Mosaic Church continues its controversial gang outreach - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mosaic Church continues its controversial gang outreach

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - It has been a little more than six months since the Christmas day shootings in downtown Chattanooga. Last Christmas, nine people were injured outside Club Fathom, an outreach program for Mosaic Church.

City leaders said the church was a nuisance and took actions to shut it down. Soon after, Mosaic moved out.

Channel 3 caught up with Mosaic Pastor Tim Reid. The church now has a new home and Reid says it continues to grow.

He says looking back on the events of Christmas Eve and Christmas day, he fully regrets the shootings happened.

But he says his church is not backing down from its mission of reaching out to those, who he says, are the most troubled youth of the inner city.

"If I could have foreseen in a crystal ball that would have taken place, obviously we wouldn't have held it," says Reid, reflecting on the Christmas day shootings.

But he says his church is moving forward.

The congregation now meets Sundays at Northside Community Church on Mississippi Avenue.

He says the church is keeping its focus on continuing its outreach to troubled and at-risk youth.

"To go back to Christmas or any time, when we're doing outreaches for the youth, we would have to say we're still going to do that. We had done that, that was our tenth year, we had done that every Christmas Eve, reaching those kids," he says.

Reid says Christmas Eve they were holding a 'gang graduation,' a celebration for ex-gang members, and as far as the violence afterwards?

"I believe it shows a sign of success, that we actually were getting the kids out, to the point of where, the gangs wanted to shut us down and they wanted to definitely wanted to make a statement with the kids that were there that night. They put fear in them."

But he is not letting fear slow him down.

"That's where I'd say I'm unapologetic as far as, I don't have fear when it comes to the gangs. I see them as people."

Reid says there is an inherit risk that comes with reaching out to the violence-prone kids who really have no place to go, calling them a 'PR nightmare,' in a very risky mission field.

"I believe it's the churches job to stand in the middle of that and say 'No.' And there's going to be bullets flying around you when you're in the middle of that," says Reid.

He admits, the approach of racy fliers, and going to parties with alcohol is unconventional, but he says, "That's not our heart to promote any violence or alcohol or that. Our heart is to go in the middle of that and to be a light."

And he hopes others join that mission.

"My prayer is that other believers and other churches come along side us and go in to these communities."

Reid points to other larger cities that have similar outreach missions and says he can understand why the community here is not comfortable with it.

He says since the Christmas day shootings, he has been invited to speak at other churches and conventions across the country about what his church has been through.

He assures the immediate community around Northside Community Church, all of the outreach is taking place outside the church walls.

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