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New Life Covenant Church's inner-city ministry is a strong model for all churches to follow.
New Life Covenant Church's inner-city ministry is a strong model for all churches to follow. (New Life Covenant Church)

Most churches and ministries, no matter what the size, can be proud of their kingdom accomplishments. A servant’s heart and attitude know no favoritism in God’s eyes, and He surely takes pride in the benevolent works of all His children.

However, not all churches and ministries are the same when it comes to their ability to influence others to make an impact for the kingdom.

Enter the Ministry Today 21—a list of 21 churches and ministries that are influencing the 21st-century church. In our special May/June print issue, we unveiled these 21 unique ministries, all of which have become models for others to emulate in the ministry world today.

This is not a list ranking the 21 best churches or ministries. The Ministry Today 21 was created as a resource for pastors and ministry leaders from which to glean ideas that could possibly enhance their own kingdom efforts.

Throughout the month of May, Ministrytodaymag.com will highlight each of these 21 ministries, beginning with New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, Ill.

Inner-City Ministry, New Life Covenant Church, Chicago, Ill.

Pastor Wilfredo De Jesús’ vision for New Life Covenant Church is simple: to be a church for the hurting that reaches people for Jesus. The church’s methods for doing so, however, are far more involved.

The Assemblies of God church in Humboldt Park, Ill., an inner-city suburb of Chicago, sports 160 different compassion ministries reaching some of the most disenfranchised people in the metro area—the homeless, the poor, prostitutes, drug addicts, unmarried pregnant teens and gang members, to name a few.

“Compassion ministry has nothing to do with building your church; it has everything to do with what Christ has called us to do in Matthew 25,” De Jesús told the AG’s Enrichment journal.

In 1997, before De Jesús became lead pastor at New Life, the church opened an interim housing program funded by a local agency called River of Life. It became the first of New Life’s plethora of compassion ministries, with a goal of rehousing women with children who are homeless within 120 days by focusing on client stabilization, assessment and referral to community resources.

Soon to follow was New Life’s Dream Center, which houses ex-prostitutes and drug addicts; a teen center for runaway girls; and Manna for Life, a program that feeds more than 200 families every Saturday.

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