The Evangelical Free Church of Libertyville was officially organized as part of The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) on August 10, 1953. We celebrate this date as our founding year. However, this was not the beginning of the story. Our story begins when members of the Men's Chorus from Trinity College (Chicago) canvassed the Libertyville area in October 1950 and subsequently started a Bible Club for boys and girls in the home of Mrs. Harold Lindquist. In January 1951, Dr. Ludwigson, President of Trinity College, spoke at a meeting for adults in the home of Libertyville resident Oliver Pepper. This marked the beginning of a Friday night Bible study group. Sunday evening services began soon after at the American Legion Hall in Libertyville on April 15, 1951.
In September, a full church program went into effect, and soon after a pulpit committee was formed. The congregation called its first pastor, Rev. Harold Youngberg, on December 2, 1951. He served the congregation until July 1958. During his pastorate, the church officially organized as a member of the EFCA and purchased ten acres of land at the corners of Garfield and Austin avenues for $10,000. Construction of the parsonage began in 1956 and the cornerstone for the first church building was laid in September 1957. Five acres of the original land purchase were sold to help finance the building construction. The first Sunday service at this location was held on July 13, 1958.
Growth and Development
As the church grew, the need for additional pastoral staff and for space was addressed. In 1977, a Minister of Youth and Christian Education and a part-time Minister of Visitation and Evangelism were added. During the 1980s, a music minister was added to the staff and a Pastor of Adult ministries. In 1979 the church began renting space from Highland Middle School to accommodate adult Sunday school classes.
In 1985-1986 planning got underway for the construction of new facilities. And in December 1987, the ground was broken on the northwest corner of the church property for an addition. The building was completed in the spring of 1989 at the cost of $1.4 million. The first service in the new sanctuary was held in June 1989.
During the 1990s, a group of Hispanic believers, led by Pastor Roberto Cambrany, began to use our facilities. The Hispanic ministry became an official arm of the church and Pastor Roberto was added to the staff, first as a part-time member, eventually transitioning to full-time as the need arose. You can learn more about their ministry here.
In 2012 the members of the Evangelical Free Church of Libertyville voted to change their name to CrossLife Evangelical Free Church. The purpose of the change was to reflect how the gospel of Jesus Christ leads us to live a life shaped by the cross of Jesus Christ. The congregation also underwent a capital campaign to raise $750,000 to renovate the facilities. The capital campaign was concluded by the end of 2014 and no debt was incurred to fund the renovation project.
We praise God for all who have begun their faith journey and grown in the Lord through the ministries of CrossLife Evangelical Free Church; May we continue to be faithful to Him who is leading the way.