Redeeming a Needy Neighborhood

Not all communities have too much. How one church brings the gospel to the economically distressed.

A consumer culture doesn't affect only those who have too much. It also affects those who don't have enough. One pastor who ministers in the middle of both plenty and scarcity is the Reverend Senator James Meeks.

Meeks bears that unusual dual title because he serves as pastor of Salem Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side, and as state senator in Illinois's 15th District.

In addition, he is executive vice president of the RainbowPUSH Coalition. He also is on the boards of directors of, among others, the Chicago Fire Department, Korean American Merchant Association, Roseland Community Hospital, and Olive Branch Mission.

Each summer, members of Salem Baptist take to the streets to pray on every corner of their neighborhood. They put shoe leather to their prayers by helping to transform the community in many ways, including countering violence, improving education, and removing corrupting influences.

As part of the Christian Vision Project, in which Leadership and sister publications Christianity ...

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