Rain, gang doesnt halt impact
of newly formed congregation
(December 9, 2001)
More than 400 people, including
gang members, accepted Jesus as Lord during an evangelistic outreach
in Chicago in conjunction with the grand opening of Chicago City Church
Reaching the neighborhood:
Pastors Chris and Monica DeLaurentis conduct an altar call during
the outreach in Chicago.
"What a wild week and a half
it was," says Pastor Chris DeLaurentis. "Half of our events
were battered with rain. Yet, we passed out hundreds of raincoats to
people and many decided to stay. Every night the altars were packed."
The crusade consisted of preaching,
rap music, food, a kids crusade, and giveaways of shoes, clothing and
It rained so much one night that
the crusade was moved into the church gym for a concert by the rap group
D.O.C. and for preaching. When the skies cleared up, the neighborhood
gang threw its annual block party as a memorial to a fallen gang member/drug
dealer down the street.
When gang members asked church members
if they could borrow some tables, Pastor Monica DeLaurentis agreed if
the outreach could be moved to the block party. Gang members consented
because the rap group could perform.
"In the past two years, over
a dozen people have been shot at this block party," Chris says.
"However, we went anyway."
During set up, some younger gang
members began threatening Monica and church members. "I knew we
would not get out with our equipment," Monica says. "The gang
would take over after we were finished."
When Monica prayed, she looked up
and saw that a police Special Weapons and Tactics team had surrounded
the site. She later learned no city permit had been obtained for the
party. Nevertheless, police allowed D.O.C. to rap one more song and
for Monica to preach a short sermon. After a message on "Can You
Feel the Pain?" dozens of people came forward weeping.
On grand opening Sunday, more than
200 adults and 100 children came to services under a tent at the Chicago
"Over the week, we saw 400
people come to Christ from single hurting moms standing in the
rain for a glimmer of hope to hardened gang members who only came to
stop us," Monica says. "But God intervened."