Urban Ministry and Cross-Cultural Ministry

September 13, 2016
Darrell L. Bock and Chris Brooks

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Topic Time Codes

01:00
Brooks’ work with Evangel Ministries
08:26
Doing Cross-Cultural Ministry in Detroit
10:57
Challenges for ethnic minority churches
15:40
Challenges for ethnic minority churches
23:17
Social gospel and ministry in urban contexts
31:50
Evangel Ministries and the Urban Ministry Marketplace
37:23
Education, Employment, and Entrepreneurship
42:24
How working with urban families impacts future generations

Transcript

Dr. Darrell Bock
Welcome to The Table where we discuss issues of God and culture. I'm Darrell Bock executive director for cultural engagement at the Hendrick Center at Dallas Theological Seminary and our topic today is urban ministry and cross-cultural ministry and our expert is Chris Brooks who is in Michigan by Skype. Good day Chris how you doing?
Chris Brooks
I'm doing good. I bring you greetings from the beautiful and peaceful city of Detroit, Michigan.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Well, that's exciting. We are spanning the country to bring you this podcast.
Chris Brooks
From Dallas to Detroit, right.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Exactly right. Yeah, well you've got to begin with D; that's only thing that counts. Of course our last names begin with B so we got it rhymed and rocking and rolling the whole way.
Chris Brooks
The alliteration is going.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Exactly right. Well Chris, it really is a pleasure to have you. You're campus Dean at Moody Theological Seminary Michigan campus.
Chris Brooks
That's right.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Most people think Moody is in Chicago, but it has an extension I take it in the Detroit area. Is that right?
Chris Brooks
That's right. That's right, one of three extensions that we have around the country. Detroit is where I provide leadership.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay. And then there is – I guess is it Seattle is one of the other sites? Am I right about that?
Chris Brooks
Spokane, Washington.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Spokane, okay.
Chris Brooks
Spokane, Washington, yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And then you say there are three sites. Is Chicago the third or so another one besides those two?
Chris Brooks
Yeah. Chicago, Spokane, Detroit.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay, great. And you are a campus Dean there, but you also are host of a radio show called Equipped which is on the Moody radio network and it airs – does it air at different times in different parts of the country?
Chris Brooks
Yeah, depending on the time zone you're in. So Central standard Time which is, again, our headquarters in Chicago; it's noon. It's a drive time talk show for lunch time on the Moody radio network, but we are across market so that folks can check out on our website to see the time in their local area.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay. It sounds equipped. Now the question is, equipped for what? What are you equipping me for when I listen to the show?
Chris Brooks
Yeah, so broadly it's a worldview show. We are looking at the intersection of Christ and culture. So we like to say it this way; we are equipping you to live, share, and defend your faith more effectively in culture. So apologetics, worldview, all grounded and rooted in a rich theology.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That's great. So you are in my business huh?
Chris Brooks
That's right. We are fighting the good fight together.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That's good. Well, you're terrific ambassador for Christ and we're really excited to have you with this. Chris, talk a little bit about your pastoral experience before we talk about urban ministry a little bit. How did you, briefly; did you grow up in a Christian home and then your pastoral experience?
Chris Brooks
So I got it honest Darrell. I'm a third-generation pastor, preacher of the gospel. My grandfather, my father, both here in Michigan represented Christ well and preached the gospel and so I caught the bug pretty early. While other folks were pursuing other pursuits, my heart and my passion was to be in my father's library helping him organize books, but my home has been Detroit and this is where my heart is.

You know, Darrell, there's a lot that could be said about place in ministry, place in the gospel. I think it's important for us to know our gifts and talents, but it's also really important for us to know where God has called us to serve him. So Detroit is my home. Married here, born here, lived here, and ministered here. So 1998 is when I made my first step into formal pastoral ministry in this local church here called Detroit. I'm sorry, called Evangel Ministries in Detroit.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay.
Chris Brooks
Did the senior pastor since 2004.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay, well that's quite a track record there. Where exactly do you minister in the Detroit area?
Chris Brooks
We are on the northwest side of Detroit. So if you know our great city, the Northwest side of Detroit, Grand River Avenue, it's one of the historic thoroughfares in Detroit right about five minutes from downtown. So we like to think we are where the action is happening.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And is this now an inner-city area of Detroit or is it that has evolved into – you know, in Dallas what we got in some places are places that were historically inner-city, but they are also being significantly renovated at the same time.
Chris Brooks
Yeah, so can answer you in two ways.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay.
Chris Brooks
First off I will answer you the way I would if I was talking to here in Detroit. It's the hood.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay.
Chris Brooks
So we're in the hood, but what you're talking about is what is broadly known as gentrification. So there are areas that have been gentrified in Detroit; downtown, what we call Midtown. There's another section called Techtown and we praise God for the sections of our city. We just did a church plant in Midtown which is kind of a gentrified cultural epicenter of our city. But now where we are housed in the Northwest section of Detroit is right in the hood. So we experience all the realities of urban ministry.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Oh, wow. Now how old is the church itself? Has it been there while?
Chris Brooks
We were born in 1967; I'm the second pastor. The first pastor was here for about 36 years and I took over from there. So my predecessor, George Vogel, did a great job laying the foundation of Christ in this church and I'll try to take it further.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So the history of the church is rooted really and just after the – in the aftermath of the period of civil rights and that kind of thing in the country.
Chris Brooks
Yeah, well if you know Detroit history, what marks Detroit more than anything; 1967 riots.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Right.
Chris Brooks
It really becomes a defining image nationally of our city as well as historically a turning point in our city. Our church was founded out of the riots. As a matter of fact, my predecessor was a Caucasian pastor who came to the city of Detroit from the suburbs and the first location for our church was a former Black Panthers headquarters.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Oh, wow.
Chris Brooks
So picture that; a Caucasian pastor in a former Black Panther headquarters loving on the city, building a multicultural church. So we've been, in our DNA, multicultural, multiethnic, multiracial from the beginning, but as the demographics of the city changes has reflected in the composition of our church as well. We've never run from these issues, but yeah, we have a strong connection to the civil rights movement right here in our church.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That's amazing. Okay, let's talk about that a little bit because obviously the journey of the church is important to understanding the nature of your ministry. You said you started out multicultural. Have you been able to maintain that or has the demographics of the area impacted the nature of your church?
Chris Brooks
Well, I think that a church should always be committed to the demographics of its neighborhood. If you're reaching the people in your community, your congregation to be a reflection of that. So I will say this, that we have maintained that in our leadership. So in our leadership we've done a good job of maintaining diversity there within our congregation because we are ministering to this great city. It's reflected within the demographics of our congregation.

So we are about 90 percent African-American, about 10 percent other; predominately white, but we have Latino, Hispanic within our congregation as well. But I will say because of our reach through media as you noted, radio media, we reach our region. So that will include a strong Middle Eastern demographic here is you know.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That's right.
Chris Brooks
Detroit is home to about half a million Arab individuals as well as black, white, Hispanic, Latino. So with media we reach a broad section of our region, but our congregation is about 90 percent African-American.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay. So let's talk a little bit about the challenges of cross-cultural ministry and also at the same time talk little bit about the nature of the African-American church because I suspect for many of our viewers they may or may not – or listeners, may not be familiar with the makeup of the African-American church and the peculiarities of it. That's an important part of the ministry that you're engaged in. So talk a little bit about the African-American community you are a part of and the distinctives of the church and what it offers people.
Chris Brooks
You know, it's interesting because I wrote a book called Urban Apologetics where I try to unpack this Darrell, and one of the things that I will say is that one of the things we have to understand when we are doing ethnic minority ministry is that there is a soulfulness that says the truth must resonate not only with the head, but with the heart as well, with the soul as well. So I will say there is this flavor that comes along with ethnic minority ministry. In the African-American community also there is this connection, the strong connection to the struggle for personhood. The struggle for being respected as equal humans in our culture. The struggle for justice and social structures.

So we live at the intersection as well. I think when we talk about cross-cultural ministry though, much of it Darrell, boils down to language. We have to understand that you meet individuals who can be bilingual ambassadors. Individuals who can speak to both groups. Kind of like what CS Lewis did; living in kind of the Oxbridge world of Oxford and Cambridge, but also in the Anglican Church. Being able to speak both as a churchman and as an academic so that when these groups met finally they could kind of hear one another's language.

Welcome in the same way I think that we need bridge builders who can speak the majority culture as well as be sensitive to the cultural realities of being an ethnic minority. I think that this is the call that God has given me.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, it's real challenge of course because a lot of times ethnic minorities are not either understood or appreciated in some cases.
Chris Brooks
Yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So being able to do this well is really important. I'm going to ask you a question I asked Tony Evans when we had him on and we were talking about issues related to racial reconciliation. It's a little bit of a challenging question I think to lead off with early on, but it's an important question and it goes like this; what do I as a Caucasian need to hear from you as an African-American about life as an African-American in America that I might not want to hear?
Chris Brooks
Yeah, I think that's a honest question. I think it's a really good question. I think what you may not want to hear is that so often the realities and the struggles of being black in America are very sanitized. So if you talk to the average person about the history of racial struggle in America you will get something like this; there was slavery, then Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, then there was Jim Crow, but Dr. King came and he made everything right and we are doing pretty good now.

Things were a lot worse than that when you think about the atrocities of slavery. When you think about the terrors of Jim Crow. The best way for me describe it is, what would it be like if the terrorist group that you had to defend yourself from was your own government, your own country. For African-Americans, for much of our history in America, for large portion of our history in America, the group that we would label as ISIS, the group that terrorized us often times had the power to codify this type of discrimination into social structures.

I thank God there has been extreme improvement and I'm a product of that. I'm being able to sit in leadership roles and positions, but it has not come without intensive struggle. That's something I often don't hear by white brothers and sisters wanting to engage in. Often times the senses, can't we just look forward without looking back. I think it's important for us to be able to look back.

Then as we talk about right now, what we have to recognize is whenever the church has been honest about how racism, bias, discrimination has impacted social structures and we've addressed it we've done well. We've been able to bring a sense of healthy equality, but whenever we deny that prejudice, discrimination, racial bias can impact social structures, we don't address it and those structures go unchanged.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, and one of the pictures I like to use is we are a little slow to recognize structural problems in our society. We are also a little slow to recognize the shrapnel damage that comes in the past that you start to pick up and deal with today.
Chris Brooks
Yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Let me give you one example that I think people don't think enough about. That is one of the natural results of slavery and the breakup of African-American family units as they spread across the country was precisely that. That didn't necessarily operate in family units and so you had a culture that was used to functioning in some ways, forced to function, without family structure. So now you have problematic family structures in many communities that is a part of generations of things that have gone on in the past. That's part of the shrapnel.

So when you say to the African-American community, you all should be doing better on family issues. There is an element of course in which that's true, but there's also an element in which there's been a huge contribution in which the past has contributed to where we are in the present. Fair?
Chris Brooks
I agree. Yeah, and I would also say Dr. King, in his letter from Birmingham jail says this; that it's poor social analysis to look at symptoms without looking at causation. I think that often times we can look at statistics in the black community and say, man, you guys are doing bad in education or family or marital structure or economically without asking questions of causation. We should ask questions of causation and that will lead us back to better analysis of public policy, better analysis of the role of the church; more pertinent to our conversation.

The role of the church in cities and communities; I think that leads to better analysis if we can have honest conversations, black-and-white, about the causal factors and not just brush over those things.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay, so let's talk a little bit about what it means to be a church located in the hood as you noted.
Chris Brooks
Yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
One of the – let me ask the question this way; what are the challenges that are special to a church in your context that again, someone who might be used to a primarily Anglo experience in the church might not appreciate you have to deal with on a regular basis.
Chris Brooks
Yeah, I guess the best way for me describe it Darrell is because it's almost easier to say the opposite, what's common, because of things that are different and unique are so – such a long list. But let me just say that; imagine working with an individual who has PTSD because they have experienced tremendous trauma from a horrific experience in their life.

Now multiply the challenges of that across the community. Not only an entire neighborhood, but an entire section of the city. The reality is that the average person in my community has experienced tremendous trauma and we can get into a long list of the reasons why, but you have to build within that individual hope. Yet to bring mental and emotional stability before you can get into the work of some of the niceties of theological training programs and some of the other Christian educational things that we would love to do.

We have to start with the individual being restored through Christ and the inner man; this whole redemptive work. Then being build up emotionally, psychologically, and in a lot of ways, the economic realities of poverty and what that brings when you live in poverty all around you on a daily basis when you're walking by dilapidated buildings, overgrown fields, where crime is your reality. These are challenges that are presented to the urban minister that I believe are unique.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay, so let me just clear up one abbreviation that you used so people get it. I'm guessing, but PTSD I take it is posttraumatic syndrome disorder
Chris Brooks
Stress syndrome.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Did I get that right?
Chris Brooks
Yeah, right.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay, so the point is people are living in a context in which they are operating out of shock in a variety of ways in terms of the way their life functions and so I imagine building trust is one of the first almost starting points in trying to minister to people. Get into the point where they don't look at you for, okay, are you have to me for how you can use or abuse me versus really relating to me as an individual.
Chris Brooks
Yeah, and identifying with the struggle. Just being able to be sensitive and identify with the fact that they are living in a desert. You know, we call the cities that are under resourced urban deserts we might find that there is a lack of employment opportunities, healthcare opportunities, even fresh food opportunities. So we have to be able to identify with what it is like to wake up in that reality each and every day. And how do we minister to this individual a gospel that is holistic. That is not just theoretical in nature, but also deals with the practical realities of image bearing and Christ's ministry to the spiritual as well as the physical parts of the person.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Now, I'm listening to you and I'm sure there are people listen to you and they go, okay, now how theologically conservative are you? You are pretty theologically conservative.
Chris Brooks
I am.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So you are trying to communicate really a balance about something that some people don't think initially might not go together and yet what I'm hearing you say is, if you care deeply about the person made in the image of God who is your neighbor, then these kinds of questions will be questions you will wrestle with.
Chris Brooks
Yeah, I think so and I think that for a long time Darrell, the church wrestled with whether or not social concern and ministering to the physical nature of a person is in violation to the gospel. I don't think it is a violation to the gospel. We have plenty of examples of that in Matthew 25, Luke chapter 4; we can go deeper into a scriptural analysis of this, but what I am saying is that we don't need to compromise the truths of the gospel, the teachings of Christ, while at the same time acknowledging the fact that this person needs employment, this person needs food, this person needs to be able to be affirmed in their personhood.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Well, obviously then, you are trying to build a community that has this interesting array of values, this primary commitment to the gospel on the one hand and yet a recognition that we are really in a work of community restoration in some ways.
Chris Brooks
Yes. Yeah, we are. And we are in a work ultimately of being a part of the redemptive work of Christ in the lives of individuals. We do have to ask ourselves how is that contextualized. So part of this conversation that you and I are having is a question of contextualization. So if I'm going to reach this individual in Detroit or the south side of Chicago. Let's take that for example. That's been in the news for a while now. Imagine what it's like to have 60 or 70 shootings over a weekend and that's normal. To be in a community where the people are literally calling for the National Guard to come in to stop the violence. This is a – this is a context of what you have to, again, identify with the individuals that you are present in the gospel to.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Chris, let me ask you this question; you grown up in a solid home. You said you had three generation of preachers in your home. You obviously have been well educated. You had the opportunity to probably minister anywhere of choice and yet you've ended up deciding to minister in the hood. Why did you make that choice?
Chris Brooks
Well there's a lot of ways I can answer that. Obviously it's discerning what not only Christ has called me to do, but where he has called me to do it. But I'll also say, Darrell, that one of my deep convictions, biblical convictions, is that we who preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ have to demonstrate that it is effective in every ZIP Code, in every city. That a person shouldn't have to relocate to a nicer neighborhood or a nicer community in order to flourish in Christ. That's the joy I have about doing ministry in Detroit.

I will also say this Darrell, I don't sense at all that I've given more to the city that the city has given to me. I'm very much a part of the city and I will say that the city has shaped me in ways. It has helped me to understand what the gospel looks like lived out in ways that are innumerable, immeasurable, and that I'm eternally grateful for. Doing ministry in an urban setting is so rewarding that I feel like an unofficial PR rep that we should be running into these communities and not running away from them.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That's interesting. Let's talk about the church is able to walk into this space and minister. Obviously the gospel is important because it changes hearts.
Chris Brooks
Yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
It does what I like to call radical heart transplant surgery; working from the inside out. So that's an important starting point. I would also think that the ability of the church to show that heart, to reflect that heart, is a very important part of how ministry gets done. Fair?
Chris Brooks
Yeah, I think it's fair and I think it's important Darrell for us to make this distinction because we don't want to confuse what we are same with the social gospel which is very different. Listen, the gospel is not ultimately the redemption of social structures. It is the transferring of information and the regeneration of the human heart; the awakening of the human heart to Christ. So the message that we preach, the primary message we preach, is the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ and the implications of that.

But we have to understand that the primary ethic of the church though, is love. This is the primary ethic of the church. So where we can live out our faith and love that is tangible; love being a verb, an action word; we should do that. We should search for communities where the love of Jesus Christ and the reality of the implications of the gospel of Jesus Christ are not being seen and we should bury ourselves in these communities and work until Christ returns.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, there is a passage that I really love to talk about that I think shows this pretty powerfully because I think the whole discussion about the social gospel has kind of co-opted the integration of faith and life that the Scripture calls us to.
Chris Brooks
Yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That passages the unique passage to Luke. It's in Luke chapter 3 verses 10 to 14. It's when John the Baptist is being asked in effect, what does repentance look like? He just given the exhortation to make fruit worthy of repentance. If you look at that and agree, the verb, the Greek verb is the Greek verb _____ and when you – and the crowd responds by asking, what shall we do using the same verb question when it doesn't work in English because we say make fruit worthy of repentance, but then we ask, what shall we do? You can't tell it's the same verb. But in Greek, it's the same verb.

If you think about repentance, you think about normally you would say, well, what relationship am I talking about when I think about repenting. Well, you would say, I'm thinking about my relationship to God. I'm thinking about how I walk with God, but in every one of the answers that John the Baptist gives, repentance expresses itself in how I treat my neighbor in one way or another.
Chris Brooks
Right.
Dr. Darrell Bock
You know, given the clothes off my back, I don't abuse them. Those are the responses and there's nothing directly about your relationship to God. In that answer is actually a pretty profound point which is that if I'm relating properly to God and thinking about my relationship to him, then I'm also thinking about how I'm relating to others who are made in his image.
Chris Brooks
That's right.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And in the midst of that then, I free myself up to really live in a powerful way that thinks about how I'm interacting with my neighbor. I think that's the core ethic of the New Testament and the spirit and the person that's designed to move them in that direction so that they care about people whether they are in the community or not in the community. By which, I mean the church community.
Chris Brooks
Yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So I'm assuming that that's what you see.
Chris Brooks
That's right. That's right. I think a lot of this falls up under the concept of coming grace. This sense that the Lord is good to all and that the rain falls on the just and unjust alike and we have to understand that the definition of success, I used to be a pulpit sniper Darrell. So I kind of measuring success by the blood of my sword if you will. I'm apologist and so the sense that my neighbor who believes or lives differently than me or is a non-Christian; the way I measure success is by how many of them I can defeat and conquer intellectually.

But you know, that's not what the gospel compels us to do. It compels us to be able to leverage our influence to be able to win them to woo them to Christ. So being able to live out in a pluralistic society that is broken and falling, the love of Christ and the truth of Christ is our mission or mandate. To contextualize that is what this show is all about and to be up to live it out effectively requires wisdom and it requires a lot a conversation and communication.

Let me just say this Darrell too, that I don't want people to feel like, hey, I wasn't born or raised in the neighborhood or in that type of city are setting so that means I don't have anything to offer. Here's the thing, the great equalizer is the truth of the gospel. It is the – is the message of Christ and it is the recognition that we can improve schools, we can improve the job market, we can improve the economy to bring the best of capitalism and free market economic thinking has to bring to the city, but unless we see internal transformation, the heart being transformed, there will not be any sustainable change.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, the way I like to say that is that if you want to know what good laws look like without changed hearts, read your Old Testament. That's why we got a new covenant.
Chris Brooks
That's right.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So that's the boil down on that one. So let me read this passage to you because I always think this is striking. This is this passage from Luke 3. So the crowds were asking, what should we do? John answered them;

"The person who has two tunics must share with the person who has none. The person who has food must do likewise. Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, teacher, what should we do? He told them, collect no more than you are required to. Then, some soldiers also asked him; and as for us, what should we do? He told them, take money from no one by violence or by false accusation and be content with your pay."

What's really interesting about this passage is you see a willingness to be generous. You see a hesitation to take advantage of someone because they are in a vulnerable position and you also see care to exercise one power and authority by not overstepping that power and authority and is trying to be sensitive to the people whom you – who you are supposed to soldier if I can say that way.
Chris Brooks
Right _____ [crosstalk].
Dr. Darrell Bock
Those are very relevant words I think to the situations often we find ourselves in the inner city.
Chris Brooks
I think so. And I would also say I think it's worth noting that what he does not do is make the mistake that liberation gospel makes in creating oppressor and oppressed groups. I think that that is the freshness, the uniqueness of Scripture is that it's able to talk about the sin of an individual heart without losing sight of the need for the individual to repent of their sins and understand that salvation is a very personal thing.

The mistake of the social gospel or by extension a liberation gospel, is that you have an oppressor and oppressed groups and that your salvation or redemption comes in being a part of the group that is oppressed and that your eternal damnation is being a part of the group that is oppressor as if these are kind of eternal categories which cannot be changed. What the Scripture teaches us is that no matter what group we are a part of, we're all sinners and this is a quality. Biblical equality is that we are all sinners in need of his grace and that the salvation is offered at all.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, and I think the other thing that gets lost in more social gospel or liberation approaches is that it almost creates, how do I say this? A Teflon coating on someone in what you said, I bear no responsibility for what's taken place.
Chris Brooks
Yeah, because the need for salvation is of social structures only and not of the individual heart.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That's right.
Chris Brooks
Which is why we had to preach repentance to the individual, that individuals must repent and turn to God. Let me just tell you, that message works no matter where you preach it.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, now I can imagine. So let's talk about how your church tackles this. What do you – obviously it's clear you're presenting the gospel message, but I imagine there are ways in which you structure the church to try and be of help to people who come out of very broken backgrounds.
Chris Brooks
That's right.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Whether we think about their access to education or the brokenness of their families. I mean, I know that one of the large, important statistics that is a part of the African-American reality is how few solid homes there are where there is a father and a mother. That a lot of kids grow up in some cases not even knowing either parent much less one of them.
Chris Brooks
Yeah, so there's a lot of growth in this. There's a lot of hope as well. Let me just say this Darrell, that I think it's so important is that you asked me earlier what's unique about urban ministry, the church in a city like my own. One of the areas of uniqueness is that the church can't just be the church if you know what I mean. We have to be a place where people can turn to for everything. The church historically in the black community has been the epicenter of the city. So it's a place where people turn to for legal advice. It's a place where people turn to for food. It's a place that people refer to for help, medical attention, so much more.

So when you are building a ministry, if you're going to be serving in an urban area, you better structured in such a way either through a CDC, community development corporation, or under the umbrella of the outreach of the church, you better have services that can minister to the whole man. That is so critical.
Dr. Darrell Bock
It's a market place as opposed to just a place to gather to sing hymns and hear sermon.
Chris Brooks
That's right. That's right, and so we need to be sensitive to that. While we are preaching there has to be a place where people can turn to to apply that and to receive help for not only the soul, but again getting access to a job, being able to get marriage counseling, being able to get transportation needs met, housing needs met. All of these things are very critical and very important to a successful urban ministry.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Now, is there any partnershiping that you do with other churches in the area? I tell you what motivates this question. There is a very successful church that was planted in the 1970s here in Dallas right in the poorest part of Dallas. It was a very African-American community in terrific need; high crime rate, extreme poverty, all those kinds of things. There were several Anglo churches that came in alongside the African-American church to actually help get it started and kind of get it off the ground. The church is now very much self-sustaining.

They built a – the first thing they did after they built a church was the built a gym to become a community place –
Chris Brooks
Yeah, that's _____ _____ [crosstalk] yes.
Dr. Darrell Bock
– To alter the way kids would spend their time and then they built a school and went in that order which was interesting. So I'm not necessarily asking just about your church, but how much cross cultural can I say, support is there for what goes on in Detroit?
Chris Brooks
Well, needs to be. Let me just say that the last several years, since 2011, Detroit has seen an amazing amount of partnershiping. There was a broad evangelistic campaign that brought together 550 churches; urban and suburban, black, white, again Asian, Latino. There has been more partnership in in our history over the past five years then maybe in the other period in time. So I'm really excited about that.

But I will say Darrell, that one of the major keys to healthy partnering is that it has to be mutual.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Right.
Chris Brooks
That Anglo church has to be able to know there is so much benefit and richness and wisdom I can get from my African-American brothers and sisters in Christ and the African-American church can't see itself only as a recipient.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Right.
Chris Brooks
It has to see itself as a giver as well. So I think that we have to partner, but we need to do it in healthy ways.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, it can be patronizing is what you're saying.
Chris Brooks
Exactly.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah.
Chris Brooks
Or parental.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That's right.
Chris Brooks
The other thing that I will say is this, that so often, my Anglo brothers and sisters will be very committed to global missions and romanticize reaching groups overseas and very closed off to reaching those who are need 15, 20 miles on them up the street.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, we've talked about this in our own churches here in the churches that I've been in that our suburban churches that – we'll fly a plane to go into mission, but we will cross the railroad tracks.
Chris Brooks
And I think that's critical. I think that's critical. We need to be able to say, how much are we supporting local missions outreach as well as global? I believe that all churches, regardless of ethnic background need to be a part of God's global _____ commission. And where I encourage and challenge African-American or ethnic minority churches is that we need to get into the global mission _____.

This is a unique period in time where we can and our voices are – they are hungry for our voices and our voices are needed. I also challenge suburban churches to say, get more involved in local missions as much as possible.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Now, we've talked a little bit that I mention partnership then I got distracted from where I was going originally and I want to come back to it. And that is; let's talk about the variety of services that a church offers. You talked a little bit about them. Everything from employment to transportation.
Chris Brooks
Yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
I imagine food is in that mix too. What goes into the internal ministries of the church to minister to the whole of the community?
Chris Brooks
Yeah, let me just say Darrell, if I could just simplify. There are three Es that every church needs to focus in on it they really want to have impact. I will say this way; education, employment, and entrepreneurship. Those three Es are critical and important. Education, employment, and entrepreneurship. I will also say there's a fourth E that doesn't necessarily move people along the developmental role, but is critical and that's emergency assistance.

So we like to categorize our practical ministries in those areas. Can we offer educational opportunities, employment opportunities, entrepreneurial opportunities, but also recognizing there are times that we need to be there for emergency assistance for the person who is homeless, for the person who is hungry, for the person that is in need.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Wow. Well, I have to say, that doesn't sound like my church. That's very, very different. Much more, and some ways much more demanding on the community.
Chris Brooks
Yeah, there is a sense of compassion fatigue as well. As you pray for those who minister in urban areas, pray for their emotional strength, pray for their stress levels because Darrell, as you know, when you are in a war zone, when you are in a place of constant need, struggle, challenge, it can be emotionally draining. But again, it's tremendously encouraging as well as you see all the wonderful things of Christ's redemptive work and people having strong marriages and young people finding purpose and calling in Christ. Men awakening to what it means to not just be a man, but a man of God.

All these things are present as well and I want to talk about great fathers, wonderful marriages and healthy churches because it's a sad thing if we think that there's only negative things happening in the hood. There's great things happening as well.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, again, I'm going back to this was that a story, but about 10 years in, the Dallas Morning News wrote an editorial entitled, "Angels in Our Midst” in the point was, here was a church planted in the poorest part of the city with citywide cooperation. That it produced a neighborhood turnaround in the area of racial relations when everything else around Dallas was kind of under racial tension and the question was asked, what is it that these people are bringing to the table and part of the conversation that seems to be lacking in so much else is happening in the city when it comes to these areas?

Of course, the answer was, it was their Christian commitment and a religious commitment that brought the change.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That's right.
Chris Brooks
And you know, the Dallas Morning News isn't exactly a church newsletter.
Chris Brooks
Right.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So is a pretty powerful testimony about what's possible when kind of all the pieces come together and people make an effort, a concerted effort, to cooperate. It shows that it is possible in that turnaround can happen.
Chris Brooks
Yeah, it can and it does. And again, Christ being at the center, it does happen. Let me also say this Darrell, that we have to look at those individuals that are living in those hard-hit communities as individuals that if in power, can lead themselves into a sense of transformation as well. All the help doesn't have to come from external leadership, but it can be a rich partnership to make that come about.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Well, the beautiful thing at least about the West Dallas story was again, about 10, 15 years in, things have gotten to the point where the church was very much self-sustaining.
Chris Brooks
Yes.
Dr. Darrell Bock
People were coming; people who had been educated at the school had made the decision, many of them, to come back and teach at the school and impact the community that they had come out of rather than fleeing it. In the meantime, that part of the city has literally been transformed by what took place.
Chris Brooks
Yeah, that's beautiful. That's beautiful. When we look for these partnerships Darrell, let me just say, we don't have to compromise the tenants of our faith in the gospel to find these partnerships. I think so often we can go to the other extreme where there's overwhelming sense of compassion and we say, well, let me just connect with anybody.

Well no, we can do harm that way. We need to connect with people who are going to the lift of the name of Christ high and connect with people who are good models of faithful Bible ministry. If we find those people who can also effectively serve the community, I think that's a great healthy partnership.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Well, we've got about 2½ minutes left here Chris. Let me ask you kind of one other question and that is, what do you do specifically for families to help ground them in the hopes that the next generation will be quite like the last generation?
Chris Brooks
I love the question. I think the family is so critical to the great commission, global great commission. When we think about the great commission, we got two pedals on this bike. One pedal is sending missionaries local, global outreaches. The other pedal is the family. So we have to teach three principles; get married, marriage for a lifetime, and also raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. We teach those three things. We celebrate marriage.

Church can't just be known for what is against, but we also have to celebrate the beauty of marriage. Then marriage for lifetime; be faithful in marriage, and then raise children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. This is the way we transform communities; one family at a time.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And I didn't ask you, I probably shouldn't have, but I'm curious now. How large is the church that you are part of?
Chris Brooks
Sixteen-hundred members.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That's great.
Chris Brooks
We've got about 1,600 members.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah. Well, Chris, it's been a real pleasure to have you with us to talk about – we always say this on The Table when we dive into a topic kind of for the first time; we've only scratched the surface of the conversation.
Chris Brooks
That's right. Yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And we've touched on a lot of things, each of which could probably be their own podcast and focus. But I really do appreciate several things. One, your commitment to the hood, your commitment to really minister in the context in which you grew up.
Chris Brooks
Yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Secondly, the clarity with which you encouraged us to think about what life in the hood can be like and what the demands on a church are. And third, the clarity with which you have expressed how the gospel speaks into that so effectively that it is actually the answer to the question. If we are looking for a program that is going to change people and change the world, that program is primarily the gospel and not something else.
Chris Brooks
Absolutely. Absolutely. The Christian worldview is the answer for the hood.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, well thanks again Chris. We appreciate you being with us and with thank you for joining us on The Table and look for to have me back with us again.
Chris Brooks
Thanks Darrell.

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