When you enter , you’re greeted with smiles and cups of coffee or hot chocolate.
Upon walking through the lobby, you enter the church and are welcomed by a live band playing contemporary worship music, movie clips, and of course Pastor Mike Schreiner delivering a meaningful message about God’s word, infused with a little bit of pop-culture.
Morning Star offers a little bit of something for everyone from adult worship, classes, small groups and several opportunities to serve the community.
They also prioritize children’s ministry with Kid’s Connection, welcoming children from birth through fifth grade to join and grow their faith skills.
When first founded in 1999 by Lead Pastor Mike Schreiner, Morning Star was a smaller group of nearly 200 members meeting in a conference room of a local banquet center.
“They just really wanted to plant a more contemporary church, one that was open and accepting of other people, meeting them right where they are, using friendly language and introducing them to Christ,” Heather Kemper-Hussey, Morning Star director of communications, said.
As the church continued to grow, they eventually moved into their space at 1600 Feise Road in 2005.
By Easter 2012, more than 4,000 people attended services at Morning Star.
Kemper-Hussey remembers when she first joined Morning Star in 2009.
“We already had to boost services to a second Saturday service in February 2010,” she said.
Morning Star offers services at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays and at 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. on Sundays.
According to Kemper-Hussey, services grew to more than 1,500 attendees by the end of 2009.
“That's when we got really squished,” she said.
Kemper-Hussey said it was soon clear that they needed more room to accommodate their growing church family.
Around 25 percent Morning Star’s congregation is made up of local youth, but Kemper said, as more families joined the church, there was less room for all the children in Kid’s Connection.
“We really wanted to build, because we had to start turning kids away, its fine for them to be in adult worship, but it’s not meeting them where they are,” she said.
Inspired by the growth they’ve seen over the last few years, the local church is making room to accommodate its rapidly growing congregation.
They broke ground on a 21,000 square foot expansion in April
The additions include a 360-seat, multi-purpose video venue and a 12,000 sq. foot children’s ministry space, coffee shop and expanded parking lot.
Kemper-Hussey said with the expansion, Morning Star can move their offices and children’s ministries out of the smaller modulars behind the church and make room for more people and activities.
One of the modulars will be turned into the Hope Resource Center that for now meets in the church lobby.
The Hope Resource Center organizes a personal pantry so local families struggling to make ends meet can buy items not provided by food stamps. They also run Outfit for Advancement, and collect donated business suits for people who are going on job interviews, as well as serving the community in a number of other ways.
Morning Star hosted an open house event a few weeks ago, inviting church members to come see the construction and sign the studs.
“They had such a blast,” Kemper-Hussey said. “They felt like they had some ownership over it and they went crazy with scriptures and verses and seeing the little kids come out and draw was cute.”
The Morning Star expansion is expected to be complete in time for Christmas services.
“There’s a huge excitement surrounding it,” Kemper said. “We increase every year in attendance. As long as God keeps bringing them, we’ll keep building but one step at a time.”
The completion date is not finalized yet, but O’Fallon Patch will keep you posted as the information becomes available.
If you have photos from the stud signing at Morning Star, please feel free to share by clicking the green upload button!