“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to Preach the Gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” I Corinthians 1:18
Pastor Jon was raised on a dairy farm and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ when he was four years old. Beginning around his junior year in high school, he started working construction with his Uncle Wes Wenger, owner of Wenger Construction in Washington, IL. After graduating from Washington High School, he attended Illinois Central College and received a degree in Agricultural Technology. It was in 1979 when he answered the call of God on his life and shortly thereafter he became the Youth Pastor at Faith Christian Centre in Washington, IL.
In 1990, Jon became a Senior Pastor at Praise Center in Ottawa, IL. The church grew from a handful of people to a vibrant congregation of around 200. He saw many people come to the Lord and Praise Center went from a small storefront church to a beautiful all-brick church facility that sits on the outskirts of Ottawa along I-80. He resigned from the Assemblies of God in 2000. He continues to pray that God would use and bless, not only the people at Praise Center but, the town of Ottawa as well.
During that same year, in 2000, one cold and lonely night when all hope was gone and sleep was not to be found, the Lord Jesus revealed Himself to Jon in a dream. After tossing and turning until wee hours of the morning, he finally fell asleep. During that brief moment he saw The Lord standing in a doorway. He looked at Jon and said, “Come Up Here.” At that moment, Jon shot out of bed, grab for His hand, and cried out, “Jesus”. The scripture’s confirmed his dream. “After this I looked and, behold, a door was opened in Heaven and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me: which said, Come up hither, and I will show you things which must be hereafter.” Rev. 4:1. “And they heard a great voice from Heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to Heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” Rev. 11:12.
In June of 2004 SonLife radio hit the airwaves in the Illinois Valley and it was through this that the Lord revealed to Jon the Message of the Cross. In September of 2004 the Holy Spirit directed Pastor Jon to start a church in Ottawa. Then, in March of 2006, Heritage Christian Center of the Greater Peoria area was born. Pastor Jon described it best when he said, “All my life I’ve studied the Bible. I loved God and sought Him each and every day. Yet, I still lived with this certain level of guilt of not being good enough, not doing enough, not working harder. It was like I was looking at a puzzle on a table with pieces missing and scattered all over the place. When I heard the Message of the Cross in 2004, it was like the Holy Spirit took all the pieces of the puzzle and pulled them together giving me a clear and perfect picture of the Word of God.” Song’s, such as; “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins. And sinners plunged beneath the flood lose all their guilty stains.” have taken on a new meaning. He is the Senior Pastor, CEO of Heritage Christian Center and the Community Relations Director for WWGN 88.9 SonLife Radio.
He is married to his wife, Debra, whom he describes as being “The love of my life and the next best thing to Jesus. Without her, the work I do and Heritage Christian Center, would be missing one of it’s greatest assets to the Kingdom of God. I just couldn’t do it without her. Pure and simple.” Together they have six children Jonette, Nicole, Jesse, Adam, Josey, and Ashley, plus seven grandchildren.
Heritage Christian Center is a church affiliate, and Pastor Jon is ordained, with World Evangelism Fellowship of Baton Rouge, Louisana. Heritage Christian Center is a non-for-profit organization incorporated under the Religious Corporation Act (805 ILCS 110) in the State of Illinois.