Street Saints

Renewing America’s Cities

Barbara J. Elliott

Foreword by Ambassador Daniel R. Coats

Based on eight years of hands-on experience and more than 300 interviews, Street Saints is both a book of motivational stories about unsung heroes and a sociological study of the "faith factor," documenting faith-based programs that are treating social maladies in America. This book takes readers on a tour of communities and institutions in America where faith-based initiatives are making a difference. It offers inspiration, role models, and guidelines for people who would like to give back to their own communities.

Street Saints website at www.streetsaints.com.

Foreword / xi

Ambassador and former U.S. Senator Daniel R. Coats

Acknowledgments / xvii

Introduction: Barbara J. Elliott / xix
A brief overview of this book’s tour through America’s cities

Part I. The People: Portraits of Street Saints

1. American Street Saints in Action / 3

  • Kirbyjon Caldwell: Windsor Village and the Power Center, / 3
    Wall Street broker-turned-pastor sparks urban transformation that inspired George W. Bush (Houston, TX)
  • Freddie and Ninfa Garcia: Victory Fellowship of Texas, / 9
    Former addicts help thirteen thousand leave drugs in Hispanic communities (San Antonio, TX) 
  • Cordelia Taylor: Family House, / 15
    Reclaiming a city block from drug dealers to create a haven of peace for the elderly poor (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Eugene Rivers: Ten Point Coalition, / 21
    Turning gang members to God in the inner city (Boston, MA)

2. John Perkins: Raw Violence and Reconciliation / 24

  • The journey from rage to reconciliation and restoration of impoverished communities

3. Brian King: A Gangster Disciple / 40

  • A Chicago gang member and drug dealer turned apostle

Part II. The Programs: What Works and Why, as Street Saints Change Lives

4. Rescuing America’s At-Risk Kids / 55

  • Casa de Esperanza: / 57
    Healing abused and abandoned children (Houston, TX)  
  • Kids Hope USA, / 62 
    Pairs one mentor, one child, one church, one school (Holland, MI, 217 partnerships nationally)
  • Urban Ventures, / 69
    Transforming at-risk youth and their entire neighborhood (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Cornerstone Schools, / 72 
    Raising the bar for academic performance in the inner city (Detroit, MI)
  • The Oaks Academy, / 76 
    Classical education with wraparound renewal (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Religion and At-Risk Youth, / 80 
    Research on the “faith factor”

5. Transforming Offenders and Victims / 83

  • InnerChange Freedom Initiative, / 85 
    Faith-saturated prison program reduces recidivism (TX, MN, IA, KS)
  • Bridges to Life, / 92 
    Face-to-face reconciliation between victims and inmates (seven prisons in TX)
  • No More Victims, / 99
    Reaching out to angry youth left behind (Houston, X)
  • Amachi, / 102 
    Mentoring children of prisoners by mobilizing churches (Philadelphia, PA, replicating nationally)
  • Craine House, / 106 
    Keeping women prisoners and their babies together (Indianapolis, IN)

6. Faith, Health, and Holistic Change / 110

  • Holistic Welfare-to-Work, / 111
    Provides more than a job
  • Transitional Living, / 112
    New Hope Serving the Homeless 
  • Open Door Mission (Houston, TX), / 112
    Wheeler Mission Ministries (Indianapolis, IN), / 115
  • Interfaith Housing Coalition (Dallas, TX), / 116
    Star of Hope (Houston, TX), / 117 
  • Leaving Addiction: Teen Challenge, / 118
    Breaking the cycle of drug addiction through faith intervention
  • Where Faith, Health, and Human Behavior Intersect, / 121
    Scientific research on the effects of faith on healing

7. Social Entrepreneurs / 126

  • Pura Vida: Coffee with a Cause (Seattle, WA, and Costa Rica), / 128
  • Resources: Turning Immigrants into Entrepreneurs (Brooklyn, NY), / 132
  • Step 13: Putting Recovering Addicts and Alcoholics to Work (Denver, CO), / 137
  • Jobs Partnership: Mentoring into the workplace (Raleigh, NC, now replicated in twenty-seven cities), / 139 
  • Brookwood Community: Micro-enterprises for the handicapped (Brookshire, TX), / 142 

Part III. The Cities: A Vision as Big as the City—Street Saint Strategies

8. The Nehemiah Strategy / 149

  • Robert Woodson: National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise
    Fostering renewal at the grassroots level (Washington, DC), / 156
  • Luis Cortes: Nueva Esperanza
    Giving Latinos hope, homes, jobs, and education Philadelphia, PA), / 161 

9. As Famous for God as Steel: Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation / 165

  • Reid Carpenter and John Stahl-Wert, / 165
  • Pittsburgh Youth Network, / 167 
  • Pittsburgh Community Storehouse, / 168
  • East Liberty Family Health Care Center, / 170
  • City as Parish: Equipping the Church as a Body, / 170
  • Leadership Foundations of America, / 175

10. Savvy Saturation: Memphis Leadership Foundation / 179

  • Larry Lloyd and Howard Eddings, / 179
  • Urban Youth Initiative, / 181
  • Memphis Athletic Ministries, / 184
  • Christ Community Health Services, / 186 
  • Neighborhood Housing Opportunities, / 188
  • Economic Opportunities, / 190
  • Mediation and Restitution/Reconciliation Services, / 192 
  • Urban Plunge, / 193
  • Oasis of Hope, / 195
  • Streets, / 195
  • For the Kingdom Camp and Retreat Center, / 196
  • Multinational Ministries, / 197
  • Hope Christian Community Foundation, / 197 
  • Questions to Ask Before You Give to a Faith-Based Organization, / 198 

11. One by One Leadership: Equipping and Connecting in Fresno / 200

  • H. Spees and Kurt Madden, / 200
  • Genesis of a Movement: No Name Fellowship, / 201 
  • Apartment Intervention: Care Fresno, / 202
  • Downwardly Mobile Relocation, / 203
  • Stewardship for the Soul of the City, / 204 
  • Neighborhood-Based Community Development, / 205
  • Mentoring for Families and Youths, / 208
  • City Builders Roundtable, / 210
  • City as Parish, / 210
  • Pastors Clusters, / 212
  • Improving Achievement for Children, / 214
  • City Builders Campus, / 215
  • Family Leadership Connection, / 215
  • Lessons Learned, / 216
  • How One by One Works Citywide: Best Practices for Intermediaries, / 217
  • A Conversation with H. Spees, / 222

Part IV. The Big Picture: Faith at Work in America’s History: The Beliefs That Motivate Street Saints Today

12. The Roots of American Compassion 227

  • The Truth about Church and State, / 228
  • Faith and the Founders, / 231
  • A City on a Hill, / 232
  • The Fruits of Faith, / 235
  • Compact and Covenant, / 236
  • Conclusive Christian Convictions, / 236
  • What Alexis de Tocqueville Saw, / 238
  • Fostering America’s Soul, / 239
  • The Contemporary Conflict Zone, / 241
  • Americans Are “Bowling Alone,” / 242
  • Mall as Modern Temple, / 243
  • Seeking Secular Salvation, / 246
  • The Ambiguous Embrace of Government, / 248
  • What’s Needed Is a Change of Heart, / 252

Conclusion: A Kingdom of Vision / 255

  • The “Wounded Healer”: Henri Nouwen, / 255
  • The “Kingdom at Hand”: Dallas Willard, / 258
  • From the UN to the Inner City, / 259
  • Why the Seepage after Sunday? / 260
  • Lacking Discipleship, / 261
  • The Crucial Intersection, / 262
  • Faith Is the Root, Love Is the Fruit, / 263
  • The Tao: C.S. Lewis, / 265
  • The Social Justice Tradition, / 267
  • The Evangelical Tradition, / 269
  • The Contemplative Tradition: Mother Teresa, / 270
  • It’s about Our Hearts, / 275
  • How Do You Hear a Call? / 277
  • What to Expect If You Go, / 278

Appendix / 283

Notes / 291

Bibliography / 307

Index / 311