Several years ago, in 2006, a family from the southwest suburbs of Chicago sought out a Reformed Baptist church, and began attending GRBC in Rockford, IL. Though they became members and faithfully attended on the Lord’s Day for two years, the drive became too much. Over the following years they remained in contact with the church and repeatedly expressed their desire for a Reformed Baptist church closer to home. Then, in the summer of 2010, two movements of God’s inscrutable providence came together for the start of this church plant. First, a pastor from GRBC became available for the work of planting a church in the Chicagoland area. Second, a few more families, who had come to embrace the Doctrines of Grace and were studying Covenant Theology, expressed their desire for a church with sound doctrine and biblical worship.
So that September, a small group began meeting on Sunday nights for prayer, study of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, and fellowship. At the same time, they read and discussed a book on Reformed worship during the week to go along with their lessons on Reformed doctrine. During this time, the group continued to grow in their understanding of the link between doctrine and practice. And this lead to an increasing desire for corporate worship.
Hope Reformed Baptist Fellowship held its first worship service the morning of January 2, 2011. Over the following year the group was blessed by the ministry of the Word from the beginning of Genesis, portions of the Psalms and the whole of 1 Timothy. They also began to learn the rich hymns of the faith and delight in the simplicity of worship regulated by the Word of God. And they continued to study the 1689 BCF. In the fall of that year, it became apparent that the informal fellowship should become a local church. The group had become more unified in the faith, more caring of one another, more self-conscious of its identity, and more independent to manage its own affairs. So classes were taught on “What is a Reformed Baptist Church?” and “Church Membership”. At the same time, preparations were made for the constitution and an installation services.
Then on March 3, 2012, about 150 people from 7 different churches in the midwest gathered together to praise God for the establishment of a new church. During the first service, Hope Reformed Baptist Church constituted as a biblically organized church with 15 charter members. And during the second service, Pastor John Yoder reaffirmed his ordination vows to be the elder and pastor of the church; and Greg Lee was ordained as its first deacon.
Since then, HRBC has continued to be a light for the gospel Jesus Christ only because of the powerful and sustaining grace of our great God. So we praise Him – “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21).