Special Event: INK180 Documentary

August 25, 2014 in Events

Special screening: Ink180 Documentary

Wednesday, August 27, 6:30 pm, Room 108

The Ink180 Documentary is a captivating film about the work of Chris Baker, founder of Ink180 Ministries, and his God-inspired odyssey to help sex-trafficking victims and former gang members escape their pasts.

Chris’s life-changing ministry covers gang and human-trafficking tattoos, transforming painful reminders of destructive situations into beautiful art. Don’t miss this powerful story of one man seeking to minister to “the least of these.”

(Not recommended for children under 14)

Please enjoy the following blog post to learn more about Chris Baker and Ink180, originally published on February 20, 2013.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Imagine sitting in a job interview, ready to present your best self to the human resources person across the desk from you. Now imagine that every stereotype that you could possibly fit into is projected onto your forehead for your potential employer to see and you know that no matter what you do or what you say, you won’t be able to convince the HR rep that that’s not who you are — and even if it was, you’re not that person anymore.

That could be what former gang members and victims of sex trafficking feel like when trying to restart their lives. They have radically changed their lives, but all someone can see is marks of their past — tattoos.

Back when Chris Baker had a job in warehouse management, his co-workers use to always tell him they wished they could get rid of their tattoos because that just wasn’t them anymore. And those statements stayed with Chris.

But it wasn’t until he was leading his youth group at Big Life Community Church in Oswego in a service project that involved cleaning up gang graffiti that the idea for INK180 started to form in his mind. That project made Chris realize that the graffiti and walls were like tattoos and gang members — they signified the gang’s territory and property.

While growing up in Los Angeles, Chris Baker fell in love with the artwork of tattoos and has been a self-described tattoo collector since he was eighteen. A friend offered Chris an apprenticeship at his tattoo parlor after seeing Chris’s drawings; he’s been hooked ever since. Chris, his wife Lisa, and their children moved to Chicago about seven years ago, looking for a city with cultural diversity and a community feel. But he kept doing tattoo art as a hobby and part-time job. So when the idea that tattoos were a symbol of someone’s old life came to mind that day with the youth group, Chris began to pray to God to show him what he was meant to do. He says that God answered his prayers with a question: What do you love to do more than anything, and will you do it for free? Chris realized the answers were ‘tattoo art’ and ‘yes’.

And so INK 180 was born. It was October 2011 when Chris finally put it all together. Chris decided to create an organization that takes tattoos from former gang members and victims of sex trafficking and either removes them, through NeoMagLight IPL Tattoo Removal, or uses them as the foundation of a new tattoo — either way getting rid of the visual reminder of the past.

Chris originally rented out space in various shops around the city and suburbs to do the coverups, but now he is about to open the first INK 180 facility in Oswego, IL. The new space will be used for INK 180 coverups and removals, but will also be a regular tattoo business to be able to support INK 180. Chris talks with each client to determine how the new tattoo should be based on their own journey, and where they want to go in the future. INK 180 has done over 540 coverups since it started and Chris does several removals and coverups a week. INK 180 is made up of a team of volunteers, including Chris’s friends and family, and members of his church. Chris has gotten referrals from various sources — previous clients, probation officers, and churches among them. Chris says that the Gospel is shared with every client and each client is given a Bible, as well as verses for them to focus on.

Although Chris enjoys his work at INK 180, it hasn’t always been easy. He says lots of tattoo artists have been angry with him for what they perceived to be taking away their business. Chris counters those claims with the fact that most of his clients can’t pay for these removals and coverups themselves. Chris has also received death threats. Through it all, he reads Ephesians 6:11 and remembers that he is doing everything for the glory of God. But some even disagree with the spiritual aspect of his work. They argue that God is against tattoos and question if what Chris is doing is right. He counters their claims with two verses that speak of names being written on God Himself: Isaiah 49:16, where it says the names of God’s children are engraved on His hands; and Revelation 19:16, where it says Jesus will have King of kings and Lord of lords written on his thigh.

INK 180 has held events in the past and Chris has been invited to speak at various other organizations’ events, such as Traffick Free, Stop Child Trafficking Now, Urban Youth Outreach, and Transitions Global. When he speaks, he shares his testimony and shares stories of previous clients, but he also tries to instill within the audience the desire to use their gifts from God to incite change where they live and also educate them on the issue of local human trafficking. He has also talked to college classes relating to law enforcement to talk about his experiences with government agencies.

Chris has so much planned for the future of INK 180. He hopes it will become a nationwide organization that provides coverups and removals free of charge to former gang members and victims of sex trafficking. So far there are talks of INK 180 starting in North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Indiana, Oregon, California, and Arizona. Chris calls it “a revolution of unleashing RADICAL GRACE upon people that have been labeled as the castoffs of society.” Chris is also in the middle of writing a book about “the stories of change and redemption” of his clients. He plans to change names and locations to protect his clients but each chapter will describe how each person turned their life around to follow Christ. Chris has also been approached to do a reality show — but he insists he will only agree to a show on his terms: that discussions about God and the Gospel will be included and that there will be no fabricated drama – only the true stories of his clients, which are dramatic enough.

When asked how people can get involved with INK 180, Chris says prayer — prayers for his clients, for health and safety of those involved with INK 180, and for humans to stop destroying one another. He also says donations will help with the cost of supplies and transportation costs of clients. But he is hoping that the INK 180 facility will eventually be able to fund the organization itself.

Chris and INK 180 are also involved in Chicago neighborhoods, trying to preempt gang violence. Chris says he works with Urban Youth Outreach in Englewood, building relationships and ministering to local gangs. Chris speaks to people in Urban Youth Outreach, as well as youth groups and schools, to talk about INK 180 and to talk about how to avoid falling into the gang lifestyle. INK 180 clients also speak to young people about their experiences to help the audience understand the consequences of bad decisions.

With help from INK 180 and Chris Baker, former gang members and sex trafficking victims now have a chance to turn their lives around and move on from their past.

Use the links below to connect with INK 180:


Submissions for Reflections: The Changed Life

March 4, 2014 in Events

Reflections Banner


This year, like the last several years, the Artist Circle will host Reflections, a showcase featuring an art exhibit and literary journal. The title, and theme, of Reflections comes from the book of James, where we are told God’s Word is like a mirror.

While the general theme will remain Reflections, there is an added focus of The Changed Life to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Moody Church. Artists who are considering submitting should feel free to have creative flexibility while exploring these themes.

The Visual Art Exhibit hopes to feature pieces across all forms of visual media, including drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture. The Artist Circle wants to engage its audience in admiring the God-given talents of those within the church, but, more importantly, to point to the ultimate Creator and the life-changing power of His son, Jesus Christ.

The Literary Journal expects to present written pieces that vary from fiction to poetry, from drama to creative non-fiction. Through the Literary Journal, the Artist Circle aspires to display God’s glory through the writing talents He has given members of the church.


If you would like to submit to either the Visual Art Exhibit or the Literary Journal, submission requirements and forms can be found HERE. Submissions are due Sunday, March 9.


The Visual Art Exhibit will be presented in the lobby of The Moody Church April 23 though May 11. The Literary Journal will be available in the month of April. There will be an Artist Circle Gathering on April 27 that will highlight various pieces throughout the Exhibit, feature selected readings from the Journal, and allow artists to interact with the audience.



Help-Portrait 2013 at The Moody Church

November 27, 2013 in Events

We are very excited to announce that The Moody Church is once again hosting Help-Portrait in conjunction with Angel Tree! Help-Portrait is an organization that provides professional portraits to individuals or families in need; Angel Tree is a ministry that helps families that have an incarcerated parent. The last two years have seen dozens of families come to The Moody Church to get their pictures taken, enjoy a Christmas party, and they leave with gifts donated in the name of the incarcerated parent and a framed portrait of the picture taken earlier.

This year will be no different, but we need your help! We are still looking for assistants, makeup artists, and general volunteers.

Date: December 7, 2012
Location: The Moody Church – 1635 N. LaSalle St.
Time: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Contact: moodychurchhp@gmail.com

Recommendation: Lakeside Singers

November 27, 2013 in Recommendations

Christmas parties, Secret Santas, cookie swaps – there are lots of events tugging at our calendars during that crucial time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

One event you should pencil in, especially if you enjoy music, is The Lakeside Singers winter concert series. This will mark their fifteenth season performing a combination of classic carols and contemporary songs. This year features Broadway hits, songs from around the world including Latvia, Sweden, and France, and an audience sing-a-long.

The Lakeside Singers, an ensemble of professional singers who have performed in operas, on TV, and more, was formed in 1999; if one performer seems familiar, it might be because it is Marianne Kim, pianist of The Moody Church, who performs regularly with the Lakeside Singers. They aim to bring together classical and popular choral music and present various genres an audience might not have heard before. Headquartered in Evanston and led by Robert Bowker, the singers come from all over Chicagoland and have performed throughout the area, including Ravinia.

This year, the winter concert series consists for four concerts: Friday, December 6 in Evanston; Monday, December 9 in Arlington Heights; Friday, December 20 in Chicago; and Saturday, December 21 in Naperville. To learn more about The Lakeside Singers and on how to get tickets, click HERE.


Use the links below to connect to The Lakeside Singers:

MoodyFest 2013

August 26, 2013 in Events

MoodyFest is becoming an end-of-summer tradition for the Moody Church. This year, the September 1st music festival will feature Ethan Butler, the Clark Street Band, and Orchestra Ebenezer Ministry.

Ethan Butler has performed at MoodyFest since it began in 2011. Ethan describes himself as a center city artist, infusing his acoustic pop sounds with jazz influences. All of the songs he performs are ones that he has written himself; his two main themes are relationships and the emotional life of a Christian. So whether he’s singing about pursuing a girl or struggles in his Christian walk, you know he’s sincere. Check him out HERE.

The Clark Street Band doesn’t play together often, but when they do, it’s usually at MoodyFest. The group was formed for last year’s MoodyFest by Cates and Jeff Mason, both of whom have been involved with Moody Church’s music ministry for many years, as well as colleagues they have worked with in the past, namely Rex Carrol, Steve Hinz, and Mike Choby. The Texas-flavored blues band won’t have CDs of their own for sale, so come enjoy them live when this pick-up band picks up their instruments for the second time on the MoodyFest stage.

The salsa and latin jazz band Orchestra Ebenezer Ministry (OEM) is made up of thirteen different musicians, all from churches throughout the Chicagoland area: a pianist, a bassist, three percussionists, two trombone players, two trumpeters, and four singers; that’s a lot of people to fit on the stage in the Walgreen’s parking lot. OEM was formed in 1994 from a need for a Christian band to play at various events, like weddings or fundraisers. But another part of OEM’s ministry is visiting prisons; they have been to over half a dozen correctional facilities in the state of Illinois. They have seen how “the Word of God never returns void,” as band member Jose Diaz has said. Learn more about them HERE.

All of these musical talents will be playing live on stage at the corner of North Avenue and LaSalle Street on September 1, from 3 to 6 pm. Stop by for lively music, free food and drinks, and a chance to interact with others from Moody Church and the surrounding neighborhood.

Check out photos from a previous MoodyFest HERE.


Profile: Ethan Butler

July 31, 2013 in Profiles

The stage lights rose after a mini-intermission. Men slowly walked on stage, heading toward instruments – drums, bass, keyboards. Then, as they got settled in, the main attraction walked on stage toward the mic in the middle of the spotlight to excited audience applause — Ethan Butler. The twenty-four-year-old singer-songwriter was headlining his first ever show at Armitage Baptist Church; he advertised it as returning to “the place where it all began.”

Read the rest of this entry →

STORY 2013

June 19, 2013 in Recommendations

What did I love about STORY 2012? What didn’t I love?! . . . I loved the “kid in the candy shop” look in everyone’s eyes during those two days: The excitement brought about from being with other creatives, other Christians with the same passions, in an environment bursting with random things . . . - Stephanie Betting

STORY is an annual conference held in downtown Chicago for artists to hear from numerous speakers across various disciplines. But the three day conference is so much more than just stuffy lectures in cramped, sterile halls. STORY describes the event as a place to “fuel creatives in an environment where they can be inspired and learn from the leaders of creative industries.” It’s not just the presentations that are meant to inspire, it’s the event as a whole: musical acts are interspersed with the sessions, human statues might be waiting for you to pass by, or you could find yourself in line to make a s’more by an indoor fire pit.

This year’s theme is A Sense of Place and will be held at several venues in the River North neighborhood, including The House of Blues and the Cathedral at Dearborn. Over fifteen presenters have already been named, with the possibility of more being added. Some of the speakers already announced are Rich Hurrey, character technical director at Pixar Animation; Howard Lichter, global director of creative outreach at Nike; Chuck Anderson, designer, illustrator, and founder of NoPattern Studio; Stephanie Pereira, director of Art Programs at Kickstarter; and Dan Haseltine, frontman of Jars of Clay and founder of Blood:Water Mission.

“With enough Red Bull and collaboration, there is nothing [the attenders of STORY] cannot do.” Want to be one of those attenders? Then you should sign up fast; only a thousand tickets are available for STORY, which will be September 18 to September 20, 2013. To attend, click HERE. Volunteers are also wanted, but those spots can go quickly as well. Contact Stephanie Betting at stephanie.bettig at gmail.com for more information about volunteering at STORY 2013.

Be sure to check out the photos we took at STORY on Flickr HERE.

Read a summary of last year’s STORY HERE.

Use the links below to connect with STORY:


Event: The Art of the Ancient Persecuted Church – March 17

March 14, 2013 in Events

When people years from now wonder how Christians of the early 21st century worshiped, they will be able to look at photographs of contemporary churches and worship services. When they wonder how Christians were persecuted, they will be able to read newspaper articles about specific people or whole groups in various countries. But when we wonder about the persecuted church of the first and second century, we don’t have Instagrams or YouTube clips – but we do have the frescoes painted on the walls in catacombs in Rome.

Gregory Athnos started researching the art found in the Roman Catacombs in 1974. It started as a casual project, but once he saw the art in the burial chambers, it turned into a lifelong commitment. He works with the Archives of the Catacombs in Rome to do his research, with permission from the director of the Vatican Museum. Greg has turned this research into a four part seminar that he has given over 300 times in various countries all over the world, entitled “The Easter Jesus and the Good Friday Church: The Centrality of the Resurrection in the New Testament.” While talking about the art in the catacombs, Greg also talks about the theology that early Christians had and their central focus of the Resurrection.

Greg will be giving a shortened version of this seminar in a presentation this Sunday, March 17, from 1-3pm in Sankey. He will not only talk about the art, but also show us by including illustrations and photographs during his delivery. Please feel free to bring a bag lunch as you hear what Gregory Athnos has to say about The Art of the Ancient Persecuted Church.

Profile: INK 180

February 20, 2013 in Profiles

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Imagine sitting in a job interview, ready to present your best self to the human resources person across the desk from you. Now imagine that every stereotype that you could possibly fit into is projected onto your forehead for your potential employer to see and you know that no matter what you do or what you say, you won’t be able to convince the HR rep that that’s not who you are — and even if it was, you’re not that person anymore.

That could be what former gang members and victims of sex trafficking feel like when trying to restart their lives. They have radically changed their lives, but all someone can see is marks of their past — tattoos.

Read the rest of this entry →

‘Help-Portrait 2012′ Event Video

February 12, 2013 in Videos

For the second year in a row, The Moody Church was privileged to host the largest Help-Portrait site in Chicago! This year, Caleb Pike of dslrvideoshooter.com shot and edited this terrific video that truly showed the essence of the event!

Use the links below to learn more about Help-Portrait Chicago:

Connect with Caleb here: