Robert Cook is the Pastor, Founder, and Executive Director of 252 Underground Youth Ministry.
Robert spent 10 years as a youth ministry volunteer in a traditional church. Although Robert enjoyed working with the kids in the youth group he began to think about his own troubled childhood and this brought about a desire to reach out to the troubled teens in his community.
As he began to reach out to these teens in his community and try to connect them with the local church, he was faced with several obstacles.
The biggest barrier was the wall that had been built between the young people and the church.
Teenagers did not see the relevancy of the church in their every day lives. They saw the church as nothing more then a social club filled with arrogant, self righteous, judgmental hypocrites.
As Robert continued to build bridges he soon became frustrated with the mindset of the local churches and began to understand why the teens held their views of “church people”.
The church did not welcome these young people because they smoked and cursed and wore black heavy metal t-shirts.
As Robert was able to bring a teen to church, the teen would receive the cold shoulder from the other church kids as well as judgmental glances from the adults.
The teens would refuse to go back and Robert could not blame. Robert became disheartened with church in it’s present form.
He wrestled with the words of Jesus, “It is not for the healthy I have come, but the sick.” Robert turned his disillusion with the church into action, Although Robert loved the church he was disappointed in what she had become.
Robert came to the realization that if he was going to reach this generation that so desperately needed Christ, it would not be done within the walls of the local church.
Robert left traditional church youth ministry and prayed that God would reveal His plans.
It was not long before Robert founded 252 Underground in his home with the support of his wife Stephanie.
252 Underground was based on love and acceptance while not approving of their sinful lifestyles.
They quickly outgrew their home and evenly a rented storefront.
As the ministry started to be featured in the local newspapers, churches started to show interest. Robert began to share his methods of outreach and helped churches reach out to un churched teens. This book was born from Robert’s experiences.
Since founding 252 Underground Youth Ministry, Author Rob Cook has experienced great success reaching the teenagers in their community. While many churches have youth ministries, the thing that sets this one apart is their ability to build relationships with at risk teens, kids considered, by the church, to be unreachable.
Rob was once an “unreachable” teen himself and felt compelled to reach these young “throwaways” in his community. He quickly realized it was not going to be done in the traditional framework of the local church. There was a disconnect, a wall if you will, between teenagers and the church and it was getting thicker and higher every year.
Facing an epidemic of Godless teens and the church at a loss as to how to stop it, Rob prayed for wisdom and vision. God answered him in a mighty way. It was true, there was a wall, but God showed him a way to make a door in that wall. The door was 252 Underground.
Since 2004 this ministry has seen many lives changed. Teens that were once failing school have graduated and gone on to college. Delinquent teens have become leaders and mentors. God has been so faithful.
With this success, Rob has been asked by many churches, familiar with their ministry, to come speak to their members. To date, all ministry and mentoring has been done in Rob’s local community but we believe God wants to see a nationwide movement of young transformed lives. That is the mission and motivation behind “Going Underground”.
Exponential growth is hampered by the author’s inability to personally speak to every church in America. We believe “Going Underground” is a tool that can bring Rob’s successful framework and life experience into the hands of every person with a heart for young people but don’t quite know what to do. With this tool we will build the “Church” of tomorrow with the young people of today.
Rob is passionately reaching the lost in urban Philly through 252 Underground and through various networking on FB and Twitter. Rob has designed a T-Shirt with the slogan, “Going To Church Does Not Make You A Christian Any More Than Eating A Burger Makes You A Cow” and had been selling it through contacts online. His devotional title, Regener8, released June 2012, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Cook lives Rhode Island with his wife Stephanie and his youngest son, Christian.