Paul Cartwright

Jesus Is the Life Church , Illinois
Lead Church Planter
Park Forest Illinois
Jesus Is the Life Church
March 30

About My Family

I was born and reared on the south side of Chicago. I was spiritually born again in May of 1981. I was called to ministry to preach and teach God's Word. I knew there was a calling on my life for some time. When I heeded the call, a tremendous change occurred. I was never the same.
Shortly after graduation from Morgan Park High School, I was drafted into the United States Army. I spent a year in Vietnam in the first Calvary Division in the central highlands. I won a number of medals in my year of combat, including a bronze star for heroism in ground combat action. I was credited with saving the lives of two fellow soldiers during heavy attack from the North Vietnamese Regular Army. I served two years in the Army and was honorably discharged.
After being discharged from the Army, I returned to school to continue my education. I graduated from Chicago State University with B.S. in Education. I taught in Chicago Public Schools for 30 years. In addition, while working for the board of education, I completed my master’s degree in Education from Chicago State University with a major in administration and supervision. I hold a number of teaching certificates, including a principal’s certificate.
After my calling to preach God’s Word, I attended Wheaton College and received my second master’s degree in Biblical and Theological Studies. I pursued my studies further and received a doctorate in Theology from International Bible Seminary. Because education is important to me, I went on to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., and pursued a Ph.D. in Educational Studies. My dissertation was on "Transformational Leadership in the African-American Church."
I am married to Tanya Cartwright, and we have five children. I worked at Olivet Nazerene University as a college professor, teaching biblical hermenuetics and productive school leadership.

About My Church Plant

I was called to plant a church years ago; however, there was a waiting period for the calling to come to fruition. I was seeking the pulpit when the initial calling come to plant. God gave me a Scripture to go along with the calling. It comes from Nehemiah 2:5, when Nehemiah said he wanted to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It was clear to me that the Lord wanted me to build a church. Some time after that, God gave me the name of our church, Jesus Is the Life Church, taken from John 14:6: I am the way the truth and the life. In church planting, there is a certain amount of readiness for the proper time and for God to say "go." That was the proper time for me. I knew the Lord wanted me to plant in the south suburbs of Chicago. There are many people hurting and in need of the Holy Spirit for guidance and hope. Jesus Is the Life Church is a church of opportunity and spiritual growth.

NAMB Church Planting

Demonstrated Christian character is essential for missionaries and chaplains to gain credibility and build community. A missionary is a person who, in response to God's call and gifting, leaves his or her comfort zone and crosses cultural, geographic or other barriers to proclaim the gospel and live out a Christian witness in obedience to the Great Commission. The North American Mission Board supports missionaries serving across the United States, Canada and their territories. Churches are the missionary incubators and sending centers for missionaries through the Southern Baptist Convention. Missionaries serve in a variety of settings and face tremendous challenges. But the rewards are tremendous and life-changing. Missionaries have the privilege to represent their church and their Father in sharing the gospel as the primary focus of their activity. If you are interested in pursuing next steps as a potential missionary or chaplain from your church, explore the possibilities at


For churches as they prepare to send out missionaries and chaplains to push back lostness in North America. For receptive hearts among the people in communities where these missionaries and chaplains will serve. For churches and individuals to partner with missionaries and chaplains and to give of their time and talents. For the Father to send more workers into His harvest to join these missionaries.


Connect as a Sending Church or a Supporting Church with a missionary’s work. Commit to long-term missions support with your missionary partner. Be involved in supporting missionaries and their families. Pray for missionaries.
Many missionaries build a team to join their ministry in prayer, participation, and provision. These friends, family and churches support missionaries beyond the tithes and offerings given within the church plant. Visit for NAMB's policy on providing for church plants.
Fund ID: FB8U4A-Cartwright,Pa