March 22, 2014 a group of estimated 200 teenagers gathered near the Big 4 bridge in Louisville, Ky to remember a friend who was stabbed days earlier and had died that day. The group was dispersed from the area and went through the city attacking random people and looting a gas station.
When watching the video from the security camera’s at the gas station(Baders Market), it resembles a scene from the LA riots.
The city has since been in a form of panic and unrest over the recent news. There have been numerous article and social media petitions over how to handle these encounters. Some people are claiming their right to bear arms and daring people to mug them, others are crying for actions to be made by parents.
Many people are alarmed, concerned and in fear.
These stories remind me of two heroes of mine from past generations, David Wilkerson and Tom Skinner. Both of these men dealt with teen and gang violence in New York City.
David Wilkerson has an amazing story that led him to start Times Square Church in New York City. He is most known for his book The Cross and the Switchblade which details the true story of how he went from being a rural pastor to moving to NYC with the intention of reaching gangs for Jesus.
Tom Skinner was the leader of the Harlem Lords street gang who had dozens and dozens of notches on his knife(for those he stabbed). He was listening to the radio one night and planning the biggest gang fight New York would ever see when he got the wrong (in hindsight the right station) DJ for the station he regularly listened to. He heard the good news of Jesus Christ, quit his gang and gave his life to Christ. He went on to become an amazing preacher who heavily influenced my life.
What our city needs is simple. It’s not just parents committed to raising their children, although we do need that. It’s not just safety and protection in urban area’s(Police and Cameras) to prevent violence, though I see how that will be helpful. Our city needs Jesus.
The churches need to pray for Tom Skinners to emerge from the youth of our city. The church needs to keep sending David Wilkerson’s into the lives of youth.
Programs and Activities are good and all, but these are heart problems. What is needed is the gospel of Christ. Otherwise we are treating symptoms and not the problem.