Our History

God's presence and faithfulness to this congregation can be seen throughout our long and storied history.

Generations of Christians have shared a vision of faithfulness to the Word of God. Pastors, leaders, and teachers have used their gifts and talents to pour into Sheboygan's children and youth. Missionaries have been prayerfully and financially supported both locally and globally. Bold steps have been taken to ensure proper space and resources are available for growing ministries.

By God's will, we are continuing this faithfulness to God's purposes today.


You will notice that three specific threads run through our past and present story.

  • We were founded on doctrinal and biblical teaching. 

    2 Timothy 4:2

  • We were founded with a burden and passion to reach children and students. 

    Deuteronomy 6:4-6

  • The heart of our church is reaching the world for Christ. 

    Matthew 28:18-20

1871 | Norwegian Beginnings

The First Norwegian Church was founded in Sheboygan in 1871. Devout Norwegian Christians, primarily sailors and their families, gathered for worship under a Methodist affiliation. They first gathered in an empty tavern building on Indiana Ave on Sheboygan's south side until moving to their first regular church home on the corner of Kentucky Ave and South 8th Street. Finally in 1909 the church moved to a new structure built at 1603 South Ninth Street (pictured).

In the 74 years under a Methodist affiliation the church was served by 39 pastors, most of them new graduates and serving an average of 1.5 years. During this period, church membership dwindled as Sheboygan became less and less a regular port of shipping and Norwegians gradually moved North to Manitowoc.

1940 | From Norwegian to English

In 1940, Ellis Mooney came to the church as the first non-Norwegian-speaking pastor which led to the congregation becoming an English-speaking church. Although there were only seven members in attendance on Pastor Mooney's first Sunday, God blessed this small congregation in extraordinary ways in the first two years. Several souls were saved, the building was renovated, evening services began, and suppers and sales gave way to tithing.

In 1942 Pastor Mooney was joined by his bride, Winifred, and together in faith, they stepped out into new avenues of service. A house-to-house canvas of the south side of Sheboygan was made resulting in new Sunday school pupils and several hundred youths accepting Christ as their Savior.

1945 | A New Affiliation

After a growing opposition to the gospel ministry by the Methodist affiliation, the congregation entered into the fellowship of the Evangelical Free Church in June of 1945. This move allowed for a new freedom to preach the Word and opened the doors for abundant blessing.

The church became the Sheboygan Evangelical Free Church in 1946, meeting at the previous Methodist church building at 1603 South Ninth Street. Moving to a new building was what their congregation needed to continue the ministry and work that the Lord had for them. Pictured is Vacation Bible School 1945.

1946 | Vision For The Future

Pastor Mooney and his wife, Winifred, had a very clear concept of building a Christian Youth center along with a new church building for worship. The church proceeded in faith and watched the Lord provide. Construction began on December 6, 1946 (groundbreaking ceremony pictured). The new building was built across the street from the first church building, at 1552 South Ninth Street.

As accounts came due, prayer services were held. Even the weather was obedient to the Lord, as it once rained on all sides of the construction site, but not one drop on the new building. Building shortages were overcome as God miraculously provided (end of World War II).

1949 | Youth Center Dedication

On February 27, 1949 dedication services were held with Dr. A.E. Hallen (President of the Evangelical Free Church of America) speaking (pictured seated on the platform with Pastor Mooney standing at the pulpit).

The Christian Youth Center was formally opened a month later on March 31, 1949. Thousands of young people have enjoyed its facilities and several hundred teenagers and their parents accepted Christ through its ministries over the years. The Youth Center continued for about 25 years in this location.

1961 | Youth Ministry Becomes Sheboygan County Campus Life

Both the Youth Center and the Church grew until, in 1961, it was necessary to double the size of the building. 

During the mid 1950’s, the youth ministry became affiliated with Youth for Christ International, and in the late 1960’s the local Board of Directors adjusted to include men from other churches. This was done in an attempt to make the ministry truly non-denominational and to be more acceptable as an independent youth organization. Eventually the Christian Youth Center gave birth to an independent ministry to young people, Sheboygan County Campus Life, which is today still reaching students for Christ.

1976 | New Building Purchased

In the mid-1970s church growth led to the purchase of a former discount store at 1710 North 15th, our current location. It was purchased from the University of Chicago at a miracle price of $250,000. The store was then renovated by the congregation members at a cost of $350,000.

Our first service was held in 1976 on Thanksgiving Day without carpet and much of the finishing. On December 12, 1976 work was completed and we moved in permanently.

1989 | Renovation and Church Growth

In 1989, with our mortgage being paid off, we built an addition for 1.3 million dollars. The 1989 addition included a new Multi-Purpose Room, staff office area, and all the basement Christian Education space. By God's grace, this new addition was paid off by 2005.

Our congregation has been led by four Senior Pastors: Pastor Ellis Mooney, Pastor Terry Parks, Pastor Ed Kaylor, and Pastor Dr. Gary Hylander (starting in late 1996).

In October of 2006, church growth required the addition of a third service. The “traditional” service remains in the original sanctuary while the “contemporary” service meets in the Multi-Purpose Room.

2015 | Master Plan For Greater Ministry

Our congregation has an incredible history of taking courageous steps to maximize our effectiveness in "Multiplying committed followers of Jesus Christ". After much prayer and discussion, in 2015, church elders approved the creation of a Master Plan Team to renovate our building for increased effectiveness in serving and ministering.

The first phase, including the installation of the new West parking lot, was completed in 2018.

2023 | Welcome Home

In October 2022, Phase 2 construction began. We made significant improvements and transformed our space to improve our ability to minister to Sheboygan County and the world.

In September 2023, we began utilizing our new Commons, secure Kids Ministry wing and updated Worship Center. We are excited to see how God will use us to help build God’s kingdom.

Giving to the Master Plan Project

Give boldly, impact eternally! You can be a part of making a difference in the ministry of our church.

To give online, click the button below. Once you register at our giving link, you can choose the Debt Retirement option for offerings above and beyond your regular tithe. Thank you for your generosity and helping us make an impact eternally for Christ!