The topic of tattoos in the Christian world is a controversial one, but youth pastor Chris Baker runs a tattoo parlor called Ink 180 and for him it is "a ministry of ink." Baker, who came to faith in Christ as an adult, is a heavily tattooed artist who understands the importance of second chances. He uses his artistic abilities to transform gang tattoos into beautiful artistic pieces and he does it free of charge. According to the March 4 issue of BuzzFeed, he has "transformed more than 500 gang signs and barcodes into beautiful new designs" since his non-profit opened in 2011.
Artist and youth pastor
When Chris Baker came to faith in Christ as an adult, he prayed, "God, show me what I can do to serve and bless people." God answered that prayer through his interaction with the young men in his youth group. He challenged the young people under his leadership to make a difference in the community. After brainstorming possible ways to make a difference, they came up with the idea of painting artistic murals to cover over gang graffiti on buildings in the community.
Baker understood that the defacing gang-related art wasn't limited to tags on buildings. Tattoos were another way gangs "tagged," only the tattoos signified allegiance to gangs on several levels and marked people for life. In the case of human trafficking tattoos, they represented ownership. God answered Baker's prayer and called him to a ministry using his greatest artistic love…tattooing. INK 180 became his ministry. Here he uses his artistic talent to cover gang-related tattoos for ex-gang members and removes unwanted markings for sex trafficking victims.
A real second chance
Baker has used his artistic talents to cover dark and destructive tattoos since INK 180 opened in 2011. He gives of his time, the supplies needed, and his artwork at no cost to the victims, plus he gives Bibles to those who accept them. This ministry in ink is totally funded by donations.
"…Beautiful second chances are totally free, already paid in full by the One who paid it all." – Ink 180: A Ministry in Ink
People who want to help fund this much-needed ministry can make donations through the website.