In 1971 the founding pastor, John Nordstrom, Sr. and his family moved to Ottawa for the purpose of establishing a new church. A church in Streator, IL had already located a small church building in Ottawa, rented it and cleaned it up in hopes that someone would come to start a congregation. With support from the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI), preparations were made and the first service was held on November 7, 1971. In spite of Pastor Nordstrom, Sr.’s vulnerable health, through a kidney transplant and numerous ups and downs, a congregation was formed and continues to this day.
After outgrowing the original building, a room at the YMCA was rented. In 1976, a new building on the south side of Ottawa was constructed. The congregation met there where they also operated Gramma’s House Daycare. The doors of Ottawa Christian Academy were opened in 1984, operated for thirteen years, and closed in 1997.
On February 1, 1993 John Nordstrom, Jr. became the pastor and the congregation changed its name from The United Pentecostal Church of Ottawa to Christ Community Church of Ottawa. Since John was not credentialed with the UPCI the church lost its denominational affiliation. These changes initiated a season of intensified prayer and reflection on our identity, associations and structure. God gave us many encouraging friends during the early years of our transition. Especially helpful was Duane Fleming of Columbus, OH who guided us in the process of developing a new constitution and selecting elders to strengthen the leadership going forward. He continues to serve as an overseer for our congregation.
Needs of a growing congregation and school led to the leasing of a larger building along the river, on Hitt St. There we enjoyed a season of further growth and a deeper defining of our value of community. Three years later, the decision was made to close the school.
Then, in the Spring of 2001, the owners of the building we were meeting in informed us that they needed to sell the building and hoped that we would be among the bidders and would buy it but that we would need to move out during the process. That same week the mother of one of our elders told us she was sure that her church in New York would loan us their very large tent to meet in temporarily. Since we owned the field adjoining the property, we borrowed, and on Memorial Day weekend, set up the tent. We thought we would enjoy a memory-making month in the tent that Summer and then resume worship in the building we had remodeled for our purposes. Even though we were the only bidder, one month turned into three with no certain end in sight. During that time, we leaned on a core belief of ours, that there is one church in this city with many congregations. That being true we decided to consult with the elders of the church in the city. In a meeting with Pastors of other congregations with whom we were closer, to our surprise they recommended that we move our congregation downtown in order to have a larger presence in the city. One of our own elders began the search leading to our purchase and eventual remodeling of the “Famous Department Store” building where we continue to meet.
Recent years have been characterized by adjustments in leadership in pursuit of effectiveness in our mission. With a renewed structure of leadership the congregation now aims to deepen and widen our loving influence in the world.