Our Mission & Vision

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Churches come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are big – others small. Some are traditional – others contemporary. Some engage people outside of their walls – others, well, not so much. In the midst of such diversity, what is special about First Christian Church of Chicago?  

First Christian Church of Chicago cooperates as a team to build

Christ-likeness in others by ...

  • connecting with God,

  • growing together,

  • serving the church,

  • and helping the unconnected get connected with God and others.

How are we going to accomplish that task? If that is your question, you have

asked a good one! Here are elements that will lead FCC to fulfilling its purpose:

  • FCC embraces the Bible as a guide for everything that we teach and do.

  • FCC expresses God’s love and acceptance as a demonstration of grace in everyday life.

  • FCC seeks to strengthen the spiritual influence of families by equipping parents to be the primary influence on their children.

  • FCC provides a relational-style ministry that fosters the building of deep, lasting and loving relationships.

  • FCC is located in a multi-cultural/multi-ethnic neighborhood to be a model of racial reconciliation.

  • FCC has a network of ministry opportunities, which are made up of members sharing in the ministry of the church in areas of their personal interest and abilities.

Our Story

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Churches come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are big – others small. Some are traditional – others contemporary. Some engage people outside of their walls – others, well, not so much. In the midst of such diversity, what is special about First Christian Church of Chicago?  

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Our Team

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Introducing the people who serve as servant leaders of First Christian Church of Chicago

Our Elders

Our Elders recognize the authority of God, and realize that we are shepherds who serve under the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We understand our role is to feed, care for, protect, and lead the church as the flock of God. Our passion and goal is to equip the believers for the work of the ministry until we all attain maturity in the fullness of Christ. Our Elders are:

Richard Bussian

Steven Chapman

Gincy Hartin

Geoff Shive

Our Ministry Staff

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It has been my joy to serve on the ministry staff at First Christian Church of Chicago since 1996. I was originally...

Steven Chapman

Senior Minister

Gincy’s (pronounced jin’- see) main responsibility is leading worshipand overseeing teaching the youth...

Associate Minister

Gincy Hartin

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Laira works in the office alongside of Dionna, providing shepherding for women, and clerical services...

Office Ministry Facilitator

Laira Chapman

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Dionna Bickham

Office Ministry Facilitator

A member of FCC Chicago since 2010, Dionna works alongside Laira providing the coordination...

Our Support Staff

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Adrienne Vazquez, Janitorial Custodian

Our Ministry Beliefs

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First Christian Church of Chicago is a church that unites people from various backgrounds. Whether you are Catholic, Baptist, non-denominational, or unconvinced, we believe that God wants to include you.

We do not suggest that Christians must agree on all matters of faith. However, we think it is necessary for Christ-followers to be on the same page when it comes to several crucial issues. Below you can read what our church believes about those crucial issues:

We believe there is one divine being who has existed eternally. He exists and reveals Himself to man in three distinct, equally divine persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While we cannot fully comprehend His divine nature, it is possible for people to know Him.

At the beginning of time, God created the entire universe and all its creatures. He continues to exercise His supreme power to sustain His creation. Throughout history He has expressed His desire to be our God and to have a personal, eternal relationship with us. We believe that God loves us and wants what is best for us.

We believe that Jesus is the eternal divine Son of God. In order to restore our connection with God, Jesus gave up his place next to God and voluntarily chose to be made in human likeness and was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Although He lived a sinless life He allowed Himself to be executed by crucifixion. His death paid the penalty for the sins of mankind against God. However, as prophesied, He rose from the dead three days after His execution. After appearing to witnesses on a number of occasions for forty days, He ascended into heaven where He now serves as the Mediator between God and man. We believe that at the end of time He will again visibly return to earth to complete His eternal plan. (Genesis 1:1, 27; Isaiah 53:6; 59:1-2; John 3:16; 14:6; Acts 2:22-41; Romans 3:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Philippians 2:1-11).  

When we reconnect with God he gives us the Holy Spirit (God’s counselor/tutor and equal) to reside inside each believer and provide insight into God’s Truth (the Bible), power to obey, spiritual gifts for serving others, and personal direction in life. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, Christ followers are empowered to live Christ-like lives. When it comes to spiritual gifts, we believe that God hands them out and therefore we don’t tell people that they must have or can’t have certain spiritual gifts. We rely on the Holy Spirit to help us plan and organize our Sunday services. During these services the Holy Spirit inspires us to draw close to God as we worship in an orderly fashion (Luke 11:13; John 16:13; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 12:4-13).

God is still speaking today. Our job is to lean towards him and listen. If you ever feel closer to God while you are hiking up a mountain or experiencing the beauty of nature don’t be surprised. God speaks through nature, his creation, as a way of telling us that there is order and design in life. If you are a history buff, God shows his hand of guidance as he interacts with our world and leads with utmost care. Even when we listen to the quietness of our souls, God speaks through our conscience by putting a longing for eternity and holy things in our hearts. In addition to creation, divine intervention, and conscience, God has also spoken to each of us specifically by sending His Son Jesus and giving us the Bible, his written message (Romans 1:18-32; 2:14-15, Psalm 19:1-2).

We believe the 66 books of the Bible were written by human authors under the supernatural guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Through these writers, God expressed His values, principles and ideals that please Him and are in our best interests. God gave us the Bible for instruction on what to believe and how to live. We believe that the Bible is poetic, challenging, entirely accurate, complete, reliable, and relevant because it comes from God. We look to the Bible for revelation of God’s character and for our final authority on all matters of faith and conduct. (Psalm 119:105, 160; Matthew 5;17-19; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).

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Urban Architecture

As the author of all good things, God created us in His image and for a relationship with Him.  Simultaneously, God gave us the freedom to choose whether or not we want to trust and follow Him. The first man and woman were deceived by Satan. They rebelled and chose to be wrongfully independent from God. Their decision alienated them from God. Every human being since that time has suffered the consequences of that rebellion. We also fail God and disregard God’s purpose and plan for our lives. Although we all have potential for good, we are still marred by an attitude and demeanor of disobedience towards God called, “sin.” This is a problem we have no power to fix. God alone took the initiative to re-establish a relationship with sinners like us. It is our decision to respond or ignore God’s desire for us to come back home to Him.  

Jesus offers us a way back to God. Salvation is His gift from God to us. We can never make up for our sins by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can we be saved from sin’s penalty. The gift of eternal life with God is given the moment we receive Jesus Christ into our lives by faith. God alone does the saving, but he has every right to ask us to respond to his free gift of salvation. Our role in reconnecting with God includes listening to God’s story, believing in Jesus life and message, making a decision to repent and turn away from our sinful habits, confessing our faith in Jesus’ power to save us, and being immersed in water as a unifying and spiritual experience of identifying with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:4-9; 10:9; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:8-9; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Peter 3:20-21; 1 John 1:9).

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Once our relationship is re-established with God, we naturally want to spend time with Him and know Him better. The Holy Spirit enlightens us as we read God’s Word, the Bible, as we communicate with Him in prayer, and as we enter into loving relationships and Biblical community with other Christ followers. In this way we begin to know God more intimately. As we become acquainted with God we desire to be like Him and please Him. This process of spiritual development, enabled by the Holy Spirit’s work, motivates us to seek ways to serve God and invite others to know Him. This maturing process prepares us to spend eternity in fellowship with Him. 

We believe the church represents Jesus to a needy world. The Bible calls the church “Christ’s body.” It compares the church to a living organism where Jesus is the head. God arranges the parts of the body, Christ followers, just as He wants them to be. He gives each Christ follower special functions to perform for the good of the body. To remain healthy, the body’s members must work together. Each part contributes to the growth and maturity of the church. God works through the church to reconcile a lost world to Himself through Jesus Christ. For this reason it is important for Christ followers to regularly gather together for the purpose of worshipping God. When the church worships together, Christ followers are equipped, built up, and encouraged through teaching, fellowship, prayer, and communion. Worship in this way enables believers to serve one another and the un-churched people in their sphere of influence. First Christian Church of Chicago sees itself as a member of God’s world-wide Church made up of all those who have acknowledged Jesus as their Savior and surrendered to him as Lord to the best of their understanding of God and the Bible (Matthew 28:19-20; John 10:10; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:3-6, 11-14).

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God created each of us to exist forever. Every one of us will either exist eternally separated from God in Hell or eternally connected with God in Heaven. If you are like us then you waffle between having a lot of questions about heaven and hell and not wanting to think about things like hell at all. We believe that heaven and hell are real and that God is a wise, holy judge and a great respecter of people. We are glad that God alone makes the call on who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. One clear thing is that if you choose to connect with God he will reward you by letting you live in community with him and other believers for all eternity. If you do not want to connect with him, he will not make you spend eternity with him in heaven. Hell, the absence of God and existence without community is the dwelling place for all who refuse to reconnect with God in Jesus Christ (Acts 17:22-31; Romans 1:18; 2 Peter 3;9; 1 John 2:25, 5:11-13; Revelation 20:15).

Our Ministry Strategy

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The goal of the Christian life is that a believer would grow spiritually to become like Jesus Christ. That means that in their beliefs, behavior, character, and attitudes they would increasingly be transformed into the image of Jesus – THAT IS SPIRITUAL GROWTH! – That is the life God created you to enjoy. To not grow spiritually is to die spiritually. That is why we express the spiritual value of growing into Christ’s character as the primary goal in our Ministry Purpose Statement:


To cooperate as a team to build Christlikeness in others.

However, many people desire to experience spiritual growth, but do not know how to go about experiencing a transformed life. The Process of Growth for First Christian Church of Chicago is a simple plan for you to experience the life that God designed for you. Since we are fulfilling our purpose as a TEAM, we think of our Growth Process in terms of a baseball diamond that has a clearly marked path in order to reach the defined destination — growth in Christlikeness.

First Base – Connect w/ God

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Connecting with God through authentic worship is the first step in the Process for Growth. As we connect with God and learn that he is a God of grace that desires the best in life for us, we become a people of worship that celebrate God for who he is and what

he has done for us.

Connecting with God has two stages:

  1. Making a decision to embrace a relationship with God; and

  2. The continued celebration of God through corporate worship on Sundays at 10:00am.

Second Base – Grow Together

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God did not create us to do the Christian life alone. He created us to grow to become like Christ in community.

We need each other in order to experience life transformation. It is in living the shared life that we receive the encouragement, the guidance, the correction, and the teaching to stretch toward a life that imitates Christ. Left to ourselves, we continue to struggle with the same issues and challenges that frequently defeat us. Connecting with others to experience transformation provides a hand up when we might fall on our own.

First Christian Church of Chicago urges people to participate in a Connection Group where they can experience the support, healing and guidance of others journeying along with them toward transformation. Several Connection Groups meet on Sundays and throughout the week.

Third Base – Serve the Church

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Not only do we need one another in relationships. We need one another in ministry. God has created and designed every believer, from young to old, with the ability to be a person of impact within the body of Christ. The area of greatest impact is found in how God has SHAPEd them for serving (their personal combination of Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences). Serving within the area that God has SHAPEd us allows us to perform effective ministry as a church, to meet the needs of the church family, and to experience a sense of fruitfulness and fulfillment from our contribution. At FCC, we offer assistance in discovering your SHAPE for ministry through the seminar, “Motivated for Ministry“, and through individualized guidance by a Ministry Guide/Consultant. Sessions of the seminar are held once per year.

Home Plate – Reach the Unconnected

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The church is not just for those who are already Christians. God desires that everyone would discover the love that he has for them, and connecting in an enduring relationship with Him and His Church. A home run as a believer is influencing those who are currently far from God and His Church to begin the process of growing in faith.

Believers influence those who are far from God in two ways:

  1. Personal Evangelism – when believers build lasting and meaningful relationships with unconnected people and are able to share God’s love with them through acts of compassion and words of grace.

  2. Community Outreach – when believers join together to demonstrate to the community God’s love by addressing real needs within the community.

Our Core Ministry Values

8 Passions Which Drive Our Ministry

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Churches come in all different shapes and sizes, matched only by the assortment of priorities and goals they seek to achieve. Those priorities, as well as the shape of the church, are usually determined by the core values that direct the organization and drive its ministry. These values can be as diverse as the shapes and sizes of each church.

 

Here are the eight core ministry values of FCC of Chicago as defined by the Eldership.

First Tier

  • Biblical Authority –Scripture is God’s self-revelation and as we spend time getting to know what it teaches it serves as the primary guide for our theology and practice, both with the church body and our personal lives.

  • Transformational Worship – Our response to redemption is authentic, ongoing life change, reflected in personal and corporate worship.

  • Authentic Grace – The community of believers, who may be broken by life, experience true healing community as we honestly and authentically share ourselves and practice exchanging the grace and peace of Christ with one another.

  • Evangelism – Our primary responsibility toward those whom God yet desires to include in His family is being a witness of God’s redeeming work, in word and deed.

Second Tier

  • Diversity – The church best demonstrates the unity of the body of Christ as people of different ethnic, linguistic, generational, and socio-economic backgrounds learn to live and worship in harmony with one another.

  • Teamwork – The Christian life is not a solo venture, but an adventure shared in community as every member contributes to the well-being of the entire community toward the achievement of our shared goal. 

  • Excellence – We seek to prepare and present every aspect of ministry to the best of our ability because God is worthy of our best.

  • Simplicity – Simplicity in ministry creates an environment that is devoid of the cultural clutter that distracts us from focusing on our defined purpose in ministry.

Our Ministry Principles

10 Strategies For How Ministry Happens

Teaching For Life Application

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“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

2 Tim. 3:16-17

 Biblical teaching is not simply for the acquisition of knowledge. Biblical teaching is purposed to initiate transformation of the hearer’s life. To that end, the teaching ministry of FCC Chicago seeks to provide clear, practical application of the Bible to life in all settings.

Multi-Cultural Ministry

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“I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”

Rev 7:9

 The church in eternity will be a rainbow of ethnicity and cultures that we seek to exhibit now as the body of Christ on earth. God is honored as FCC Chicago brings down the walls of racial and ethnic hostility through living out the grace and love of Christ.

Cultivation of Group Relationships

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“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another …”

Heb 10:25

 Spiritual growth occurs best within the context of relationships. Group environments serve as an incubator for those relationships, and a laboratory for learning to live the Christian life in community.

Heartfelt Worship

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“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:24

Worship is that moment in time when our heart bursts with affection and adoration of God. As such, it is not emotionally stale and or dull. Worship should led us opportunity to celebrate God in moments of brokenness and humility, and moments of exhilaration and joy. At FCC Chicago, we attempt to provide a worship experience that is well-rounded both intellectually and emotionally, as it engages heart and mind.

Local Church Autonomy

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“Christ is the head of His Body, the church. He is the source of the Body’s life …”

Col 1:18

Christ is the recognized head of our church, not any person, group, or religious organization. While recognizing the value of associating and cooperating with other groups of Christians, FCC Chicago is a non-denominational church, self-governing and independent from any denominational control.  

Every-Member Ministry

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“Be shepherds, of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers …”

1 Pet 5:2

The Elders are the principle leaders of FCC Chicago. Their primary function is not to serve as a Board of Directors, but as spiritual shepherds who feed, lead, protect, pray for, and model spiritual maturity for the church family. Every member family has an Elder responsible for their oversight and care. 

Every Believer Is A Priest/Minister

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“Christ loves us, and by His death He has freed us from our sins and made us a kingdom of priests to serve God.” 

Rev 1:6

 Every believer has direct access to God through the grace of Christ. FCC Chicago members do not have to rely on the ministry staff to mediate grace because that has already been done through Christ’s sacrifice. Everyone engages in that role through prayer and Bible reading.

 

Further, the Bible teaches that every Christian is called to “full time” Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation. FCC Chicago practices the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member to find a place of service and ministry that fits their exclusive God-given design.

Community Targeted

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“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.”

 

Acts 1:8

 As Jesus instructed the disciples to begin their ministry from the point that their feet were planted, FCC Chicago’s starting point for evangelism and outreach is the Ashburn neighborhood and its surrounding communities. From this area, God will provide the launching pad to reaching out further.  

Family Oriented

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“As for parents, don’t provoke your children to anger, but raise them with discipline and instruction about the Lord.”

 

Eph 6:4

 

While FCC Chicago does offers some age-segregated programming, we believe that the family is the primary environment where children can be successfully discipled. The church seeks to serve parents as a partner in that task by equipping parents for that task. As a partner, the church seeks opportunities to not minister just individuals within a family, but to the family as a unit.

Starting With The Tithe

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“Bring your whole tithe into the storehouse …”

Mal 3;10

 

At FCC Chicago we teach tithing as a Biblical starting point for giving to support the church body. While tithing serves as a good starting point, it is not the limit to which we can give. Other opportunities to give abound.

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