Visiting a new church can be a little scary and overwhelming. We invite you to explore the options below to make your visit something to look forward to.
We are here because of the good news of Jesus Christ.
We are sinners who have been rescued from sin by Jesus Christ. Though we have different backgrounds, ethnicities, opinions, and personalities, we find commonality in the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We gather each week to worship the one true God revealed in the Bible. We're grateful for the privilege He has given us to worship, live, and serve in our local community.
We rely on God's grace to give us true unity to function together as one body in Jesus Christ, submitted to the Word of God and committed to living that Word out in our daily lives.
At Morning Star we strive for an intentional culture of grace, vibrant worship, and discipleship.
A Culture of Grace
Morning Star Church seeks to be a community characterized by grace. We pray for and actively strive for grace to permeate every aspect of our church culture. Because we recognize our deep gospel neediness, we are quick to extend grace to those in our church family, to other local churches, and to the people of our community.
A Culture of Vibrant Corporate Worship
Morning Star Church seeks to be a community characterized by vibrant, full-hearted, participatory, unified, Christ-centered corporate worship. Because we believe that the worship of the gathered church should be corporate, not individual, we see every aspect of worship as an act the entire congregation joins in, rather than observes. We strive to sing, pray, and preach the Word in a way that encourages the participation of the entire congregation in our worship.
A Culture of Discipleship
Morning Star Church seeks to be a community characterized by disciple-making followers of Jesus. Because we believe that the mission of the church is making disciples of Jesus Christ, we develop intentional relationships for the purpose of encouraging each other to pursue Christ, and we actively pray for and seek out relationships for the purpose of calling others to follow Christ.
Our Identity & Mission
Five Core Commitments of Our Identity:
The life-changing power of the gospel: The Gospel changes everything. (Titus 2:11-14)
We believe that the gospel is the power of God and that it changes everything about us—the way we relate to each other, to God, and to our community. We believe in true conversion—repentance and faith—and in regenerate church membership.
The gospel in every message
Regenerate church membership
The sufficiency of the Word: God's Word is enough. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We believe that God works in hearts through his Word. It governs our lives and our life as a church. We prioritize it in our worship and our discipleship. It is our only hope for the renovation of our lives. The further implications of this are the Word, prayer, and fellowship—God's work happens by the power of the Spirit through the Word.
Word, prayer, & fellowship
Youth & children’s ministry
The active ministry of the Holy Spirit: The Spirit works actively today. (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)
We believe the Spirit is powerfully at work in and through the church today. The abuse of the doctrine of the Spirit has led some corners of evangelicalism to almost ignore the "forgotten" member of the Trinity. But we believe that revival in individual lives, in church bodies, and in communities happens through the present ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Gifting for ministry
Authentic, growing community: We need each other. (Acts 2:42-47)
We believe that discipleship happens in a authentic community—a taste of heaven on earth. We move toward a culture of discipleship and community, more than discipleship programs. Conversations about the Word and gospel and prayer should be a regular, not surprising, part of our life together. Discipleship is maturing disciples and making disciples.
Spiritually intentional relationships
Disciple-making as a normal part of the Christian life
The gathering of the church as true fellowship
A global vision for the glory of God: We make disciples of all peoples. (Isaiah 49:1-7)
God is engaged in the work of creating and calling a people to worship him, and he gives us the privilege of being engaged in that work. We prioritize establishing, growing, and strengthening local churches both in the US and around the world.
Walking into a church for the first time can be intimidating, so we want you to help you know what to expect when you visit Morning Star.
We promise not to embarrass you or point you out. If you wish you can fill out a connection card and we’ll follow up with you later. You can come knowing you are in the midst of a group of broken people, whom all need God’s grace.
Scott Ellison, Lead Pastor
Scott grew up in Florida, the son of a minister, and came to faith in Christ at a young age. He is a graduate of The Baptist College of Florida and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Scott has been married to Tami for 19 years and they live with their five children in Rockford. He is passionate about the local church and is devoted to gospel-centered preaching, pastoral care, and discipleship.
Joey Clapp, Associate Pastor
Joey had the privilege of growing up in a pastor’s home in a small town in Michigan. In that environment, he turned from his sin in repentance and faith at a very young age. Joey is a graduate of Maranatha Baptist University and completing graduate studies at Reformed Theological Seminary. After serving in Russian speaking missions for several years, Joey and his wife Leah joined Morning Star in 2017. He is not only thankful for the community at Morning Star, but also thankful for the opportunity to serve in ways to help it grow and flourish for the glory of God.
Ryan Schmid, Lay Pastor
Ryan grew up in Beaver Dam, WI. He moved to Rockford after graduation from college and started attending a Bible study at work. Through that study, he learned of his need for forgiveness of sin from Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior. Ryan is a graduate of Moody Theological Seminary. Ryan and his wife Christen joined Morning Star in 2016. They have one son, Roman. Ryan enjoys sharing the grace of Christ through teaching and hospitality. Ryan works for a local aerospace company as an engineer.
Gary Love, Lay Pastor
Gary grew up in the Rockford area and moved back to Northern Illinois in 1997 after being away for 10 years. He and his wife Kristen joined Morning Star Church in 2011. Gary serves as treasurer and teaches in the Sunday School program. The Love family enjoys opportunities to just hang out with other families at Morning Star, and Gary is devoted to helping the church be a vibrant, Christ-centered community.
Jake Wilson, Lay Pastor
Jake grew up in Moline Illinois and moved to Rockford shortly after graduating college. Jake and his wife, Audrey, joined Morning Star in 2007 and have served in the youth and children’s ministries. They have been blessed with four children. Jake loves the outdoors and enjoying all that God has created and more importantly he has a strong desire to see all people grow as Christ followers through the ministry of the church.
Sarah Vrolyk, Administrative Assistant
Sarah serves as the Administrative Assistant to the pastors and elders at Morning Star and is privileged to serve them as well as the body at Morning Star in this role. She desires that the Lord would use her life in any way He chooses and ultimately bring glory to Himself. Sarah has been married to Tony for 24 years and they have three boys. She frequently has a book in one hand and a cup of good decaf tea (with cream and sugar!) in the other.
We seek to be Word-driven and Christ-centered.
The Word of God governs our life, and we believe the Bible points to Jesus Christ. The Bible is God's written Word — His communication to us of who He is, what He does, and what He expects of us. The Bible alone holds the authoritative answers to the questions of life and eternity.
The written Word is a reflection of the Living Word, Jesus Christ. It is our reliable, sufficient rule for faith and practice.
We seek to be timeless in our message.
Because we believe the gospel is central and that our church life should be governed by the Word of God, we practice expository, Christ-centered preaching. We strive to make our message accessible to everyone, while still preaching the full counsel of God.
Our message is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We seek to share this message compassionately with the hurting to make a difference in our community, while also engaging in committed missions efforts throughout the world.
We hold to historical Baptist distinctives and find much in common with The 1689 London Baptist Confession.
We seek to be relevant in our vision.
We believe that the Bible is relevant and contains everything we need to face the problems of life today. We are ordinary people who submit to the work of God in our hearts to change us to become more like His Son, Jesus. We desire to change, not because we thereby gain favor with God, but because we desire to grow in our love for Him.