Since 1957, God has been at work in the lives of ordinary men and women to do some extraordinary things in Jesus' name. We began as the Evangelical Free Church of Naperville and first met in the Bank of Naperville. We opened our doors at the Hobson campus in 1985. In 2009, we changed our name to The Compass Church, to better reflect the diverse residential backgrounds of our congregation, while maintaining the Free Church denomination. In 2010, we launched our first multi-site campus at Crone Middle School, on 111th Street in South Naperville with — true story! — 111 families in attendance.
“Done by ordinary people of faith, trust, and vision. No one person, no millionaires, just many faithful committed trusting believers.” – Spence Sawyer, early member in1966
In 1957, two gentlemen felt a burden to start a church in Naperville. Mel Larson and Bill Frickman felt called to reach this community for Jesus – to see Christ’s transforming power. So, on August 11, 1957, with just seventeen people present, the Evangelical Free Church of Naperville in the auditorium of the Bank of Naperville, gathered to discuss the possibilities.
That small group held frequent prayer meetings in the weeks to come and a church family started to take shape.
“We were invited to the newly forming EFCN in 1957 by a knock on the door of our home. We had visited many churches, but found that this one honored God’s Word. We have stayed here for 52 years because it still honors His Word, preaching the gospel to those here, near and far. Three of our sons are serving as missionaries in Africa because of this church!” – Fred and Shirley Carpenter, charter members
In 1961 they outgrew the Bank auditorium and moved to Beebe School for services. By 1965, they again needed more space and rented the Women’s Building downtown across from the Post office. Pastor Paul Cedar came on board with his wife Jeannie. By the day of their new pastor’s installation, the church broke ground for the first building at 1433 N. Main Street.
“A great many friends helped with the early church: one donated a piano, another the piano tuning, another paid the advertising expenses and another gave a hand-made pulpit.” – Ruth Sawyer, member since 1966
In 1968 John Van Dixhorn became pastor. With a heart towards deepening the church family’s spiritual growth, an addition on the east side was added, creating new education rooms. The church grew in worship and outreach – sending out their first missionary.
Pastor Ron Payne came in 1973 with his wife Pam and encouraged families in Christian community through church get-togethers. As the church grew, a new enlarged sanctuary was added to the west in 1975.
In 1980 Pastor Bob Meyer came with his wide, Lynda, and family. At that point, the church family grew too big for its space. In 1982, the morning services moved to Naperville North High School. For more than three years, the church family met there for worship. With this step of faith came a renewed interest in the Word of God.
In 1983, Pastor Rick Pierson joined the staff. Land was purchased at Hobson and College Roads and plans were drawn up for a new facility. The vision for the new campus was outward – to win more people for Jesus. Money was tight and the move took a lot of prayer and faith; but in 1984, ground was broken.
Finally, in October 1985 a caravan of cars traveled from the high school to the new sanctuary. That Sunday service was “standing room only.” By the following weekend, the church held two services.
“God brought us to this place…so that all the people of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” (Joshua 4:24)
In 1988 Pastor Lee Iseley came with his wife, Jerrianne, and family. The children’s work was expanding – so much so that he inherited 3 Sunday school sessions and 3 worship services. An educational addition was needed, again! Phase two of the new site was dedicated in 1988 with the building of the North Addition.
The church was alive with choirs, orchestra accompaniment, concerts – sacred and classical, dramas, even interpretive dance and signing. High school students and adults went on various short-term missions trips abroad. Sunday school classes and Bible studies helped the church family deepen its faith.
In 1996, the South addition was added to the building to make more space for our growing church family. But, as always, the church family knew it was more than a building.
Staying committed to our mission: To compel people to embrace the call of Jesus, 'Come follow me'. (Matthew 4:19)
In 2001, Pastor Dale Hummel together with his wife Marcia and family were welcomed after 3½ years without a lead pastor. Pastor Dale helped the church family refocus on seeing lives transformed for Jesus.
With this renewed sense of purpose, the church began to grow again. We expanded into the current worship center of the Hobson campus in October of 2005. On October 17, 2010, we held our first official multi-site services at Crone Middle School on 111th Street – with 111 families in attendance. That campus has since moved to 2244 W. 95th Street Naperville, IL 60564 and has changed names from the 111th campus to the 95th campus.
Today, about 3,000 adults and children join us each weekend during one of five worship services – Saturdays at 6 p.m. (Hobson campus) and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. at both locations.
The church isn’t a building. It’s not a place. It’s a body of believers.
Over the history of our church, we have moved, expanded and changed our ways often. We have sought to remain flexible so we may be responsive to God’s calling on this church.
“Nothing will continue to happen on the corner of Hobson and College unless there is a burning desire for people to pray for a revival in our church now. We can never reach a plateau and think the job is complete! It will take a desire on the people’s part to see church growth. If old methods don’t work, find new ones. Allow the Lord to bring revival to this congregation.” – Charles Shearer, former Trustee
Our prayer is simply, no matter what comes next, we will be found ready.