Dr. Andre’ LaNier is on a mission to aid those in need while spreading Christian teachings.
The Promote Jesus Chicago initiative is located in the Washington Heights community on the far South Side. The church is 13 years old and www.PromoteJesusChicago.com is 3 years old.
The initiative has 3 primary objectives in its foundation: Hope, Housing, and Help. Each of these utilizes 1/3 of the initiative’s budget.
The initiative wants to foster Hope in the community through spreading Jesus’ teachings and how a relationship with Him can lead to a purpose in one’s life. They wish to do so through various forms of print, social, digital, radio, and TV medias. Secondly, they wish to tangibly show their teachings through Housing by rebuilding the neighborhoods and tending to long-vacant homes. The Promote Jesus Chicago budget will renovate homes and ultimately build an environment that will inspire positivity amongst its residents. Third, the initiative will better communities not just through house renovation, but also through charity. The last 1/3 of the budget goes toward providing masses of goods the community is in need of. Food, clothing, toys, and school supplies are among these items. They have also held camps for the youth to foster their creativity through exploring art, music, and film. Another example is they’ve donated $30,000 in grants to African American businesses. As Dr. LaNier says, “We want to not just teach our community to fish, but we want to teach them how they can own the whole pond.” Ultimately, the initiative preaches while also putting its funds into practice.
Their website details the work already done and their plans: “To date, we have purchased and totally renovated two homes that have attracted two new families to the community. We’re currently completing our third home, with a 4th, a 5th and a vacant lot already under ownership, just awaiting renovation resources.. However, this barely scratches the surface when considering the over 100 abandoned homes and vacant lots in our targeted 3-mile focus area, but together, we can make the difference.” LaNier believes that seeing people rebuild the community, having economic diversity present, and having strong family foundations populating those communities all factor into one’s attitude and wellbeing. “The livelihood is driven by the landscape,” he said. The initiative aims to revitalize the community from the inside out and display the transformational power of God through tangible means.
Dr. LaNier detailed the beginnings of the Promote Jesus Chicago Initiative. He grew up in the kinds of neighborhoods he aims to improve. At first, he always thought he would be a businessman and was studying business. He then became a lender to churches where he learned the financial practices of running them. Later he would feel a stronger passion for working for God and thus began his work as a pastor. Eventually he would have his own church and began pursuing an interest that he feels is the most transformative part of his journey; becoming a leader in the community through God. All along, he believes God wove his past to his present. His financial and business-oriented background helped plant the seeds for what he’d need to achieve the goals he has today for the good of the community. He, like many, has a passion to help others and his life’s changes have built the skills needed to turn that passion into action.
Something he stressed was that they are not a megachurch. To them, one’s seating capacity does not dictate one’s ministry capacity. LaNier wants a stronger emphasis to be put toward community. He speaks of Christianity at its core beliefs; using your own life to help others. He expressed that although they can’t change the whole neighborhood all at once, they can change a block at a time and all of those blocks will add up over time. The ability to simply show consistent progress in the neighborhood is what truly matters to the success of the initiative.
Along with Dr. LaNier’s story, he described his idea of purpose. His consistent method to identify purpose boils down to 2 questions: “What gives you life?” and “What gives you grief?” Where those two meet is usually your purpose. Whatever excites you when done well and frustrates you when done poorly means you care about it most. For LaNier, his life was seeing communities transform into flourishing ones, and his grief was found in seeing communities broken without anyone acting to better them.
What Dr. Andre’ LaNier ended off with was to make all of these acts of public service a reality, donations are the key. The initiative needs help to achieve these goals and can’t do it on their own. Their goal is to raise $5 Million dollars by December 31st of 2023. Every donation brings a child, a family and the community closer to becoming devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
As they end every worship with,
“Remember, everything is conquerable.”
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