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Strategy, Overview, & History:
OVERVIEW & BRIEF HISTORY:
Director Scott Reese began witnessing in urban, gang infested areas at the age of 13. Throughout his teen years, Scott continued to aggressively share his faith in urban areas and started 4 High School Bible Clubs and 6 Sunday Afternoon Children's Bible Studies in the Ford Heights / Chicago Heights area.
Soon, Scott's team "took over" an abandoned building in Ford Heights to make into a Christian Clubhouse. They figured if the drug dealers could take over abandoned buildings for drugs and prostitution, they could "for the Lord".
Scott's love for basketball and the development of basketball programs provided many opportunities for ministry. Many lives were transformed through the power of God.
The people Scott and his volunteers were working with - teenagers, converted drug addicts, the poorest of the poor who did not own nice "Sunday Clothing", did not feel comfortable at some of the area churches...
So, in the early 1980's, Scott teamed up with David Gills and started the New Life Baptist Church at David's living room in "The Projects".
It was a humble beginning. We often laugh when we remember that one of our first pulpits was a Chitlin Bucket on a chair with a towel over it.
The church grew and more space was needed... One evening Scott was taking some kids home who lived in an upstairs apartment over a bar (owned by their mother). A family member met Scott, pointed a gun at him and shared that he would kill him if he ever saw him again. Tragically, the Mayor's son was murdered at this bar and they lost their liquor license. Shortly after, that same family approached Scott about renting the "bar" as a church and youth center.
New Life Baptist Church moved into this storefront located on Lincoln Highway and operated a church and youth center.
Since the church was unable to support a pastor, Scott began to raise funds as an urban missionary. We are especially grateful to Jim and Connie Sieferman for volunteering as the treasurer and secretary. Jim was also an elder at Thorn Creek Reformed Church.
Scott believed that God was going to give him a larger "Church" and actually took pen and paper and sketched what he thought it would look like. One day while driving in Chicago Heights he noticed a church that to his amazement looked like the one he sketched out to build someday. The church decided to pray at this location - the Immanuel Baptist Church, and soon the old beat up church van was loaded up with a group. Laying hands on that building, they prayed: " God you know we don't have any money but we pray that you would work a miracle for us and allow us to have services here".
Immanuel Baptist Church a graciously allowed us to have services there on Sunday afternoons.
This was also a traumatic time as the "Store Front Church and Youth Center" burned down and three attendees parished... it was also about this time that two volunteers who were witnessing for the church were hit by a shotgun blast to their faces. Gratefully both survived.
Speaking of trauma, it is important to note that Scott Reese has known personally over 100 people who have been murdered. He has been in the middle of gun battles and has participated in many gangland funerals. Scott was very close to many of the 100 + individuals who were murdered. Often their funerals and various situations brought high drama situations that you could only understand if you've been through it. This unusual fact is mentioned for two reasons: 1) To help better understand and pray for the needs of urban areas... 2) To also better understand and pray for Scott. To this day, Scott still faces some of the effects of Post Traumatic Stress and is praying for a complete recovery. Some events he went through he has not even shared in detail with anyone. Great progress has been made. When this condition was worse, we also realize that much of the communication and newsletters of our ministry revolved around all the people who were being killed instead of the souls who were saved and the lives that were transformed. Hopefully the long term supporters can better understand why.
The congregation of the church building were renting from declined as the neighborhood changed and closed down. We will always be grateful to the Mid-West Baptist Conference under the leadership of Rev. Bernie Tanis. They offered us that facility for only $25,000. This included a large auditorium, a full court gym, kitchen, cafeteria, showers, 11 Sunday School Rooms, offices, etc. (insured for over a million dollars). The Conference also understanding our financial condition, gave us one year to come up with the $1,000.00 down payment and then gave us a 0% loan allowing us to pay monthly whatever we could afford!
A dynamic church was established with a holistic ministry approach. Besides the many church worship services and Bible Studies many programs were added such as basketball programs, tutoring helps, an AA/NA program and outreach resources such as Christmas Toys, dinners, and food. New Life also held special Community Events, and activities like Vacation Bible School. One year they had "Barney the Bible Dinosaur" and had a high attendance of 354.
New Life Baptist Church became known in the community as the "Church that cares" and Scott served not only as pastor but also chaplain to the community.
After being pastor for about 18 years, Scott felt led to turn over the church, and the church voted Roy Patterson as the new Senior Pastor and David Gills remained as a vital Assistant Pastor.
Considering, his knowledge, experience, understanding of Urban Ministry, and the needs of Urban Missions, Scott felt the best investment of his time would be to encourage and empower Urban Ministers and their ministries instead of planting another Urban Church. This is quite common in foreign missions. An "American" missionary spends a couple decades establishing a church and then turns it over to local leadership. He then uses his vast experience to train leaders, empower ministries, and raise awareness of his mission field.
RRM does much to Resource, Empower, and Encourage Urban Ministers and their ministries (see links on the left).
Besides these various resource endeavors of RRM, Director SCOTT REESE, is ALSO involved with the following Urban Ministry endeavors:
* mentoring & discipleship of both new believers and Christian leaders in training.
* an after school safe house,
* Bible Studies,
* Youth activities and programs as funding allows,
* helping area people as a result of ministering in the same area for 30 years,
* organizing and promoting evangelistic outreaches to urban areas
* encouraging and helping Urban Ministers and leaders in various ways
STEP ONE: Raise awareness in "suburban" churches about the mission needs of poverty stricken local areas. I view it as the "Judaea" outreach plan/responsibility of Acts 1:8.
STEP TWO: Provide practical opportunities for the congregation / families / and Sunday School classes to empower local urban churches / ministries to do the work of the ministry. Also to involve suburban churches in other ways to help RRM empower these ministries.
STEP THREE: For RRM / Scott Reese through various ways (i.e. his urban ministry experience and contacts etc.) to empower, train, provide resources, help, and encourage urban ministers and churches.
STEP FOUR: For those interested, to develop a meaningful two - way relationship between urban churches and suburban churches. The backbone of this must be done by intentionally developing two-way relationships between individuals.
We strongly believe that the "Urban Church" has much to offer - often their greatest strengths - a fervent, vibrant, very necessary faith is what a "Suburban Church" needs most.
Assist Churches in racially changing areas in their intential endeavors to reach out in love to the entire community.
To assist people to grow in understanding of cultural issues, and how to minister to a wider congregational base.
To share ideas on how to develop sincere Christian Community in spite of diferences of world view, & culture.
To assist congregations to be extra sensitive to and committed to meeting the spiritual needs of both the majority and minority cultures. A multi-cultural church concept does not have to be feared for losing "Church" in a way that is meaningful to oneself. It can be embraced as an opportunity to grow spiritually and for both cultures to grow in the Christ Like behaviors of dieing to oneself, and the laying down of "rights" for the sake of the gospel.
Also to provide training and assistance to churches in the areas of ministering to the poor and resolving racial church conflict / issues.
URBAN PASTORS PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR IMPORTANT UPDATED INFORMATION
B.S. in Pastoral Theology - Hyles-Anderson College
Master of Ministry - Moody Bible Institute
(Multi-media classes were taken at Columbia College and Prairie State College)
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