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Salem Forward

The Monichar

The MonichaR

Perhaps someone will ask, “What does #SalemForward (#SF) mean?” It could appear that our quest for forward motion or progress is a critique of the past and present. I can appreciate that line of thought. The last thing that #SF points to is a deficiency of the past. If anything, #SF is a recognition that the needs of our present and future require careful consideration.


The culture in which we find ourselves begs for a church that is grounded in the gospel, clear about its mission, and moves on the cutting edge. That’s our DNA as a church, isn’t it? Pastor and Mrs. Meeks planted a church that both understood and proclaimed the Gospel as the only hope for humanity. They also, rather boldly, propelled the church beyond its walls in a way that Chicago had not witnessed before. Then they led us in taking risks that kept the church on the cutting edge.



To accomplish the first phase of these goals, we are asking 3,000 members to give $1,500 above their tithes and offerings on or by Easter Sunday, April 9, 2022. This is a goal to which we aspire. Some of us can do a lot more, and some of us may have to commit to less. The goal is not equal giving, but it is marked sacrifice. If you do your part on, before, or shortly after the date, God will do His part and then some. Our prayer for you is that your heart would be right toward The Lord, and that your treasure will follow your heart.


We can tell you that we will need more money than this, but if our hearts are willing God will do more than we imagine.


Make the Pledge by clicking here:

We have envelopes available for your pledge

if you are giving in service.


You can give online by choosing the

Salem Forward fund on our giving page.


You can also set up weekly, bi-weekly and

monthly recurring payments.

Aesthetc Evangelism


Aesthetic Evangelism is a compound phrase that investigates the role of beauty, intentional artistry, and curated detail in the work of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Human beings were made to enjoy beauty. We think that this feature of our personhood is part of what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God Himself. God made the sun and set its temperature at 9,900 degrees fahrenheit. He tilted the earth on an invisible axis and positioned it just close enough to the sun to keep us from freezing and just far enough from the sun to keep us from burning up. To experience the sunset, therefore, is part of the artistry of God. All of nature, Psalm 8 says, is declaring the handiwork of God. That explains why we enjoy beauty. The Church would be wise to incorporate intentional artistry in our efforts to declare the wonder of God.


This is one of the nicest worship facilities in the world. It’s a kind of wonder in Chicago. The House of Hope communicates something about God. It tells of the bigness of God. In a world where faith is too often snuffed out by the cares of the world; or people find it impossible to imagine God’s movement in the earth, here is a building that speaks to the power of God to do big things. Every touch we impress on this facility should only enhance its message to those who walk its grounds.


For that reason, we endeavor to redesign and rebuild the concrete entrances at the gates of the House of Hope. We want the concrete embedded with scripture that reads, “I will enter His gates with Thanksgiving in my heart and His Courts with praise.” We want to redesign the concourses with a design specific to children and teens; a design where the walls include the words of scripture that affirm their persons and intrinsic value.


We want to pay special attention to the landscaping at each of our three campuses. It is our desire that everybody feels the warmth and shine of God’s glory as they approach His house.

Kids Minstry


It is safe to say that through the 90’s and early 2000’s Salem Baptist Church of Chicago held the most cutting-edge children’s and teen ministry. It’s part of our DNA to reach, disciple, and develop kids.


Names like Rev. Harvey Carey, Rev. Dearal Jordan, Rev. Willie Comer, and Rev. E. C. Cunningham brings to mind special seasons in the life of our church. Pastor and Mrs. Meeks led the church in the creation of a ministry that changed more than three generations. Added to that was the start of Salem Christian Academy, the school from which Pastor Charlie Dates and a host of others graduated. A significant component of #SalemForward is the reimagination of a contextualized dynamic kid’s ministry.


Our philosophy for kid’s ministry is to proclaim and manifest the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that captures the imagination of kids in Roseland and beyond. This will be a ministry that engages the children as much through the week in programming, if not more than, Sunday morning. We want to develop a mom and dad’s ministry that allows parents to bring their children on a select day or evening of the week for ministry programming. We want to investigate a preschool that services families who want to set their children on a Gospel trajectory. We also aim to create the Black Sacred Music Academy that exposes and educates our children on the theological reflection and artistry of Black Sacred Music.

Teen Ministry


Our philosophy for teen ministry is similar to that of the kid’s. The distinction is that the teen ministry will focus more acutely on proclaiming the Gospel in a way that captures their volition of our teens. We want our teens to make a decision that surrenders their will to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Media Ministry


Salem’s use of media to proclaim the Gospel is a shining light in our city. As such, we hold the distinct honor of being the first church in our area to broadcast its services live on television. It was Pastor Meeks’ conviction that if the evening news could be live, and the Bulls and Bears could be broadcast live on television, then why shouldn’t the church?


At the time, standard definition (SD) was the best option for broadcasting. Salem has done SD well. Today, we live in a culture where more video content is uploaded to the internet, streamed across multiple media platforms, and gathered for consumption than any other time in human history. The world no longer congregates around a TV. It carries the internet in its pocket.


For that reason, we are taking #SalemForward into ultra-High Definition (HD). Your cellphone, computer, and TV readily discern the clarity of images and sounds in ways that Walt Disney only dreamed about. In fact, not even Disney can outpace the race of original content creators. For that reason, our message – the best message ever spoken – needs to be proclaimed in the clearest, most picturesque way possible. It’s a large upgrade, but its moving #SalemForward.


In addition to our broadcasts, we want to create podcasts designed for families with small children, teens, and seniors.  We envision content that helps kids learn the stories of the Bible, that equips and encourages parents, and that which disciples people of every age and generation. We don’t, however, want to sloppily create unimaginative resources. We want to do this heartily as unto the Lord. Social scientists tell us that the best content reaches people. Since there is, according to the Economist magazine, more content uploaded to YouTube in an hour than there is in the entire Disney + catalog, we need to be sure that Black Christian content is among the very best of options available.

Outreach Ministry


Though the Gospel message of the apostles was the same, the variety of social and ethnic contexts demanded that the apostles shift and tailor their evangelistic approach to Jews and Gentiles in Corinth, Ephesus, Thessalonica and Jerusalem respectively.


We can learn a lot from our missionary brothers and sisters about studying culture and contextualizing our evangelism. To that end, #SalemForward considers the command of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28 and the DNA of our ministry as it urges a new aggressive and compassionate evangelism strategy. One of the longer range plans is to establish a series of “Hope Houses” that function as local missions of incarnational Gospel ministry. We want to move parts of our ministry to the blocks where people live and have need. Our aspiration is to bring the feeding, clothing, mentoring, fellowship, and gospel proclamation to the neighborhood through ministry that functions out of a house on the block. We will “adopt-a-block” as if we live on it.


A particular burden of #SalemForward focuses on the literacy of black boys’ in grades 1-3. We will launch the Black Boy Literacy Campaign. This is an effort to help 1,000 black boys reach the 3rd grade reading level in a year. If we are successful, we could literally give hope to families yet unborn.


The work of evangelism cannot be the responsibility of the Salem pulpit alone. It will take every one of us to work a strategy that reaches the lost. Proverbs 11:30 tells us that the person who wins souls is wise. We are a wise church that has to recapture the fire of soul-winning. 

Fasting: The Cleanse


In a few days, we will post the details of our Lenten Fast, entitled, “The Cleanse.” It is a prayer and fasting movement designed to rid ourselves of bitterness, envy, strife, sadness, and spiritual fatigue. We hope that as we eat cleaner, pray regularly, and grow in our dependence upon God that He will cleanse our lives and our fellowship.

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