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Our Founding

Morning Star Church began in Rockford, IL, with a small group of people committed to living their lives under the governance of the Word of God. In 2002 a group of like-minded believers met and prayed for God's leading in regard to establishing a gospel-driven, Word-centered congregation. Soon after they began meeting, the group called Bob Bixby to serve as their first lead pastor.


Together, they founded Morning Star Baptist Church. For twelve years, Pastor Bob led the church faithfully, as the congregation of Morning Star grew and multiplied under the faithful preaching of the Word of God.

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The Early Years​

Morning Star began meeting in Burritt Township Hall in 2002. God provided this perfect meeting space for the congregation. After several years in the town hall, the congregation outgrew that space and began leasing space in a commercial building on Sandy Hollow Road. During this time, our church body grew greatly in health and in number. We also called Jeremy Scott and Jess Miller as pastors, to serve alongside Pastor Bob.

In time, the leaders of the congregation felt burdened to move into downtown Rockford. For the next several years, the church began actively pursuing ministry in the downtown area, first from a building on Kishwaukee Avenue, then from the Mendelssohn Center on North Main Street, and most recently from Calvary Lutheran Church in the midtown district.

We desire to be a church in the city, committed to the city for the sake of the gospel. Our prayer is that God will help us love this place and will help us love and reach the people in this place.

Bob Bixby Farewell Events

June 8, 2014
Farewell Picnic
Farewell Service

Above is the program that was printed for the evening event.

Click on it to enlarge.

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Pegram Installation

On September 7, 2014 Joshua Pegram was installed.

Ephesians 4:11 tells us that God has gifted the church with shepherds and teachers. On Sunday morning, September 7, 2014, Morning Star Church installed Joshua Pegram as our second lead pastor.

We celebrate God's faithfulness to our church body over the past twelve years, as we anticipate his future kindness to us. Pastor Ed Copeland of New Zion Baptist Church in Rockford charged the congregation from 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 to make Joshua's ministry a joy-filled ministry. "If the pilot goes down, it's not good for anyone."

After Pastor Copeland's charge to the congregation, Pastor Stephen Johns, from Kennerly Road Baptist Church in Irmo, SC, charged Joshua to minister in love, rather than fear. His sermon from 1 John 4 challenged Joshua to reflect the love of Christ as he speaks the gospel to himself and to others. "Interrupt the narrative of fear with love."

The service concluded with Joshua's taking the vows of the office of elder at Morning Star Church, followed by the officers of the church laying hands on Joshua in prayer and commissioning him for the work of lead elder at Morning Star Church.

We held a celebratory reception on September 14, 2014, and invited a number of area pastors for the occasion.

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Move to Newburg Rd.

May 1, 2016, was a significant day in Morning Star’s history.

For the first time, we gathered for worship in a building that was truly “ours.” After 13 1/2 years of moving from building to building (some call us nomads), we purchased a building and property at 5500 Newburg Road. We’re thankful for God’s leading and provision of this church home.


Morning Star is a people, not a building, but we view this property as a gathering place for our church family and as a launching pad for ministry to the greater Rockford community. Our first Sunday in the building was “Celebration Sunday”—a time to thank God and celebrate His kindness to our congregation. After a service of worship and thanks and a sermon on “The Happiest Home” from Revelation 21:1-5, we celebrated the way Christians from all ages have celebrated—by having a meal together.


We are thankful for this building and for the opportunities it gives us to proclaim Christ here in Rockford!


Saying Goodbye

Pastor Joshua led our congregation for nearly four years, and during that time we experienced enumerable blessings by God’s good providence. God moved Joshua and his family on to receive a call as Lead Pastor of Ashley Road Baptist Church in Charleston, South Carolina on August 12, 2018.  


Joshua preached his last sermon as he concluded his series from Ecclesiastes by echoing The Preacher by petitioning us to “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). That evening we collectively said goodbye to the Pegrams with a dessert fellowship gathering downstairs in the church.


On that same day, Morning Star called Scott Ellison as our new Lead Pastor. We are excited as our church enters a new chapter and we look forward to seeing God use our congregation to make disciples in the Rockford Region and the around world. 

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