The Jesus House and the Jesus House West are local ministries that have served the Bloomington-Normal, Illinois community since 1987. Thomas and Bonnie Lentz founded the ministry and continue their work sharing the love of Jesus by showing acts of kindness to all that enter their doors. Bloomington-Normal is a better place because of their labor of love. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
It was December 1987, Tom and Bonnie Lentz were preparing for their first Christmas with their new son in their downtown Bloomington apartment. The other houses along the street had their Christmas lights up and glowing. Santa Claus, reindeer, candy canes, and snowmen were in windows everywhere. The Lentz's had recently given their lives to Jesus and wanted to honor the Christmas holiday as it was intended, by celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Tom is an artist and printed a stylized "JESUS" on a sheet. Tom and Bonnie hung the sheet on their porch and back-lit the sheet with lights. The name of Jesus glowed from the porch for everyone to see. They had intended to keep the sign up through the Christmas season, but God had other plans...
Tom and Bonnie were born again. They had died to their old ways of New Age spiritualism, alcohol and drug addiction, sexual immorality, and just about any other sin that you can think of. Tom and Bonnie were freed from sin through the sacrifice of the one and only Son of God, Jesus Christ. God gave the Lentz's an opportunity to serve Him and serve they have. The Holy Spirit emboldened and empowered Tom and Bonnie to be witnesses of the Good News. The Jesus sign on the broken down porch became a beacon. People were drawn to the Lentz's apartment. The people were drawn to the name of Jesus hanging high on their old porch. The homeless, the poor, and the needy people of West Bloomington showed up in large numbers. The people knew that they could find help, hope, and refuge where the powerful name of "Jesus" was displayed so boldly. The sign stayed hanging on that porch for many years. The Jesus House, as it became known, had been born through the powerful name of Jesus Christ and the faithful witness of Tom and Bonnie Lentz. The Jesus House now occupies an old store front at 724 West Washington Street, just down the street from the apartment where the beacon was first lit. This location was established in 2000. Tom and Bonnie have now opened Jesus House West located at 914 West Washington Street. It was made possible by a person who donated the space for the ministry.
"Our mission is to lift up the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in a world that needs His love and to demonstrate His goodness through many acts of kindness. It is to preach the Gospel and make disciples. It is to become all things to all people that they may be saved and come to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God!"(Jesus House)
The Jesus House provides a Sunday morning worship service for any and all people to come and worship God in Christian fellowship. The service starts at 11:00AM and is followed with a meal. The Sunday afternoon meals are often provided by other area churches that have seen or heard about the work that God is doing at the Jesus House. The Jesus House usually serves approximately 100 to 120 people on a weekly basis. The meal provides an opportunity to help the hungry and promote Christian fellowship through the breaking of bread.
On Tuesday Afternoons, there is a Worship Dance class that starts at 4:30. People are encouraged to show their love for the Lord through dance, just as King David did on his return to Jerusalem.
On Tuesday Evenings at 7:30PM there is a Bible study. Studying the Bible allows people to learn more about Creation, World History, Prophecy, God's promises, and most importantly Jesus, and how his perfect life, crucifixion, and resurrection allow us to be redeemed and have eternal life.
On the first Thursday of the month at 7:00PM there is a Virtuous Women's Ministry. If you would like more information about the Virtuous Women's Ministry contact Linda at (309) 242-9616.
The Jesus House also provides tutoring services every Friday at 3:30PM. They provides help for local children with their homework.
The Jesus House has a small food pantry at the 724 West Washington Street Location that serves immediate needs for walk-ins.
Saturday Night Alive in Christ Concerts begin at 7:00PM. These concerts provide a stage for worship bands to share their love of Christ with the people in attendance. Music is a powerful way to worship God and promotes fellowship through shared worship and praise.
Lamp for the Soul is a street ministry that provides the Word of God to the lost, lonely, and forgotten. It provides an opportunity to provide the Gospel message, provide sundry items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, etc., pass out pocket Bibles, and reach out to the people who need love the most.
Jesus House West at 914 West Washington is an outreach building that houses the Hands of Mercy Food and Clothing Pantry. The hours of operation for the pantry are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10AM-2:00PM.
The clothing portion of the pantry allows people to exchange 10 items that they bring in for 10 items at the pantry. If a person does not have items to exchange, up to 5 items can be taken per visit.
The Jesus House West offers a Bible Study for men on Monday nights at 6:00PM.
The Jesus House West provides a job-coaching class every fourth Thursday at 6:30PM.
Every first and third Friday from 6:00 to 9:00PM is Youth Night at the Jesus House West. Bring your children for an excellent time of fun and fellowship.
Tom and Bonnie Lentz are co-pastors at the Jesus House and Jesus House West. They have been doing the Lord's work as American missionaries in West Bloomington since 1987. Their continuing devotion provides an example of what can happen when God calls and people listen.
You can visit the Jesus House on their website at http://www.thejesushouse.com/
You can visit the Jesus House in person or send mail to:
Jesus House 724 West Washington Street Bloomington, IL 61701 (309)242-9097
Donations of food or clothing can be made during the operating hours listed above or by appointment.
Monetary donations can be made in the same way. Jesus House is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization and donations are tax deductible.