Ten years ago when Mark Bassett and his wife, Tenese, were second year students at Charis Bible College in Colorado, the Lord planted a seed in Mark's heart to launch the first stateside extension of CBC. Mark shared the idea with his wife and as the two discussed it, they grew increasingly more excited about duplicating their CBC experience. In August of 2003, the Bassetts took a step of faith and opened Charis Bible College-Chicago. Watch the video below to see the wonderful fruit of the Bassett's faithful first step and the duplication that has taken place over the past decade.
Entries in Illinois (7)
Francine Jackson, Administrator for Charis Bible College-Chicago, was born again in 1996. The immediate change in her spirit prompted immediate changes in her natural life as well. Her desire to draw closer to the Lord inspired her to retune all of her radios to Christian programming, and it was this change that opened her ears to Andrew's ministry and the Gospel Truth.
Back then, Francine worked as the Administrator for the Metropolitan Division Social Services Department with The Salvation Army in Chicago. She began her morning routine listening to Christian radio, and Andrew's program was the last broadcast she heard before work every morning.
After years of listening to Andrew, and hearing wonderful testimonies about CBC and the transformations in the student's lives while attending, she began to have a desire to visit the school and one day move to Colorado to enroll in the college. While the thought stayed with her long enough to share with her pastor, she never moved ahead with the idea.
One day in 2003, as Francine was visiting the AWM website she saw an announcement that said Charis Bible College was launching its first stateside extension school—in Chicago! Excited about a local school, Francine went to the open house, but because of a tug of war she felt in her heart between her desire to attend CBC and her commitment to her work, she didn't enroll.
Still wrestling with the choice the day before classes began, Francine contacted the school and asked if it was too late to register. The co-director at the time, Tenese Bassett, welcomed Francine's enrollment as a part-time student. "After completing my application, I headed back to work. I was so happy. Tenese often tells me that when I left that day, she saw me outside skipping back to my car," Francine shared fondly.
In 2005, Francine completed the first year curriculum while working full-time. Although her schedule was taxing, she looked forward to her nighttime classes. During summer break, Francine faced another challenge; her second year classes were only offered on a full-time basis and the tug of war resurfaced in her heart.
Believing that God wanted her to complete the two year program; Francine approached her supervisor at work and requested that her hours be adjusted to accommodate her class schedule. Initially her supervisor responded favorably to the idea which put Francine's heart at ease. But as class time drew near, her boss began to waver and challenged Francine about her commitment to her position—a position with an organization she had served for the previous twenty-four years.
Francine prayed, and the Lord reminded her of something that He had spoken to her not long before she decided to attend second year; His words were simply, "Follow Me." As she recalled those words she knew what she had to do. Emboldened by His faithfulness, Francine went to her supervisor and shared her heart saying, “I love what I am doing here at The Salvation Army, but I cannot sit here every day knowing that I should be at CBC. I understand your decision, but come August I will be attending school full-time.”
It was more than just Francine's two decades of committed service that hung in the air during the moments that followed her declaration. She had no other source of income, no spouse to depend on and would not receive any unemployment benefits if she lost her job. But even with so much at stake, Francine had peace because she new God would take care of her as she followed Him.
Francine started second year in August of 2005 and she was able to keep her job. "My supervisor changed her mind and changed my hours! That’s how powerfully the Truth will impact your life," said Francine.
Following the Lord's lead Francine graduated with CBC-Chicago's first graduating class. In the months that led up to graduation Francine had a series of dreams. In one very vivid dream she resigned from her position with The Salvation Army. Awakened by the dream, she sat on the edge of her bed and asked the Lord if she was really leaving her job.
Several weeks later she received a call from the directors of CBC-Chicago announcing their plans to leave the school after graduation and they asked if she was interested in being considered for the school's Administrator position. Francine said, "Yes!" excitedly.
Following the call, knowing in her heart that this was her next step, Francine had another dream. In it she was sitting across the table from AWM's World Outreach Director, Wendell Parr, who is in charge of CBC's extension schools. In the dream he said, "I've chosen you." Francine knew the job was hers. And it was; Francine has been CBC-Chicago's Administrator since the Bassetts left in 2006.
For Francine receiving a revelation of God's unconditional love and grace has provided more than just a change in jobs; the Truth has set her free in every area of her life. "The Truth has set me on the path of the amazing plan God has for my life. The Truth has allowed me to experience the greatest relationship I have ever had– knowing the true and living God, the One He sent and the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t get any better than that! I am blessed to know the Truth and now I have the wonderful privilege of teaching others to know Him," said Francine.
When Tom and Lynn Prybylo were married in 1994, Tom had just started a financial services business in Chicago, Illinois. The couple, who had each been saved for decades, desired to become financially independent in order to have the flexibility and time to serve the Lord as they felt led. For many years Tom and Lynn enjoyed the ministry opportunities which came their way, but eventually they felt God pulling them out of their comfort zone, both spiritually and physically. They now know that their training at Charis Bible College was instrumental in the plan God has for their lives.
The Prybylos became familiar with Andrew's teaching after he had taught at their church on several occasions. Blessed by Andrew's live teaching, Tom and Lynn began watching Andrew’s Gospel Truth television program and purchased some of his teaching materials. Then, in 2004, the couple attended Andrew's Summer Family Bible Conference in Colorado Springs, which helped them to realize their desire to attend Charis Bible College (CBC).
Upon their return to Chicago, Tom and Lynn enrolled in CBC-Chicago. They completed two part-time years and one full-time year, went on a mission trip to Belize, and graduated in 2007. Lynn returned to complete a third year internship. Their time at CBC had yielded a deeper understanding of the awesomeness of God’s unconditional love and grace for both of them, and as they were finishing their time at CBC, they looked forward to the opportunities that lay ahead.
Just before they graduated, Andrew visited CBC-Chicago and shared a message about the apostle Peter getting out of the boat and walking on water. Tom and Lynn took this teaching as a word from God to get out of their comfort zone again and go into the city of Chicago. After much prayer the couple transitioned out of all of their leadership responsibilities at their church and went to the city to see what the Lord had for them. Once there, they felt led to attend a church where as Tom puts it, "we were the only “Anglo” couple in a church of about 3,500 predominantly Puerto Rican and Hispanic people. "
Despite the cultural differences, Tom and Lynn were impacted by the caring nature of the people of the church, and their passion to serve the Lord. In addition, the two found tremendous favor with the Pastor, who immediately began encouraging them and giving them responsibilities. After two months, Tom and Lynn started teaching Andrew's Discipleship Evangelismprogram to women at a church outreach called the Dream Center, which is a recovery program for women coming out of drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, etc.
Soon, Tom and Lynn were invited to be Visitation Deacons, which involved praying for people at the altar during church services, and then following up with them during the week. They were also involved in the men’s and women’s ministries and started early morning Bible studies on Saturdays, through which the Lord brought forth people who Tom and Lynn mentored into teachers and leaders.
Two years ago Tom and Lynn started Cornerstone Ministry, an educational ministry group at their church. In true 2 Timothy 2:2 fashion, the Prybylos teach and train men and women using the Discipleship Evangelism program and then encourage their students to go out and lead their own DE groups. In addition, the two hold seminars during which they teach topically, covering such subjects as, anger management, God's will to heal, marriage and Biblical finances.
Although they still consider themselves to be in the initial stages of their ministry, they have high expectations. Because of the culture of their church, and its location in a challenging part of Chicago, riddled with gangs and violence, their people face many obstacles in their lives. However, God’s Word is setting people free and giving them hope. Tom and Lynn are grateful to see lives being changed by the Gospel Truth in Chicago.