Tim Keller calls Dimas Salaberrios “prophetic.” A. R. Bernard calls him “powerful.” Josh McDowell goes so far as to dare readers not to be galvanized by the story Dimas so masterfully shares in his memoir, Street God. And we call this memoir one of the most relevant exhortations to the Church today.
One thing we know for sure. The #BlackLivesMatter movement’s role in furthering our nation’s conversation on race is undeniable. But as a Church, where do we go from here?
Through Street God, Dimas reveals how an entire community can be changed through both individual lives and time-tested truths applied through action. Dimas began dealing drugs at the age of eleven and quickly rose in power and wealth to become a drug boss. He had two stints in New York’s notorious Rikers Island Prison. He once escaped from police in handcuffs, living on the run for several years before he had his life transformed by Christ and turned himself in. Today he co-pastors Infinity Bible Church in the South Bronx.
New York Times bestselling author and pastor Dr. Timothy Keller says, “You won’t find a more amazing account of how God’s grace can transform a life.”
Infinity Bible Church targets at-risk, gang-ridden youth and has spearheaded numerous outreach events, discipleship groups, and weekly prayer walks, all of which have been factors in virtually eliminating homicides and other violent crimes in the Bronx River neighborhood. Former police commissioner Raymond Kelly credits Dimas and Infinity for the notable drop in crime in Bronx River. Dimas’s story is The Cross and the Switchblade for an entirely new generation.
As the son of a school principal and a captain of corrections at Rikers Island, Dimas had parents who, like many who have escaped the zip codes of the inner city, probably thought that they would be immune to the devastation the drug culture wreaked on their family. Street God is the explosive true story of how a former drug boss escaped the streets, went to the altar, and came back again.
As remarkable as Dimas’s life transformation is, the story doesn’t stop there. His life is proof that even those whom most people write off as menaces to society have innate skills and leadership capabilities that can be used in ministry. This former street god is now the president of Concerts of Prayer Greater New York, the largest mobilizing force of pastors in the tristate area.
Street God humanizes urban outreach by sharing stories from Dimas’s personal experience with planting a church in the Bronx River housing projects and with reaching out to drug dealers, introducing himself as their pastor. Street God demystifies street culture and illustrates tangible ministry methods that will hopefully be copied in other urban communities.
The long-overdue justice finally being rendered in this country demands a fresh understanding of the inner city. With Street God, Dimas hopes to provide that insight and urges the Church to action, lest we miss the moment.
Dimas Salaberrios is pastor of Infinity Bible Church, which he founded in partnership with Tim Keller and Redeemer City to City, in the South Bronx of New York City. As a worldwide missionary, church planter, and speaker, Pastor Dimas has shared the gospel on every continent except Antarctica. He is also president of Concerts of Prayer Greater New York, and he holds a master of divinity degree from Alliance Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Tiffany, live in the Bronx with their two daughters.