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.


Who We Are

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.


Specific implications:

  • The gospel in every message

  • Regenerate church membership

  • Gospel-motivated sanctification

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.

Specific implications:

  • Word, prayer, & fellowship

  • Discipleship

  • 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.


Specific implications:

  • Prayer

  • Evangelism

  • Gifting for ministry

Authentic, growing community: We need each other. (Acts 2:42-47)

We believe that discipleship happens in an 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.


Specific implications:

  • Body-wide community

  • 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.

Specific implications:

  • Worship

  • Missions

  • Racial Reconciliation


What to Expect

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.

What to Wear

We have a diversity of people attend our services and are thankful for a congregation with a variety of dress. You'll find anything from very casual jeans and t-shirts to polos and slacks to suits. We encourage you to come as you are.

Sunday School

On Sunday morning at 9:30 am, we come together for Sunday School for all ages, where we learn about God’s Word and its application to all areas of life. Following Sunday School, we have about a 20-minute break with light refreshments and good conversation before our morning worship service begins at 10:30 am.

Format of Service

Our service is intentional, in that it follows a deliberate order of worship, but it’s not formal in style. We sing several songs, offer congregational and pastoral prayers, hear Scripture read, and give offerings.

After the Sermon

After a few moments of silent response and reflection, we close each morning worship service with a celebration of the Lord’s Supper, followed by a benediction. A typical service finishes around noon. An hour later, you might still find people talking over the sermon and events of the past week.


We are thankful to have a congregation with many children. We encourage all parents to train their children to worship as part of the church. We provide a nursery for children up to age 2 for the entire worship service and dismiss children ages 3-8 for children’s church before the sermon. Some children remain in the service the entire time, and we welcome their presence.


​​We sing a blend of lyrically rich songs both current and historic. Those of us who are comfortable with music from one particular era have discovered that we come to enjoy other songs we had not previously encountered.

For an idea of the kinds of songs we sing, click here.


Preaching is generally expositional, meaning that it seeks to work through passages of Scripture, declaring the point of a particular Biblical passage, with practical application rooted in the redemptive story of Scripture. Sermons usually last around 45 minutes. All preaching is driven by the Gospel, the Bible’s main message of God saving sinners through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Our Leadership

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 25 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.   


What We Believe

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.

Morning Service: 10:30a

5500 Newburg Rd.

 Rockford, IL 61108 

(779) 324-2101

Committed to Rockford

We love our city and are committed to seeing the gospel spread throughout Rockford. We're happy to be here and join with other churches in the area to serve our community.

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