College Church is an independent church in Wheaton, Illinois with "strong historic ties" to Wheaton College. The church is led by a number of pastors, directors, and a board of elders. Dr. Josh Moody currently holds the position of Senior Pastor of College Church.
College Church, founded as The First Church of Christ in Wheaton, was organized in 1861 by Jonathan Blanchard (Wheaton) in 1861 and affiliated with the Congregational Association of Illinois.[unreliable source?] The church first met on the campus of Wheaton College as "The First Church of Christ in Wheaton." Blanchard wanted the church to be known for its opposition to slavery, secret societies, and alcohol use.
The church was first affiliated with the Congregational Association of Illinois. Jonathan Blanchard's involvement as the first president of Wheaton College and as the founder of College Church caused the two institutions to share statements of faith and facilities. The church suffered divisions over doctrine and affiliation during the years after its founding, leading to the creation of what are now First Presbyterian Church in Wheaton and Wheaton Bible Church. After a reorganization in 1878 the church was renamed the College Church of Christ. It only gained its current name, College Church in 1963, in an effort to distinguish itself from the Church of Christ denomination, which has a rather different theology.
Although it is not formally associated with Wheaton College, College Church has long been closely associated with the college and drawn large numbers of students and members of the faculty to its services. The congregation is "largely affluent.
The church expanded rapidly during the years that R. Kent Hughes led the church as senior pastor, with the church growing in membership and facility size. In 2000, the church dedicated the new Commons building, a 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2) addition to the church campus. The building cost $7.5 million.
By 1990, the burgeoning congregations of College Church, Wheaton Bible Church, and St. John Lutheran Church, all located close together led to serious traffic and parking problems. For the church, the solution was to dig "an underground tunnel from the existing complex to the new building which they placed across the street."
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Under the leadership of Pastor Josh Moody, the church has established the following vision: “The God Centered Gospel of Jesus Christ Proclaimed in Us as a Church and Through Us to the World by the Transforming Power of the Holy Spirit.” It is guided by the following values: Fellowship (biblical community of gospel compassion); Learning (expositional teaching for transformational discipleship); Outreach (evangelistic, missional and missionary outreach locally to globally); Worship (excellence in biblical worship together).
College Church has a variety of different ministries devoted to different groups within the church. One area of ministry that the church is known for is its ministry to persons with disabilities, called the STARS Disability Ministry. The church offers a disability ministry "to make access to worship, ministry, and fellowship a reality for any child or adult with special needs." The church hosts The Run for the STARS in June to raise money to send STARS members and their families to summer camp. Celebrity athletes including Jean Driscoll, winner of the women's wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon, have supported this College Church fundraiser by participating.
The church is active in supporting worldwide missions and church planting. In 2016-17 the annual mission budget was $7.2 million, with more than $2 million supporting cross-cultural outreach.
- Jonathan Blanchard (1860–62)
- Charles A. Blanchard (1878-1883)
- Evan Welsh (1933-1946)
- Robert G. Rayburn (1947–50)
- Carl Armerding (1951-1955)
- L. P. McClenny (1958-1972)
- Nathan Goff (1973-1977)
- R. Kent Hughes (1979–2006)
- Josh Moody (2009–present)
- Spencer Garrett ‘17
- Bruce Howard ’17, chair
- Ken Larson ‘17
- Kevin Todd ‘17
- Mark Berg ‘18
- Al Duvel ‘18, secretary
- Randy Jahns ’18, vice chair
- Roger Sandberg ‘18
- Mark Bradley ‘19
- Steve Ivester ‘19
- Mark Trieglaff ‘19
- Brian Wildman ‘19
- Nancy Swider-Peltz,
- Kenneth N. Taylor, creator of the Living Bible and founding publisher of Tyndale House.
- Mark D. Taylor, President of Tyndale House.
- Leland Ryken, Professor of English at Wheaton College
Aerial photos and maps
- Google (2011-05-15). "satellite view of College Church" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
-  Wheaton College website, accessed May 9, 2011.
- Federal Writer's Project, Du Page County: a descriptive and historical guide, 1831-1939, Illinois, 1948, p. 180.
- "College Church", Wheaton (listing), Patch.[unreliable source?]
- "Our History". College church. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
- "Church Split over Pastor at Wheaton," Aurora Daily Star - May 13, 1921
- Houliston, John. "A brief history of the First Presbyterian Church, Wheaton, Illinois". Wheaton: First Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- Stephen J. Schnurr, Dennis Edward Northway, "Pipe organs of Chicago, Volume 1," Chauncey Park Press, 2005, p. 244.
- Kevin DeYoung, Ted Kluck, "Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion," Moody Publishers, 2009.
- Worship by the Book R. Kent Hughes, Timothy J. Keller, Rev. Mark Ashton, Rev. Mark Ashton, R. Kent Hughes, Timothy J. Keller, Zondervan, 2010.
- Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes, Leland Ryken, Todd A. Wilson, Crossway, 2007, p. 271.
- Mike Burke  "Wheaton residents feeling squeezed by growing churches", September 21, 1996, Daily Herald.
- Kay Severinsen (November 25, 1990). "Houses vanish as churches look for space". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 3. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
A planned expansion of the church building will take away some 170 parking spaces.
- Eric Reed  "Squeezed Out," July 1, 2003, Christianity Today.
- "Disability". College-church.org. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
-  "Fear Not the Disabled," October 25, 2005, Christianity Today.
- "Run for the Stars". Run for the Stars. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- Michelle Linhardt "Run for the STARS 5k," May 6, 2011, Chicago Tribune.
- Jack Griffin  "Notable guest attends Wheaton race," June 13, 2004, Daily Herald.
- "History". College-church.org. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- "Senior administration", Leadership, Covenant College, retrieved May 8, 2011.
- Ericksen, Charlotte (October 25, 2010), "Swider-Peltz Jr Declines Spot on Fall World Cup Team to Rehab Hamstring", Wheaton (Patch).
- Walker, Ken (July 13, 2005), "Living Bible Creator Dies But Ken Taylor's legacy is even larger", Christianity Today.
- "Teen angels". Chicago Sun-Times. May 12, 2001. p. 26.
More than 100 junior high kids have signed the Covenant for Biblical Sexuality at College Church in Wheaton.
- Minutes of the First Church of Christ in Wheaton, 1866-1879.
- Minutes of the First Congregational Church 1879-1909.
- Minutes of the First Presbyterian Church 1909-1952.
- A History of DuPage County, Richmond & Vallette 1857.
- A History of DuPage County, C. W. Richmond 1876.
- History of DuPage County, Rufus Blanchard 1882.
- Report of Council of Congregational Churches, Held in Wheaton in February 1879.
- "College Church in Wheaton" (PDF). New York: American Guild of Organists. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
The present, spacious sanctuary was built in 1991 and 1992. The Reginald Gerig Organ (College Church organist, 1953-1991) was built for the present sanctuary...