1975-1978 | Pastor Harry Jackson
Pastor Harry Jackson and his family came from Rochester, New York, in 1974 with a burden to start a fundamental, independent, Biblically-separated, soul-winning Baptist church in Chicago’s barren northern suburbs. With God’s grace, Pastor Jackson established a small but solid foundation of dedicated families in the church, grounded them in God’s Word and in soul-winning, and began a fledgling bus ministry.
1978-1982 | Pastor Larry Waye
When Pastor Jackson later resigned to accept a call from a church in California, Pastor Larry Waye came from Cleveland in 1978 to lead the young church on for the Lord. Seeing the need for a Bible-based education for the families’ children, he started a Christian school, added a second bus route to reach more boys and girls, expanded the church’s missionary program, and moved the church’s soul-winning emphasis to the northwestern suburbs.
1982-present | Pastor Keith Gomez
When Pastor Waye left in 1982 to join the staff of the same Rochester church from which Pastor Jackson came, a young but mature Bible school graduate accepted God’s call to pastor the Northwest Bible Baptist Church. After hearing Pastor Keith Gomez’ first message, the church folks knew that a zeal for right living and a passion for souls would be key themes of his ministry. Red-hot preaching kept their feet to the fire and their hearts yielded to the Holy Spirit.
The visionary young preacher rallied the small remaining flock of the then-struggling church. Withstanding the winds of hell, it grew from thirty-one members in 1982 to a high day of 1,031 only five years later. And on the 10th-year anniversary of Pastor Gomez’ ministry, God gave the increase with a record-setting attendance of 2,281 on a Big Day!
During the first decade of Northwest Bible Baptist Church’s life, it had met in houses and rented schools in three different suburbs. Finally, in 1985, under the inspiration and leadership of Dr. Gomez, the people gave sacrificially to a "Vision Unlimited" building fund program where everyone could give something – not equal gifts, but equal sacrifice. That Program permitted the congregation to move into its own real "church building" for the first time. (This "VU" program is now a renowned tool that Dr. Gomez has used across the country to help many other churches in building projects in order to facilitate their growing ministries, too.)
By 1995, Northwest Bible Baptist Church had far outgrown that church plant. Unable to expand on that small site of only three acres, God led Dr. Gomez and his congregation of then-several-hundred in a miraculous relocation thirty-two miles west, to the far northwest Elgin area, where a new 45,000 square foot church campus was constructed (still with "Vision Unlimited" funds paying the way).
Today and the future
In its present 16-acre location in the beautiful rolling countryside on Nesler Road in rural Elgin, Illinois, Northwest Bible Baptist Church continues to expand the ministries started under Dr. Gomez’ leadership and to add new outreaches that broaden with the horizon of his vision – all with the same right-living zeal and soulwinning passion that have served as its guiding themes over the years. The church, a Gospel lighthouse all over Chicago’s northwestern suburbs, now launches life boats for disadvantaged children with thirteen bus routes; for nursing home residents in eight locations; for thousands of homes in need of Christ; for hundreds of young men in two prisons; for Spanish-speaking folks with a distinct Spanish Department; and for the lost on over seventy home and foreign mission fields. Church members from ten different soul-winning groups rescue the perishing every day of the week. Preaching with zeal and fire from God’s Bible blueprint, Dr. Gomez’ dedicated determination has helped build this lighthouse that sheds its bright beam from Elgin to Rockford to Aurora to Chicago and every outlying region within reach.
…A light that also shines over the church’s Christian School (pre-K-12), Northwest Baptist Academy; over Providence Baptist College that opened in August, 1998, with a miracle enrollment, training pastors, evangelists, missionaries, Christian school educators, and church/school office staff; over an annual "Old Paths" Camp Meeting and National Youth Conference; over an "Aquila and Priscilla" Friendship Ministry and a "Mentoring Man" Ministry for boys without dads in their homes; over King’s Kids, Stepping Stones for young girls, and a "Food Pantry" and "Clothes Closet" for the needy; over thirty-five graded Sunday School classes, an instrumental music ministry, four choirs, and five summer camps for all ages; and over a Christian Book Store, a tape and publication ministry, an old-fashioned Camp Meeting, and summer Vacation Bible School. The intense driving force of this Man of God, preaching the Word of God, leads this church to follow the Will of God, to reach everyone possible, in the right way, with the Gospel light of Jesus Christ!