Jonathan Brooks currently serves as Co-Lead Pastor at Lawndale Christian Community Church. He was the former pastor of Canaan Community Church in Chicago for 15 years. He is also an adjunct Professor for Northern Seminary in their Christian Community Development Program and Trinity Christian College’s Chicago Semester program. He served as the Chicago City Director for Mission Year, a year long service program that focuses on the intersections of Faith and justice. Jonathan has also been an educator in inner city Chicago for well over a decade and is a firm believer in investing in your local community. He has a deep desire to impress this virtue on all who will listen whether congregation, classroom or community.

Through various roles and partnerships, Jonathan is engaged in social activism, church planting, youth development, holistic health options, college scholarships, music lessons and continual support to the incarcerated and their families living in North Lawndale, Greater Englewood and other Chicago communities.

Jonathan has a Bachelor of Architecture from Tuskegee University, Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University and Master of Divinity from Northern Seminary in Christian Community Development. He hopes to merge his academic knowledge, practical tools and ministry training in order to turn his convictions into tangible solutions which will help change neglected neighborhoods all over the city of Chicago for future generations. Jonathan and his wife, Micheal, have two children, Tayler and Jade, and currently reside in North Lawndale steps away from the church campus.


More on Pastah J


Pastah J, as he is affectionately called, is a sought after speaker, writer and artist. Along with speaking, training and consulting he has written numerous blogs and contributed to various books. He is the author of the book “Church Forsaken: Practicing Presence in Neglected Neighborhoods” published by InterVarsity Press. During his tenure at Canaan the church released a gospel album titled “Recommend Jesus” to be used as an avenue to share faith as an integral component in community transformation. Lastly, Pastah J has also recorded four hip-hop albums with the group Out-World and a mixtape to accompany the book Church Forsaken.

A more in depth look at Pastah J




“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.