Inviting Chicago to Feast on the Love of Jesus

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We'd love to answer any questions you might have about our church, our community, and what we believe. Please let us know if we can serve you in any way.

What is Agapé?

Agapé is the most common Greek word in the Bible translated “love”

Agapé is the name given to meals shared by the earliest Christians often surrounding the Lord's Supper. Those who gathered for these Agapé meals transformed their world by teaching and embodying the good news of Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection. What happened at the tables of Agapé meals was more than merely partaking of meals; indeed these meals were a continuation of the revolution begun by the King they celebrated at these tables.

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Table Values

We want to be known for what we promote when we gather to feast. In a beautiful but broken city, we want to be known for having worthy values flowing out of what we love.

1.Renewing Gospel

The Gospel, the message of God making peace with humanity through Jesus, is the victory of God over our greatest enemies; sin, death, and Satan. We seek to make the Gospel central in our life together. Our mission is defined by it. Our desires are bound up with it. Our growth is impossible without it. We want above everything else to be known for growing and reaching out through the power of the Gospel. Our meals will be full of people celebrating the Gospel.

2.Embracing Difference

The Gospel is about how Jesus makes different people one, one in Him. It is not enough to be “nice” to those that are different or be tolerant of our differences. The work of God compels appreciation of and learning from those that are different from ourselves. We want to reflect the desire of Christ for difference in His body by reflecting the differences in our neighborhood. We want young and old, male and female, poor and rich, educated and non-educated, white, black, asian, and Hispanic to embrace each other at Agapé Chicago Our meals will be full of people that apart from Jesus would never eat together.

3.Multiplying Disciples

The Gospel declares that Jesus now rules heaven and earth. Thus people are all to learn from Jesus and teach others to obey Jesus in everything. All Christian are disciples and ought lead others to know and obey Jesus. Discipleship is an all of life endeavor whereby we obey everything Jesus commanded in every sphere of our lives. When we multiply disciples, everything that makes disciples will multiply Our friendships, our roots groups, our Agapé Communities, our influence, and even churches multiply. When we multiply disciples, healthier churches will multiply as well.

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Three Loves

We want to be known for what we promote when we gather to feast. In a beautiful but broken city, we want to be known for having worthy values flowing out of what we love.

Jesus

SCRIPTURE

Jesus is the focus of the word of God, and we know Him and love Him only because we have the Holy Spirit inspired words of scripture (Matthew 5:17-20, Luke 24:25-27).

PRAYER

Jesus' work makes possible our prayers to God as Father, praying like Jesus did. Our response of faith and love in Jesus is to pray, dependent upon the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:4-6, Romans 8:26-27, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

FRUIT

If anyone abides in Christ, they will bear much fruit (John 15:18), and this fruit comes through the Holy Spirit and abiding in Him (Galatians 5:16-17, 22-26) and rejecting the works of the flesh (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21)

Church

SERVE

The people of God are to serve one another (Galatians 5:13) and to use the specific gifts given to them for the building up of the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)

COLLABORATE

The people of God are to gather (Acts 2:42-47, Hebrews 12:23-25,) and to strengthen each other's lives (Ephesians 4:14-16, 25-27), to rely on one another and to work together,for the proclaiming of Jesus and the showing of Jesus to our city (John 17:20-26). Love must be concrete and the church is the concrete expression of the Gospel's power to the world (John 13:35).

GIVE

We are to give sacrificially of our resources, time, energy, and hopes to see the people of God built up (2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Galatians 6:10, Acts 2:44-45) and the mission of God move forward. Disciples trust God enough to be free from viewing anything that he or she gives as their own, but rather as kind gifts to steward in allegiance to God's Kingdom.

Chicago

INVEST

Loving the city means that we believe that our good is related to the good of the city, and we invest with our time, resources, and skills for the good of the city (Jeremiah 29:49, Luke 6:31).

PARTICIPATE

The best way to serve Chicago is to be involved where people are involved, like in sports teams, after school programs, social services, regular events, or just by attending “third places” like bars or coffee shops in our neighborhoods on a regular basis (Acts 17, Acts 18:24)

PROCLAIM

Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ is essential to our identity (2 Corinthians 5:17-20) and our distinctiveness as a people (Acts 17:6).

Watch Pastor Jeremiah talk about Agape's Mission, Vision, and Table Values.

Our Leaders

LEADERSHIP

JEREMIAH VAUGHT

ELDER

Jeremiah and his wife Maysa founded Agape Chicago in collaboration with a group of Rogers Park residents, many of them attending the sending church, Evanston Bible Fellowship. Prior to launching Agape, Jeremiah served in youth ministry, college ministry, and justice ministries. While in seminary at Trinity Divinity School in Deerfield and serving in Evanston, Jeremiah engaged the challenge by pastor Timothy Keller to see more healthy churches planted in urban areas.

In conjunction with strong conviction of the need for more churches in Chicago, while serving many people living in Rogers Park, the Vaughts came to the conclusion God wanted to use them to plant a church for Rogers Park. While getting to know many neighbors in the early years of seeking to start this church, Jeremiah noticed people would constantly throw around the word "love" only to describe their feelings of attraction, and appreciation, but hardly ever to discuss desires to sacrifice and serve to help others. Since love is who God is (1 John 4:6) and love is what Jesus demonstrates best through sacrificial death and victorious service (John 15:13), so Jeremiah remains convinced Rogers Park needs to encounter the God's love more than anything else. We all want to love and be loved, but without seeing and knowing the best love, how can we love like we should? This desire to experience God's love by making it known still drives Jeremiah & Maysa.

STEVE JOHNSON

ELDER

Steve Johnson is a native Chicagoan born and raised right here on the Northside. He and Lorre, his wife of 18 years, have both been long-time residents of Rogers Park. After struggling with addiction for several years, the Lord delivered Steve into His service about 25 years ago. Since being called to faith, he and Lorre have dedicated themselves to serving the under-resourced, the under-served and the disconnected through a street ministry and outdoor church in Rogers Park called the Blue Sky Cathedral.

Steve has worked in the title industry for over 40 years and has earned a reputation as a knowledgeable and well-respected title resource for real estate attorneys and mortgage lenders. When he's not working, he and Lorre tend toward reading and relaxing in Jamaica - when the opportunity to do so presents itself. Steve has been with Agape Chicago since it started and was tapped by Pastor Jeremiah to be a member of its first elder board, on which he has served faithfully for the past 3 years. As an elder of Agape Chicago, Steve facilitates the goings-on at the Blue Sky Agape Community which “strives to live out the Great Commission by bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to people on the streets of Rogers Park”. He also contributes to the pulpit ministry and preaches regularly on Sunday mornings. Pastor Jeremiah and the family of believers at Agape Chicago are appreciative of Steve's contribution to our growth and maturity. We feel that the Name of the Lord has been glorified through his work.

STEPHEN MCCAUSLAND

ELDER

Steve is finishing up his ordination with the Free Church, teach part-time at a local university, and work in the jewelry industry. He has four kids and a hound dog. He moved to Chicagoland from Seattle for further education and have enjoyed the wealth of experiences offered in this great city. Agape is a healthy, safe place to grow in Christ! The church's warmth and genuineness was immediately apparent to them, and they knew it would be a great place to raise their kids. He was personally drawn to the diverse socio-economic and intercultural community of the church and neighborhood.

STAFF AND DEACONS

MOLLIE HASSETT

WOMEN'S DISCIPLESHIP COORDINATE

I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. It was the land of snowstorms and yes I did love the snow! I attended college in my home town to pursue a degree in Nursing. I have enjoyed an amazing career for many years. As I approached 40 years old I had accomplished some goals .I owned my own home., had an advanced practice degree, good friends,family and freedom. However there was something missing that I could not explain until a dear friend invited me to her small church.

It was there that I was introduced to Jesus Christ and His Word. My life would never be the same. I moved to Chicago in 2002 to pursue a Bible Degree. It is the joy of my life to serve the Agape community. I am blessed to mentor women and teach discipleship and Bible studies at Agape. Praise God for His faithfulness to me!

RALPH MAGUNDAYAO

ADMINISTRATOR

Ralph is a professional screen and stage actor who also serves as the administrative assistant at Agape Chicago Church. Ralph assists the pastor and elders in communications, branding, as well as organizing volunteers in the church. Ralph is an alumni of the Moody Bible Institute and Richard J. Daley College and has been acting on and off for the past 10 years. In his spare time, he likes hanging out and traveling with his friends and spending time at home.

DENNIS HONG

CONNECTIONS CO-LEADER

Dennis graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana for both undergrad and graduate school. He spent time as a radio DJ, bank teller, special education teacher and financial advisor. Moving up to Chicago led him to attend and graduate from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with a Masters of Divinity. Dennis has spent a significant portion of his life in college ministry, but has also served in the Korean church and in several church plants. He is currently living in and loving the city of Chicago, convicted to live missionally. He loves coffee, food, travel, woodworking and art.

ANGELINA MUSSRO

CONNECTIONS CO-LEADER

Angelina Mussro came to Agape after she relocated to Chicago from South Carolina. She is a theatre artist with a degree in musical theatre, and she has worked professionally as both an actor and teaching artist. For Angelina, having a church family has always been an essential component of her life. Having the rooted, loving community of Agape made all the difference as a new Chicagoan, and it continues to be a source of joy and well-being.

AMY MCCAUSLAND

MUSIC LEADER

Amy is a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, training to be a mental health counselor. She enjoys making music, both in worship settings as well as with the Trinity college choir. She holds performance degrees in violin and harp from the University of Louisville. She enjoys all genres of music, and values the fullness of expression that music gives believers in their praise and worship of the Lord.

Beliefs

As a member church, we subscribe to the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), statement of faith.

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Statement of Faith

God

1. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

The Bible

2. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.

The Human Condition

3. We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God's saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

Jesus Christ

4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus-Israel's promised Messiah-was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.

The Work of Christ

5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

The Holy Spirit

6. We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

The Church

7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God's grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord's Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.

Christian Living

8. We believe that God's justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God's Word, the Spirit's power, and fervent prayer in Christ's name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ's commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.

Christ's Return

9. We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.

Response and Eternal Destiny

10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

Courtesy of EFCA

Join Us For Worship

When: 10 AM CT on Sundays

Where: The New 400 Theater, 6746 N Sheridan Rd

Our kids groups are divided into two classes, pre-school (2-4) and other age groups (5-11). We know not all children learn the same way so we do our best to teach age-appropriate lessons using hands-on, audio, writing/reading, and visual means of teaching.

MORE ABOUT KIDS

Explanations of Gatherings

Our Service Order reminds us about how God calls people to feast with Him. The invitation to this feast is the Gospel. The Gospel is the proclamation that God the Father commissioned His Son Jesus, uniquely God and man, to live the life we never would and to sacrificially die that we might forever feast on God's love. Because of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, we can be assured that death will not separate us from God's eternal heavenly banquet. Jesus' death is our preparation to be with God. Christ's resurrection from the dead ensures that all are united with Christ will too enjoy a resurrection from the dead making it possible to forever feast with Jesus.

This invitation requires a response. We respond with faith and repentance. We look to Jesus, who prepares us for the feast. Jesus cleanses us and makes us ready for the feast through His pardoning blood. In Christ, we always have access to this feast. We feast as we reminded of the love of God. We feast when we hear God's Word. We leave with a reminder that God's work to invite the world to His feast is shared with us. We leave, prepared to share the invitation.

Recent Sermons

See all sermons here.

Bringing Order To God's People

Pastor Jeremiah Vaught | 09/25/22 | Genesis: Ordering Chaos

Scripture/Text: Genesis 48-49:28; As we approach the end of our time together in Genesis, we will see how the series' main theme, "Ordering Chaos," is reflected in Jacob's blessings over his sons and grandsons. Jacob's family has been a dysfunctional bunch. Yet as the mouthpiece of God, Jacob gives fitting blessings that also prepare the reader for the ordering work God would continue to do in this family, whose descendants would make up the 12 tribes of Israel. Join us on Sunday and behold God use Jacob to affirm intentions to bring order out of this foundational families' chaos.

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When Authority Blesses

Pastor Jeremiah Vaught | 09/18/22 | Genesis: Ordering Chaos

Scripture/Text: Genesis 47:13-31; Most of us have come to be suspicious of those with authority. We chafe at being ruled in any way by others. This Sunday, we will consider how Joseph's rule during a great famine brought great blessings to everyone under his authority. This enables us to reconsider our negative response to entrusting people with power. Also, the scriptures will show how Joseph's rule revealed to the world around him truth that we cannot do without.

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The Rhythms of God

Pastor Jeremiah Vaught | 09/04/22 | Genesis: Ordering Chaos

Scripture/Text: Genesis 45:19-47:12; Genesis establishes many patterns -- or as I will say on Sunday -- rhythms, for how God will operate throughout scripture. Through God's lead, Joseph brings healing to his troubled family. In the process, God provides more than Jacob's family could hope or dream. Join us on Sunday to hear how this is just the sort of thing God does repeatedly in scripture.

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Daily Bible Reflection

See all reflections here.

1 JOHN 1:1-2:2, PSALM 146

12/05/18

“We write this to you to make our joy complete”. (1 John 1:4) There are joys that must be shared. We could think of many experiences that are better enjoyed with others: a stunning lunar eclipse, unique ice formations, the breaching of a humpback whale, fourth of July fireworks, or our favorite rock concerts. A feast, also is just too much food when it is only for one person. But when others are gathered around the table, a party ensues and your best dish delights friends, and we are gladdened in their delight. As a witness of the beauty of Christ, John, in similar fashion, cannot remain satisfied to have seen Jesus and leave others in ignorance about “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched” (1 John 1:1). Jesus, as the “Word of Life”, when genuinely encountered cannot remain an isolated “personal relationship”. Though we do delight in our individual experience and knowledge of Jesus the Messiah, there are some wonders that are just too much for us to take in and appreciate by ourselves–we must share in delight in Jesus’ “peculiar excellencies: because contentment in a moment of fulfillment becomes discontment when those we love don’t share the same love for the Savior of the world. So complete your joy this Advent season and tell the world “Come let us adore HIm.” We will be dissatisfied with anything less.

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2 Peter 3, Psalm 144

12/03/18

Many critical New Testament scholars last century argued that the first Christians believed Jesus would return in their lifetimes. Part of their theory requires believing that Peter could not have written 2 Peter, for embedded in this letter is the acknowledgement that while scoffers question the return of Jesus, believers should understand “the Lord is not slow in keeping His promise.” (2 Peter 3:9) Immediately before this statement, Peter makes the statement “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) Obviously Peter wants the reader to know that just because God seems to be taking time to send Jesus to rescue the church, that doesn’t mean our Lord isn’t keeping promises. Scholars believe this teaching must have been a later development and certainly wouldn’t have been written by Peter, one so confident in seeing Jesus’ imminent return. Like many critical theories there is a circularity to their rationale.This is how the argument goes: 1) Since there are teachings in the New Testament to be prepared for Jesus’ return, there must have been confidence that Jesus’ second coming would happen before many of Jesus’ original audience died. 2) As Jesus did not return like expected, later Christians adapted and taught that we need to be ready at all times, like tomorrow or two thousand years from now, like we see in 2 Peter. The problem with this argument is called “begging the question”, meaning the conclusions supply the rationale for the argument. The faulty belief is that the early Christians couldn’t believe both Jesus’ return was imminent and that it could happen at any time (these scholars seem to lack experience waiting for internet companies to fix their service). They assume one cannot genuinely believe both Christ can return at any time, tomorrow or a thousand years from now. Therefore teachings like in 2 Peter or even those from Jesus: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 16:24) are treated by these academics as later additions. As an aside, the belief that this statement of Jesus is a later revision goes uncomfortably with another bad argument from many of the same scholars that Jesus’ divinity was also a later invention. For why would Christians after the apostles’ time put such words about Jesus’ agnosticism regarding His return in the mouth of our Lord, if that makes it appear like he wasn’t divine like the Father? The answer is, they wouldn’t. Back to our original, the argument I mention are the very sort of thing Peter warns us against. In these last days, that is the time between Jesus’ ascension and second coming, there will be those that scoff at our King’s return. However complicated (convoluted) the arguments might be, Peter, for it was Peter warned the reader against taking such mockery too seriously. Jesus will return, rest assured.

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Agapé Communities!Communities

As a church, we are committed to growing in our love for Jesus, our church, and Chicago

Agapé Communities are the primary venue in which we seek to intentionally cultivate these three loves. This is why we encourage everyone to get involved in one of these groups. Currently, we have four communities.

We Love Kids!

The Children's Ministry of Agape Chicago is an active part of the church.

During the service, we teach Bible lessons from LifeWay's Gospel Project Curriculum according to ages. We also do activity sheets, crafts, songs, memorization, and games all centered around the lesson for that day. Our class is divided into two classes, pre-school (2-4) and other age groups (5-11).

We know not all children learn the same way so we do our best to teach age-appropriate lessons using hands-on, audio, writing/reading, and visual means of teaching. We use Bible storybooks for the pre-schoolers and complete Bibles for the other children. Our teachers and helpers seek to love and encourage the children to learn the Bible and love Jesus, using positive reinforcement. We believe learning about Jesus should be fun but we take our roles as leaders seriously.. We share the Gospel at least once a month using a variety of age-appropriate means. We view the Children's Ministry as a means of discipleship where kids can develop friendships with one another. All children are welcome to join us.

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