Rockford First: No. 9 Fastest-Growing Church, 2016

From the moment you drive onto the campus of Rockford First, there is a very real sense of genuine love and care for people displayed by volunteers, staff and attendees alike. It is this welcoming backdrop, along with practical yet passionate teaching, that is helping to create an environment where many are being introduced to Jesus and choosing to follow him.

One of their unique passions is to meet the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of individuals with special needs. After their third son, Paxton, was born with Down syndrome, Senior Pastor Jeremy DeWeerdt and his wife, Jen, had their eyes opened to a community of people who were in desperate need of hope. It was this deeply personal experience that led them to open Champions Club—modeled after the Champions Club Ministry at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Says DeWeerdt, “We can wholeheartedly say that our church is different because of these amazing champions!”

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Rockford, Illinois
Senior Pastor: Jeremy DeWeerdt
Twitter: @JeremyDeWeerdt, @RockfordFirst
Facebook: /RockfordFirst
Founded: 1929
Affiliation: Assemblies of God
Locations: 1
Attendance: 5,004
Growth in 2015: +1,028 (26%)
Fastest Growing: 9