This article is part of our Sunday Series, an occasional feature about the role of faith in the Lowell community. We welcome your suggestions for future stories.
Alton Bible Church is right there at the corner of 3 Mile and Lincoln Lake Ave. No, no, it’s not the white historic building. It’s the brown one right across the street.
Pastor Ken Ford says it’s a common mistake that people think the white building is owned by the church. Not that Alton Bible Church doesn’t have ties to the white building. “We started in that old building as a Bible study,” he says. The Rural Bible Mission, founded in 1944, was one of several congregations and groups to use it.
However, by the early ‘70s, the church had outgrown the facility and built their own church across the street. It has expanded over the years and is now a hub of activity for nearly 100 families in the area.
Family-Friendly Church in a Farming Community
As a father of seven, it’s not surprising Pastor Ken sees children as one of the congregation’s greatest assets. He is quick to point out how they help with the music ministry – “We have some very talented kids,” he says – and smiles as he shares running into students from the homeschooling co-op that meets at the church. A candy jar sits in his office, and kids regular stop by to say hi, recite a Bible version and take a sweet treat on their way out.
Come May, Pastor Ken will have served as the head of Alton Bible Church for 21 years. “I take seriously the preaching of the Word of God,” he explains. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that means Pastor Ken is a serious, unapproachable guy. With a warm smile and friendly demeanor, there’s little doubt why his congregation has welcomed his leadership for so many years.
He says his congregation doesn’t only talk the talk of the Good Book, but they walk the walk as well. That commitment to service is also reflected in the farming community that surrounds the church – one in which farmers quietly donate valuable, full-sized cows to a fellow farmer when he loses a herd to disease. Pastor Ken himself has been on the receiving end of the community and congregation’s generosity when his family lost everything in a house fire six years ago. The back of the church filled with donations as church members and neighbors rallied to his family’s aid.
“We have an amazing church family,” Pastor Ken says. “There is a love and sincerity for Christ and each other.”
Many Ministries for All Ages
Those looking for a church family are welcome at Alton Bible Church at any time. The church offers the following services weekly:
- Sunday School – 10am on Sundays
- Morning Service – 11am on Sundays
- Evening Service – 6pm on Sundays
- Awana and Prayer Meeting – 7pm on Wednesdays
In addition to Awana, the church supports a variety of ministries. There are both women’s and men’s Bible study groups, family gatherings and family fun nights. The church’s gym hosts the Lowell Interactive Network for Kids (LINK) homeschool group as well as other groups and events. If it weren’t already obvious, “we are a family-oriented church congregation,” Pastor Ken explains.
The church is affiliated with IFCA International, previously known as The Independent Fundamental Churches of America. Services are more traditional with some mild contemporary flair. Music features newer songs from Sovereign Grace Music as well as other well-known hymn writers.
Stop by Alton Bible Church at Any Time
Since the church is relatively small, visitors shouldn’t expect to blend into the crowd unnoticed. “They should expect to be warmly welcomed,” Pastor Ken says.
Those interested in checking out the congregation are welcome to come to any of the church services. What’s more, Pastor Ken says he’s happy to meet with anyone at any time. Since he lives down the street, he often works from home so simply call in advance to make sure he’ll be in the office.
You can connect with members on the Alton Bible Church Facebook page, but Pastor Ken’s best advice is to simply come on down to the church and check it out. It’s a small church with a big heart, and it might just be the right place to feed your soul.