Local churches launch faith-based billboard campaign - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local churches launch faith-based billboard campaign

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- You may have noticed billboards featuring drug addicts, gang members,
and victims of abuse in and around Chattanooga.

The billboards leave it up to drivers to get the full story by visiting the web site in small print.

Thursday night, Channel 3 talked to one of the men featured in the campaign, who hopes he can reach local gang members.

"I felt like I was part of something within the gang," says Johnny Munoz.

Johnny Munoz has been to prison twice. But the words on one of the billboards are only part of his story.

One of the videos on ComeonLetsGo.com features Munoz saying, "By the time I was 18 I was addicted to drugs. I was already involved in gang activity. I did a lot of crimes in my time."

At 29 years old, Munoz moved to Chattanooga trying to get out of a gang, but the lifestyle followed.

He was arrested more than a dozen times, most recently in 2009.

"Sitting there with a broken collar bone, coming off drugs," he says. "I wasn't really participating in the service at the beginning, but before you knew it I was giving my life to God."

Now he's a face on one of 16 billboards between Athens and South Pittsburg.

The campaign Come on Let's Go is meant to lead nonbelievers to Jesus Christ. It is paid for by local churches.

"Pastors would say yeah, 'I've got a Hindu couple that is now Christian, or I have a former drug addict that's now a Christian, or I've got a gang member who was saved in one of our jails," Bob Lubell says.

Lubell says TV commercials along with radio and newspaper ads are next.

"Praying about taking this all the way across the nation and we're sensing in our spirits that's what is ahead," he says.

The campaign has come under fire by some.

Naysayers have taken to the group's Facebook page, calling the messages distasteful.

But Johnny Munoz, who still bears the scars of a previous life, hopes local gang members take note.

"I want to help others that are struggling in the same predicament I was," Munoz says. "If I can make it, they can make it."

Johnny's billboard is located on Battlefield Parkway. Soon it will move to Downtown Chattanooga, because that is where the majority of gang-related crimes are being committed.

Munoz is currently involved in a prison ministry.

To learn more about the campaign, click here.

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