I am one of those folks who knows the day and hour when Christ came into his life; it was May 18, 1974 right about 11:30 pm. Although I grew up in a loving and healthy family with many Godly values, we did not really know Christ. After being the beneficiary (or target) of six months of friendship evangelism as a junior in High School, I finally surrendered to God’s irresistible love and prayed, inviting the Lord to come into my heart and to be the Lord of my life. He did and He is!
Through a few years of vocational exploration, I discovered that nothing less than full time ministry would satisfy the call God had put on my heart. After marrying my college sweetheart, Raylene, and working in the business world for a few years, I went off to Seminary and from there into full time ministry.
Raylene and I have four wonderful children who love the Lord: Kerry, David, James and Christene. We also have eight amazing grandchildren. With more than 3 decades of full time ministry experience, I am more certain than ever I am doing exactly what God created me to do.
My mission is to help bring people into passionate alignment with God and with each other.
My Personal Views On Key Theological Issues:
Experiencing our Heavenly Father’s Heart as his cherished sons and daughters is the highest aspiration, deepest need and greatest longing of every human heart. Through sin every person has become an orphan, separated from the Father. Through Christ, our Father opened a way for each of us to be reunited with Him.
Jesus Christ alone is Lord of all and the only way of Salvation. Jesus claims that the only way to the Father is through the Son; one cannot have fellowship with God unless one believes in his/her heart and confesses with his/her lips that Jesus Christ is Lord.
The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
We are to love each other unconditionally. Love requires that we never condemn or reject each other and that we never turn a blind eye on sin in each other’s lives. I believe in loving correction for those in sin and in restoration for those who have confessed and repented of their sins and who are striving toward holiness.
I believe that God is holy and wishes us to be holy, that is: set apart from sin and from bondage to the fallen nature. The state of personal holiness is a destination toward which we strive but at which we will never arrive in this fallen world. Therefore, while seeking to live a holy life we are to deal with our shortcomings by continually practicing the disciplines of confession, repentance and forbearance.
Jesus Christ baptizes believers in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells, and equips the Christian for godly living and service. The Spirit desires to fill and empower believers for ministry and witness. I believe that signs and wonders, as well as all the gifts of the Spirit described in the New Testament, are operative today and are designed to testify to the Kingdom, to edify the Church and to empower us to fulfill our calling and mission.
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. This saving grace of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, also sanctifies us and enables us to do what is pleasing in God’s sight.
The Church is God’s primary instrument through which God’s redemptive purposes are fulfilled on the earth. The Lover of our souls equips the saints for the work of ministry, to this end God has given the Church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. As God exists in the community of the trinity we have been made a priesthood of believers, a family, each to be joined with and actively involved in a local community of the saints. I believe that women and men alike are called and gifted to proclaim the Gospel and do all the works of the Kingdom. The Great Commission is the primary mission of the Church. God has called the Church to preach the Gospel to all nations, and especially to remember the poor and to minister to their needs through sacrificial giving and practical service. This ministry is an expression of our loving, Heavenly Father’s heart and is an essential part of the Kingdom of God.
Thomas N. Willcox, Pastor
First Presbyterian Church of Branson
420 W. Main St.
Branson, MO 65616