Each year, 10–12 young women and men are selected as program participants and residents at Uptown Porch. These individuals live in Christian community, learn the principles of urban ministry, and actively minister to and serve the neighborhood. Residents agree to spend time each week working through curriculum, volunteering at non-profit organizations around Chicago, and investing in community development.
Uptown Porch is first and foremost a training program in urban ministry. Residents agree to spend 5 hours every Tuesday night preparing and eating a meal together and completing urban ministry curriculum. Topics of the curriculum include biblical community, urban ministry, and Christian leadership.
In addition to weekly curriculum, residents agree to attend the week-long Christian Community Development Association National Conference that takes place in late August/early September. This serves as an intensive introduction to the basic concepts of urban ministry and community development that residents will put into practice during the year.
Residents will also take two weekend retreats, one in the fall and one in the spring. These escapes from everyday life help residents connect with one another, focus on ministry, and seek personal and spiritual transformation.
Uptown Porch also helps residents reflect on their experiences by pairing them with local mentors. Regular meetings with experienced ministers and community leaders are intended to provide support and lend new perspectives.
Our goal is not simply to train residents, but to empower them to have an impact on the Uptown neighborhood. For this reason, residents agree to spend 5 hours each week serving at a dedicated non-profit organization in Chicago. It is our hope to pair residents with programs for which they are passionate or uniquely gifted. This aspect of the program is crucial for engaging in the community and creating relationships outside of the house.
Residents are also tasked with organizing a number of major community events, such as celebrations, neighborhood cleanup days, and training events.
Jesus lived in community with his disciples and desired that his followers do the same. There are many wonderful Christian communities in Uptown. Residents agree to attend church services at one of the churches in Uptown and are encouraged to invest in these churches, develop relationships with members, and participate in their various ministries. Uptown Porch particularly encourages residents to join Lakeview Church of Christ, our next-door neighbor and partner in ministry in Uptown.
Residents agree to pay $600 per month in rent, which covers housing and the cost of the program. Residents are encouraged to find employment in Uptown in order to pay for rent and food and to further engage in neighborhood life. They may work as little or as much as they would like, so long as they are able to meet the community standards, including full participation in curriculum, service, and community-building.