In 2003, Pastor Brad Beier moved to Chicago from Baltimore with his wife Shannon to serve at Bethel Christian Church (PCA). In 2010, they launched from Bethel as a mission church located on the University of Chicago’s campus. Named Living Hope Church, they purchased an abandoned pool hall (featured in the Tom Cruise movie "The Color of Money") and with the help of church members, generous supporters, and 4,000 construction volunteers, they renovated the Southside space over four years.
During the renovations, many from the neighborhood came to the church looking for work. Pastor Beier folded them into the work crew and the church paid them for their help. Over 50 individuals were hired off of the street during the renovations, 10 of whom became regular workers and three of whom became members of Living Hope Church.
The church quickly realized that by addressing the obvious need for employment, they were able to engage people they would otherwise never be able to reach within the community. With this in mind, the church leadership had a vision retreat in January of 2014 to imagine ways they could, as a church, be a resource to the many individuals in their community looking for employment. The church decided that launching a non profit would meet the needs of the community beyond what the church was able to do.
With an emphasis on workforce development, they developed the idea over several months. In August of 2014 Rebekah King was hired as the first Executive Director and soon the vision for Hope Works became reality. Hope Works’ first programming, the MAP Program, began in October of 2014 with an individualized delivery model to address each individual's unique circumstances. Initially sponsored by Living Hope Church, Hope Works obtained independent 501c3 status in March of 2015.
Over the last two years, Hope Works has grown from seeing two people a week to scheduling an average of 25 people a week. The organization continues to develop partnerships that will strengthen programming and impact the city. Hope Works also takes part in after school and summer programming in partnership with Living Hope. Every day our story continues and we are so grateful to be able to grow with such an inspiring community.
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Living Hope Church
Hope Works Community Development was founded and is actively supported by Living Hope Church in Woodlawn, Chicago.
Living Hope Church is part of the Body of Christ on the Southside of Chicago, gathering as people of all different colors, cultures, and classes, but embodying together our one Living Hope, Jesus Christ. To learn more, visit livinghopechurch.org.