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West Chicago Bible Church

Meet our staff and a little about each of them, and the Church history below. Scroll to the bottom to see our FAQS


Church History

West Chicago Bible Church was officially established in 1948, however, the roots of the church extend back to 1932. Clara Wagner was concerned that West Chicago was without an evangelical witness. Even though she had ten children of her own to care for, she found time to go door-to-door to invite families and children to a Bible study in her home. Eventually, every room of her home and some of the home next door was used for classes.

Attendance continued to increase and a church was formed and named West Chicago Bible Fellowship. In May 1933, Robert (Bob) Cook became student pastor of the young congregation. The little church outgrew the Wagner’s home and in 1934 services were moved to the Odd Fellows Hall, above a store at 115 E. Main St. In 1942 the church purchased an old cobbler shop on Main St., just west of Route 59, remodeling it into a little white church. The people met there for several years during and after World War II. Bob Hawkins and Paul Wegmueller – both later becoming supported missionaries – served in leadership capacities during this period. It was the beginning of a missions emphasis at WCBC.

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WCBC in the cobbler shop in 1942

 In October 1948, under the ministry of Rev. Eugene Frost, the church’s first full-time pastor, the West Chicago Bible Church was officially organized. Three lots at the corner of Oakwood and Summit were purchased in 1949 and 1950 and ground-breaking for the sanctuary, built almost entirely by the men of the church, was held on Palm Sunday, March 8, 1951. In 1954, the Frost family moved into the newly built parsonage on Summit Street. This building, too, was built by men of the church.

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WCBC in 1978

In 1959, a separate gymnasium with classrooms and a kitchen was built on an adjacent lot. Men of the congregation built this building, as they did the sanctuary and parsonage. The Women's group supplied the kitchen using donated S&H Green Stamps. It was a time of sacrificial giving and labor by Pastor and people alike, driven by their desire to honor the Lord with a place of worship and outreach. An old, dilapidated house on the property was fixed up and became a parsonage for a succession of associate pastors and their families. It continues today as a rental property.

In August 1962, Rev. Richard Tevebaugh came to minister to the church. A highlight of his ministry was the beginning of an annual missions conference and the Faith Promise program of missionary support. In 1964-65, Bill and Marion Baldwin (GEM-Greece) became the first missionary interns and received church support throughout their 68+ years of service. As the missions budget increased so did the number of missionaries supported by the church.

Rev. Howard Westlund was called as pastor in September 1969 and served until 1995. During his time attendance grew and fellowship groups, Bible studies, youth groups, and missionary support were all expanded. In 1974 missions giving totaled $46,235. In 1975 Sunday School neared 400 in average attendance.

Primarily with the foresight and hands-on efforts of Howard Westlund, the congregation voted to begin a remodeling and addition program to the church building. When finished, it would connect the original building to the education building, add offices, restrooms, a large reception room and an ample foyer on the upper level, plus classrooms, restrooms and a small gym on the lower level. Men of the church worked on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays under the leadership of David Weissing. The addition was dedicated in 1979.

The 80’s were a high point of the church. Pastor Westlund was known for his counseling ability. He and David Dillon, associate pastor, were able to assist many with practical and biblical advice. Dillon also conducted special seminars and biblical teaching times. Largely because of this practical outreach, along with a strong pattern of visiting in homes and the energetic youth program under Rich Tuttle, attendance grew exponentially. Tuttle regularly visited the high school in order to meet and invite students and formed leadership/discipleship groups among those who attended.

Pastor Howard Westlund completed 26 years of ministry in 1995 and left soon after to serve as an interim pastor in the United Arab Emirates.

Tom Terry, returned missionary from Greece, served as interim pastor for one year, becoming senior pastor in 1996 through 2000. As the year 2000 came to a close, Pastor Tom Terry resigned to return to service with the Greater Europe Mission.

In April 2001, Dr. David Fetzer, Professor of Communications at Moody Bible Institute, came as interim pastor. The Spanish church continued as a Sunday School class only. All church debt was paid off by year-end and missions giving totaled a high of $119,320.

In November 2002, Rev. Paul Rhoads became Senior Pastor and the focus on reaching the community for Christ continued. In November 2005, Paul Rhoads resigned. Rev. Clark Wooten came as interim pastor in early 2006. His gentle wisdom and love of people effected much needed healing. In late 2006, David Fetzer again assumed the interim role as the Senior Pastor search continued.

In July 2007, West Chicago Bible Church merged with Water’s Edge Church, a small congregation meeting in a school and pastored by Tod Eenigenburg. He become pastor of the resulting merged church. The new church was named Water's Edge Bible Church. In April 2010, Pastor Tod Eenigenburg resigned unexpectedly.

In 2014, Jayson York became pastor. Marked by expository preaching, his ministry emphasizes strict adherence to the truth of the Word of God throughout church programs.

Voting at the June 24, 2018 Annual Meeting affirmed the membership's desire to change the church name back to West Chicago Bible Church.

Attendance has steadily increased, and membership has grown, as WCBC continues its outreach to the local community, the country, and throughout the world.

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WCBC in 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Bible church?

We are an independent church that does not belong to any particular denomination. Including "Bible" in our name simply reflects our belief that the Bible is God's word and is THE guiding document for our church. We strive to accurately study, teach, and live out God's word in the function of the church and in the lives of those who call our church home.

What should I expect when I visit your church?

You should expect a warm welcome at the door, friendly people, a worship service committed to the glory of God, and to hear the Word of God taught. Our church is made up of a diverse group of people ranging in age, income and ethnicity.

What is your Sunday morning schedule?

9:00am - Prayer Meeting (Reception Room)
9:30am – Worship service
10:45am – Fellowship time
11:15am – Sunday school for all ages

What about my children?

It is our desire to see families worship together, and for the entire family to be edified each Sunday morning. We love children and want to help every family grow in their walk with Christ. We have a nursery for children up to 5 years old, which is available from 9:30am until noon. After the service, there are classes for all ages.

What should I wear?

While we want you to feel at ease when gathering with us, we request that you dress modestly and appropriately to honor the Lord with reverence and to show respect for His church. On any given Sunday, we have folks who wear a range of attire from jeans to suit and tie. Our desire is not that everyone come dressed up, but that our attire would show respect to those with whom we gather.

What type of music do you have?

We consider music to be a vital part of worship in the church. On Sunday morning our goal is to sing the truths of God through the careful selection of songs and hymns. We blend modern and traditional music together, focusing more on the theological truth of the lyrics than on the style or age of the song.

Can I come if I am not a Christian?

Absolutely! We believe the church is to be the gathering of those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, but we also want to be a place where the truth of the Bible and the gospel of Jesus can be examined by those who have not yet trusted Christ. We welcome you to join us any Sunday morning for our worship service.

What does it mean to be “saved” or to place your faith in Jesus Christ?

The Bible says that if you “confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) This means a person must first recognize their need for a Savior by recognizing that they are a sinner and that they must repent of that sin before God, which means to turn from it completely. Second, a person must believe in Jesus Christ, the Messiah and God in human flesh, that His death on the cross paid the penalty for their sin, and that it is only by faith and not by any works that we are truly forgiven. (Eph 2:8-9) Finally, a person must accept that the bodily resurrection of Jesus on the third day guarantees the hope of eternity in heaven for all who truly repent and trust Christ. This is a brief version of the gospel that Jesus references in Mark 1:15, which a person must believe in order to be saved.

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