Jim Killam

Caring for our elderly

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read


A multigenerational church like First Free Rockford faces a particular opportunity during COVID-19: caring for our elderly and most vulnerable.

Chuck Rife, Pastor of Caring Ministries, keeps a list of more than 100 people who receive visits in their homes, long-term care centers or hospital rooms. Normally, those visits come in person from Chuck and his wife, Ruth, the deaconesses, and a small group of guys who visit elderly men. During the stay-at-home order, visits have been limited to phone calls and letters.

As with the rest of the population, some people are struggling while others are doing OK.

“You get all kinds of responses,” Chuck says. “One lady (in a nursing home) said, ‘I feel like an animal in a cage.’ The room is just so small. It becomes very claustrophobic. But then another lady I talked to said, ‘I love it. I can finish writing my book that I’ve been working on for 25 years.’ She’s in her 90s.” Read More

Kaylin’s Quarantine Run

Kaylin Carlson prayed for a way to bring creativity and fun to people during COVID-19. Kaylin’s Quarantine Run has done even more — and it just keeps growing.


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Healthcare during COVID-19

We spoke via Zoom with three healthcare professionals who are part of our church family. Topic: COVID-19 and bringing your faith to work.


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Healing the blind: A deeper look (part 2)

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read


Periodically on the blog, we talk with a pastor to go deeper into the subject of a particular sermon. This week, in a two-part interview, we talk with Josh Pardee, Pastor of Congregational Life, about Part 3 of Love Walked Among Us. Here’s the second half of our conversation.


So, we’ve talked about some misguided thinking on all this. What are some right ways to think and process as we experience fear, uncertainty, suffering? What’s a way we can focus ourselves that doesn’t take us to these judgmental places?

One, understand that Jesus sits with us in that pain and suffering. He’s fully present to that.  Two, know that he ultimately has victory in the long scheme of things, whether that happens in my physical life or on the other side of resurrection. He already has defeated sickness and this virus and even death itself. Then beyond that, this is where I think local community is so key. Because I sit with my brothers and sisters and I try to discern: God, where are you at work in this and what are you inviting me into? Read More

Healing the blind: A deeper look (part 1)

by Jim Killam | 8-minute read


Periodically on the blog, we talk with a pastor to go deeper into the subject of a particular sermon. This week, in a two-part interview, we talk with Josh Pardee, Pastor of Congregational Life, about Part 3 of Love Walked Among Us. Here’s the first half of our conversation.


Can we start by tackling the prevailing assumption that when bad things happen, it’s God’s judgment? Where does that come from? Is it biblical? 

A lot of it probably comes from the psyche of the law in the Old Testament. It’s blessing and cursing …  If you do this, then I’ll do that. In Luke 13, Jesus references the tower in Siloam and says the people who died in that tragedy were no guiltier than anyone else.

To me, there is a direct correlation between living a life contrary to the ways of God and suffering the consequences. Like, if I don’t tell the truth in my relationship with my kids or my spouse or my employer, that’s going to eventually lead to mistrust and probably devastation. Sometimes, there are also demonic influences that are trying to lead us down the path of death and destruction. Read More

Parenting during COVID-19

We spoke via Zoom recently with seven parents from our church family. Topic: How are you and your kids coping with the stay-at-home order?

*Opinions expressed are the individuals’ own, and do not necessarily represent First Free Rockford or the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA).



A walk among the stones

by Jim Killam | 7-minute read


As the weather slowly turns warmer, First Free Kids Director Kari Heckler walks her neighborhood more.

“I used to run, and then it turned into walking after I blew out my Achilles tendon a few years ago,” she says. “That was so symbolic in my life, because it forced me to slow down and walk instead of run. The difference that I find, especially right now when we are really slowed down, is that I look around when I’m walking.”

Lately, she notices hearts in windows — symbols of hope amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Trees are blooming. She sees things she would have run past before with scarcely a glance. Read More

New donations warehouse serves COVID-19 needs

by Jim Killam | 3-minute read


Chuck Meyers, Win-Bur-Sew Fire Protection District

First Free Rockford is partnering with the Salvation Army and Rockford Sharefest through the Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center to get needed supplies to agencies serving the homeless, needy, and those affected by COVID-19 throughout Winnebago County.

A warehouse inside the former Circuit City store has been set up by the Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center. It’s staffed by Salvation Army members and Rockford Sharefest volunteers. First Free has already made a $4,000 donation to help with warehouse set-up. We’re also offering the use of our church vans to pick up pre-scheduled donated supplies that are delivered to the warehouse. Read More

Good Friday

Editor’s note: This was written before COVID-19, but we think it’s relevant during this difficult week. Enjoy a brief diversion.

by Jim Killam | 4-minute read


Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.

— Luke 1:78-79


Everyone has their fantasy job. For me, it’s nature photographer. Driving and hiking in the dark to crazy places. Setting up equipment, then waiting for daybreak. Chasing light.

Actually, it’s more than that. It’s chasing glimpses of glory. Finding those places where the veil between heaven and earth feels especially thin.

Last year during Easter week, I was in Calgary working with Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada. Much as I love the people and the work there, I couldn’t wait until Thursday afternoon. That’s when I’d grab a rental car and drive an hour to Banff National Park. The mountains were calling, and I had 24 hours before my flight home. Read More

Easter Q&R with Pastor Luke

by Jim Killam | 7-minute read


As we look forward to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we spoke with Lead Pastor Luke Uran about what it’s like to be a pastor in this most unusual season.


I mean this beyond the superficial greeting: How are you doing?

We have good days and bad days. There is a certain amount of grief and loss. Some of the freedoms that we love, we miss. Jessi and I were just talking about this. We are in this posture of: What is God trying to teach us in this? I’m not one who says there’s a lesson in everything or who tries to over-spiritualize things. However, there are a lot of things that God is teaching us in this. He is teaching us the preciousness of being able to meet together as the church, in a physical sense. For us, we are living differently than we have ever lived before in our lives. Community in a person-to-person, physical sense has completely changed. Read More

Notice: The main office is closed and all public gatherings are suspended until further notice.More Details