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The Least of These | Pastors Chris and Monica DeLaurentis

Pastors Chris and Monica DeLaurentis have always felt a strong call to reach the “least of these” in the inner city of Minneapolis. Years ago they invited drug addicts and prostitutes into their home to hear “a message of hope for a better and more fulfilling life.” Now on the verge of celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Inner City Church of Minneapolis (ICCM – now called “Life Center”), they have no plans of slowing down.

After the DeLaurentis’ started ICCM in their home in 1993, they quickly outgrew the space with over 100 people showing up for services. For a short time they met at a local porn theater on Franklin Avenue before an abandoned eyeglass factory on Park Avenue came up for auction.

Chris and Monica saw something in that 40,000 square foot building that no one else could. It was filthy, damaged and filled with squatters, yet they saw the potential this building had for making a difference in their neighborhood. When the bids passed beyond the ministry money they had, they threw in their own
wedding money to keep going. Just when they thought it was out of reach, Monica told Chris to bid just one last time. It was the
final bid and the building was theirs.

The church has since been renovated and has served as an urban ministry center for just over two decades. They have witnessed countless stories of lives changed and incredible transformation. They’ve developed a “4T” ministry model to empower people to lead others into life change.

The first stage (T1 – Trauma) focuses on reaching out to hurting people living at or below poverty level. As Pastor Chris puts it, “If the person is uneducated, unskilled, doesn’t have any job or parenting skills, just got out of prison, is violent, abused or the abuser, that’s our target.” Then they lead people into the T2 stage (Treatment) where they encounter Jesus by engaging them in weekend services and small groups. The T3 stage (Transformation) is the heart of their ministry model where people spend a year in their life skills training school. Many get their GEDs and pursue college degrees. The final stage (T4 – Training) moves people into positions of leadership in the church. Currently Pastor Monica works with 50-60 people on their leadership team doing the work of the ministry. On average, it takes eight years for an individual to make it through the four stages of the 4T ministry model.

When asked how they’ve been able to stay so committed over the years, Chris responds, “The call will sustain you. Until someone shuts us down, we’re going to keep going.” They believe Life Center is truly “Minnesota’s church.” They couldn’t do what they do without the support of the pastors and churches of Minnesota, and they invite all pastors to their LifeGiver’s Dinner on September 30, 2018 as they celebrate 25 years of inner city ministry. Look for more details coming soon to