Our History

On March 15, 1992, a group of believers met to organized the Illinois Valley Congregational Church, a diverse group of believers which eventually became known as the Illinois Valley Evangelical Free Church.  About 14 members joined by testimony in the early days. The church formed formed for its commitment to the Scriptures and the Gospel.


In beginning days, the church services and Bible studies were hosted at the Ottawa YMCA. On June 7, 1992, the church called their 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 their downtown building and purchased its current property located 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 February 2019, their pastor announced he would retire and several older members also indicated a need to relocate to different states. 


The leadership 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 rework should commence through a replant strategy.  After many months, the church voted to call a new pastor and begin reshaping the current work. River Valley Church, an Evangelical Free Church launched, its new name in August of 2019.