The City in Its Sites: New Life Community Church

New Life Community Church Puts Jesus in the Context of Chicago’s Diverse Neighborhoods

Raised in a Catholic home in Chicago, Jack Rogers would go to confessional and talk to the priest, but he never felt “totally relieved of my sins.” Over the years, Rogers would attend various churches, but he never felt connected to God.

After selling his international manufacturing company in Missouri and moving back to the Chicago area recently, his wife’s aunt and uncle suggested they attend New Life Community Church. At the service, Rogers heard Lead Pastor Mark Jobe give a sermon that spoke to him “loud and clear” and had him on the edge of his chair.

“It was the first time I had felt a connection to God,” Rogers says.

Rogers began reading the Bible, watching Jobe online and attending one of the church’s 19 different campuses to hear Jobe speak. During Easter, Rogers dedicated his life to Jesus Christ and was recently baptized.

Rogers is among more than 1,000 people who have been baptized at the innovative multisite church over the last three years. About 5,000 people attend the multilingual and socioeconomically diverse church on an average weekend.

A decade ago, New Life was one of the only urban multisite churches. Today, there are many, but its structure remains innovative. It has nearly 20 campuses across the various neighborhoods of the city with 35 worship services among them—all with live teaching. Jobe works with a team of 23 other pastors to prepare the message each week—the same at each campus, but presented in the context of that particular neighborhood in a way that’s relevant.

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At a time when more than half the world’s population lives in urban centers and with more than 400 cities with populations exceeding 1 million people, Jobe is trying to start movement churches that spread through megacities like Chicago to reach their mostly unchurched residents.

“Most of our locations are tapping into communities that are very, very unchurched,” Jobe says. “That is kind of our whole goal here. We’re not in the Bible Belt. Chicago, by and large, is not a very Christianized city.

“And so we’ve rolled up our sleeves to say, ‘How can we plant life-giving churches throughout the entire city, making disciples and reaching people who are unchurched?’ We’ve been doing that for quite a few years now and have a vision by 2020 to plant another 35 locations in Chicago.”

Lead Pastor: Mark Jobe
Founded: 1986
Affiliation: Nondenominational 
Locations: 19
Attendance: 5,000