Chicago, IL

Retreat, Study, and Incarnational Living in Chicago

We invite you to consider an internship in Chicago serving her most ethnically diverse neighborhoods, specifically the Diaspora populations. This church planting movement is in her infancy, and as such you will have an opportunity to learn entrepreneurial skills necessary to initiate new churches and ministries.

Why Chicago, you may ask? Chicago is the third largest city in the United States – a global city located in America’s Midwest. It has a history of being a gateway city for immigrants who still continue strong ties to their “home” nations. It also has a history of being a leading city in the American religious landscape. Chicago’s economy has been driven by being a hub in industries such as travel, transport, commodity exchange, education, sports, and media. Yet despite all these advantages, Chicago has been one of America’s most segregated and violent cities. Taken as a whole, Chicago has many times been a city embodying the thought and practice of the United States in both ideals and failures.

There are several contemporary dynamics in the United States that lead us to believe that church planting in Chicago is a crucial task. One is a decline in traditional churches and practice. A second is the rapidly shifting ethnic composition of America. A third is the hope that is being seen in new church plants targeting second generation Diaspora in North America who are both providing vitality to America’s religious landscape while influencing the policy framework, economic development, and church context in their “home” nations.

The neighborhoods on Chicago’s north side are her most diverse with many Diaspora with African, Arabic, Asian, and Eastern European roots. Also, there is a sizable Jewish community in these neighborhoods that has developed a culture of religious respect differing from other neighborhoods. There are colorful markets and stores, museums, theatres, delicious restaurants, multiple non-English local congregations, cultural associations, non-Christian centers of worship, and promising youth sports leagues in these neighborhoods.


Dave and Jana Jenkins are seasoned church development missionaries starting afresh. The Holy Spirit has given them gifts in initiating new endeavors, teaching, and shepherding. Jana is the daughter of missionary parents, Gaston and Janet Tarbet, who were some of the first missionaries from the Restoration Movement to begin rural church planting in Kenya. Dave and Jana were part of the team that re-introduced a missionary presence from the Churches of Christ and Christian Church in Uganda after a 21 year absence in 1993. They spent one year as Visiting Missionaries at Oklahoma Christian University in 2004-2005 before entering Rwanda. In Rwanda they were among the initiators of Christ’s Church of Rwanda, Kigali International Community School, and the Rwanda Presidential Scholars program. Dave wrote a popular column for Rwanda Focus, and taught a portion of an Ethics course for graduating seniors at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). Dave and Jana together hosted a popular radio show on Uganda’s Monitor FM (now KFM).

Jana has been a leader in the advocacy for local churches involvement in Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) through child sponsor programs, fostering, and adoption. Dave has Master of Science degree in Missions from Abilene Christian University. Together they have 5 children. They moved to the Chicago area in June 2012 to be near their children at Wheaton College and the Diaspora relatives of Christ’s Church of Rwanda. In September they moved to the West Ridge neighborhood (one of Chicago’s most diverse) to be located nearer to Diaspora friends and relatives with the intent of beginning a multi-cultural church.

Learning Context

This internship will connect you with a diverse group of church planting pastors from several religious traditions and ministry philosophies. It will also expose you to a variety of cultures. The hope is that because of the unique niches available in this internship and through the Holy Spirit’s leading, we will together engage the community and assert kingdom influence in a variety of areas such as education, child welfare, business, government, media, and youth sports, and art.


Personal growth through shared spiritual practices 
Living intentionally in community 
Mentoring from long-term missionaries 
Cultural learning Entrepreneurial training 


A sense of humor is a must 
The ability to be pro-active in daily ambiguity 
Capable of having faith conversations with one’s peers 
Willing to discover new models of understanding shaped by enduring old principles 
A desire to be mentored by seasoned Christian leaders from diverse cultural contexts For More Information:

For more information about the internship in Chicago, contact Dave Jenkins at or 630-649-4350 or Jana Jenkins at or 630-649-4695.

For more information about the Jenkins, you can visit their websites: and