HOPE HOUSE SCHOLARSHIP INITIATIVE
Chicago Hope Church connects people in Chicago and beyond in real loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, with each other in contagious Christian community, and with their calling of servanthood in the world. Since 2017 we have partnered with Chicago Hope Academy (CHA) on the Near West Side of Chicago to make disciples of their students, families, and the surrounding community.
We live in one of the most violent and needy neighborhoods in Chicago, one block from the second largest homeless shelter in the city. CHA has been serving this community for the past 16 years and is the only remaining non-Catholic Christian high school left within the city limits. Most of the students at CHA come from extremely poor, one-parent households. We have been partnered in ministry with CHA for the past three years. In this time, we have engaged in many different activities to help students, their families, and the surrounding neighborhoods come alive as disciples of Jesus.
Along the way, we have identified a very strategic need in this community for Christian mentoring and reparenting. Seventy percent of the households in our neighborhood are led by single mothers who are poor, uneducated and in need of discipleship training themselves. This has makes it very difficult to raise up a new generation of young, educated, Spirit-led men and women with Godly character simply by giving them an education through CHA. For many of our students a more intensive approach is required. For us to accomplish our mission, we need to minister to the whole family unit in very unique ways and need a facility that will enable us to do this. First, in order for the students to realize their potential, we need to provide housing and parenting to students with oversight from adults that we will also need to train and house (to help us with this we are also looking to initiate a year-long internship program for CHA graduates and others God brings our way, who are called to urban ministry). Secondly, while CHA trains students during the week, we need to train the parents and provide daycare for young children. Third, we need space for Christian discipleship training. The proposed Hope House project will provide space for all the above.
For the past three years we have invited students to live with us in our home and receive the safe, loving and Holy Spirit-empowered love that we have been giving to our own children for over 20 years. My wife Jen, who is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), and I led foster homes before we had children. We are familiar with the challenges that young people, who have suffered neglect and abuse, go through and the kind of community and environment that helps them to heal and mature into all that God has called them to be. God has uniquely called and qualified us to house, parent, develop a student’s potential through Christian discipleship and train as high-level student athletes and artists. Our Youth Minister/Worship leader (Marlon Washington) has seen great success in helping students to come alive as Christian artists. From piano lessons, to being part of our worship team to writing original music to painting, God has used Marlon to help students develop their God-given gifts. We have seen how the extra focus, love, nurture, discipline, structure and the power of the Holy Spirit greatly increases their development and opportunities into adulthood. God has broken the hearts of our staff to help under-resourced teens transform into maturing disciples of Christ.
WHY THE HOPE HOUSE
For years now we have seen that students cannot sustain the training that our students receive at Chicago Hope Academy when they go home and have no structure to maximize this season in their life. The Hope House would provide the structure, nurture and focus to help them realize their God-given potential.
Prophetic Visions and the Practical Ministry Needs:
I have had several visons from God encouraging me to build a new building across the street from the new CHA athletic complex and future home of their new school building. The Hope House (HH) will serve several purposes to help us continue to make an impact in this neighborhood.
- HH will provide housing, food, study space and loving structure for up to 16 students.
- HH will provide a Chicago Hope Church presence in the neighborhood and parsonage housing for the pastor’s family and other staff members.
- HH will also provide much needed ministry space. We will be dedicating the first floor and most of the basement of this facility to ministry. We are hoping to begin a Christian daycare ministry (this is a vital need in our community). During the summer, when the students are back living with their families, the facility would provide much needed housing for mission teams to serve our community with us or to provide housing for summer camps at CHA.
CHICAGO HOPE ACADEMY COMMITMENT
HOPE HOUSE COMMITMENT
1. We commit to feeding, housing, providing structure for and training the young men and women who come to live in the Hope House in Biblically functioning community.
2. We will work with the Chicago Hope Academy teachers and administration to help discover the best learning pathway for them as students.
3. For athletes, we will work with their coaches to keep them on a focused training regimen that helps them maximize their growth during the years they are at Hope.
4. For artists, we will work with their instructors to help them develop their artistry for Kingdom purposes.
5. As developing Christians, we will provide them the spiritual growth and a nurturing environment that can help them mature into disciple-making Christians.
PARENTAL AND STUDENT COMMITMENT
- Some of our students like to go home on weekends. For this to happen, students need to have completed all their homework, cleaned up their living space, completed their chores, laundered their sheets, gotten approval from the house parents and have an agreed-upon return plan.
- No drugs, smoking or alcoholic consumption will be tolerated. If violated, it is automatic grounds for removal. We are trying to create an optimal environment for growth and transformation, and drugs are no way to reach that goal.
- Inappropriate sexual behaviors like watching pornography, inappropriately touching, sexually explicit language, sexual harassment, etc. will not be tolerated. Refusal to embark on a path to change this behavior will also be grounds for dismissal.
- We will encourage everyone in HH to live as good stewards of God’s resources. This means taking proper care of the home and respecting other’s property by not stealing or damaging it. If after having gone through a process of Christian discipline, the student remains unrepentant, it is automatic grounds for removal.
- If the students reject the discipline of the HH parents, they will be sent back to their parents. The students can only leave the HH when agreed upon by both parents and HH leaders.
- No “outright rebellion.” With “outright rebellion,” we do not mean just working through anger issues. If, having gone through a biblical process of reconciliation, disrespect and disobedience continue, this is grounds for dismissal. We are trying to grow Spirit guided and empowered young men and women.
- The students at HH have entered into an intentional disciple-making journey with us, which includes daily devotionals, regular one-on-one mentoring, youth group experiences and worship services.
ANNUAL OPERATING COSTS
Estimated annual operating costs with 24 people living in the building.
- Utilities (electric, internet, TV, gas, trash, water, pest control, Security System) $17,000
- Clothes $1,600 (the student’s parents will be responsible for their clothes for the most part, but there are always needs that arise, so we have set aside $100 per student.
- Food $83,200 (this includes $100 per week per student, they eat a lot!). We will ask parents to give what they can to offset the food costs, but our experience shows us that we cannot count on much.
Transportation $6,200 (building HH right across the street from the school keeps our transportation costs low, but there is always a cost to transporting students).
This cost is offset by the savings of $48,000 per year for the pastor’s housing allowance and potentially another $12,000 of savings for the housing of our worship leader and youth pastor. Total potential savings of $60,000. These costs are being paid in salaries now but would help us to lower the amount paid to our staff by providing this housing. By sharing a home with these students, the costs of housing become more efficient as they are spread across many people. This commitment to be the staff of the Hope House is a sacrificial calling to be with the students almost fulltime and disciple them.
NET INCREASED ANNUAL COST TO CHC: $48,000
POTENTIAL INCOME SOURCES TO HELP OFFSET THIS EXPENSE
– We will try to offset the cost of food by asking parents to give what they can.
– Periodic guests will be encouraged to donate money to help us cover expenses as well.
– Summer camp residential rentals.