Wellspring Family Church is a new church created from the merging of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church (CEFC) and Christ Community Church (CCC), both originally planted by First Evangelical Free Church of St. Louis County, Missouri.
Discussions in late 2018 between Pastor Terry Schoenfeld of CEFC and Pastor Mike Priest of CCC of the challenges and opportunities of their respective churches led them to consider the possibility of what God could do through a combined church. Initial meetings between the two churches’ elder boards further convinced leadership that the Lord was providing a way for both churches to potentially serve Him together.
In early 2019, CCC and CEFC began discussions on combining the two congregations, their gifts, and resources to have a greater gospel reach in the St. Louis area. Throughout the process, fellowship events, planning meetings, and combined church services served to demonstrate the shared passion for missions, similar church cultures, and a strong desire to serve the Lord together as one church. After ten months of exploration, planning and prayer, the leadership of both churches recommended merging. On November 17, 2019 both congregations voted to approve the creation of a new church—Wellspring Family Church.
The first service as Wellspring Family Church was on January 5, 2020 at 5293 South Lindbergh Boulevard, in St. Louis. The pastoral staff of Wellspring Family Church at its inception included Mike Priest (lead pastor), Terry Schoenfeld (pastor of Family on Mission), and Craig Diestelkamp (pastor of Church as Family).
In January, 2022 Wellspring Family Church began a Vision-Driven Facilities process to seek God’s will for our future facility plans.
About Christ Community Church
In 1987, South County Ev. Free Church was planted for the purpose of reaching people in south St. Louis County. Kent Wagner was recruited as the founding pastor. The plant first met at Washington Jr. High and then Washington Lutheran School. The name of the church was changed to Christ Community Church (CCC). In 1994, Pastor Dennis Papp led Oakville Baptist Church to merge with CCC.
Mike Priest was called in 1995 as the youth pastor, and when Pastor Wagner left in 1997 became the interim lead pastor. Six months later Mike was called as the new lead pastor.
In 2001, CCC purchased a building located on S. Lindbergh and Providence Classical Christian Academy (PCCA) became CCC’s tenant. This mutually beneficial relationship continues to this day.
Mark Ashpole and Craig Diestelkamp were called to serve as successive associate pastors to CCC in 2008 and 2018, respectively, and each played an important role in strengthening the church and equipping ministries for service.
CCC was mission-minded from the beginning. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, we began sending mission teams to Romania. The Romania mission focus produced much fruit and Rick and Donna Burke are still pressing on in that spirit. From Eastern Europe the focus shifted to Mexico and for 10+ years we sent many teams to build houses in Juarez with Casas por Christos. More recently, the missions focus shifted to Uganda where we’ve been ministering for the past four years supporting a national pastor with ministries to orphans.
In 2019, CCC missioned Adam Sanftner to lead a church plant in Farmington, MO. Adam had been the Director of Youth at CCC since 2014, as well as supporting congregational care and other important ministries of the church.
About Cornerstone Church
In 1995, Cornerstone EFC was the second plant of First Free for the purpose of reaching people in the Webster Groves / Kirkwood area with Brad Harper as founding pastor. The plant began meeting at Hixson Middle School in Webster Groves, and after four years, purchased the South Webster Presbyterian Church facility.
In 2000, associate pastor, John Richardson, was called as lead pastor. In the next few years, CEFC renovated the building and purchased two adjacent properties to accommodate staff offices and for potential future expansion. John led our church through years of fruitful growth.
Todd Brooks was brought on as an intern while he completed his Mdiv at Covenant Seminary. Todd had a vision of planting a church in South St. Louis City and enlisted a launch team for that purpose from among CEFC members. Immanuel EFC was planted in the fall of 2006 with Todd as founding pastor.
Ion Cheptene, a recent Moldovan refugee, was brought on as Director of Ministries in 2006. Ion had a relationship with a Russian-speaking congregation, Word of Life Church, which soon began meeting at CEFC. Word of Life eventually merged with CEFC with their own separate Russian service.
In 2007, Terry Schoenfeld was called as lead pastor. Terry has a passion for teaching and training pastors and has been sent on missions to Russia, Togo, Sri Lanka and Uganda. Cornerstone was blessed by the faithful service of Terry and others including Associate Pastor Aaron Goldstein, who helped build up the church.
In 2010, CEFC created a mission organization called International Leadership Training (ILT). ILT has had a significant impact providing leadership training and making disciples through sport ministry around the world. ILT was the catalyst for forming the Cup of Nations soccer outreach in St. Louis and beyond.