Jon Kelly was born in Chicago and raised in Philadelphia. Growing up, he spent most of his teens in and out of juvenile detention centers as he tried not to get killed in the streets. As a 19-year-old he found himself in prison for his role in a shooting that left a young man dead. It was in his prison cell that he received a copy of God’s Word and began reading. After reading from Matthew to Hebrews, Jon’s eyes were opened. He was immediately gripped by his sin and his need for salvation in Christ. He gave his life to Christ in his prison cell.
Expecting to spend the rest of his life in prison, Jon was shown mercy and received a 6-20 year sentence. After serving 6 years, Jon was released on parole and began attending Christian Stronghold Baptist Church in West Philadelphia. It was there that he met his wife and best friend, Danielle, while serving in youth ministry. In 2011 Jon moved to Chicago to attend Moody Bible Institute where he studied Systematic Theology. After Graduating from Moody, he attended Wheaton College and received his Masters Degree in Biblical Studies. He is currently earning his Doctorate of Ministry (Dmin) in Global Missions at Southern Theological Seminary in which he plans to help establish residencies and training resources for church planters and missionaries in under-resourced minority neighborhoods. Jon previously served as a Family Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel (2012-2015) in downtown Chicago prior to becoming the Lead Pastor of Chicago West Bible Church. He also serves with Prison Fellowship in the role of Justice Advocacy and Church Mobilization where he helps to equip church with many of Prison Fellowship’s resources to care for individuals and families impacted by crime and incarceration. He and his wife Danielle have been married for almost 10 years and have been blessed with two boys: Benjamin and Judah.