CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT; THE 8 KEYS TO REBUILDING OUR NEIGHBORHOODS
On this episode of Church on The Block, the crew discuss the 8 Keys of Christian Community Development and the holistic approach their respective ministries use to rebuild their neighborhoods. Get to know your hosts and how they use street ministry and the arts to impact the youth of Chicago. Join Church on The Block every Sunday at 10 am est. on Holy Culture Radio, Sirius XM Channel 154. And follow our hosts Pastor Phil, Pastah J and DJ Ruckus on Instagram to join the conversation.
You’re on Pastor Phil. Welcome to Church on the Block, real Talk about hip hop, the church and the streets with my great co-host, pastor Jay and R Boy on Holy Culture Radio, Sears X. Channel 1 54. Yo, we are back at you again. That’s right. Sunday, 9:00 AM Central Time, 10 Eastern Time. That other place, I’m here with our great hosts.
They on the microphone making things happen, man. Have to, uh, make a few adjustments. They here right now. What’s up brothers? Yo. What’s up everybody? It’s Pastor J. Good to be here, pastor Phil. What’s up r. Yo, what’s good? This your boy DJ Ruck. Happy to be here this Sunday. This Sunday morning with everybody.
And DJ Ruck is live and in color at his own new house. That’s right. Boy got a new crib that was about the way he been 5,000 square feet. I dunno how big it is, but it’s you. It’s a good old spot, mans man cave. This is like the first recording, first record of the show. Its your at your spot, . Yeah, it is man.
I’m I, I, you know, I was telling. The last house we had, man, I didn’t have no space for myself. I had DJ equipment sitting on the dining room table and you know, It was just crazy. My wife come home, she’d see my, my equipment sitting on the table. She’s like, why is this, why is the dining room table where she want me to put it?
You know? So now, man, we got a bigger space. I got a man cave and a office and space just for me. So it’s, uh, I’m still in the process of unpacking and getting this whole house set up for everybody, man. So, man, congratulations. It’s exciting. It’s. Now one thing you gotta watch out tea is that, uh, when you have a big house, I think I’m saying this in my own stuff, you tend to be like, oh, let me put this in the house cuz there’s a big house.
I can bring this in. And all of a sudden it’s like, oh, how did this big house get so small? I got too much stuff in this big old house. You know? Well we just kinda went through that with the last house. Right? Just moving like, man, we got so much stuff and there’s still so much stuff over there and it’s just.
Now I’m kinda like, nah, you know, uh, we’re not gonna do things the same way we used to doing. So, yeah. Yeah. , and it’s always good, you know, they always have the spring cleaning or whatever, but it’s always good to be on point for purging stuff. Like we purging stuff now, it ain’t even, yeah. I ain’t even spring.
Just get stuff out the way. But man, congratulations man. So if you think about buying a crib, man, call DJ Ruckers. He’ll tell you everything how to do it. No , but, but uh, but uh, whatever, whatever path you guys are on out there listening, uh, just continue to be, um, straight with your finances and being able to manage ’em well.
Um, as God will lead you in that way. I think as much as we can be good stewards with our, with our dollars, I think it compliments how, how much stewards we are with other things as well, right? So today, man, uh, we are talking about the ministries in which we serve. I know, um, we’ve talked about ’em briefly back and forth and, you know, we’ve, we’ve, uh, mentioned them, um, and we talked about, you know, where to find this ad, but today, man, we want.
It’s a little bit, little bit more in depth about the ministry that we all serve from Lawn Community Church to, um, C C D A, to to, uh, crucible to the firehouse and the house. And really, uh, just kinda explain a little bit how they relate to hip hop and the streets. Right. And looking at what, uh, and why they are what they are.
So, pastor Jay, we’re gonna start with you, man. Um, just break down to us, the ministry, where you serve currently now, and the role. And we’ll bounce some questions back and forth. Absolutely. Absolutely. Glad to be on here, man. And easy to talk about this subject today. It’s real life. It’s our everyday life, right?
Uh, yeah. So, uh, for those who don’t know, I have recently become the pastor here at Lawndale Christian Community Church in North Lawndale on the west side of Chicago. Um, and. I’m excited about this opportunity. Been pastoring now for over 20 years, but um, this is my first time having an assignment on the West side.
Um, what I love about North Lawndale, Is that it’s a neighborhood that reminds me of the one I grew up in, on the south side in Englewood. But at the same time, the close-knit relationships, the way that people have lived here generationally, you know, gen generations and generations of families knowing each other, loving each other, looking out for each other.
Um, and so Lawndale Christian Community Church is a ministry whose. Is to make sure that this neighborhood, north Lawndale knows, um, that they are loved, loved with the love of Jesus Christ, but not just loved in the sense of spiritually, but loved in every way, holistic ministry. And so we, we believe in the holistic ministry that serves both the body, the mind, and the soul, and in every way possible.
And I will talk a little bit more about how we do that as this thing goes on, but that’s where I am. Yep. So, so I’ve been passion 20. Um, and, and, um, God brought you over to Lawndale way long ago in connections with various ways, and now you’re in this role as, as the lead pastor. Yes. And in, in that role, um, where, what was the inception that, that like, like I mean from, from whether, whether you wanna share some of the history, but like the, the inception even in your heart, in life about this way of ministry, right?
This is not a normal, not say normal, but, It, it, it’s, it’s not a way that is, uh, typically pursued in, in local churches where you start from the people up or people Right. You know, in and around. So both, you know, your, your, your, uh, own grasp of that in your own, in your own walk with the Lord Yeah, your own colon ministry.
But then how it plays out in Lawndale and some of the history there. . Yeah, a hundred percent. So, um, if you’ve been paying attention, probably to my perspective on some things, just over the years, hopefully you’ve been riding with us for a while. This ain’t your first episode. Yeah. But if it is, you know, um, I am a very hands-on tangible, like the more tangible my faith is, the better for me.
And what I love about the philosophy that we have here in Lawndale is that it’s one that Pastor Phil was just talking about, where it begins with the ground, it begins with the people. It begins with the. And we believe that when things need to be mended or repaired or, or that need to be healed, that you start with the people with the problem.
The people with the issues are the ones that have the answers and have the solutions for that. So you don’t come in and plop in and say, Hey, uh, we have some great ideas. We’re gonna come in and fix your community for you. You sit. And through the love of God and the love of Jesus Christ, you listen well to the people who are already present and you walk alongside of the community so that they can lead you towards a path of, of, of, of repairing the community or just walking alongside and not just repairing, but also magnifying all the beautiful things that are already present in communities that traditionally might be only, uh, narrated by their negativity.
So, um, so, so wait a minute. Wait a minute. You’re saying that the church listened to the. , listen to the community. That’s what I’m saying. That’s what I’m saying. Okay. So, so , so what, what do you think is the, and I, I want you to keep talking about the, the work there, londale, but what do you think is the challenge of why that’s not the norm?
Like why isn’t, yeah. I mean, you’re serving the people. Um, why do you think that’s not the regular routine or, or, or standard of, of, of ministry? Listen to the people first. Yeah, I, I’ll tell you, I pretty, I got a pretty simple answer for that is because we like to be needed, right? Like we, as the church liked for people to need us.
Right. We want, we want dependency, not empowerment. We don’t want our neighborhood to feel like they can figure it out on their own. Cause then what are we supposed to do? No, you need the church. We need to come in and, and show you how to make things better and how to fix it. And so if we are not needed, if we’re working ourselves out of a job, if we’re trying to get out of the way of the community so that they can move forward, then we, we lose sight of who we are.
But what I love about the real gospel is that that’s exactly what Jesus. What Jesus taught us is that everyone is created in the image of God. Everyone has dominion, power and authority given to them just because they’re created in the image of God. They have giftings, they have skills, they have ability, they have power.
Right? And if that’s true, then the church’s job is just to go alongside and help people harness that power so that they can go on and begin to change the own lived reality. So yeah, we want, we wanna be, And so we don’t like the idea of listening to other people. You know how many times have all of us heard, oh, the church oughta be taking the lead on this.
We gotta be the front. The church is the ones that’s going to change everything, . And my mindset is yes, but not because we are the change agents alone. I used to always say when I was in Ingle, at the church I was formally at at Canaan, that nothing in Inglewood changed because of Canaan’s participation.
Mm-hmm. , right? We had grocery stores opened, and cafes opened all these things that our church, as little as we was definitely wasn’t the reason that it happened. But I could also say none of the change happened in our community without the. Right. So while we might not have been the catalyst that made everything happen, nothing was gonna happen in our neighborhood without our involvement because this is our place, this is our neighborhood, and God has called us to be here.
And if God has called us to be here, then we are called to be God’s tangible representatives in every area. of our community in every, in education, in public safety, right in healthcare, in in the legal system, and everything that happens in our community. The church ought to have its hands in it, even if we’re just in a supporting role.
We gotta, wow, be present and partner. Now that takes. That takes some patience, right? Because sometimes the churches, you know, even in the hood, you know, we, we, we got, you know, we got a revival to do, we got a revival , you know, we got, um, things that we feel we gotta urgently do after school program, which, you know, which may be relevant.
But, um, you know, to, to sit and listen to the people and, and to then recognize here’s some areas. that may not be in my sweet spot, right? Mm-hmm. , my sweet spot is doing this part and that, and all the community residents said, no, we just want, you know, grocery stores. We want, we want something to, we want safer areas where our kids can go back and forth to school.
That’s not my sweet spot. So, um, we’re going to get to that later, but, but to listen to the people takes time. It takes patience. and, and, and, and belief that God has already been working before you got here. Right. That’s good stuff right there. Yeah. , that’s you not the answer to it all. Right. Yeah. Um, yeah, but that, that part I think in some regards, um, foundations and whomever else don’t necessarily, you know, seek to take the time, uh, to, to do.
And it is a great point you mentioned that, you know, we want to be needed, right? We want to be. and, uh, just owning that, owning that reality, right? Pastors and others, uh, could be maybe a first step to unlocking a, a real holistic ministry, you know, what, what that would really look like, you know? Um, that it ain’t on you and you don’t gotta be the fixer or the savior of it all as well, you know?
Yeah. That, how did things get that reality? That reality of we are not the savior is big. I always tell people I believe in the power of width and you know, this is one of the things I say, it’s very different to say, I want to serve my community to say I want to serve with my community. Right? When you add the word with it completely changes the complexity of what you’re saying.
And one, you are the savior coming in to do all the serving and the other conversation, there’s people there already serving and now you just getting in line to serve with everybody else. Right? Right. And when you add the power of with to almost any sentence, it changes the way it sounds and it changes your position as no longer just a service provider, but also a service recipient in the context of you doing volunteerism or work or things in the community.
Yeah. Yeah. So how did all that happen at, at, at Lawndale? Like, like, I know there’s a long history of it all, but what would be the sh the, the, the, the short version, the abbreviated version. Short version. Yeah. Yeah. The abbreviated version is back in the late seventies, uh, a young man named Wayne Gordon came to North Lawndale to be a teacher at Fargate High School.
Upon coming. He was just coaching football and coaching, wrestling, and doing bible studies with young people in the community. And from there, the young people started to learn a little bit more about disciple discipleship, getting discipled by him, just in that weight room, working with a little broken down weight machine.
And they started to realize that the church wasn’t necessarily a building and all the. The, the obstacles that were created around church for them around having to dress up and bring money and, and, you know, all the things that, that churches make you wanna do. He just said, you know, that’s not the church of church is us gathering together as people.
And so they looked at him and said, well, if that’s the truth, then ain’t we a church? We come in here every week and, you know, lifting weights and reading the Bible and all that. And he was like, uh, You right. You’re right. They’re like, so why don’t we just start having church right here? And, uh, as reluctantly as he wanted to, he said, yes, him and his wife together, him and Anne, and, and they started a church in 1978 that started with just a group, handful of high school students.
And it’s grown now to be a church that’s loving the community, loving the neighborhood. Well, 40 almost. It’ll be. 45 years coming up in, uh, in, in, in March. So yeah, man, it’s crazy. 45 years. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. I moved there in 93 or so to be the youth pastor and that’s how I got connected to Lawndale. Um, Carrie Casey at that time was co-pastor, left Kansas City and went to Chicago and said, Phil, this is the place you gotta come.
And we came up to a second honeymoon singles. Willie Richardson passing Willie Richardson outta Philadelphia at these second honeymoon singles conferences. And one was in Chicago on the anniversary of Lawndale Community Church in March. And so we came up, came to church there, and uh, at that time it was meeting in the clinic side, you know mm-hmm.
um, where we had these partitions, , Velcro together. They would take ’em apart and have church there, and then they would put the petitions back. And we had dinner afterwards and Carrie said this way, you need to. Just wait for the come , just wait. I said, man, I’m loving this. I’m loving this. Real, authentic, grimy, just like, you know.
And, um, being able to, uh, you know, a little bit after that 94, we, I believe we moved here, moved, moved to 94, and then. You know, have, have served Lawndale for a long period of time and then resigned and everything going on with the firehouse, and still, uh, are growing in that connection, uh, with That’s right.
All that that Lawndale was doing. That’s right. You know. That’s right. Um, so the, um, conversation today is we’re talking about. Um, uh, interviewing each other a little bit about the ministries that we serve and why we do what we do. Pastor Jay is the lead pastor of LA Community Church and has been involved in this type of work, uh, for a long period of time.
And in his own d n a walking journeying with people is the same d n a of LA Community Church, which is not that other churches aren’t doing that, but it’s, it’s, um, oftentimes far and few between that there are those churches that are, that are doing that. And so, uh, Lawndale has grown. There’s seven medical clinics.
There’s a men’s recovery home, there is a legal center. There is, um, work we do at the firehouse. There is, uh, connections with, uh, uh, the farm on Agism and an array of different times where the church has listened to people and these things have blown up. Uh, faithful people to faithful God. Yo, we’ll be right back.
Church on the block you listen to church on. We’ll talk about hip hop, the church and the streets. Holy Culture Radio. See us XM 1 54. Come right back. We got more in store.
Yes, you are right at the right place at the right time on this channel. Holy Culture Radio is. Sirius xm, channel 1 54. We’re talking to each other today a little bit about the ministries we serve and how we got to these areas and you know, out of these ministries birthed this radio show. I mean, the reason we do what we do, and we call it church on the block, real talk about hiphop, the church in the streets, is because we talk about real talk about hiphop, the church in the streets, in practicality of our ministry.
The work we do is what we talk about and how we express and our opportunity to bring light to that. Oftentimes there’s so much church or there’s so much tradition, and, and, and on. Some traditions are good, but in the context of it, stopping the gospel and moving forward where people are, our needs aren’t being met and meeting people right where they are to take God, what heaven to be, then it becomes tradition to me in that context.
But we talked to Pastor Jay, um, who’s the lead pastor of Lawndale Community Church. Great mc, great friend. Um, Leader around the city of Chicago, an array of different ways and about London Community Church and his role and, and how he’s always been that committed to holistic ministry. But where does this come from?
There’s a, there is, um, a unique, um, uh, thing that happens like. Folks start rapping. And then there’s other people who say, you rap, yo, I rap. You rap for the Lord. What? Let’s build, let’s build. And then pretty soon you become a flavor fest, right? Pretty soon you become a place where we can find some like-minded people to say, yo, this makes a lot of sense.
I was thinking the same thing. And now you got a, a, a hub of people who. Uh, live and serve in, in a way they don’t feel ostracized. They don’t feel like I got this unction in my spirit to do this. Now, I don’t know. It seems weird in the location I’m at in Houston, but unfortunately feel unc. I hear you. The UNC in the spirit with King James on this penal the.
Um, auction Lord. Auction, Lord , uh, the, um, the movement of, uh, Wayne Gordon and, and, and, uh, John Perkins from all of their work kind of individually brought together an organization called C C D A, Christian Community Development Association. And this is all free pub. We need to go after them with some commercials, but they have a national organization that.
You know, thousand people around the country, around the world. Folks in Africa are involved in other countries I’m sure as well. And, um, all started in, in Menon Hall, Mississippi. And then from Chicago is a base, but now it’s in, um, somewhere else. Now the home headquarters are the headquarters of Chicago.
Yeah. Yeah, go to Chicago. Okay. C c D a Christian Community Development Association, both myself, pastor Jay, and, uh, ruckus have been involved. But Ruckus is a, is a train trained, uh, instructor in the, a key component of C C D A. And we’re gonna talk to Ruckus about those, a key components and what that really means and, uh, and how he’s.
Taught it. Because here’s the thing, if you’re hearing this and you’re like, man, I, I think my church should be doing it, or my church is about that kind of stuff, then connect with cc d a Or if you don’t know you’re interested, then, then, um, here is proof that there is, um, some movement that wherever you may be doing that, that, that.
That it’s, it’s kind of in line with that holistic effort. So, uh, ruckus, tell us about CC d a and some of the, the, the key components of what they stand for. Yeah, so the eight key components, this is a test now, right? Mm-hmm. , I hope, uh, my professors are not listening, right? Uh, so there are eight key components.
There’re the three Rs, reconciliation, redistribution, and relocation. Then there’s a church base. There’s listening to the community, there’s holistic. , there’s, um, empowerment and did I say leadership development? That’s the one. That’s it. Those are, those are the, a key components right there. And so you, you have these a key components that what we believe is just some of the main characteristics of who Christ was and how he did things.
Um, you know, I, I would say there are certain ones that stick out to certain ministries there, you know, when. When I think about coming to Lawndale and finding Lawndale, meeting Phil Jackson, um, I came to Lawndale and I saw clinics and saw all of these things. I was just like, wow, there’s something different happening here.
Mm-hmm. And I was curious as to what was happening here and why it was happening here. Um, because what I was used to was just sitting in the four walls of a church and we’d have meals inside the church, and everything we did was inside the church. Get to Lawndale and I find out all about these, this, this Christian community development theory and, and, and I’m like, oh, this is interesting.
So I, I started, Studying started going to the, the, the Christian Community Development Association conferences. Um, eventually I became a, a certified trainer through the organization where now I, every now and then I get to go to other places and train them around the, a key components in, in their community context to help them figure out how to impact the community in, in a Christ-like.
Not in the typical church way. Um, as Jay said, the presence of with the people. Mm-hmm. Yes. Let me ask you about that, uht. So as you go and train and the places you’ve trained, have there been churches that like, wanted you to come but didn’t even know, like there was a pathway to this? Like, like they, uh, knew John Perkin.
They may have read his books. They may have maybe, maybe, you know, knew of some things, but like, yo, This is brand new to us. Like how did, how have the reactions been? Yeah, so I, I remember one of the trips that I got to take was to, uh, Charleston, West Virginia. And most of the, the people that attended that class were all young people.
Uh, they had just been faced with the tragedy of a young man being murdered there on one of their community, uh, basketball courts that by the community center. Uh, and so this whole concept of, of the achy components was, was new and it was fresh to them. And, and in the midst of them dealing with their own hurt, hurting trauma around what was going on in that community,
Wow. So that that uh, um, direction where they had you come forward made it super duper relevant with what was going on. Right? Like, like yeah. How to engage, how to engage for real in that space. So when you begin to teach this, like what are the, what, what are the pushbacks? Are there some pushbacks, like folks like, uh, maybe, maybe just general pushbacks on some of the achy components that folks are just now hearing this and say, well, I don’t know about this relocation.
I just, yeah. So. Yes. So sometimes, you know, there are people who push back, well, do I have to live in the community? No, you don’t have to Live in the community is, and one of the things I always tell people, living in the community is not for everybody. Okay? And don’t go into the community if you think you finna go and change the community, right?
Go into the community with the mindset that I’m going to. Live and be with the people. One of the things I always tell people, I choose to live in the neighborhoods that I live in, right? It’s a choice. I could pack up and move to the suburbs, but that’s not where my heart is. It’s not where I want to be. I want to be right here with the people I want to be where everything is happening, where I can be a part of the community so that we can all figure out how to solve some of the stuff that’s going on in our city, in our communities, right?
So yeah, sometimes there’s some pushback on different things. Absolutely. And you know, again, sometimes, and Jay you can probably speak to this a little bit, sometimes there are organizations that focused, they feel like, do I have to focus on all of that? You don’t have to focus on all eight key components.
You can pick certain ones that just fit the type of ministry you have. Um, but there are certain ones you should always use, like listening to the community. . So as I talked about West Virginia, go, uh, going out there, um, knowing that they had a tragedy and everything that was going on, I said, fly me out early so that I can go to the funeral so that I can be with the people so that I can listen to their hearts and what’s going on so that I can get a context and understand what they’re going through.
Yeah, that’s right. That’s good. That’s right. That’s real good. I think the pushback. . Alright. I mean, especially on relocation. A lot of people, and I think it’s a significant thing to say that people of color sometimes have pushback, , because we often have the mentality of escapism equals, you know, success. I got out of that neighborhood, I got out of the community, and so now I’m successful.
And what C C D A really does is it, it pushes you to think differently. Who said that? That’s what success. Right. Do some people need to leave and have a different Yes, depending on what your lifestyle was and things, but everybody’s not called to move away because all that does is continue the cycles that we see in our communities of the most brightest, the most, uh, you know, uh, gifted, the most talented, the people with that have, uh, uh, You know, done something with the giftings that God gave them in a, in a way always leave and it just leaves people behind to say, man, if I hit the lottery or I got a wicked joke shot off to catch a football, I’m leaving too.
You know what I’m saying? Right, right, right. And so I think what I love about relocation is that like it’s a sign to, to the generation coming behind you that your place that you live is a place to invest in, not just a place to. . Yeah. Yeah. And it, you know, it’s tripped out when we talk, when you talk about that, right.
I got four kids, um, that, and, and three of my kids, two of ’em are like, yeah, I can’t stay in Chicago. I’m leaving. Mm-hmm. . But one of ’em, she like, I ain’t going nowhere. I’m staying right here. , you know, she wants to remain right here. She’s comfortable and, and what other people may consider chaos and crazy.
But she’s like, no, this is home for me and I don’t have a desire to leave. So that’s good. That’s good. Yeah. The remainers, right? The remainers. The remainers, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Remainers. You know, I get that. I get that. I mean, the, the work of C C D A has. Um, has evolved from, um, you know, what way when it started back in, you know, Mendham, Mississippi and all the movements there, um, to being, uh, uh, pursuing to be more, you know, relevant, like you’re talking about that, that, uh, living in the neighborhood piece or the, uh, relocation re, you know, uh, redistribution.
The, the ebb and flow of what once was when it first started may look a little. That’s right. I know. So many years later, and CCDA is about almost 40 something years old now too, right? Something like that. Yeah, it’s, yeah, it is. Late thirties, mid to late thirties. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Same thing. You know, one of the key changes, I think, you know, until you could talk to this too, ruckus, it’s like Yo, C C D A was all about.
Um, trying to see communities transition or transformed, but when you start thinking about the ills of like gentrification and what it’s meant for people to move back into the community, we’ve had to think about what language and what that really means because, You could have a community transform, but then the people that’s been dealing with the ills all these years before when it was neglected and disinvested in, now all of a sudden money flowing in and all this stuff, and them, people can’t afford to live there anymore and they could get kicked out.
So CC d a has also had to think not just about, you know, Community development, but we’ve had to have a focus on justice and on just living and what it looks like to make sure that the poor are not kicked out as communities are transformed and Right. And, and another thing is that we talk about relocation and you come from a place that, um, you know, maybe privileged or what have you, and you’re passionate about this work and you have a skill as whether it’s construction or whether it’s business or whether it’s, uh, leadership or, or medicine or whatever.
You gotta recognize you gotta do a lot more. To be engaged in the residents in the community. What’s crazy about the black community is, we’ll, we’ll welcome you as a white person coming in often have a lot more friendlier than a black person just moved in the neighborhood. Right? . It’s interesting in that context, I, I, that said that said, uh, you know, slave mentality in some regards, I think it’s says a whole, whole history of that piece.
But what I’m saying is there are folks who moved into the. Who have, um, just walked right from their house to where they gotta work at, with their head down, not speaking to nobody. Uh, and then the residents I know in the neighborhood why the white folks ain’t speaking to nobody. Well, what’s up with that
I don’t know. Why don’t you just, just get their attention, say what’s up to ’em? I can’t tell you why, but the reality is that. Become, I’m gonna form, I’m gonna form my clan within the people I’m safe with in this area, but I’m not gonna, I’m not really alert to attentive to the holistic move of why I’m even here.
Like, are you gonna attend the alderman’s meeting? Are you gonna go to CAPS meeting the, you know, community area police, and are you gonna go to the. School council meeting, are you gonna fi, are you gonna vote for, you know, the different people on the school board or whatever cases. So now we see you at the spot.
Now you become not only just this, this person who just moved here and the white person, blah, blah, blah, but you become a part of this culture and that that. Uh, and this, and I’m saying all this cause the evolution, evolution, e evolution of C C D A, it, I think there’s been a lot, a lot more tension or, or, or begins to be more attention around those particular instances that, that, that happened kind of, uh, on, on, on accident per se.
Cuz you came here with this intention, but nobody really says anything to you about it. And they’re just kinda like, great, we’re gonna. We’re gonna benefit from this person who’s here, but we’re really not gonna say nothing cuz we don’t know what else to say. But the fo the point is, is that being a, being intentional about living in the neighborhood means that you are also intentional about engaging the neighborhood.
You know what I’m saying? You’re intentional about, Um, having folks to, uh, to be, uh, um, one with in the community, you know? Yeah. We mentioned CC d a, um, in light of ministry wise and Terrence’s involvement, um, my involvement in, in, in Pastor Jay, for those of you who are listening, as we’re explaining the ministries we serve, as we’re, as we’re, as we’re, uh, uh, doing this radio, it mimic.
The ministry ministries we serve. And if you’re unfamiliar with them, we want you to go look up Ladale Community Church, look up, um, C C D A, um, Christian Community Development Association, the conference, this year’s gonna be in November, something like that. In South Carolina, North Carolina, Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlotte, North Carolina, right?
And so being able to go check it out, there’s probably gonna be some things online as well, but there is, um, a, a movement of God I believe in, in, in, in, in this work, uh, where there is, uh, um, folks. I’m trying to be relevant, not trying to be, but engaging the relevancy of, of, of young people who are straight away from the church, move away from the church cuz they don’t see that tangible, realistic, um, touchable faith and having that, uh, having a ministry start from where the people are.
Uh, from there, um, I believe creates that much more organic space. You know, so matter where you are serving, you may say, I’m just coaching a baseball team. That might be the space where God’s got you meeting with those parents about what are the needs that go beyond baseball school and things like that.
That may be a c ct, a kind of model and that holistic effort that way. Yeah, definit. Yeah. Two other ministries that you’re also serving that, uh, you wanna touch base on and what, what you’re about. And, and, and Jay we didn’t do this, but where you’re, where, where folks can reach you a little bit more elaborately as, as that, but what other ministries that you serve that you wanna share on?
Yeah. Um, I, I serve at my church, Lawndale Community Church. Um, Man, I heard they got a great pastor. I, I, I heard so too. I heard so too. , . Um, you know, and of course the place where I work, uh, the Firehouse Community Arts Center, uh, which is a awesome place to, to work, and it’s an awesome pillar in the community for young people to come and be free.
And hundred hundred, it’s a neutral ground for the gangs in our community where they can come as well. And. Get work, get mentorship, get pushed to the next level in life. Um, and so I get to, to work with some awesome young people there. Um, of course the, the Crucible Project is another ministry I serve, and then there’s the Foster Foundation.
Which is the, the family, my kids, my wife that I get to serve every day. the Foster back. I like the Foster Foundation Foundation and donations. That’s where majority of his money go. Y’all. He needs, he need donations for the Foster Donations Foundation can be delivered to mail to.
That’s good. That’s good. Y’all, I’m glad that you mentioned, um, both the Firehouse and Cruc. Um, I just wanna make sure, you know, Phil is very humble, y’all, but me and DJ Ruckus, we both, like, we wouldn’t be doing what we doing right now without the example of Pastor Phil Jackson. And so, uh, he talks about the firehouse, but really, man, I, I was introduced to Lawndale by, uh, by Pastor Phil, uh, when he started the house back in the day,
And so when we come. Let’s talk to Pastor Phil. We got questions answered. Got to Woo. Church on the block. Phil, talk about hiphop, the church in the streets. What’s good. So we back and, uh, this is your boy DJ Ruckus. You’ve had a opportunity to, to just to hear some of the ministries that Pastor J has served at.
What he’s doing, uh, his, his day-to-day operations, what that looks like in his life, what his heart is, and you got to hear some of the stuff, uh, about my life and all the ministries that I’m in, I’m involved in. But you know, as Jay said before, we, we went on a break. Neither one of us and probably a whole lot of other people wouldn’t be where we are today.
if it wasn’t for Pastor Phil. So, Phil, talk to us a little bit about your journey. Cause man, you, you, you got a powerful journey. So talk to us. Where’d you start at? Let’s, let’s take, let’s go on this journey with you. Yeah. Okay. Be bet. . So I’m from the west side of Kansas City, Missouri. Uh, I’m born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.
crazy. KC baby. Yep. 25th and 27th. And, and, um, and, um, served ministry, uh, with young people in the juvenile detention center. Man. So, so, you know, I was working in the juvenile detention center free, voluntarily going every day doing bible studies. Cause I knew I could not. do something with young people like, like I had to, uh, walk alongside, share the life of young where, where, where God had brought me from.
Right. You know, God, I believe delivers people two ways. He de delivers you from stuff and out of stuff, right? He took me out of a bunch of stuff and so I had to go. I felt this need. We created this thing called project come back. Well, at the same time I’m serving at a church. Uh, called St. James United Methodist Church, where Emmanuel Cleaver was the pastor who also married Kim and I.
And, um, he said, no, Phil, that’s ministry. I’m like, y’all work with kids in juvie? Like, I don’t know what you mean ministry. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I, I work with these kids in juvenile detention center and they come out and we have a project come back and they do 500, uh, community service hours and they get a job and.
He said, no, that’s ministry. And so here I’m at this Methodist church man, and, and I, I’m, he said, I want me on breakfast. And oh, God’s called you to, to, to this ministry. And I started working with a youth ministry. And, and from there, man, I just could not, not let that go. A as well as just the reality of making the word real man, yo God is crazy about you.
And, and yet, oftentimes in the churches I grew up in, it was all always about, which is not a problem. But the deed of God seemed to be untouchable to. Stuff I was dealing with, right. And being able to make, make that tangible inside of juvie and on the streets and, and in church. And so from there, I, I left, uh, the United Methodist system.
Cause I did not want to travel every three years to another church or another city and things like that. Um, and ended up coming to Poeo Baptist Church where. Tony Evans was discipled by, by Pastor Briscoe and a lot of great pastor, a lot of brothers and civil rights movement were touched by Pastor Briscoe.
And, um, just ordained me there. And I was there for a couple years as a youth pastor and we did some hip hop stuff. We did some plays. We brought these kids in from the project. We did this evangelism stuff on the block. And, uh, different stuff we, we were doing there was new in in that kind of aggress aggressive kind of way within Kansas City, but it was normal to me and.
Carrie Casey, who was Copa, who was a COPA of Atlanta Community Church, was also National Urban Director of F C A, who was in Kansas City, said, Hey man, I’m moving to Chicago. To serve at this church. And then we came to visit and just fell in love and they had a position over for this youth pastor role.
And so we moved to London Community Church man, served as a youth pastor there. And from there, man was just, uh, um, going ballistic in life of stuff with young people, man, doing crazy stuff from, from trips to camp to stuff locally in the hood, um, hitting the block. Day, uh, tap on the shoulders of the guys who I knew would never come that way to the church.
Now they came to the gym. We had a gym ministry. They would come there and hoop, uh, a couple of crazy incidences happened, right? And, uh, some of ’em guys are on staff now at the firehouse from some of those crazy incidences. And, uh, just beginning to recognize that man. Um, there’s a, there’s a whole ton of young people who.
Resonate with this gospel, you know, and, and hip hop raised me up, you know, old school hip hop, uh, from back in the day. And so I was like, what could we do with some young people? We started a church that way, man. And so we met with some young people and said, okay, if you were an alien and you were trying to tell people about God or church, like what, what would you tell ’em?
Well, what kind of church would you happen to go to? Will, first of all, can no church announcements. You can have a bunch of choirs in the ba, all these different things. I said, what if they said hip hop? They had to have some engagement with the congregation and do something back and forth. And so out of that conversation in, um, from oh two to oh three, Um, birth, this conversation about having a church called the House, and we named it the House because we believe that in the conversation, everything starts in the house.
You, you first learn to walk in the crib, like you, you, your family raises you in the house. So your first teachers, your mama in the house, right? And so we believe that unless the Lord builds that house, right? Those are labor, labor and vain. And so let’s go back to that house , right, right, right, right. , right.
And so, man, we. Uh, an intentionality to make sure that, that we didn’t do anything that you felt like you were gonna. Uh, this is gonna happen at, at your own church, right? And we wanted to make sure that we, not trying to snatch you from that church either. If your mom and them say, you know, we gonna keep going on Sunday.
You go to that church on Saturday, you better come, you better be ready on Sunday morning. We didn’t wanna be about like, snatching you from another spot. We wanted to be real relevant and respectful. Those are three Rs. That I believe are embedded in hip hop. Uh, when I say respectful, meaning they embrace the inclusivity of everybody.
They may not be respectful on a dis record . They may not be disrespectful on a battle, but they’re gonna be respectful in the culture and and embracing inclusivity. So in the context of that, that’s our, our, our mode man. And we, man, we had crazy, uh, amount of young people coming in the. Saturday of every month, man, we had four or 500 young people coming out, and we didn’t know how to handle it, really.
We, we weren’t ready for it, per se. I, I don’t think I was like, yo, what do we do? How do we disciple these cats? And every Monday we met at Bible said we, and we flushed out what we want that service to look like. And young people made it happen, man. And uh, we are now in conversations trying to see if we can meet on this Saturday about the house, how we could rebirth that.
That was oh three is when it. Um, and so we believe that the house is still alive and live of other people. There’s a lot of folks that are involved. Some folks talk to me about doing a documentary on the house, like, like they’re trying to meet with different people who experience the house and things like that.
So I’m like, man, that that’d be the bomb. And, and from that though, young people are like, yo, we do this art stuff every Monday. We here doing this. Can we do the arts every day? Like, where’s the space? That’s a great idea. So we started doing art inside the church, Lana Community. , uh, well then at that time I was, um, uh, associate pastor and, and, um, like over, over kind of use of a Terrence Gassen, Dr.
Terrence Gaston, uh, was a youth pastor. DJ Rocco. DJ Rocom, right? . And, uh, he, uh, was great dj, great preacher, great leader. And um, and so from there we were doing all these different art things in the building and then we. Firehouse in Chicago Fire Station, um, in oh seven. And from there, the Firehouse Community Arts Center was born.
That is the, the outburst of young people hearing and listening to young people. And the seven art disciplines came from the young people. Right. And we had two big community meetings. The young people were there, passed out the surveys. and the community said, yeah, we want, we want to see this in our neighborhood.
And so I believe ebb and flow of people staying in Lawndale, moving and living and staying, coming back and forth, we’ve seen that proof that they see this as a valuable, valuable place. And our mission at the firehouse is to interrupt the cycle of violence and the life of youth and young adults, uh, through the power of arts and faith.
Um, no, the mission of our is to interrupt the second of violence in North Lawn. Among the lives of youth and young adults through the power of arts and faith. And so we want kids who, uh, are not involved in that, but maybe, maybe they’re not perpetrators of violence, but they’re, uh, exposed to it. And so that’s that 13 to 18 group that are involved in afterschool programs, um, dance and tech and, you know, DJ classes and audio engineering and film.
And then those who are involved in that, who need some, uh, strength and support to, to find another path, be involved in our v i p violent interruption work, right? With Terrence Foster, DJ Ruck, who’s a great navigator mentor. And as we continue to find houses to be putting guys in, we’ll lead that whole arm of our work where guys can really grow in a place that they can, their days can match their nights while they’re, while they’re in that space.
Right? And so that’s a little bit. That journey like that man. Um, it’s all. You know, it doesn’t come outta anywhere else, but like all of us, right out of our own DNA n right. Our DNA in this kinda work, right? So we could be at the grocery store talking a little shortly, like, what’s your name, man? What’s your own, you know,
Yeah. So, yes. So tell me, uh, uh, what, what are some of the, the big name Christian artists that have come through the house, uh, when the house was up and running? . They probably weren’t even big name artists back then. They were probably just . Yep. Yep. Nobody said, and, and, and now they’re big artists. So talk to us.
Yeah. We had name drop. We want a name. Drop Name Drop Phil. Name Drop . When we had one 16 click. One 16 click was there. We had, uh, Lara, you know, we’ve had, um, grits. Yeah. Uh, from back in the day. Corey read it. Uh, uh, what’s my man at a, at a Cleveland man? Uh, uh, drama. Krama Krama. Yeah. You know, um, we’ve had, um, well we had a one Swift when A one Swift was together.
A one. Swift was rocking, right? Yeah. Uh, cross movement. The cross movement. Yeah. Yeah. That was crazy. We had overflow in the overflow. We had monitors and TVs and spaces, . We even, we even bought pizza for people. Who in the overflow? Man. Thank y’all. Yeah. Yeah. Um, you know, we’ve had some great, um, artists locally that have really don’t done, done, done well.
Uh, you know, um, uh, C dub. Um, you know, uh, we’ve had, um, gemstones, gemstones who used to rock with, uh, used to rock with Lupe and, uh, yo man, it’s just, um, a, a, a blessing to really see. Because when you’re in the midst of what you’re doing, oftentimes you don’t necessarily know what all is happening. Really.
You’re in the midst of it. Yeah. You know, you, and then you look up and you’re like, wow. And, and talking to so many young people, a woman came to visit us, the, the fire the other day. Who knows? Your, your bride, uh, uh, ruckus and she worked for the city. She’s like, the house impacted my life. I was. , it was church, my church and the house, because school high school was horrible for me.
And just seeing, and now she’s working with the City of Chicago and doing some great work in her own ministry stuff. But just knowing that, that moment in time and continuing to look at what God is leading us to do next, um, God had that work in that way, man. It’s just, Crazy. You’re missing out on one that you gotta shout out, man.
And there was like, there was people who came to Lawndale or came to the house, but there were other young people who were developed at the house. They were developed in Lawndale and like Aaron McCain also known as Cannon. Yes. One of the dopest MCs outright. Now in the Christmas circle, that’s pa, like that is Pastor Field DJ Rock on.
That’s they. Influence on this young man at his heart for why, how he makes music now, man, that’s why his music is played. Of course, even outside of like Christian, like his music is played in all areas because he understands what it means to do holistic ministry and to be real about your heart, man. So I just wanted to make sure you ain’t miss out.
I’m, I’m, I’m in my head like trying to think all these different things, man. Thank you for Catch me . Well, look, I was gonna see him if you, if Jay didn’t, so I’m glad you gotta say it because. It is a beautiful thing when people. , uh, we, we always get these flock of young people, mostly white kids, coming to, to Lawndale and hear about the stories.
And I, I love to take ’em in Phil’s office and I’d be like, anybody here listening to Christian hip hop? And they’d be like, yeah. I’d be like, y’all know who Canon is? They’d be like, yeah. I’m like, that’s his picture right there. This is what, this is his home . This is where he started it. I love to tell that story because it is a part of the story.
He is a part of the story. That’s right. That’s right. You know, so that’s. A big part of the story. Jesus, in my hood, I still got that video. Boy, that thing was so biblical. Like, like the, the, the, the incarnation. Jesus in my hood did his own video to boy video, did his own videos, did his own music, everything.
Man, we had out world, you know what I’m saying? We had wow. Anti world. Even Jay Quests, Jay Quests and Andre Verbal Quest. Man, they were, they were house MCs man. Like we had Mike. And the crew called Holy Coach. Holy Culture. Yes. Yes. The Holy Coach. They call themselves the tc. I was like, yo, y’all got the t c This is we about some weed.
What y’all on the, we, we . You know, I, I, I’ll say this, man. I, I’m, I’m, I’m sad that I am jealous that I did not get to meet you. in the earliest stages of when the house was going, because I hear all the stories and I’m like, man, I missed out on something epic. But at the same time, I still got to meet and be a part of it.
You know, I got two little cousins, they’re in their thirties. They tell me they went to a church called Living Word Christian Center. Yes. Pretty big church on, uh, the west suburbs of, of, outside of Chicago. But their youth pastor took them to the house and they tell these stories. How it was lines outside and they had to sit in the overflow room and stuff like that.
So again, just man, thank you Phil, for the impact you’ve had in so many people’s lives, including our owns. And so, man, I, I just wanna say thank you and I appreciate you cuz I wouldn’t be in a lot of different places if you were not, if I hadn’t met you when I. Praise God. I probably have a little bit more money in my pocket too, , right?
Wouldn’t we all
right? Oh man. Well, I, I praise God for y’all brothers, man. You, you know, this ministry ministry’s a journey, right? And, um, That journey can’t be alone. Right. And partnering with y’all men through the ups and downs of life stuff, first of all. And then ministry stuff has been able to give a breath of fresh air to, to me and to all of us to be able to, hi, I ain’t in this alone.
You know? And, and it, and it don’t mean that we gonna solve each other’s problem, it just means that we’re gonna talk, we’re gonna listen, we’re gonna journey and, um, carry each other’s birds as God would lead us to do that. You know what I’m saying? Um, uh, This is our work, y’all. This is our work, you know?
Um, where can you catch you up at, uh, pastor J? Where can we? Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, so I just wanted to give you a few things. Phil talked about it. You can find, uh, you can reach me, of course at Pastor J on social media, P A S T A H J, and there hopefully you can link to all the ministries I’m connected to.
Lawndale Church, Lawndale Christian Development Corporation, Lawndale Christian Health Center, Lawndale Christian Legal Center. Um, from there you can catch, you can get to all those things just by following. And also, uh, ccba.org. So thank you. Uh, ruckus. Yeah, you can find me at, on Instagram at, uh, R Boy C three 12 c h i, ruck boy three 12 c h i.
Um, the Firehouse Community Art Center, Lawndale Community Church. Uh, the Crucible Project, I mean, the list goes. But if you want to really find me, come on to Chicago and come to the Firehouse Community Arts Center and I’ll give you a tour. Yeah. Yes sir. Dropping bars. Young doctor was called in the ER early in the morning and he was tired.
He was trying to get somebody else to do this particular surgery and, and just, just staying at his place. But he couldn’t do it. And they were like, doc, you’re the best one to work on. This kid. His kids got internal bleeding. He got hit by a car riding his bike. And so the doc got up early in the morning, it’s call, it was cold, it was his in Chicago and it was Cook County Hospital.
And he gets in his car and his snow on the window and it’s ice a little bit and he’s. Going down the the road and every once in a while he’d get out and kind of scrape some of the stuff off of his car so he could see. And um, he gets to a stoplight right as he about to hit the highway man. And he saw a guy with a brown coat and a brown hat as he got out to kind of scrape some of the ice off.
And this guy with a brown. Coat and a brown hat grabbed him. Grabbed, you know, just moved him outta the car, said I gotta get to the hospital. And, and, and moved him out the way and jumped in his car, took off to the hospital. Well, this is back in the day with no Ubers and Lyfts and had a, and even no cell phone.
So 45 minutes later he gets to the hospital, by the way, of the police and others helping him. And, um, he walks in and the doctors, the other doctors, the nurse said A boy passed. We couldn’t help the father’s in the ER though, if you wanna go see him. So the father is in the er. The doc is still shooken up by this.
He goes into the ER and he sees a man with a brown hat and a brown coat. The source to cure this boy’s ailment. Ailment was the doctor that he pulled out of the car. I wonder how many times in my life have I pulled Christ out of the way and substituted from my way? My challenge to you today is trust in the Lord.
Trust in the Lord that his way is greater than your way. Even in the midst of whatever you may be facing right now, even in the midst of pain and trauma, God can make a way. Yo, this is Pastor Phil. I’m out Church on the block. We talk about hip hop, the church in the streets. We’ll talk to you next week.