Our original articles of incorporation stipulate that our purpose would be “to win people to Faith in Jesus Christ and commit them actively to the church, to help them grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ that increasingly they may know and do His will and to work for the unity of all Christians and with them engage in the common task of building the Kingdom of God.” Decades later, we are still focused on the same goals, and these ideas form our core values.
“to win people to Faith in Jesus Christ”
We really believe that following Jesus changes everything. Apart from God we can do nothing! Scripture is clear that without Christ, we are doomed to death and pain. But with Jesus, we can experience a life that is more abundant than we can ask or imagine. We want people to come to believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
At Westwood, this means our sermons and classes will call us to repentance and faith in Jesus. We will look for opportunities to tell people about God’s work, and we will support those who are working towards this goal.
“commit them actively to the church, to help them grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ”
Following Christ is not meant to be a one-time event. That is, while our decision to follow Jesus may be located in some point in time, our relationship and growth are constant. Eugene Peterson described the act of following Jesus as “a long obedience in the same direction.”
We offer opportunities for people of all ages and at all stages of faith to take a next step in their walk with Jesus. From Baptism to leadership opportunities, to Sunday School classes and service opportunities, from personal devotion guidance to public opportunities to teach and lead, we believe that all of these are ways we grow in Christian devotion.
“that increasingly they may know and do His will”
Experiencing God’s grace and love in our lives will inspire us to love and have compassion for one another. Stirred up by that love, we will long to serve our community and each other.
At Westwood, we believe that everyone should be actively serving someone, whether that is at home, on a ministry team, or even on the mission field. Additionally, we support several organizations and missionaries that are serving in the name of Jesus both near and far.
Unity of the Church
“and to work for the unity of all Christians”
The Restoration Movement, of which our church is a part, was started in the early 1800’s to end denominationalism. While denominationalism has not ended, we still believe “that the Church of Christ upon earth is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one;” (Thomas Campbell, Declaration and Address). We seek to unify the church and to fight against the sectarian temptation we see in leading a church.
At Westwood, this means we will regularly join other churches in service and worship opportunities. We will support organizations that are ecumenical, and we will incorporate aspects of many different Christian traditions into our worship service where they seem appropriate. We will not preach “against” other Christian traditions.
“and with them engage in the common task of building the Kingdom of God”
The Christian life is not meant to be done alone. Christ gathered to himself various levels of community, from the 12 disciples to the 120 who followed him. The earliest word for “church” was the word for “assembly.” The early church “gathered day by day with one another.” Christian life is meant to be done in relationship to others. Together, we help one another follow Jesus.
We seek to foster community through fellowship events, Sunday school and small groups, and joint service opportunities.