In 1960, after a series of prayer meetings had grown into a nice following, Elder Leolen Lambert was led by the Lord to start a church. However, because he did not desire to pastor the church, he and his wife, Mother Arma Jean Lambert, asked God how they should proceed. The Lord impressed upon them to ask Elder W.H. Madden of Freeport, Illinois, to come to Rockford and become the pastor. Elder Madden agreed to do so. All the saints were in agreement and WEST SIDE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST was born in November 1960.
The church originally met in the basement of the Lambert’s home before moving into various rented buildings. One Sunday afternoon, two of the men of the church, Elder Ellis F. Jones and Deacon James L. Brooks went out for a drive and found a nice building not far from where they were meeting. After discussions with Pastor Madden and the congregation and a fund raising drive, they purchased the building at 228 South Hinkley Avenue, which continues as the home of West Side Church of God in Christ.
Elder Madden was a great man of God with his wife, Mother Lydia Madden, right at his side supporting him in the work. He led West Side from its inception until March 1976, when he went to be with the Lord. The Lord impressed upon Bishop Dennis Flakes to present the position of pastor to Elder Loren Lambert . Elder Lambert was reluctant to accept the position so he put God to the test and told Him that he wanted to see young people begin to come into the church before he would accept being the pastor. The Lord answered his prayer and Elder Lambert accepted the position after he began to see the Lord bless and prosper the work under his interim leadership. He was officially installed as pastor on September 26, 1976. Pastor Lambert, with his wife, Mother Arthelia Lambert, at his side, began to focus the ministry on remodeling the building, paying off the mortgage, and growing the young people’s ministry. In all of these areas, the Lord gave Pastor Lambert success. He served faithfully for many years with the seasoned support of the late Elder Mose Pearson and the late Elder Sam Black, heroes in the legacy of West Side, right by his side. However, as time went on and his health began to fail, Pastor Lambert, at the encouragement of his ministerial staff, prayed that the Lord would send someone younger to help him in the ministry. The Lord answered him when He laid on his heart to call Elder Maurice West of Elgin, Illinois, to come assist him. Elder and Sister West sought the Lord about the situation, heard from God, accepted the call and came to West Side on the first Sunday of January 1991. Soon after, he and his family sold their home in Elgin and moved to Rockford.
On January 11, 1999, God’s faithful servant, Pastor Loren Lambert, went home to be with the Lord. His 23 years of leading God’s people will live forever in the legacy of West Side. Bishop Dennis Flakes appointed Elder Maurice A. West as the Pastor of West Side on February 14, 1999 . With the love and dedication of his wife, Evangelist Sharon West, Pastor West is focusing the church on the vision the Lord gave him called “A Vision of Tomorrow” to bring the church into the new millennium both spiritually and naturally. In 2007, we finished the largest building project in our history with an addition to the building and renovation of the sanctuary. We continue to work to complete the work that God has given us to do in this vision.