Our History

On March 15, 1992, 14 members withdrew from a local Reformed Congregational Church movement away from the inerrant and infallible Scriptures, forming the Illinois Valley Evangelical Free Church.   In the beginning days, the church services and Bible studies were hosted at the Ottawa YMCA. On June 7, 1992, the church called its first pastor. In the following month of 1992, the church moved to TV 35 to host services on Stevenson Road in Ottawa. Services were held at this location for about 2 years before moving to a permanent location on 215 West Washington in Ottawa. The building was purchased by the church from the Knights of Columbus. 

In 2014, IVEFC sold its downtown building and purchased its current property located at 1611 Adams Street from a closed Lutheran church. The new building provided the church acreage and building space to expand its vision for reaching the area with the gospel. 

During the last three decades, IVEFC has maintained a wonderful focus on children, youth, and other adult discipleship groups.  In October 2018, their pastor announced he would retire, and several older members also indicated a need to relocate to different states. The servant board and congregation met to discuss what action should follow. A desire grew from the existing members for the church to continue but a focus on a replanting strategy should be modeled. The church voted to replant and come under the care of the Great Lakes District EFCA. In May 2019, the Church and the denomination called for a new pastor.  River Valley Church launched in August 2019.