How to Plant a Church in Chicago

Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra | January 18, 2017


It’s hard work to plant a church in Chicago.

“If you pierce the 100-member level, you’re in the vast minority,” said David Choi, who planted Church of the Beloved in Chicago four years ago. “From my vantage point, I’ve seen about 10 percent of church plants pierce the 100 level. Far more have around 10 to 50 people. . . . I could name a good amount of churches that have fewer than 60 or have folded in the last five years.”

Jon Dennis planted Holy Trinity Church 18 years ago. He agrees church planting in Chicago is hard, but his assessment is more optimistic.

“There’s a quiet and critical church planting movement afoot in Chicago,” he said. “Many aren’t aware of what is happening in our cities, but God is at work.”

The city has its own church planting heroes, Dennis said, pointing to New Life Community Church and its 24 church plants since 1986. There’s also James Meeks, who started Salem Baptist Church in 1985; the church now tops 15,000 members

But most of Chicago’s church planting has been done in the last decade or so.

Part of that growth stems from the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) North American Mission Board (NAMB). Recently, the…


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