Jesus People USA is a Christian community of about 450
people, located in a poor neighborhood in Chicago called Uptown. JPUSA
is a fully communal ministry. Its members share a common
purse, receiving much of their income from businesses owned and operated
by the community. It is also a unique congregation within the
I lived and worked at
Jesus People USA
for 24 years, leaving in the summer of 2000 to pursue advanced
biblical training at North Park Theological Seminary. I still support
the ministry of JPUSA and the people who run it, and I appreciate the
positive input they have had in my life, career, and personal
development. I am currently an active member of
Armitage Baptist Church
As a former member of JPUSA with many years of experience in membership and
leadership, I'd like to share a bit of what I learned while living there.
Community life offers those within it
the opportunity to involve themselves in each other's lives (and traumas!)
to an extremely close degree not ordinarily available in noncommunal life. The
strength of living in community is the opportunity to grow in relationship
with others, receiving and giving in a hundred different ways: relationships,
work, education, spiritual strength, recreation, emotional support, financial
resources and much more. At the same time, this very intertwining of
relationships tests one's own strength of forgiveness, transparency, and
Living in community, I learned firsthand how love covers a multitude
of sins (1 Pet. 4:8). The friendships I made there will last a lifetime,
even though I know that all of us have weak or unlovely areas at times,
myself first on the list. In community, I learned that we reveal the love
of Christ (in ourselves, to others) through demonstrating acts of unrewarded
kindness to others, especially to those who cannot repay us.
Mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).
If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to
Jesus People USA
- the community I served with for 24 years. Met my wife there, raised
our kids there, and had a tremendous opportunity to witness, to serve
Jesus Christ and grow closer to the Lord.
- the literary voice of the Jesus Movement. Originally a
newspaper from 1973-1979, Cornerstone is now a magazine
published 2 or 3 times a year, available by subscription only. The
C-stone website is produced by Jon Trott, who is the editor in chief
and also a
- meet 20,000 radical Christians, hear great music and speakers for
four days each 4th of July holiday.
Cornerstone Press Chicago
- the book-publishing division of Jesus People USA. A small press
with a small publishing budget, so they focus on publishing
quality writing and literature.
- handles most (but not all) of the records, bands, and artists
that come out of the JPUSA community.
- Q&A on dating and relationships by Wendi Kaiser. Pretty sound
advice, if you ask me.
- Jon Trott's excursus into romance and sexuality within Christian
marriage. Now the trick is to talk about Christian sexuality in
such a way that it doesn't trigger the pörn-blocking software!
- the film showcase department of Cornerstone Festival. Cool graphics
and layout, thoughtful analysis of film and video culture. This is
another little-known JPUSA offering that shows some of the artistic
vision and brilliance of its members, Mike Hertenstein in
- probably Mike H's main hangout, this is where you go to see the
current film criticism ("Flickerings" is for movies at the
Fest ... er, sort of). Wanna read the real
review, the ones too long and too recent to
publish in Cornerstone magazine? Go here. Don't expect a parent's
, but you can expect thoughtful analysis.
Cornerstone Community Outreach
- CCO to the rest of us, it's a shelter for
homeless women and children, located at 4626 N. Clifton Ave. in
Chicago. They also provide a hot meal a few times a week to a few
hundred homeless, and a warming shelter for women during the cold
- promotes mission trips for youth groups wishing to become involved
in urban outreach, via Jesus People USA.
Brothas and Sistas United
- an outreach ministry to kids in the Uptown neighborhood, generally
ages 10 to 17, who are provided with tutoring, recreation,
mentoring, and a safe place to hang out after school and on the
weekends. Always in need of volunteers who are reliable and have a
burden to work with the kids.
- Music ministries
This section is really getting longer than I thought at first, so
rather than repeat things you can read in the advertising, I'll
just list the links in short format. If I've missed anybody
accidentally, lemme know.
- where does all the money come from to pay for it all? Mainly from
here, and from
Creative Wood Design
- here. High quality cabinetry, bookshelves, hutches, credenzas,
and assorted wood pieces. Nice stuff.
- they print custom-designed T-shirts and do a really good job of
- the JPUSA business which provides housing for senior citizens.
Some of my best friends worked here.
Roughly alphabetical by last name...
- John Bozeman's
on JPUSA ("Jesus People USA: An Examination of an Urban, Communitarian
Religious Group"). Careful, this one is 290K in size, so it will
take a while to download.
- Rick Ross's
of anti-JPUSA rhetoric. I've corresponded with him, interviewed him,
and met him face-to-face. He is convinced he knows the "real truth"
and has chosen not to present both sides of certain controversies. Other
than that, I think he's a decent human being with a sincere desire to
help other people.
- Marty and Jesse Phillips wrote
to two articles on Ross's site which were about them. Marty has tried
corresponding with Rick, who does not inform his readers about
Marty and Jesse's reply to his pages about them.
- Rick Ross does provide the much-discussed
Chicago Tribune article
about JPUSA, which appeared April 12, 1991. You can't get the
full text on the regular Chicago Tribune website without paying a fee
(er, unless you're a university student somewhere. North Park students have
prepaid access to several
- Even if you lived in JPUSA for a period of time, you shouldn't
read the Chicago Tribune article without also reading the
from Tom Cameron, who points out that some of the Tribune's statements
about JPUSA businesses being upheld by tax dollars aren't correct.
There is also a page with a variety of
from Christianity Today, the Covenant Church, and a few others
who remind us of other aspects of the JPUSA and ex-JPUSA situation.
- For the time being, I am omitting other sites whose primary purpose
seems to be criticism and general JPUSA-bashing. Though I know the people
behind these pages as personal friends of many years, I cannot in good
conscience promote this means of self-expression. There are limits to my
own libertarian principle of full and impartial disclosure. (Yup, I admit
that I have my own biases.)