Curt Flewelling, FISM News
Pastor Corey Brooks has had a vision to transform Chicago’s South Side for a long time. However, the passionate preacher’s way of bringing attention to the community’s troubles is rather unique.
The leader of New Beginnings Church spent nearly a year camping out on a Chicago rooftop in order to bring awareness to the growing problem of violence in the Windy City. He endured frigid conditions away from family, friends, and his church for 345 days.
Brooks’ exploits led to frequent media attention, helping the man of God raise a staggering $28.5 million to build a “transformational” community center in what the pastor describes as “one of the most violent blocks in all of the country.”
The humble servant believes God gave him a vision to build a center that would give Chicago youth hope in the midst of poverty, violence, and educational deficiencies. He admits that the task of raising the funds for the center was daunting.
“There are times when you just want to give up and throw in the towel, but when you are convinced that God is giving you a vision to do something, you gotta be convinced that He’ll also give you the provisions,” Pastor Corey told the Edifi With Billy Hallowell Podcast.
Brooks runs Project H.O.O.D., an organization whose mission is to end senseless violence, end recidivism, and build communities, one neighborhood at a time. The organization has set a lofty goal of raising $35 million to fund the community center project.
The new community center will be well-equipped to tackle the challenges of the neighborhood head-on. It will boast a trade school, entrepreneurial school, health and wellness facility, computer technology center, media and arts center, pool, restaurants, theater, basketball courts, and a trauma counseling center.
The community leader knows there will be pushback from the gangs who will not relinquish what they consider “their turf” quietly, but his reliance on God and his commitment to the young people in the neighborhood keep him hopeful.
Brooks is humbled by the outpouring of love and financial support he is receiving from all across the country.
He sums up his mission by saying, “I want the young people in our neighborhood to have an opportunity to live the American dream.”