Connect (or "Missional") Groups are an essential part of our church, as they provide a place where deeper fellowship and better support for one another can take place. Considering that the early church worshipped in large settings - in the synagogues - as well as in homes, we unite together similarly in order to be in deeper fellowship with God and one another. God has reconciled us not only to Himself but also to each other. This "each other" is called His Church.
Ten core values bring clarity to the things that matter most at willow. They guide how we achieve our mission, influencing major leadership decisions as well as everyday ministry plans. They even help us navigate staffing and budget issues. In short, they keep us focused on the unique call God has given us as a local church.
- We believe anointed teaching is the catalyst for transformation in individuals’ lives and in the church. This includes the concept of teaching for life change (Romans 12:7; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; James 1:23–25).
- We believe lost people matter to God, and therefore, they matter to the church. This includes the concepts of relational evangelism and evangelism as a process (Luke 5:30–32; Luke 15; Matthew 18:14).
- We believe the church should be culturally relevant while remaining doctrinally pure. This includes the concept of sensitively relating to our culture through our facility, printed materials, and use of the arts (1 Corinthians 9:19–23).
- We believe Christ followers should manifest authenticity and yearn for continuous growth. This includes the concepts of personal authenticity, character, and wholeness (Ephesians 4:25–26, 32; Hebrews 12:1; Philippians 1:6).
- We believe a church should operate as a unified community of servants, with men and women stewarding their spiritual gifts. This includes the concepts of unity, servanthood, spiritual gifts, and ministry callings (1 Corinthians 12 and 14; Romans 12; Ephesians 4; psalm 133:1).
- We believe loving relationships should permeate every aspect of church life. This includes the concepts of love-driven ministry, ministry accomplished in teams, and relationship building (1 Corinthians 13; Nehemiah 3; Luke 10:1; John 13:34–35).
- We believe life-change happens best in community. This includes the concepts of discipleship, vulnerability, and accountability (Luke 6:12–13; Acts 2:44–47).
- We believe excellence honors God and inspires people. This includes the concepts of evaluation, critical review, intensity, and excellence (Colossians 3:17; Malachi 1:6–14; Proverbs 27:17).
- We believe churches should be led by men and women with God-given leadership gifts. This includes the concepts of empowerment, servant leadership, strategic focus, and intentionality (Nehemiah 1–2; Romans 12:8; acts 6:2–5).
- We believe the pursuit of full devotion to Christ and his cause is normal for every believer. This includes the concepts of stewardship, servanthood, downward mobility, and the pursuit of kingdom goals (1 Kings 11:4; Philippians 2:1–11; 2 Corinthians 8:7).
What we believe
The bible is God’s word to all people. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the holy spirit. Because it was inspired by God, the bible is truth without any mixture of error and is completely relevant to our daily lives. It alone is the final authority in determining all doctrinal truths. (Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Psalms 119:11, 89, 105; Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 22:29; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Romans 15:4; Romans 16:25-28; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Peter 3:16).
There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although each member of the trinity serves different functions, they each possess equal power and authority (Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 1:35; Romans 8:9-11; Hebrews 3:7-11; James 2:19; 1 John 5:7).
God is great: he is all powerful, all knowing, ever present, unchanging, completely worthy of our trust, and above all, holy. It is in him that we live, move and exist. God is good. He is our father. He is loving, compassionate, and faithful to his people and his promises (exodus 3:14; Numbers 23:19; Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; Psalm 11:4-6; Malachi 3:6; John 3:16; 4:24; 5:26; 14:1; Acts 17:28; Romans 3:3-4).
Jesus Christ is God the son, the second person of the trinity. He is completely human but, at the same time, completely God. He is the only plan for bringing people who are far from God back into a right relationship with god. He was born of a virgin and lived a sinless life, so that he could be a substitution for us in satisfying God’s demands for perfection. He defeated death in his resurrection so we can have life (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 22:70; 24:46-47; John 1:1,14, 20:28; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 1 Timothy 3:16; Philippians 2:5-6; Colossians 1:15; 2:9 1 Timothy 2:5).
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as God. The Holy Spirit’s presence, in the lives of Christians, assures us of our relationship with Christ. He guides believers into all truth and exalts Christ. He convicts people of their sin, God’s righteousness, and the coming judgment. He comforts us, gives us spiritual gifts, and makes us more like Christ. The Christian seeks to live under his control daily (Genesis 1:2; Joel 2:28-29; Matthew 3:11; mark 16:17; acts 1:5, 1:8, 2:1-4; 17, 38-39; 8:14-17, 10:38, 44-47; 11:15-17, 19:1-6; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 5:18; 2 Peter 1:21; Revelation 22:17).
We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ; his death, burial, and resurrection. Salvation is God’s gift to you if you’ll accept it. It is not a result of our good works, self-improvement, or of any human efforts. It is only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness that you can be saved from sin's penalty (Isaiah 1:18; 53:5-6; 55:7; Matthew 1:21; 27:22-66; 28:1-6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 14:6; John 1:12; acts 16:31; romans 5:1; 10:9-10; Galatians 2:16, 3:8; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 9:22; revelation 3:20).
The church is the body of Christ, a local community of baptized believers, unified through faith in Christ Jesus. It is committed to the teachings of Christ and obeying all of his commands. The church also seeks to bring the gospel to the world. Every person who is born of the spirit is an integral part of the church as a member of the body of believers. The church works together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ. (Matthew 16:18-19; 18:15-20; John 17:11, 20-23; Acts 2:41-47; 5:11-14; 13:1-3; 14:23; 16:5; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22, 2:19-22; 3:10-12; 5:22-32; Hebrews 12:23).
Man was created to exist forever. He will exist either eternally separated from God by sin or in union with god through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is hell. To be eternally in union with him is heaven. Heaven and hell are places of eternal existence (Matthew 5:3, 12, 20, 6:20; Mark 9:43-48; John 3:16, 36; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 9:27; 1 John 2:25; 5:11-13; Revelation 20:12-15).
Man is made in the image of God and is the supreme object of his creation. Man was created to have fellowship with God but became separated in that relationship through sinful disobedience. As a result, man cannot attain a right relationship with God through his own effort. We are all born with a sinful nature and choose to sin against God. We're incapable of regaining a right relationship with God through our own efforts (genesis 1:26-30; 2:7, 18-22; 3; psalms 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18, 23; 5:6; 6:6; 7:14-25; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19, 21-22; Ephesians 2; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11).
We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ; his death, burial, and resurrection. Salvation is God’s gift to you if you’ll accept it. It is not a result of our good works, self-improvement, or of any human efforts. It is only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness that you can be saved from sin's penalty (Isaiah 1:18; 53:5-6; 55:7; Matthew 1:21; 27:22-66; 28:1-6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; john 14:6; john 1:12; acts 16:31; romans 5:1; 10:9-10; Galatians 2:16, 3:8; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 9:22; revelation 3:20).
Jesus Christ was conceived by God the Father, through the Holy Spirit (the third person of the trinity) in the virgin Mary’s womb; therefore, he is the son of God (Matthew 1:18, 25; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:27-35).
Man was created good and upright, but by voluntary transgression he fell; his only hope of redemption is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Genesis. 1:26-31, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-21).
For anyone to know God, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential (John 6:44, 65; Mathew 19:28; Titus 3:5).
Repentance is the commitment to turn away from sin in every area of our lives and to follow Christ, which allows us to receive his redemption and to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Thus, through repentance we receive forgiveness of sins and appropriate salvation (Acts 2:21, 3:19; 1 John 1:9).
Sanctification is the ongoing process of yielding to God’s word and his spirit in order to complete the development of Christ’s character in us. It is through the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and the word of God that the Christian is enabled to live a godly life (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 5:23; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 6:14-18, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, Romans 8:29, 12:1-2, Hebrews 2:11).
The blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross of calvary was sinless and is 100% sufficient to cleanse mankind of all sin. Jesus allowed himself to be punished for both our sinfulness and our sins, enabling all those who believe to be free from the penalty of sin, which is death (1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5, 5:9; Colossians 1:20; Romans 3:10-12, 23, 5:9; John 1:29).
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is manifested through a variety of spiritual gifts to build and sanctify the church, demonstrate the validity of the resurrection, and confirm the power of the gospel. The bible lists of these gifts are not necessarily exhaustive, and the gifts may occur in various combinations. All believers are commanded to earnestly desire the manifestation of the gifts in their lives. These gifts always operate in harmony with the scriptures and should never be used in violation of biblical parameters (Hebrews 2:4; Romans 1:11, 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:16; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6-7; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, 14:1-40; 1 Peter 4:10).
Following faith in the lord Jesus Christ, the new believer is commanded by the word of God to be baptized in water in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12, 36-38; 10:47-48).
Communion is a unique time, in the presence of God, when the elements of bread and grape juice (the body and blood of the lord Jesus Christ) are taken in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:23-25).
Biblical marriage is clearly defined as one man (born a man) united with one woman (born a woman) for life. This covenant is with god and should not be taken lightly or altered to fit personal preferences. (Genesis 2:22-24, Ephesians 5:22-33, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9, Galatians 5:24-25).
Jesus Christ was physically resurrected from the dead in a glorified body three days after his death on the cross. In addition, both the saved and the lost will be resurrected; they that are saved to the resurrection of life and they that are lost to the resurrection of eternal damnation (Luke 24:16, 36, 39; John 2:19-21, 20:26-28, 21:4; Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:42, 44; Philippians 1:21-23, 3:21).
Jesus Christ will physically and visibly return to earth for the second time to establish his kingdom. This will occur at a date undisclosed by the scriptures (Matthew 24:30, 26:63-64; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8; Revelation 1:7).
The mission of our Church is to glorify God by making disciples through the gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s mission and the mission of His Church are inseparably linked.
As Jesus Christ works in and through us to fulfill our mission and pursue our vision, we expect to see results in three areas: Community Transformation, New Church Formation, Next Generation Empowerment.
Connect (or "Missional") Groups are an essential part of our church, as they provide a place where deeper fellowship and better support for one another can take place.