Bringing More Jesus to Milwaukee: Chad and Ashley Wleczyk
JesusMKE founders, Chad & Ashley Wleczyk, bring a night of prayer and worship to Milwaukee September 27, 2019
Written by Darien Yaeger, September 10, 2019
In 2011, Milwaukee native Chad Wleczyk attended a Rock the Lakes concert in Veterans Park. He didn’t know it then, but what he saw that day touched his imagination and stirred a motivation in his heart to see diverse people from all different backgrounds come together in order to worship, pray, and glorify Jesus.
“It was the first time I heard different speakers, musicians, and bands from all backgrounds lifting up the name of Jesus,” said Chad. “I wanted more; I got a taste of seeing people coming together for Jesus.”
Eight years later, Chad along with his wife Ashley, are an energetic couple with a burning passion to see unity through diversity in the city of Milwaukee. They are the leaders of JesusMKE and are planning to hold a night of prayer and worship on September 27th at Hart Park in Wauwatosa (click here to register).
“JesusMKE is a night of prayer and worship to bring together people from near and far that love Jesus and love Milwaukee in order to transform the city for eternity,” said Chad.
“We want to see people come to know Jesus for the first time,” Ashley exclaimed. “One way that happens is when the body of Christ is united; it shows a very powerful declaration of God’s love.”
Milwaukee has long been a city that’s widely know for the various ethnic festivals held throughout the year, whether that be the Irish, German, or Mexican festival. It’s a city famous for tailgating before a Brewer’s game at Miller Park and most recently for cheering on the Bucks in the Deer District, as they battled for a trip to the NBA finals in the newly built Fiserv Forum.
In these moments, the city displays the beauty of its unity through diversity. People from all walks of life coming together to enjoy a festival or rally their hometown sports team to victory.
But when the festivals have ended and the final buzzard sounds, what remains is a community divided. Milwaukee has been ranked the most segregated city in the country according to a recent study conducted by the Brookings Institution. Another study by the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee found that Wisconsin has the highest incarceration rate of black men in the entire country.
The city has grappled with an opioid epidemic and continues to battle against a rise in sex trafficking. Despite various attempts to solve theses issues by organizations and political leaders, the struggles and divisions remain.
Chad and Ashley view these obstacles as an opportunity to bring the city together and ignite a lasting change of unity that will surpass generations. They believe that with God’s help, restoration and healing can begin in Milwaukee.
“The motivation of 2019 has been to see God do the impossible in Milwaukee,” says Chad. “We’ve been praying, we’ve been believing, and we’ve been seeing him do just that. We know the challenges in our city, but what are the commitments, solutions, actions, and opportunities we can take today?”
“We have to step over our comfort zones,” said Ashley. “God has called us to be uncomfortable, People need to stop talking about unity and actually do something.”
Chad graduated from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with a degree in architecture and spent the last four years working at Abacus Architects. However, he recently left the firm to focus all his time and energy on seeing JesusMKE come to fruition. “Many of my family and friends say, Chad you made it to your dream,” he said. “You always wanted to be in architecture, you’re working in one of the coolest spaces in the city of Milwaukee, with entrepreneurs and executives. But what God has shown Ashley and I is that there’s even more than that.”
Ashley, who was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, completed her degree in education at Piedmont International University in Winston Salem North Carolina. She moved to Milwaukee in the beginning of 2015 in order to teach music at the Academy of Excellence and taught there until the spring of 2017. The love she has for inner cities and diverse communities was a trait that developed in her as a child.
“I was always around different people and cultures growing up,” she said. “Throughout out my whole life I always questioned why people were against certain people. I just didn’t understand; they are God’s children, why does it matter what the color of their skin is?”
As the final month of preparation for JesusMKE approaches, Ashley and Chad’s days are often filled with various meetings, prayer calls, and presentations as they continue to share with the city their belief that lasting unity through diversity is possible for Milwaukee.
“It’s overwhelming for any one person to think of what’s happening and about to happen and the power and glory of God that is on display,” said Chad. But each one of us is asked to do our part and trust God with the rest.”
For more information on how you can get involved, visit https://jesusmke.com