Urban ministry is hard work. Crime and poverty make headlines alongside stories about under-resourced schools and families desperate for a better life. Progress is tedious and requires a long-term perspective. Yet a Cedarville alumnus invites us to take a closer look to see hope rising up in the face of despair. The challenges are great, but with God’s help and the support of their Cedarville family, these graduates are living their vision for Chicago’s inner city.
Meet Brian ’99 and Heidi Dye with Vision Nehemiah.
Raised in the inner-city neighborhood of Chicago’s Humboldt Park, Brian’s passion is training leaders for urban ministry. His life and ministry are woven together through the house church he pastors in Garfield Park, the bus he drives, and the organization he founded in 2003, Vision Nehemiah. The ministry provides urban teens with biblical training and leadership skills. This year’s Legacy Conference, a signature event, will draw more than 1,200 young adults.
Brian is a quiet, intense man who specializes in diamonds in the rough. He and his wife, Heidi, have opened their home to eight young men, ages 19 to 24. “It’s not an official program,” Brian said, “and we play it by ear as far as when they move out, but they usually stay about two years. Each has a job and pays minimum rent and utilities.” The Dyes’ influence in their lives is clear: one will begin college this fall, one is headed to Tunisia for a two-year mission project, and three work for Christian youth organizations in their community.