Our Pastor and First Lady
Tracy’s sense of civic duty led him to join the United States Army shortly after graduating from high school. His permanent party duty station was the 101st Airborne Division Fort Campbell, KY. Tracy was assigned to the 5th of the 101st Aviation Unit, where he was a Petroleum Supply Specialist and served 3 years active duty from 1986-1989.
While on active duty, being deployed to Davis Airfield, Oklahoma and Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, the Secretary of the Army awarded Tracy the Army Achievement Medal. This honor was awarded to Private First-Class Tracy Jennings for his ability to motivate and lead within the 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment of the United States Army.
Upon leaving active military duty, Tracy transitioned into the corporate sector. There, Tracy was extremely successful, working his way through two Fortune 500 companies into middle management. Over his 13-year career in the telecommunication industry, he was a two-time recipient of Tellabs Manager of The Year Award and credited with reviving a failing cable television system in the western suburbs of Chicago when he worked for Telecommunication Incorporated.
Passionate about being a self-starter and innovator, Tracy took a leap of faith. In 2003, he left a lucrative corporate organization and started his own real estate appraisal company, specializing in single-family dwellings and multi-unit buildings. Between 2003-2009, he appraised thousands of residential properties in Northern Illinois and the Chicagoland area. Tracy’s knowledge and ability to identify key factors that determine property value will not only help communities maximize the full potential of their properties but help enhance the quality of living within their communities.
Man of Faith
Tracy credits his success and who he is as a person to many things. However, he recognizes that he would not be where he is or who he is without being a man of great spiritual faith. Tracy was ordained as a minister in 2001. In 2003, he became the founding Pastor of Total Christian Life Ministry, a non-denominational, Christian faith-based church located in Joliet, Illinois. In addition, Tracy greatly credits his father, the late Pastor U.T. Jennings who was also a founding Pastor, for guiding his early spiritual life and setting a first-class example of what a true servant leadershould be.
Upon the purchase of their church building in the Fall of 2008, Tracy took a thorough assessment of the overall condition of the community and found it lacking in many essential services. Shortly thereafter, Tracy spoke to the Township Supervisor about the lack of services in the church’s immediate area. After months of meetings, it was determined by township officials that this particular area had always been that way and nothing would be changed.
A firm believer that even one person can make a difference, Tracy led a protest against Joliet Township in the Spring of 2009. The theme was “Equal Treatment for All in Joliet Township.” The protest was a resounding success!
Some example of changes put in place were:
- 22 stop signs being installed
- five uninhabitable homes demolished
- eight street signs installed
- approval of the bi-annual road stripping on Patterson Road
- illegal signs on residential properties removed
- landscaping for one of the oldest cemeteries in the Joliet area, the Zarley Cemetery.
Tracy is a man of action and will continue to challenge the status quo to help enhance the lives of those around him.
Working with the State
Most recently, Tracy Jennings had the privilege of working for the State of Illinois as a Public Service Administrator (PSA) from 2013-2018. Tracy held the title of a PSA in three state agencies: The Department of Human Services, The Department of Children and Family Services Legal Division, and The Department of Employment Security.
In the Department of Human Services, his staff aided clients through their application process for public assistance programs. While serving in the Department of Children and Family Services Legal Division, he was responsible for maintaining 52 service providers contracts with the State of Illinois that had an annual value of 500 million dollars. Tracy’s last assignment was with the Department of Employment Security. As the Local Office Manager for the largest call center in the State of Illinois, he was responsible for a staff of 84 union state employees who assisted claimants with filing for unemployment benefits. Tracy recently left the State of Illinois to purse his mission of becoming the next Congressman elected from the Illinois 7th Congressional District.
Tracy Jennings was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois in 1968. Today, Tracy resides in Westchester, Illinois, a place he has called home for more than 20 years. A product of the Chicago Public Schools system and avid supporter of public education, Tracy is a graduate of Morgan Park High School and Northern Illinois University, where he earned his Bachelor Degree in Psychology. He also has a Bachelor degree in Telecommunications Management from DeVry University, and completed graduate courses at the University of Illinois Springfieldand Moody Theological Seminary.
Tracy Jennings is married to Cynthia and celebrated 25 years of marriage September 2018. They have two adult children, Reggie and Traci. Reggie earned his Master’s Degree in Higher Education in May of 2018 and now works at Texas Christian University. Traci, a second year Law student at Marquette University, is the President of the Black Student Law Association. As parents, Tracy and Cynthia firmly believe that, “it does not matter where you start, it’s where you finish that counts,” a motto they have instilled in their children and applied to their own lives.
The First Lady and Ministry Director of Total Christian Life Ministry of Joliet, IL, Cynthia Jennings faithfully serves under the leadership of her husband Founder and Pastor Tracy Jennings.
First Lady Jennings has been successful at the non-profit level as a former Director for The Salvation Army Head Start program where she prepared her site from beginning to completion for accreditation, she was a partner in a real estate appraisal company, as well as being heavily involved in the community by serving on several boards of one being the Vice President of the School Parent Teacher Organization.
As one of the founding members, First Lady Jennings has been able to use her organizational and administrative skills acquired while working at the non-profit level to help build Total Christian Life Ministry from its inception. She compiled and completed all state and federal documents from the assumed name to the 501 (c) 3 registering as a non-profit organization recognized by the State of Illinois. She has also been able to assist other start up ministries with the process of compiling and completing state and federal documents.
First Lady Jennings has been instrumental in creating church by-laws, auxiliary job descriptions, biblical assessments for ministry leaders, locating vendors, as well as maintaining and keeping all important and legal documents current. She is also the overseer of several auxiliaries.
She has a passion for ministry, but her greatest passion is to see women living at their fullest God-given potential, on May 27, 2010 she heard the call, and PEARLS Women’s ministry was birthed. Through this ministry First Lady Jennings helps women identify, own, accept, and obtain deliverance from their hurts. The process is “dirty,” but the purpose is to get women to a place in Christ where they see themselves as Christ sees them, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). On November 2, 2016, The Lord also placed a prayer burden in First Lady Jennings concerning Pastor’s Wives and Ministry Mates, (the wives of ministry leaders),and Empowerment Place: You’re Not Alone (EPYNA) was birthed. EPYNA’s purpose is to create synergy between Pastors wives and Ministry Mates to develop a community where we support and encourage, as well as give and receive words of wisdom to help us manage through times when we feel as if we are all alone. (1 Corinthians 12: 8-10).
First Lady Jennings has expanded her passion of helping women live their fullest God-given potential by revealing honesty and transparency in her first published book, “AHHHHH!!! I Can’t Take This Anymore. My Journey Through Perimenopause.”
First Lady Jennings holds a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from the University of Iowa; she received training in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship from Moody Theological Seminary, and in 2018 was awarded her Master of Arts in Christian Life Coaching and Mentorship with High Distinction from Trinity College of the Bible and Trinity Theological Seminary.
Her greatest blessing is being married to her husband, the anointed Pastor Tracy Jennings, and having the honor of being the mother to two amazing adult children, Reggie and Traci.