Jesus People USA (JPUSA)

A Christian communal movement known for its urban ministry and commitment to social justice.

Religion: Christianity
Denomination: Jesus People
Founded: 1972
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Size: Approximately 350-500 members

Jesus People USA (JPUSA) is a Christian community and religious movement that emerged from the Jesus movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Established in 1972, JPUSA is known for its communal living, urban ministry, and engagement in social justice issues. Based in Chicago, JPUSA has played a significant role in the city’s religious and social landscape.

Origins and Development

Jesus People USA was founded by a group of young Christians who traveled across the United States in buses, sharing their Christian faith and living communally. Settling in Chicago, they established a community that grew to become one of the largest and longest-lasting expressions of the Jesus movement.

Beliefs and Practices

JPUSA members hold evangelical Christian beliefs, with a strong emphasis on living out their faith through community and social action. Key aspects of their practice include:

  • Communal Living: Members live together, sharing resources and responsibilities. This lifestyle is based on their interpretation of the practices of the early Christian church.
  • Urban Ministry: JPUSA is heavily involved in serving the urban community in Chicago, including outreach to the homeless, rehabilitating dilapidated housing, and other social services.
  • Christian Fellowship: Regular worship, prayer, and Bible study are central to the community’s life.

Social Justice and Activism

A defining feature of JPUSA is its commitment to social justice. The community has initiated various programs and ministries addressing issues such as homelessness, poverty, and domestic violence. JPUSA members often engage in activism and advocacy related to these issues.

Cornerstone Festival

JPUSA was known for organizing the Cornerstone Festival, a popular Christian music and arts festival that ran from 1984 to 2012. The festival was a significant event in the Christian rock and alternative music scenes, reflecting JPUSA’s engagement with contemporary culture.

Controversies and Challenges

Despite its contributions, JPUSA has faced controversies, including allegations of authoritarian leadership and psychological abuse. The community has undergone internal reforms in response to these criticisms.