In March of 2016, three groups meeting in Arlington Heights, Evanston, and Bridgeport purchased a property from New Life Community Church in Jefferson Park, one of the neighborhoods in the Northwest side of Chicago. We began to meet as "The Church of the Chicagoans" to testify of the oneness of the Body of Christ in Chicago. Though we all came together as the church on Sunday mornings to worship, praise, and remember the Lord by taking Communion, we also met in different neighborhoods and suburbs throughout the week for Bible studies, meals, discipleship, and to better reach the different campuses and neighborhoods around the city with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In January of 2019, Chicago was hit with a polar vortex, resulting in structural damage to the roof of the church building. While the damage was not noticeable in the beginning, an eventual repair became necessary. Temporary structural supports were put in place to still allow us to gather on Sundays, but in preparation for the repairs we began meeting in small groups of varying sizes around the city by the end of the summer. These continued throughout the end of the year.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, we continued meeting in small groups, and as we navigated the different waves and variants, some groups switched to exclusively virtual gatherings, or used a hybrid setting. Two groups began meeting back at the church property in a hybrid setting to strengthen and encourage one another, while other groups continued in their respective neighborhoods for more outreach and gospel opportunities. Neighborhood small groups were effective both in reaching out to specific campuses and areas of the city in focused ways, as well as developing more people to participate in the work of ministry. We thank the Lord that during this turbulent period many people were open to the gospel and believed into Jesus Christ.
This past fall, we met all together as the church for the first time since 2019. It was both exciting and normal because while so much had happened in the past three years and many of us had not seen each other very often, it felt natural to come and worship together again as the church. While we will begin coming together more often, we also have learned throughout the past few years the importance of reaching out in the neighborhoods we live and work in for the spreading of the gospel, the growth of the Church, and the advancement of the Kingdom of God on the earth today.