“It took a miracle”…that is how we feel about our church! It did take a miracle! God worked in mysterious ways and the miracle was performed. It all began because God worked in the hearts and lives of interested people living in the Centerville area.
Our 1st service was held on September 7, 1958, at the Town hall in Centerville. There were 12 in Sunday School, 20 in morning worship, 7 in Training Union, and 33 in the evening worship. Five people came for membership.
From this small beginning we launched a full Southern Baptist program and called our 1st pastor, Brother Ben Walker, who came on October 11, 1958.
Our 1st revival was held on April 19, 1959, with Reverend W. Edward McMillan of Fort Worth, Texas as our evangelist. Reverend Walker resigned as pastor in August 1959, and reverend McMillan came on the field as pastor in November 1959. Under his leadership our church began to grow, land was purchased, plans were drawn, and construction began on our new building. We organized into a New Testament Church on August 28, 1960.
In two years the mission had grown from a very small group of people meeting in a home for prayer to an organized church with 95 charter members.
Finally that day arrived! On June 3, 1961, we occupied our new one-story building with educational space and chapel – the 1st phase of our growing and building program! Our 1st service in the new building was held on June 4, 1961, continuing with a week of revival. “The Lord has done great things for us; and we are filled with joy.” (Psalm 126:3). We dedicated our new building to God on September 10, 1961.
Our church continued to grow as we experienced the blessing of the Lord upon the church. Programs expanded and became more effective for the Lord. It was during this time period that our ministry to the deaf was established on June 16, 1963. The need for additional space was met in October 1964, with the completion of the 2nd phase of our building program, a 5,000 square foot educational wing.
In 1978 the church building indebtedness was paid off and the 1st full-time staff member, James Healer, was called.
During the 1980’s under the leadership of Pastor David Prather the church called its 1st Associate Pastor, Richard Thompson. The church also undertook major building renovations including added office space and full ‘facelift’ to the exterior of the building during this time. An AWANA program was started under the leadership of Pastor Prather as well.
Pastor Prather resigned in 1995 and was followed by Pastor A. H. Sampley who served as Interim Pastor until the church called Pastor Danny Griffith as their new pastor in 1996.
Under the leadership Pastor Danny the church began evaluating their need for additional space. In 1997 the church hired an architect to evaluate the church property at Franklin Street to consider the potential of building. Two years later in 1999, the church adopted a recommendation to build additional, worship, educational, and support facilities on the property. After three years of planning and fund raising the plans to build on the Franklin Street property were abandoned and the decision was made to pursue an alternative building site, and on May 22, 2002 the church approved the purchase of 15 ½ acres of land on Nutt Road and the property was paid for in full at closing.
During the years between 2002 and 2006 the church went through many changes because of the change of location. The church voted to change the name of the church from Franklin Street Baptist Church to MorningStar Baptist Church because the church would no longer be located on Franklin Street. The church building was sold so offices were moved and an agreement was met with the group that purchased the building so that Franklin Street’s Sunday worship activities could still meet in the building.
On Easter morning, April 2006 the church held its first meeting in its new facility on Nutt Rd. Brother Danny served as pastor of MorningStar until March 2008. Upon his resignation Jack Helton was hired to serve as Interim Pastor until another Pastor could be found. In the interim the church raised the funds to purchase a church sign for the property.
On May 10, 2009 our current pastor, Mark Simpson, was called. His heart is to lead the church into the next fifty years of ministry laying the groundwork for many more years of faithful ministry that honor the heritage that has been Franklin Street/MorningStar Baptist Church for so many decades here in the Centerville community.