), the underlying belief is that the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit is the vital factor in bringing about life change. The Gangs Anonymous program becomes the conduit through with the Spirit works to bring about basal life change in the gang member’s lives.
Gangs Anonymous is able to take advantage of Willow Creek’s unique downtown position in order to provide a safe space for gang members to gather for this unique recovery program. Willow’s various other programs, ministries, and partners provide a holistic backdrop and support network for the recovering gang member. Gangs Anonymous provides its services to gang members from any and all gang ministries in the Chicago area, with the hope that the recovered gang member will be able to go back into his own neighborhood and bring a positive influence to the neighborhood through a local church. In doing so, its hoped that recovering gang members will meet others who are in the same situation and that those relationships will ultimately help break down the walls of hate and violence that separate so many parts of Chicago.
For further information contact the following:
* * *
PRISON PRAYER PARTNERS
Prison Prayer Partners (PPP) is a part of the Crossfire Gang Outreach that links men and women in the church who are willing to dedicate time, energy, and prayer to specific men and women who are incarcerated in Cook County Jail, as well as in other Illinois correctional facilities. Applications to be part of this program must be made to the Crossfire staff by both inmates and church members. For more information contact:
Willow Creek Prison Ministry
* * *
GOSO (Go Serve Others) is the entrepreneurial arm of Crossfire Gang Outreach. GOSO is an urban agricultural endeavor that already has successful ventures in St. Charles, Lawndale, and Inglewood (http://letsgoso.org/). Plans are to expand this successful program into other neighborhoods in coming years. The program consists of neighborhood people banding together to raise crops on abandoned city blocks and selling the produce to participating food companies for a profit. GOSO not only helps struggling families to enhance their incomes, but helps to instill a sense of pride in self and neighborhood. The program can be especially helpful for gang members who are coming out of jail with no prospect of a job in sight. For more information contact:
Crossfire Gang Outreach
* * *
WOMAN 2 WOMAN
When a gang member is incarcerated, it’s often the mom and other family members that suffer the most. They remain in the hood and are subject to both opposition threats and heartless neighborhood sneers. Woman 2 Woman is a program to provide the moms of gang members with the support and help they need. It’s a program to help build respect and to develop potential in moms and their families. Holler at us if you are interested. Here’s a rap for all you moms:
Momma don’t cry no more – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx-NPke2dVU&feature=related
CHESS (Chicago Entrepreneurial Skills School
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 u in today’s job market. This gives them 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!
* * *
Crossfire partners with numerous organizations throughout the Chicagoland area to ensure that the young people we are working with have the best chance at putting their lives back together through a combination spiritual, educational , and occupational opportunities. Besides Willow Creek Community Church, Crossfire has intimate connections with GOSO (http://www.letsgoso.org/) which has become the entrepreneurial arm of the ministry. With GOSO’s many other partners, we are able to expand the realm of opportunity even further. Other partners include GRIP Outreach for Youths (http://gripyouth.com/), Breakthrough Urban Ministries (http://www.breakthrough.org/), Teen Challenge Chicago (http://www.teenchallengeil.com/chicago/), Gangs to Grace (New Life Covenant Church), Jobs for Youths (http://www.jfychicago.org/jfy/jfy_main.html), and Partners with Youth (http://www.chicagopartnerswithyouth.org/). There are numerous other partners, both private and institutional, but we are always on the look out for new partners who can bring a new infusion of funding, energy, and opportunity to the Crossfire ministry. These kids are down and nearly out, but we know they have great worth to our Heavenly Father and, as a result of that conviction, we stand in the crossfire for them.