becoming a people to reach people for Christ
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It was the summer of 1943, World War II was at its height and families drawn to Rockford for war-related factory work needed housing. In Rockford, the government provided affordable housing at the corner of Harrison Avenue and 20th Street called the Victory Homes. It was to this new development that God called two men from First Evangelical Free Church, Rev. Elmer Johnson and Gunnar Johnson, to conduct tent revival meetings to reach these young families with the Gospel. By fall the two began conducting Sunday school in the administration building at the Victory Homes.

For almost ten years, these faithful servants continued to teach and reach people for the Lord. Land was donated around Pershing Road and 16th Street, known as Silver Hill, for a church to be built. The congregation of First Evangelical Free Church voted to build a chapel on this site. Construction began in Spring 1953, with much of the labor being donated by the men from First Free. By November the building was ready for services. In December Don Larson was installed as the first pastor of the new Silver Hill Evangelical Free Church.

In 1973 this small but faithful congregation faced a challenge. The neighborhood had changed, and the people moving in were already established in their own churches and showed little interest in this twenty-year old church. A decision needed to be made on whether or not to merge with Alpine Evangelical Free Church, located on East State Street just east of Alpine Road, or perhaps just close the doors and send everyone on their way to find another church in which to worship.

God was still at work in the lives of these 50 or so believers. Don Wernberg stepped forward and offered the church five acres of land in southeast Rockford. They sold the church building in preparation for the new site. In the interim, the church rented the Howard Johnson Convention Center for Sunday school and worship. On Palm Sunday of 1975, the first service of the Maywood Evangelical Free Church was held at the new 3621 Samuelson Road site.

In 1979, the now expanding church began another building program to include additional Christian education (C. E.) space and a full junior high size gymnasium. On August 3, 1983 Pastor Scott Nesse began his ministry as Senior Pastor, and the attendance, as well as the attendees, once again began to grow. Land was purchased in 1988, and plans were approved for a 10,000 square foot addition to include a new sanctuary and Christian education space. Ground was broken on June 3, 1990, with construction beginning in August. On August 14, 1994 services were held in the completed 475-seat sanctuary.

The church broke ground for the new worship center in 2007 to meet the growing needs of our congregation. The building is dedicated in honor of Lance Corporal Andrew G. Patten, who heroically gave his life on the battlefield while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in Fallujah, Iraq on December 1, 2005. The facility is a multipurpose building designed to incorporate various activities and events such as concerts, leadership conferences, training seminars, athletic events and weekly worship services. The completion of this building created a whole new dimension of ministry for Maywood in the twenty-first century. During its construction the congregation called Dr. John Strubhar as the new Lead Pastor who served to define the vision for the new facility . He began his ministry at Maywood on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010 and we held our first worship services in the completed worship center on October 20th, 2013.

Early June of 2014, Pastor John announced his retirement that would take place later that year to move to Phoenix, Arizona in order to enjoy the upcoming years with family and to complete some writing projects that he had already started. A search team was established immediately in order to pass the baton as seamlessly as possible to the next pastor. Three months into the search process the search team for lead pastor unanimously recommended Pastor Gary Kniseley (currently serving as our Executive Pastor) as the man they believed God would have to lead Maywood into the next chapter of Maywood’s history.

Upon voting and extending a call to Pastor Gary to be our next Lead Pastor he accepted and began his new role on November 1st, 2014. Pastor Gary has already served Maywood for ten years in various capacities and he has worked to develop ministries along with leadership. Under Pastor Gary’s leadership the church has defined its vision statement of "Becoming a People to Reach People for Christ." Pastor Gary is working to optimize our outreach through each existing ministry and is prayerfully seeking ways to advance the Gospel Message through church planting and new outward focused ministries. We rejoice as souls are coming to know Christ as Savior and believers continue to grow in their faith in Christ.

Maywood Evangelical Free Church leaders recognize that God bestows unique gifts upon individuals and that individual MEFC members differ in talents and abilities as a result of each one’s temperament, education and experience. Therefore, in order to follow the biblical model for church leadership and organization, the Elders’ Council bears the responsibility for setting direction, identifying and adopting goals and priorities, and overseeing the day-to-day work of MEFC. These men seek to lead the church well, in accordance with biblical instruction, at the leading of the Holy Spirit and under the headship of Jesus Christ. God has placed high standards on men who would serve as elders as found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

Elders' Council

  • dan

    Dan Brynolf

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  • jeff

    Jeff Berg
    (Vice Chair)

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  • Rick

    Rick Wetzel

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  • keenan

    Keenan Beere

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  • Gary

    Gary Kniseley
    (Pastoral Rep.)

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  • Ron

    Ron Schooler

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  • shawn

    Shawn Warner

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The doctrinal position of The Evangelical Free Church of America
is summarized in our ten-article Statement of Faith.

Brief Version - w/ Links to Verses



  1. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

    The Bible
  2. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.

    The Human Condition
  3. We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God's saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

    Jesus Christ
  4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus - Israel's promised Messiah - was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.

    The Work of Christ
  5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only grounds for salvation.

    The Holy Spirit
  6. We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

    The Church
  7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God's grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord's Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.

    Christian Living
  8. We believe that God's justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God's Word, the Spirit's power, and fervent prayer in Christ's name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ's commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.

    Christ's Return
  9. We believe in the personal bodily and premillenial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission. *

    Response and Eternal Destiny
  10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

    * Maywood Evangelical Free Church deems the phrase "demands constant expectancy" to be synonymous with the belief that the coming of Christ is imminent.