Stories from CEF
The Hub: CEF of Chicago’s Innovative Strategy
By Sandy Bunch
Ben and Karis Jorden moved from small town Missouri to Chicago in 2005. It was while teaching Good News Club® in a “neighborhood of need” that their eyes were opened and their hearts broken for children in Chicago. They saw that not only were their physical, psychological, and emotional needs not being met, but neither were their spiritual needs.
It was from this need that the HUB was created. HUB stands for Housing and Urban Ministry Building. Its purpose is to meet the needs of missionaries, to recruit and retain more missionaries and broaden the reach of CEF® in the neighborhood.
Raising funds can be a daunting task for a full time missionary. To help them with this process, the HUB offers free housing to missionaries for their first year of ministry. Beginning in their thirteenth month of residency, the rent increases monthly by $100.00 until it reaches $500.00. This is an affordable arrangement in Chicago, where housing is expensive.
As they prepare for full time ministry, the missionaries become a community among themselves. They support each other in daily struggles as they work toward common goals. Together they grow spiritually and learn how to effectively raise funds for ministry. Other training is offered in areas such as cooking, shopping economically, using mass transit, teamwork, and budgeting.
Not only does the HUB meet the needs of the missionaries, it is also meeting the needs of the community. It serves as a HUB for Good News Club® and 5-Day Club®. The HUB is a safe place for the neighborhood children to go in this high crime area. One Good News Club attendee said, “I like to come to Good News Club because I feel safe and I can be myself and learn about God.”
“I like to come to Good News Club because I feel safe and I can be myself and learn about God.”
The missionaries are visible and present in the community. This allows them to relate to those around them. “We are being watched,” said Zeb Potter, one of the first tenants of the HUB. They are recognized as “good people” and are seen as a positive influence by the neighbors.
God supplied a generous donation of $20,000 to purchase the building and there are now 12 missionaries living there and reaching out to the children of Chicago. But there is room for more! The HUB is a 16-unit, 38-bedroom apartment complex.
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