Back in March, just before the world changed, we gathered First Free’s musical worship leaders for a wide-ranging conversation. Renee Cooper (Classic), Nathan Fry (Contemporary) and Nathan McDonald (Chapel) spoke with Jim Killam about generational preferences, how they choose worship music and how they plan and coordinate our weekend services. Read More
“Revelation 19” performed by the First Free Rockford choir, written by Jeffrey LaValley and arrangement by Jack Schrader.
We asked several people from our church family who are teachers and students to record a corporate prayer of dedication and God’s blessing on our students, teachers, administrators and staff — from preschool to graduate or trade school, or home school.
Jim Killam & Rob Ullrich
Allegra Griffin (student)
Emma Joiner (student)
Heather Schlueter (teacher)
Rob & Cherice Ullrich (teachers)
Baptize Me by Benjamin James (Musicbed license)
by Jim Killam | 9-minute read
Before COVID-19 halted Sunday worship gatherings in March, we spoke with members of the Countryman family about their long musical heritage at First Free Rockford. Read More
The Patriotic Celebration has been a First Free Rockford summer tradition since 1970. Of course, this year’s event, which would have been our 51st consecutive, has been canceled by COVID-19.
For those who are missing the event this summer, we are happy to present an encore video of last year’s 50th Annual Patriotic Celebration. The evening celebrated our heritage and honored our veterans and active military members … all in a spirit of thanks to God for our true freedom in Jesus Christ.
You can also download the printed program from last year (see below), and follow along with the long list of special music and performers.
Enjoy! And Happy Independence Day.
by Jessi Uran | 3-minute read
Editor’s note: Jessi Uran penned this essay on motherhood in 2019. For Mother’s Day 2020, we think it’s worth another look.
Before the day begins, I wash my image-bearing face. As I press it dry with the towel, the mirror reminds me that there is a side to you I am called to represent — good works you have prepared that are uniquely mine to carry out.
For yes, it is true. You are Father. And yes, it is also true that you are like a Mother. Your living Word reveals this. You are the Rose of Sharon and the protective hen with outstretched wings. You are the woman searching for her lost coin and the one who longed to hold her children to her chest and give them comfort. Read More
by Jim Killam | 5-minute read
In advance of the Community Choir Festival March 6-7 at First Free Rockford, we spoke via email with workshop leader Dr. Gary Bonner.
What should attendees expect from this workshop? What could change for them?
If we do our jobs well, the singers should be energized, encouraged, motivated and excited. We always hope they will become better music readers, be more understanding of what their role in the body is, and hopefully, understand their role in ministry better. Read More
On Sunday, the congregations at all three of our main campus venues sang the modern hymn His Mercy is More. The refrain goes:
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
Written by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell, the hymn draws from a 1767 letter and sermon by John Newton. Here’s an excerpt from that letter:
Are not you amazed sometimes that you should have so much as a hope, that, poor and needy as you are, the Lord thinketh of you?
But let not all you feel discourage you. For if our Physician is almighty, our disease cannot be desperate and if He casts none out that come to Him, why should you fear?
Our sins are many, but His mercies are more: our sins are great, but His righteousness is greater: we are weak, but He is power.
True to his letter, Newton’s sins were many. Read More