This is not a story about a church that began as an event, program, or even as a result of a community survey; it's a story about a church that started with a dream: a dream of being a different kind of church.
The Bible teaches that when God wants to do a new work, He doesn't form a committee or take a survey; He prepares a leader. And in 1999, God began to prepare the heart of Kirt Wiggins.
At that time, Kirt and Jennifer (his wife) were serving as missionaries with International Teams. In this role Kirt had the opportunity to travel to over 35 countries around the world to see God change lives and transform communities. Kirt and Jennifer would often pray, "Why isn't the church in America growing the way it is around the world?"
It was out of this prayer that God planted the desire in Kirt to start a missional church, one that would be radically committed to the mission of Jesus Christ - "Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded" (Matthew 28:18-20).
In 1999 God led Kirt away from International Teams to Oak Community Church where he served on staff for five years in various roles - a training ground for what was ahead. It was during these years that God gave both Kirt and Jennifer an even greater desire to start the kind of church that would reach those who didn't personally know Jesus Christ. Not only did He increase their desire, He also showed them where He wanted them to act: in Elmhurst, Illinois - the town that had already become their home.
At first, this didn't make sense: "Why Elmhurst?" But as Kirt and Jennifer prayed and got to know their community better, they discovered that over half of Elmhurst residents did not attend any church regularly. Additionally, they noticed teenagers and college students were strikingly absent from the church - a fact that struck close to home as their oldest child was nearing his teenage years at the time.
Believing that God was calling them not just to identify the problem but also to be part of the solution, Kirt and Jennifer stepped out in faith in the summer of 2005. During this time, God raised up a team of 40 people who shared a common vision for a different kind of church in Elmhurst.
From its inception, Pathway has depended on relationships with other church fellowships. Kirt's home church, Oak Community Church, together with Midwest Church Planting and Harvest Bible Fellowship, partnered together to support and resource this new church. As a result, on October 5, 2005, Pathway had its first worship gathering in the York Theatre in downtown Elmhurst - there began the journey of pursuing true life together.
This journey continues as God has enlarged our vision to include the western suburbs contained within the trapezoidal area made up of IL routes 355 to the west, 88 to the south, 294 to the east, and 290 to the north. Our desire is to reach every person in these local communities with the good news of Jesus Christ, to redeem these communities in practical ways, and to reproduce more churches, campuses, and disciples for the glory of God.