The grand scheme of God was unknown to the small group of people in Hershey who began meeting for Bible study in the fall of 1971. They talked about starting a new church: a Bible-teaching church that would stay true to God’s word and be committed to reaching others for Christ. Through the miraculous workings of God, that group founded the Evangelical Free Church of Hershey, a church that God would use in dramatic ways in this community and around the world.
The first worship service with 15 people attending was held in the home of Sam and Betty Blachly on January 23, 1972, with Bruce Burkholder, an evangelist from Hershey, teaching. An evening service was held a week later at the home of Ken and Ethel Campbell with 62 worshipers. David V. Martin, a recent graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, joined the group in February as the Bible teacher. The group became too large to fit in homes, so they rented the meeting hall of the Hershey Fire Company and on February 13 had 75 worshipers. A few weeks later the group had outgrown the fire hall and rented space in the Hershey Community Center, where 107 attended a worship service on Palm Sunday, March 26.
There were 47 charter members in the church when it formally became the Evangelical Free Church of Hershey in June 1972. By December, Sunday morning attendance was over 200. Attendance exceeded 500 by the end of 1973. Today, more than 1,500 adults, teens and children participate in ministries of the church seven days a week.