The story of Park Community Church stands as a powerful illustration of God’s faithfulness, provision and grace. For over 25 years the Lord has taken our story and transformed it into a way of telling His story.
In 1986, a handful of people met to share their vision of a contemporary Christian church on the near North side of Chicago. They imagined a vibrant church alive with music and dramatic and visual arts that would engage the Lincoln Park community with the relevant and meaningful message about the truth and grace available in the person of Jesus Christ. They coined the phrase "doing ministry in the shadow of the skyline" to describe the vision God had given them for this new church.
With the blessing of Moody Memorial Church, the first worship service of Park Community Church was held in the summer of 1987. By the end of that year, Park Community Church was holding weekly services in the middle of Lincoln Park in the auditorium of Francis Parker School.
Park Community Church sought to be a biblical and dynamic church focused on celebrating the life of Jesus Christ while ministering with relevance and excellence to the needs of believers and un-churched people of the near north lakeshore area of Chicago.
For the first several years, Matt Heard, one of the founders of Park Community Church, served as senior pastor for the church. When Matt left in 1990 to pursue additional education, the young church embarked on a search for a new pastor.
For two years, a team of elders and guest speakers carried the vision and shepherded the people of Park until the search committee recommended Ray Carter, an intern at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, for the position of senior pastor. Ray had recently left a background of teaching and coaching to complete a Master of Theology degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. In 1993, Park Community Church confirmed Ray as senior pastor.
Over the next several years, Park Community Church continued to grow and thrive throughout the city.
Jackson Crum joined Park Community Church as lead pastor and elder in March of 2004 following the departure of Ray Carter in 2002. Jackson set a vision for the church to reach 1% of the city of Chicago and see them assimilated into biblical community.
In 2005, God blessed Park through the purchase of an old warehouse located at 1001 N. Crosby in the Cabrini Green neighborhood. For the first time in nearly 20 years, Park would have a permanent place to call their own.
Through the faithful giving of those who believed in the vision and mission of Park, over the next three years the old warehouse was transformed to become a testimony of God's faithfulness to Park, standing in the shadow of the skyline of downtown Chicago.
In the summer of 2008, the first services were held at the Near North Campus. Park continues to have a presence in Lincoln Park at Francis Parker School, where the Lincoln Park Campus still meets. Over the next five years, Park continued to expand as one church in many locations by opening campuses in Near South, Forest Glen, Rogers Park neighborhoods, and plans are underway for the opening of the Edgebrook campus in the fall of 2013. The original staff of five has expanded to over 30 and Park is reaching over 2,000 people each week through our weekend services and ministries.
While Park has a rich history following it, we believe that there are even greater things yet to become. Park's story is still being written and we invite you to join us in the adventure!