Less than a year after breaking ground, the congregation of Skyline Church has moved into its new home in O’Fallon.
“It was great. We had 551 people attend for the big opening services day (March 1),” said Lance Johnson, a Kentucky native who has served as Skyline’s senior pastor for the last six years.
O’Fallon Township High School has been the rendezvous point for all Skyline Church services for the last 13 years, but that changed recently with the grand opening of the congregation’s new space at 870 Milburn School Road.
“It was an incredible relationship working with the administrative staff at the school and Dr. (Darcy) Benway, and that’s why it lasted so long, which it was intended to be temporary initially,” Johnson said.
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Skyline rented the auditorium and the cafeteria for church. It was a good partnership, Johnson said.
“We obviously had to pay rent, so it was a revenue source for the school, but it provided us the functionality that we needed to conduct church services. What better facility than a school to bring a large group of people together to learn,” he said.
“Skyline Church was wonderful to work with over the years and very respectful of our facilities,” said Benway, OTHS School District 203 superintendent. “OTHS is always honored to support outside community organizations through facility use agreements when possible, and appreciated the excellent working relationship that was cultivated with Skyline Church. We wish them the very best as they enjoy their new home.”
Finding a new home
Johnson said Skyline Church has been planning and building a fellowship since 2003 in O’Fallon.
On March 14, 2004, Skyline had its grand opening at OTHS, but church elders had been looking for a place to call their own since 2011.
Milburn School Road, in the middle of a residential housing development bubble, is where Johnson said he and his team returned time and time again. They decided to build a new space, rather than renovate another. In 2012, Skyline purchased 10 acres so it would have room to continue its pattern of growth.
Last April, ground was broken for the church’s new home.
Room to grow
The new building has six classrooms that will serve children up to 18 years old, office space and an area for coffee and fellowship. It’s sanctuary has seating for about 400 people. And they expect to fill it.
Even after founding pastor Scott Keller left the church, and ministerial duties where taken over for a year by visiting pastors and congregants themselves, the church grew.
“It was the wildest thing; they started growing, even without a pastor, which says a lot about the church, I think,” Johnson said.
Since 2011, the congregation has grown from about 130 people to around 300 before opening the new facility, Johnson said.
Skyline also has a second campus in Bethalto, which he said has about 125 members.
Becoming a part of the community
The strength of Skyline is in its people, Johnson said.
“It is the most amazing group of servant-hearted people. They just serve. There’s not a selfish bone in their body, you know. They’re generous, and they’re just everything you could every think of wanting a church to be is what these people are. We have a really strong music ministry and children’s ministry,” Johnson said.
Though it has a fine new home, Johnson said, church members are looking to reach out to the larger community.
“The one thing the church was missing was being kind of, what I call, existing outside of our four walls — meaning getting out into the community and making a difference in the lives of others. You know we put on a great service on Sunday morning. But to me, that’s not what the church is supposed to be. We come together on Sunday, or Saturday or whenever and worship, and it’s a good thing, and we need to do that. (But) Jesus called us to make a difference in the world, and that’s one of the things I changed when I came here, was to give Skyline more of an outward focus,” Johnson explained.
As an active O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce member, Skyline has been a strong supporter of community events like the Salute to Scott AFB Picnic held annually at the O’Fallon Community Park, according to Debbie Arell-Martinez, chamber director.
“We are so happy to help welcome them to their new home,” Arell-Martinez said.
Johnson said, “God has not simply called us to make an impact locally or nationally, but globally as well. Through random acts of kindness, local mission projects, and community events we spread the love of Christ to the cities and towns in our area. We believe our call is to literally be His hands and feet to the world. That call requires action that exists outside of the walls in which we meet each week. That call is to love, to serve, and to share His heart with everyone we can.”
Skyline has multiple small groups that meet in the metro-east area and is very active within the missions field, locally and abroad. You will see Skyline at events such as Salute to Scott, Convoy of Hope and other local community events to helping with the youth in Washington Park and having service at the Colonnade Senior Living in O’Fallon.