Our Story

Our Story

What makes us who we are

BridgeWay Community Church was planted in 2005 by Pastor Dale Schaeffer and a team from our parent church, Pekin First Church of the Nazarene, under Pastor Greg Mason and District Superintendent Crawford Howell. BridgeWay was established with the vision to specifically “connect people to Jesus Christ, to each other, and to God’s purposes for their lives.” 
BridgeWay first met at the Bertha Frank Theater in Morton from February 2005 to August 2006. We then moved to the Field Shopping Center in Morton where we worshiped together from September 2006 until October 2010.
Tremont High School. We purchased a building in Pekin on the second-busiest intersection in Tazewell County and held our first service at BridgeWay’s own home on July 29, 2012, under Pastor Dale Schaeffer.
Throughout BridgeWay’s first ten years, we witnessed 806 professions of faith and 309 baptisms! In addition, the culture of BridgeWay encouraged and empowered the church plant of Second Chance Church in Fishers, Indiana.
In November 2013, Pastor Schaeffer and his family relocated to Oregon to fulfill God’s call on their hearts to serve as pastor of a church plant, and we began the prayerful search for a new lead pastor.
Central to BridgeWay’s effectiveness was the consistent guidance of our Mission-Vision team and the continued determined work of our pastoral staff, ministry leaders, volunteers, and the investments of both Pekin First Church of the Nazarene and the Northwest Illinois District Church of the Nazarene. We continued strong into BridgeWay’s next chapter.

Pastor Jeff Stark joined our pastoral team in August 2014 as lead pastor. In late 2015, we were approached by a small struggling church about merging with us to impact the community of Marquette Heights. BridgeWay accepted the invitation and on January 6, 2016, we launched our Marquette Heights campus.

And we continued to plant!

In the summer of 2018, we planted Reachway Church in Peoria, pastored by Seth Major, who was one of our church plant residents.  God continues to move in and through BridgeWay Community Church in faithfulness and power!
In May 2019, Pastor Jeff followed his calling into the heart of downtown Chicago and Pastor Linsy Stockham stepped up as interim lead pastor and later accepted the call as lead pastor to a church in Bloomington.
We welcomed Pastor Michael Downs, and his family, as our new lead pastor in August 2019, along with Pastor Gabe Wickstrum and his family. At the close of 2021, Pastor Gabe followed God’s leading to serve as Worship Pastor for an out-of-state church.
God has made it clear from our beginning that He continues to be powerfully at work through BridgeWay Community Church–across the country and throughout the world!
We continue in awe, anticipation, and worship of God as He continues to unfold His further plans for BridgeWay Community Church!

Our mission & vision

God has made it clear from our beginning that He continues to be powerfully at work through BridgeWay Community Church–across the country and throughout the world

Our mission

Our mission is to connect people to:
Jesus Christ
Each Other
God’s purposes for their lives

Our mission influences everything we do at BridgeWay, from every ministry we launch to every event we offer. If it isn’t adhering to the mission God has given us, we don’t pursue it

our culture

We are a church built on the foundation of Jesus. 
The church is alive, authentic, full of passion, and brimming over with hope, acceptance and love! We are a church built on the life, love, and teachings of Jesus.  

our ministry

Our ministry is for the vast number of people in our community not connected to a healthy body of believers- people that once experienced connection but fell away or left for some reason. Our ministry is for the seeker of Truth, the infant Christian, the follower of Christ, and the lay Minister with a desire to serve.

Our Core Values

12 Stones Values 
Every organization has a culture, whether it’s intentional or unintentional. We’re intentional about our culture! These stones are foundational in all we do and all we will do to bring Heaven to earth! We have our 12 Stones of Connecting people to Jesus, each other and God’s purposes for their lives. 12 Stones of remembering the faithfulness of God and what He has called us to…out of, into and to do as His followers.
We Care for our family, church and community because Jesus first cared for us.
We Communicate the transforming life found in Jesus that brings peace, hope and love.
We Consecrate our hearts and lives to the Lord and to the work of His Kingdom.
We Restore people by partnering with God to offer healing that brings wholeness.
We Reach Out to our community in response to the call of God for the world around us.
We Reproduce vibrant churches to reach communities with the Good News.
We Engage the minds and hearts of kids and teens with meaningful ministries.
We Empower and develop our volunteers and leaders to serve in their calling and gifting.
We Encounter God through vibrant times of Worship and the Word.
We Dream God-sized and inspired dreams for ministry.
We Donate generously the resources that have been entrusted to us.
We Disciple and make disciple-makers.

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together a 9:00 am and 11 am.