Church Forsaken

Practicing Presence in Neglected Neighborhoods

by Jonathan Brooks

Church Forsaken
  • Length: 220 pages
  • Published: November 2018
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-4555-2
  • Item Code: 4555

"There are no God-forsaken places, just church-forsaken places." —Jon Fuller, OMF International

Jonathan Brooks was raised in the Englewood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. As soon as he was able, he left the community and moved as far away as he could. But through a remarkable turn of events, he reluctantly returned and found himself not only back in Englewood but also serving as a pastor ("Pastah J") and community leader.

In Church Forsaken, Brooks challenges local churches to rediscover that loving our neighbors means loving our neighborhoods. Unpacking the themes of Jeremiah 29, he shows how Christians can be fully present in local communities, building homes and planting gardens for the common good. His holistic vision and practical work offers good news for forgotten people and places. And community stakeholders and civic leaders will rediscover that churches are viable partners in community transformation in ways that they may never have considered.

God has always been at work in neglected neighborhoods. Join Pastah J on this journey and discover new hope for your community.


Part 1: The Church-Forsaken Position: Reside Where You Don’t Want to Be
Introduction: From the Mind of an Exile

Part 2: The Church-Forsaken Process: Return to Previously Forsaken Places
1. Welcome Home
2. That’s Not My Dream

Part 3: The Church-Forsaken Plan: Reconnect to the Whole Gospel
3. Cafés, Co-ops, Gardens, and Grocery Stores
4. Why Saving Souls Ain’t Enough

Part 4: The Church-Forsaken Place: Reestablish the Value of Place
5. God, Have You Looked Out Your Window?
6. Promising Place

Part 5: The Church-Forsaken People: Remember the Poor and Marginalized
7. No More Outreach
8. Ain’t a That Good News?

Part 6: The Church-Forsaken Purpose: Remind One Another of Our Collective Power
9. Shut Down the Churches
10. The Power of Partnership

Part 7: The Church-Forsaken Perspective: Reorient Our Vision to See Like God
Conclusion: Seeing the World the Way God Does


Jonathan Brooks ("Pastah J") is senior pastor of Canaan Community Church in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. A sought after speaker, writer, and artist, he has contributed to two books: Banned Questions for Christians by Christian Piatt and Making Neighborhoods Whole by John Perkins and Wayne Gordon.

Jonathan has a master's of divinity in Christian community development from Northern Seminary, and taught elementary education and arts in inner city Chicago for over a decade. A firm believer in investing in the community you grew up in, he has a deep desire to impress this virtue on the students and young people in his congregation, classroom, and community. His projects include the Canaan Community Redevelopment Corporation (CCRC), a not-for-profit community development company that provides youth development, holistic health options, college scholarships, music lessons, and continual support to the incarcerated and their families. He is also a recording artist with the hip-hop group Out-World and has been featured on numerous albums with artists such as Lecrae, Tedashii, Shai Linne, and Sho Baraka.

Jonathan lives in West Englewood with his wife and two daughters.

BY Jonathan Brooks

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