Sunday, March 25th: I was sick. After driving 6 hours from Milwaukee back to St Louis, eating at a Pastor's house, I got home and a 103˚ fever struck me. I crawled into bed fully clothed and with all the blankets possible by 10:30–very early by my standards. A little after midnight, my fever broke and I fell back asleep praying for those in my cityLife and for Stacey and my future professionally. I felt I heard God say to me, I'll show you some progress for your future call.
Wednesday, March 28th: I had a conversation with a pastor that was looking to hire an assistant pastor. It was a no nonsense discussion that I was not going to be hired for that position. However, he said, if I wanted to talk about church planting in Chicago–my dream–that would be a completely different discussion. Essentially, he said, "I can't promise you anything, but if you come back in 2 months with a plan and people ready to support said plan, we could see what God would do with that."
Immediately, my heart lept and as the past week has unraveled, I've been dreaming and praying and talking about the possibilities of planting in Chicago. I am going to plan as if God is calling me there and see what doors He would open on the way.
There are three neighborhoods that I am looking for potentiality: Logan Square, Ukrainian Village, and Lincoln Square. They all have their positives and negatives. Lincoln Square is the most established of the neighborhoods with long-standing residents, young families and young professionals together. They also have a couple of new church plants happening there already. Logan Square is one of the most up and coming neighborhoods in Chicago. Hipster would describe Logan well. Young professionals dominate, but my initial impressions give a less stable environment to plant in. However, there are a number of churches planting in Logan at this time. Ukrainian Village is where I lived after graduating and is a pretty good balance between the other two neighborhoods and only one other church plant is on the east side of that area.
Fun Fact: There is no Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) presence in the city of Chicago. Why not plant the first?
First and foremost: Prayer. Please pray with me where God would lead in this endeavor. I know church planting is a big endeavor and a big task and calling is laid out before me. I want to be open to where God would lead rather than my own desires and wishes. I want to be open to this not happening and be able to yield to God's will in this. I want this to happen desperately. I want join in the endeavor God is already at work doing redeeming and restoring His city called Chicago. Please pray with me about how you or those you know can be involved.
Second: Research. Lots of my hours will be caught up in the exercises listed out in the Redeemer Church Planting Manual. Many of my finds will be listed here. Please continue to check in and read more about the city that God loves.
Second B: Contacts. I'll be calling, grabbing coffee, emailing, drinking beer, eating and any other activity I can find to do to network with pastors and churches around Chicago. If you or anyone you know would be willing to sit down and dream about what God would have for the city of Chicago, please feel free to contact me. I'd love to sit down with you.
In 1909, Daniel Burnham put forth The Chicago Plan together with Edward H. Bennett. It was a three year undertaking to strategically just to plan proposed improvements for the city, including the lakefront, highways, parks system, and civic and cultural centers. Many of those plans can be seen in the modern day Chicago. In honor of what Burnham proposed, I will be referring to this church planting endeavor under the same name, firmly believing that the Gospel is the only way Chicago will ever be fully redeemed.