Minooka church expanding into Morris

Minooka church adapts new name, readies for new location

The Minooka Bible Church has been a household name for residents of the small village for the past
40 years. However, in preparation for expansion of the church to a second site outside of town, a new name has been created.

Mission Bible Church will now be the name for the church located on North Wabena Avenue, as well as the name for the new church set to be built in Morris in September 2020. The idea was created as an effort to offer a single church as the umbrella, but with two campuses.

“Morris is a location we have always loved, we love the people of Morris, we love the community of Morris and now we get a chance to come alongside the other churches in Morris to help share the good news of Jesus to every single person there,” Mission Bible Church lead pastor Arol McFadden said.

A set location for the new Morris campus has yet to be revealed as talks to rent space in an existing building have not been finalized. Logistics on seating, availability, accommodations, parking and more still have to be ironed out by the church staff as well as property owners.

One thing has been for certain from the beginning – the church will have a pastoral staff, a lead pastor and children’s programming. Morris native Erik Swanson was hired this past summer to work at the Morris location as part of the worship team.

Mission Bible Church will retain the mission of Minooka Bible Church, “To be a community of Christ followers who are real with God, real with each other and real in the world.”

McFadden said discussions on “planting,” a term used to describe establishment of a new Christian church, began 15 years ago.

The idea was that once Minooka Bible Church reached 750 people, staff would look into another location. However, time went on and other priorities took over, including two major expansions on the Minooka campus. Within the past five years, the church became more intentional on planting.

“That really came from a space issue, as we were growing we were trying to figure out what to do with all of the people as we were busting at the seams, and we thought initially we could build a bigger building to house all of these people, but we recognized that would be a poor investment of resources,” McFadden said. “We didn’t feel right spending the amount of money it would take to build larger buildings on one campus when we have better alternatives.”

McFadden said that as time went on, cost-effectiveness was only one reason to expand to another location.

“The more we looked into it the more that we realized that Jesus didn’t say, get a bunch of people on a campus because it’s too expensive to build a bigger building, go find someplace else to go,” McFadden said. “The motivation was more people need to hear about the good news, so just keep on expanding. Gather people, grow and send people out to go.”

The Morris location stemmed from the fact that a large number of people travel from the area to Minooka for church services. McFadden said it’s one thing for a Christian to travel to go to church, but another for someone to invite a neighbor to church and them making the trek to another town for worship.

Adding the Morris location allows those who currently attend in Minooka to spread the news to family and friends in Morris, who would now have an option in their own backyard.

McFadden said the process has been intentionally slow, as the church adapts to the changes. However, taking the time to move through the process has helped to bring church members on board, making the effort successful.

“I think the successes have been that we have a congregation who has caught the vision, a congregation who has voted in the campus pastor and now a congregation who is stepping into the call to do one of two things, to either step out in faith and join the Morris campus or step up in their in faith to fill the roles on this campus vacated by those who will be leaving,” McFadden said.

The two locations will remain under a single budget. McFadden said the church has prepared for that financial step.

The Minooka campus ministries include Celebrate Recovery, Endeavor local missions outreach, children’s ministries for youth from infants through high school, Real Life groups, Divorce Care for adults and children, food pantry, Reality U classes, Lifebridge 55 and older ministry, Master’s Men Bible studies and more as the church fills needs.

The Morris campus will start with Swanson as pastor, and McFadden said he would like to see a mirror of services. He said that will take time, just as the Minooka campus evolved over the past 40 years to become a living and breathing entity.

For information, visit missionbible.church.