Then & Now – Jordan’s Story

Self, Calling , Leadership

Contributed by: UrbanPromise Toronto

Jordan Thoms grew up in the Warden Woods community in Scarborough. We met him as a young guy who was caught up with the wrong crowd. Over the years we’ve journeyed with Jordan through some intense times, and we are so proud of who he is today.  Jordan is now the lead pastor of a church plant in Warden Woods.


WATCH Jordan tell his story online:


When I was growing up I didn’t have my father around. I was always looking for a man to look up to. I got involved in the gang life when I was pretty young. These guys seemed to have all the stuff that I wanted – cars, money, food and clothes.  

I first heard about UrbanPromise when I was hanging out on my friend’s porch, a few guys came up to us with flyers and asked if we would come to summer camp. Somehow, I decided to go with a friend.  I was pretty disrespectful to the leaders and wasn’t really into the program – I hated Bible study. In hindsight, I know that one of the reasons I stayed at camp was that no matter how bad I was, the leaders always chose to love me.  

Eventually I became a StreetLeader at camp. There was an incident when we were on a school bus with a group of energetic kids, and the bus driver lost his patience. Things got pretty heated and I got into an argument with the driver. Unfortunately this battle ended in me being arrested.  I remember being held in a jail cell and praying, “Lord I’m tired of living this life – the gangs, the trouble. Reveal yourself to me, reveal your word to me – I want to grow in you.” God really started working in my heart then.

A few months later I was arrested and accused of possession and trafficking of crack cocaine and cocaine. I remember again praying from a jail cell, “I made a change in my life, God – and this is how you repay me? Why is this happening to me?” 

I was allowed out on bail, and was put under house arrest for an entire year. After a few weeks of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to use all this time I had on my hands to get to know God for real. I would spend hours reading scripture and praying every day. It was a wonderful year. My UrbanPromise family never left me during that time.

Eventually I was acquitted of all charges. 

The Lord spoke to me then and everything became clear:  those arrests and that year under house arrest caused me to grow closer to God than I ever thought I would. It was during that time that I made a choice to truly follow Him as my Lord, forever.

Currently I’m working on planting a church in Warden. My role as lead pastor will be to disciple those who come out, and to create ministries and programs for the community. The church is mission-focused, it’s about going out and seeking to serve those in the community, just as UrbanPromise sought me.


Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash