The Story We Find Ourselves In
Our world is radically changing at an alarming rate. Massive shifts in all arenas of life: politics, economics, international affairs, cultural and multigenerational relations, and seismic geological changes are at our doorstep; and our world will never be the same.
God cares deeply about each of these arenas, and is commissioning a community of revolutionaries to love and serve all over the planet!
We’d like to share what God has called us to and to invite others to join in the dream.
This invitation will touch on three questions:
What is the Underground Church Network (UGN)? How does it connect to serve the Kingdom of God? How can I participate in the movement?
We hope to use this invitation as a starting point for a bigger conversation, regarding God’s mission in Chicago and what it means to be a part of this collection of communities. Once you’ve read this and discern you’d like to go deeper:
- Contact Us. To discuss other questions you might have.
- Join UGN online.
- Host or visit a faith community in your area.
Long live the Revolutionary!
What is Our Mission?
Our dream is to see a vibrant family of Jesus in close reach, culturally and geographically, of every person on the planet, starting in Chicago!
This is a huge goal, but it is the central focus of God’s heart! (Rev 7:9) We are working strategically and prayerfully to saturate the cities 77 community areas with “vibrant families of Jesus,” communities of faith that center on Christ, and display what Jesus looks like in their community.
We work other organizations like the Pray4Chicago Project, a city-wide spiritual mapping initiative that relies on the family of God to “pray with their eyes open” as they walk the streets and look for the places of brokenness, and the places where God is already at work. Our central strategy is to equip ordinary folks to join God in what he is doing in creating vibrant families of Jesus in every nook and cranny in the city!
What is the Underground Church Network?
The Underground Church Network (UGN) is a relationally connected group of organic churches (reproducing small groups) that follow Jesus in mission in Chicago. Meeting in homes, pubs, coffee houses, parks…wherever life happens. They may live or work together, share a common worship style or a common purse.
Whatever the shape and skin of the faith community, all share a core DNA of:
Divine Truth Learning to listen to God and do what he says is at the core of every part of our network. Reading God’s Word, listening prayers, communal discernment, are key practices in our community. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength…”
Nurturing Relationships Our dream is to see a vibrant family of Jesus emerge in your context. An authentic faith community that is real with their doubts, fears, joys…every season of life. This community that values spiritual formation, confession, discipleship and love. We enjoy nurturing relationships at various levels and through that learn to live outside of ourselves “…and love our neighbor as ourselves. “
Apostolic Mission We believe the church does not exist for us, but that we are the church, for the sake of the world. To the very core of us we are about making disciples in the image of Christ, learning to live into the life Jesus describes. Each community is called to a purpose beyond itself, the whole Church sharing the whole Gospel with the whole city. “Go into all the world and make disciples…”
Getting together is essential to any community. The more time people spend together the better they know one another and thus the stronger their relationship is. Understanding people is crucial to avoiding prejudice and sectarianism. We meet as simple, organic churches, and often, we meet as a whole network. Our large gatherings serve two purposes: First, they serve as a time to form community between different house churches. Second, they serve as a framework in which large-scale efforts can be made; i.e., social justice projects, teaching, and worship.
How we Connect
Like layers in an onion, we find that connecting with the Lord and others in the network is important at various levels of our lives. Here are a few ways we connect in the UGN:
MICRO: “Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered there I am with them…” We have developed resources for bands of brothers and sisters and Life Transformation Groups for authenticity, confession, and multiplication. (more…)
MESO: A spiritual family that meets weekly and shares life together. Bible study, mission, and authentic fellowship are key components. Takes shape as house churches, neo-monastic communities, or missional businesses. (more…)
So What’s Next? How do I Join?
So you’ve been invited to join the Underground Church Network! What’s Next? UGN has several layers of involvement for those who are ready to connect to an extended family who will love you and resource you to be the church in Chicago:
- Meet Up. If you’ve been given this by a friend, get together with them and share your thoughts. They’ll be able to help you take next steps.
- Contact Us. To discuss other questions you might have. While we may not have all the answers, we’ll work together.
- Join UGN Online, a online social space for UGN local members.
- Map Us. Find and visit a faith community in your area. If you’re already a part of an organic church and see the importance of connecting to an extended family.
Shared DNA, Shared Movement
If we share the same DNA (see above) then we are already joined together in the same movement. Whether or not you connect specifically with our church network, we bless and promote your journey with God and will look for ways to partner. Our dream is not to grow a giant organization, but to see networks of networks spread all over this city, region, and planet!