The crowd is on their feet. Hands are clapping to the beat. The drums are booming and the guitar is sending sound waves over the crowd. Seventeen different people say "hello" to you as you walk in. And John Decker and Larry Serge are all smiles as they stand before an eager crowd.Welcome to Morning Star Fellowship.

"No one at a Phillies' game looks over at their neighbor and says, 'You're too exuberant about baseball,'" said Pastor Decker during last Sunday morning's worship service at Morning Star Fellowship, "So why can't we be exuberant when we meet to worship Jesus?"

If you ask the staff of Morning Star about why they're just so happy they'll probably tell you two things. First, they'll tell you all about Jesus, and their faith that He is watching over them. And second, they'll be sure to tell you that September marked three years of ministry in the Quakertown area.

The Assembly of God church was started up three years ago by Decker and his wife Theresa with some help from the Morning Star Fellowship in Bechtelsville, when the previous Assembly of God church in the building began to see dwindling attendance.

Starting with just 40 or 50 people, the Deckers jokingly echoed, "If you build it they will come," and said that the two Sunday services bring in nearly 350 people each week.

The Decker's have always wanted to make people feel welcome in their church.

"We want people to feel comfortable from the moment they enter the building, we have a 'cafÃ&Copy;' that offers donuts, bagels, soft pretzels and other treats. Coffee is complimentary," said Mrs. Decker.

"We want to break down the barriers for people to come into a church. We want them to not be so inhibitied with the churcheyness," said Decker.

And Decker said, "It's just the way I am," as he explained why he wanted Morning Star Fellowship to be bursting with a contemporary feel.

"You're allowed to be different, it is about the truth of God's message and making it relevant to people today," said Decker, backing his contemporary style and what he thinks really matters on Sunday morning.

"Can we do something to make people who have been hurt by the church come back," said Decker who is trying to help many people who he thinks have been turned off to the idea of spirituality because of bad experiences.

And when one would first think that Decker would be squaring off with other nearby churches for attendance, he said that competition is the last thing on his mind. Rather he said that the competition of the local churches is in working together, to try and help get as many people as possible to hear their message.

"If I don't get in God's way and mess things up," said Decker, "there could be thousands of people here."

Morning Star Fellowship is located at Ninth and Main Streets in Quakertown, They have worship services at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. They can be reached by phone at 215-529-6422.

David P. Anderson is the editor of The Free Press. He can be reached at dpanderson@berksmontnews.com.

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