Many people across the US have a heart for so-called “inner city” ministry. The density of cities brings special needs and opportunities for ministry. Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ, Int’l) has been reaching out to people in the hearts of America’s cities for several years as “Cru Inner City”, formerly known as “Here’s Life Inner City”.
Cru has been working for decades to bring hope to people in the heart of cities
Cru’s inner city ministry has garnered recognition from major news sources for years as they shed light on the issues that are relevant to cities. Homelessness, poverty, and hunger are real issues in these urban centers, and Cru brings real material help to people, along with a message of hope and love, based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The history of Here’s Life Inner City
In the early 1980s, Cru founder Bill Bright was burdened by Cru’s lack of involvement in ministry that impacted and benefitted the poor. After a period of research and prayer, the ministry of Here’s Life Inner City was born, with a mandate to assist community leaders in America’s urban centers as they work to bring redemption and hope to their communities.
The work of Here’s Life opened up in New York City in 1983. Branches were later opened in Chicago and Los Angeles, and today Cru Inner City is active in 13 American cities.
The work started off simply, with programs like Boxes of Love, which focused on giving food and other necessities to urban families during the holidays. Over time, more long-term projects were launched, such as after-school programs and job development.
Cru Inner City today exists to serve and mobilize the church to live out God’s heart for the poor, so all can grow in Christ to build spiritual movements everywhere.
God’s heart is for the poor.
I have written before about how God is on the side of the poor. In his first recorded public address, Jesus said,
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
– Luke 4:18-19
Many of us see Jesus as a preacher, a Savior, and a teacher, but we often fail to think of him in his role as a rescuer or, more specifically, as a sacrifice. Not only did he come to preach a message of hope and salvation — he came to be the very means or instrument by which we would be saved.
The unavoidable message in the greater story of the gospels is that Jesus did not just save us — he who was rich became poor, so that we, who were poor, could become rich beyond measure.
When we really understand just what he gave up to save us, our understanding of compassion changes. We no longer look at Jesus and hear, “we should give, we should help, we need to do more.” Instead, mindful of his great loss for our sake, we look at him, and ask, “how much can we give?”
If you’d like to know more about Cru Inner City, please visit their website here.