Wilfredo De Jesus -
Megachurch Senior Pastor, Community Leader
Reverend Wilfredo De Jesús is Senior Pastor of New Life Covenant Church (NLC), one of the fastest growing churches in Chicago.
Wilfredo was born and raised in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community. It seemed his choices were few and his future held little promise. When he was 14 yrs. old, Wilfredo applied for a city summer job and was prepared to clean streets; instead he was assigned to work at a small neighborhood church with the children’s day camp. Wilfredo showed up to work daily and was surprised by the youth who loved Jesus. By the end of summer, on a day Wilfredo will never forget, he was led to Jesus and received Him as his Lord and Savior – from that moment on his life was forever transformed.
He remained in that same little church for over 20 years before he was appointed Senior Pastor in July 2000. Since then the church has grown from a weekly attendance of 120 to 17,000 globally through church plants and more than 130 ministries reaching the most disenfranchised – the broken hearted, poor, homeless, prostitutes, drug addicts and gang members.
Wilfredo began his ministry at New Life Covenant in 1992 as an Administrative Assistant. He maintained an unwavering commitment to his calling although he was obligated to find employment outside the church for a term. From 1998 to 2000 Wilfredo held two positions, one as Assistant Pastor and the other as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.
Rev. De Jesús has been instrumental in the development of several community-based programs. New Life Family Services (NLFS) was incorporated in 1998 as an extension of the church to serve the community. NLFS is a not-for-profit agency located in the heart of the Humboldt Park Community. Today NLFS operates River of Life, a homeless shelter for women with children and an after school program. Some of the church’s other vital ministries include the Chicago Master’s Commission, an intensive discipleship program for college age students, and Gangs to Grace, a ministry effective in reaching gang members for Christ. The Chicago Dream Center (CDC) opened its doors in 2007, providing homeless women with food, shelter and spiritual guidance. The clients who participate in this program are guided through a 3-phase residential/recovery experience. Through funds raised entirely by church members, New Life Covenant purchased a farm for the rehabilitation of the women who are part of CDC struggling to overcome addiction and/or prostitution. New Life for Women, opened its doors in August 2002 and in 2007, an annex was added to the farm to accommodate more women. The most recent addition to the CDC has been the New Life for Men shelter that opened in April 2013.
De Jesús’s vision is simple, to be a church for the hurting that reaches people for Jesus. This calling has birthed ministries as well as domestic and international missions. In 2006, NLC inaugurated HopeFest, which has grown to become the largest annual back-to-school event in the City of Chicago. Over 800 church and community volunteers serve approximately 10,000 families in this one-day event. Families are provided with comprehensive services from immunizations, physicals, dental checks, backpacks with school supplies, groceries, haircuts and more to ensure children are ready to succeed in the new school year.
Rev. De Jesús also wanted to encourage other Pastors and leaders by equipping them with the tools necessary to develop sustainable ministries in their home communities. As a result in 2010 the 1st Annual JumpStart Pastors and Leaders school was created and has grown exponentially in the last couple of years. Churches throughout the United States attend NLC’s three-day conference.
De Jesús had also served as the Vice President of Social Justice for the nation’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which serves 18,000 churches and close to 15 million born-again Christians.
In 2012, Wilfredo released his first book “Amazing Faith” where he shares his life story and message: “No one is beyond the transforming power of God’s love. When we let Him, God fills our hearts with His love, strength and purpose and we become complete.”
To his surprise, in April 2013, Rev. De Jesus was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and recognized for his leadership and influence with the Evangelical and Latino audiences. De Jesús was also featured on the cover and in the accompanying story of TIME’s April 15th edition, “The Latino Reformation,” which explored the growth of Latinos among Protestant churches across the U.S.
Rev. De Jesús often makes others understand, his accomplishments are based on a life dedicated to God and His purposes. In other words, whatever the accomplishment, to God be the Glory!
A graduate of Trinity University and North Park Theological Seminary, De Jesús is sought after as a motivational speaker at various church events, leadership conferences and assemblies throughout the nation and abroad. He resides in the Humboldt Park community of Chicago, with his wife Elizabeth and their three children, Alexandria, Yesenia and Wilfredo, Jr.