Living Hope Church is PCA church plant on the south side of Chicago that reaches both the Woodlawn neighborhood and The University of Chicago, a very diverse group of people from different colors, classes, and cultures.
We are from many worlds, one family of faith with a living hope in the redeeming grace of Christ.
Chicago is the third-largest city in the U.S., but 6 of the 8 million people in the Chicago metro area do not attend any kind of church. Here on the south side, the University of Chicago is world-renowned as a bastion of intellectual rigor that produces Nobel-prize winners, yet nevertheless is known as the place “where fun [and faith] comes to die.” The Woodlawn neighborhood just south of the wealthy and powerful University is home to many impoverished and broken schools and homes, with gang shootings every week as if this is the place where hope comes to die. The unemployment in Woodlawn is 21%, three times the national average.
But God is bringing a living hope through the redeeming grace of Christ. People from diverse races and nations, both rich and poor, gather together as one family to worship and serve our Lord. And through Hope Works, a Living Hope-based community development organization, we are helping those in need to find employment, housing, other resources, and we’re even starting our own thrift store to generate jobs and income. The church is advancing, the needs of hurting people are meeting God’s grace and help, and the gospel is being displayed in word and deed.
Rev. Brad Beier is a native of Louisiana, his wife Shannon from Michigan, and their cross-cultural relationship began when they met on a mission trip in Toronto. They married, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary. Under the oversight of the Chicago Metro Presbytery, in 2003 we planted a satellite congregation of Bethel Christian Church (Chicago) at the University of Chicago with five people. Sunday worship at Living Hope is now between 60-90 people from our diverse setting, and we’ve touched hundreds of people who have since move to out of state or even out of the U.S. Our biggest blessings are small: four girls: Elianna, 10; Mikayla, 8; Olivia, 5; and Susanna, 3.
We depend on outside support for half of our church budget expenses, but our “Vision 2020” plan is helping us to become self-supporting by the year 2020, and more than that, to begin to give to support and start other church works. In February 2011 we paid $95,000 for a 10,000 sq ft building on a main thoroughfare in Woodlawn. It was an old, abandoned pool hall that had once been featured in the movie The Color of Money.
Many generous financial gifts and over 3000 volunteers came in over the past three years so that now we have a ministry hub with four apartment buildings to generate income and provide new low-cost housing to neighbors. It is within walking distance of the University of Chicago and positions us as a bridge two very different worlds by gospel grace.
Need and opportunity
We have completed and are renting out three of the four apartments, but we can still use skilled and “teachable” volunteers to help rebuild the final apartment.
Also, every summer, we run a six-week gospel-based kids camp for 60-70 neighborhood children. We have built a reputation among families as an ideal summer camp, yet far less expensive than other camps in Chicago.
Volunteer teams are needed to help provide support for our camp as well as the construction.
We welcome teams any time of year, though, to help us with construction and on-going special outreach events.
Teams can sleep at Living Hope and prepare their meals here as well.
Would you pray for and consider serving with us for:
1. Funds and volunteers to finish our building and to continue to help us expand our gospel reach
2. Our church leaders to grow (and stay in Chicago!)
3. The lost to come to Christ and built up in the faith
4. Funding, volunteers, and participants in our Hope Works program to promote the transformation of Woodlawn, strengthening of its families and youth both at the economic and employment level, and ultimately, in the path of eternal life
5. For our family’s fruitful, joyful ministry and safety!
Living Hope Church
6414 S Cottage Grove Ave
Chicago, IL 60637