Born and raised on the West side of Chicago, Pastor John Hannah is a proud product of the Chicago Housing Authority. From humble beginnings, to cranking out 4 church services every Sunday, he doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Hannah has been the pastor of New Life Covenant, based on the South Side of Chicago for 11 years now. Known for his unique style of dress and witty humor, find out why Pastor Hannah attracts millenials and his plans on opening the largest daycare center in Chicago.
JET: Your ministry tends to attract millennials. Why is that?
Pastor Hannah: Because I asked for that. I asked God to let me lead that generation, because that was the generation that most people felt did not want to go to church or have anything to do with God. I asked God to give me the ability to gather that generation together. I set my services up to go after that generation. This is a visual generation. I make sure that you’re able to see the gospel, not just hear it. I was born and raised in church, but this generation isn’t going to do some of the things we did. They’re not going to sit in church all day, so we make sure we are very organized, structured, and spirit led.
JET: Sometimes mega churches receive bad reputations because of the lack of intimacy. How have you been able to successfully overcome that hurdle?
Pastor Hannah: I’m touchable. I’m accessible. I make sure that I express my love to these people and I refer to myself as a servant leader. I’ve been sent to serve them.
JET: Last week, you guys had your annual “Sunrise Service.” What’s the motivation behind it?
Pastor Hannah: I started doing it about 7 or 8 years ago and it was really small. But now, it has become a citywide event. There’s a scripture that says “Early will I seek thee.” Most of the time, we hit the floor after 8 or 9 a.m. and we’re running, trying to make it happen. I do it early before the streets are busy, and before you become busy, to give us an opportunity to have quiet time with God. We have music, dance, spoken word, and every year we do a “Wow” factor. One year, we released 3,000 butterflies. Another year, we had a plane fly by at the end of service, with a positive message attached at the end.
JET: You also have 4 a.m. prayer on Tuesdays right?
Pastor Hannah: Every second and fourth Tuesday is 4 a.m. prayer. Usually 300-500 people show up.
JET: How have you been able to do that? Sad to say, but sometimes prayer is the least attended event?
Pastor Hannah: Well, it’s only twice a month. It’s been happening for 7 years, and it’s never been cancelled. Some people start something and stop. Then they restart it. No. We’ve been consistent and faithful, and twice a month this is where we are.
JET: Do you have any special projects coming up?
Pastor Hannah: In January, my church will be opening the largest daycare center on the South Side of Chicago. I put $5 million into this building, to make sure we give the best to our children.
JET: Can you leave us with a word of inspiration?
Pastor Hannah: Ecclesiastes 7:8. “Better is the end of a thing, than the beginning. The ending has to be better than the beginning.”