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 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.
Chris is passionate about seeing a church humbled by and passionate about the Gospel. He came to faith in Christ shortly after the events of 9/11. Married to Wanchen, they enjoy welcoming friends into their home in order to share Christ-centered hospitality. They also enjoy sampling the diverse food offerings in the city. Chris is an infusion nurse at Swedish Covenant Hospital's outpatient Cancer Center. He enjoys P90X and hiking.
Scott Arnold, has been with Agape Chicago since its inception. He has had many roles at the church, including being a "Deacon of Fun"! Currently he serves as the Deacon of Metrics and the leader of the No Returns Agape community. As the Deacon of Metrics, his job is to use his analytical and organizational gifts to use data from our services and agape communities to identify ways in how our church can grow in loving each other. For No Returns, he labors alongside his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and empower them to invite the refugee and immigrant population to feast upon the love of Jesus.
Mia was born in China and came to the U.S. when she was three. She grew up in the Uptown neighborhood, not far from Rogers Park, attending Chicago Public Schools. She accepted Jesus as her Savior when she was attending college. Most of her adult life she has worked with Christians. First, as the office manager at a church in Oak Park, and now in a human resources at Moody Bible Institute. It's about five years ago that Mia and her husband joined in starting this church plant. She currently serves as the Deaconess of Hospitality and enjoys living here in Rogers Park.
John has been a part of Agapé since its launch, and is currently serving as the Deacon of A/V. A role well suited for a techie, as it involves overseeing the proper function and staffing of the audio and visual equipment each Sunday. Prior to coming to Chicago in pursuit of a graduate degree at DePaul University and becoming a programmer at Chicago Public Schools, most of his formative years were spent in Peru as a missionary kid.