The Way Woodstock church recognizes two sacraments in which Christ himself participated: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.


Baptism marks the beginning of our lifelong journey as disciples of Jesus Christ. Through baptism, we are joined with the Triune God, the whole of Christ’s church, and our local congregation. The water and the workof the Holy Spirit in baptism convey God’s saving grace, the forgiveness of our sins, and new life in Jesus Christ.

Persons of any age may be baptized – infants, children, youth, and adults. We believe children are under the atonement of Christ and as heirs of the Kingdom of God are acceptable subjects for Christian baptism. Children of believing parents through baptism become the special responsibility of the church. They should be nurtured and led to personal acceptance of Christ and by profession of faith confirm their baptism. Parents who present their children for baptism should answer the covenant questions by affirming the following questions: On behalf of the whole church,

  • Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in His grace, and promise to serve Him as your Lord in union with The Way Woodstock church?
  • Will you nurture the children in Christ’s holy church, that by your teaching and example they may be guided to accept God’s grace for themselves, to profess their faith openly, and to lead a Christian life?

The Way Woodstock church baptizes in a variety of ways: immersion, pouring, or sprinkling.

However, a person receives the sacrament of adult baptism only once in his or her life. Acts of remembering one’s baptism are encouraged so long as it is made clear a “rebaptism” is not occurring.

Holy Communion

Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper are common names for the Eucharist, the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving the church offers to God for all God has done, is doing, and will do to save us and renew all things in Christ. Through offering ourselves in praise and thanksgiving, and through receiving the bread and cup, which the Spirit makes for us the body and blood of Christ, celebrating the Lord’s Supper together nourishes and sustains us in our journey as disciples of Jesus Christ. As we pray together and receive the body and blood of Christ together, we are united with Christ, with one another, and in ministry to all the world.

All who love Christ, earnestly repent of their sin, and seek to live in peace with one another are invited to join us in offering our prayer of thanksgiving and receive the body and blood of Christ, regardless of age or church membership. Wesley taught that Holy Communion was a “converting ordinance” and should not be withheld because of age or lack of understanding.

Holy Communion is to be celebrated and received regularly – John Wesley said, “as often as [one] can.”

Our Wesleyan Roots

John Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesleyreferred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of our faith today.

The distinctive shape of our theological heritage can be seen not only in this emphasis on Christian living, but also in Wesley’s distinctive understanding of God’s saving grace. Although Wesley shared with many otherChristians a belief in salvation by grace, he combined them in a powerful way to create distinctive emphases for living the full Christian life.


Grace is central to our understanding of Christian faith and life. Grace can be defined as the love and mercy given to us by God because God wants us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it. We read in the Letter to the Ephesians: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Our heritage is rooted in a deep and profound understanding of God’s grace. This incredible grace flows from God’s great love for us. John 3:16 summarizes the gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” The ability to call to mind God’s love and God’s gift of Jesus Christ is a rich resource for theology and faith.”

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, described God’s grace as threefold:

  • prevenient grace
  • justifying grace
  • sanctifying grace


Prevenient Grace:

Wesley understood grace as God’s active presence in our lives. This presence is not dependent on human actions or human response. Wesley called this grace that is active in everyone’s life Prevenient Grace. It is a gift – a gift that is always available but that can be refused. God’s grace stirs up within us a desire to know God and empowers us to respond to God’s invitation to be in relationship with God. God’s grace enables us to discern differences between good and evil and makes it possible for us to choose good. God takes the initiative in relating to humanity. We do not have to beg and plead for God’s love and grace. God actively seeks us!

Justifying Grace:

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). And in his letter to the Roman Christians,Paul wrote: “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

These verses demonstrate the justifying grace of God. They point to reconciliation, pardon, and restoration. Through the work of God in Christ our sins are forgiven, and our relationship with God is restored. According to John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, the image of God- which has been distorted by sin – is renewed within us through Christ’s death.

Again, this dimension of God’s grace is a gift. God’s grace alone brings us into relationship with God. There are no hoops through which we have to jump in order to please God and to be loved by God. God has acted in Jesus Christ. We need only to respond in faith.

This process of salvation involves a change in us that we call conversion. Conversion is a turning around, leaving one orientation for another. It may be sudden and dramatic or gradual and cumulative. But in any case, it’s a new beginning. Following Jesus’ words to Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3 :7), wespeak of this conversion as rebirth, new life in Christ, or regeneration.

Following Paul and Martin Luther, John Wesley called this process justification. Justification is what happenswhen Christians abandon all those vain attempts to justify themselves before God, to be seen as ”just” in God’s eyes through religious and moral practices. It’s a time when God’s “justifying grace” is experienced and accepted, a time of pardon and forgiveness, of new peace and joy and love. Indeed, we’re justified by God’s grace through faith.

Justification is also a time of repentance – turning away from behaviors rooted in sin and toward actions that express God’s love. In this conversion, we can expect to receive assurance of our present salvation through the Holy Spirit “bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).

Sanctifying Grace:

Salvation is not a static, one-time event in our lives. It is the ongoing experience of God’sgracious presence transforming us into whom God intends us to be. John Wesley described this dimension of God’s grace as sanctification, or holiness.

Through God’s sanctifying grace, we grow and mature in our ability to live as Jesus lived. As we pray, studythe Scriptures, fast, worship, and share in fellowship with other Christians, we deepen our knowledge of and love for God. As we respond with compassion to human need and work for justice in our communities, we strengthen our capacity to love our neighbor. Our inner thoughts and motives, as well as our outer actions and behavior, are aligned with God’s will and testify to our union with God.

We’re to press on, with God’s help, in the path of sanctification toward perfection. By perfection, Wesley didnot mean that we would not make mistakes or have weaknesses. Rather, he understood it to be a continual process of being made perfect in our love of God and each other and of removing our desire to sin.

Faith and Good Works

The New Testament insists that faith and good works belong together. What we believe must be confirmed by what we do. Personal salvation must be expressed in ministry and mission in the world. We believe that Christian doctrine and Christian ethics are inseparable, that faith should inspire service. The integration of personal piety and social holiness has been a hallmark of our tradition. We affirm the biblical precept that”faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17).

Mission and Service

Because of what God has done for us, we offer our lives back to God through a life of service. As disciples,we become active participants in God’s activity in the world through mission and service. Love of God is always linked to love of neighbor and to a passionate commitment to seeking justice and renewal in the world.

Nurture and Mission of the Church

For Wesley, there was no religion but social religion, no holiness but social holiness. In other words, faith always includes a social dimension. One cannot be a solitary Christian. As we grow in faith through ourparticipation in the church community, we are also nourished and equipped for mission and service to the world.

Moral Principles

As faithful witnesses, we highlight and affirm the following moral principles that arise from our understanding of Biblical truth. We acknowledge that other moral principles merit further attention.

Statement on Human Dignity and Equality (Distilled from UMC Book of Discipline Paragraph #161)

We believe that all persons, regardless of their station or circumstances in life, are of sacred worth and made in the image of God. Therefore, all persons should be treated with compassion, love, dignity, and respect.

We gladly welcome all who seek to grow in their relationship with God to attend worship services and participate in the church’s ministries. No person shall be disqualified from becoming a member of a local congregation, holding a leadership position in the church, or becoming an ordained or licensed clergy based on gender, race, color, nationality, national origin, or economic condition.

The Way Woodstock church specifically renounces all racial and ethnic discrimination and commits itself to work toward full racial and ethnic equality in the church and in society. In addition, Scripture teaches that men and women are of equal value in the eyes of God. Accordingly, the church should treat women and men equally. We believe that both women and men are called to and gifted for ordained and licensed ministry, and both genders are able to hold leadership roles within The Way Woodstock church.

Sanctity of Life  (Distilled from UMC Book of Discipline Paragraph #161-K and various others)

We believe that life is a holy gift of God whose beginnings and endings are set by God and that it is the duty of believers to protect those who may be powerless to protect themselves, including the unborn, those with disabilities or serious illness, and the aged.

Statement on Singleness, Marriage, and Human Sexuality (Distilled from UMC Book of Discipline Paragraph #161 C, E, G)

We believe that human sexuality is a gift of God that is to be affirmed as it is exercised within the legal and spiritual covenant of a loving and monogamous marriage between one man and one woman.

We uphold and honor the integrity of single persons and we reject all social practices that discriminate as well as social attitudes that are prejudicial against persons who are single.

We are saddened by all expressions of sexual behavior, including pornography, polygamy, and promiscuity, that do not recognize the sacred worth of each individual or that seek to exploit, abuse, objectify, or degrade others, or that represent less than God’s intentional design for His children. While affirming a scriptural view of sexuality and gender, we welcome all to experience the redemptive grace of Jesus and are committed to being a safe place of refuge, hospitality, and healing for any who may have experienced brokenness in their sexual lives.

Statement on Divorce and Remarriage (Distilled from UMC Book of Discipline Paragraph #161 D)

God’s plan is for lifelong, faithful marriage. Our first counsel when considering divorce is always to exhaust every avenue of reconciliation. However, when a married couple is estranged beyond reconciliation, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, divorce is a regrettable alternative in the middle of brokenness. Divorce is always less than what God intended for marriage. However, it is not an unforgivable sin. Through the process of healing and restoration, people can be restored to community and to healthy and whole relationships that may include remarriage.

Conflict Resolution

The Way Woodstock church discourages litigious action except when all other courses of action have been exhausted. The Bible clearly outlines a method for settling disputes insofar as both parties are willing to enter into Biblical resolution.

The Way Woodstock church encourages the approach outlined in Matthew 18:15-19: direct admonition, then admonition with another, then engaging the processes of the church to settle disputes.

Church Discipline

We will sometimes have to address “Church Discipline” to maintain the order of our faith community.

Tenets of Faith

These are the central tenants of our faith. It’s not everything we believe, but these are the essential truths that we affirm as a church body.


We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness, and authority of both the Old and New Testaments, the only written Word of God. The Scriptures are our rule and guide in all matters of faith and practice.  Whatever is not revealed in or established by the Holy Scriptures is not to be made an article of faith nor is it to be taught as essential to salvation.

The Trinity

We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God The Father

We believe in God the Father, an infinite personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that He actively and mercifully intervenes in the affairs of humanity, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ The Son

We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. He rose bodily from the dead. He ascended into heaven. He is now our High Priest and Advocate at the right hand of the Father. He will physically and visibly return to consummate history and rule and reign over the earth.

The Holy Spirit

We believe the Holy Spirit is fully God, equal with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is God present and active in the world. The Holy Spirit empowers, enables, and equips us to live faithfully in the world. We believe that all Christians are to be filled with the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion. We also believe that all of the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible (Romans 12.6-8, Ephesians 4.11, 1 Corinthians 12.8-10, and 28-30) continue to be distributed by the Spirit today; that these gifts are divine provisions central to spiritual growth and effective ministry; and that these gifts are to be eagerly desired, faithfully developed, and lovingly exercised according to Biblical guidelines.


We believe all people are created in the image of God and thus every person has intrinsic value. However, this image was marred due to Adam and Eve’s sin and fellowship with God was broken. Therefore, we further believe men and women are sinners by nature and action. We also believe that through God’s grace, every person has the opportunity to repent, to respond to God’s love and kindness as shown through the life and death of Jesus Christ, thus being declared spiritually born again to new life by the Holy Spirit.


We believe all people can be saved by grace through faith – that salvation is a free gift of God. We take John 3:16 literally – that God loves the whole world and is willing to save “whosoever” believes in Jesus. We believe that the shed blood of Jesus and His resurrection provide the only grounds for the forgiveness of sins for all who believe and that only those who receive Jesus Christ are born of the Spirit, become children of God, and are given eternal life.

The Church

We believe the Christian Church is the community of all true believers under the Lordship of Christ. We as Christians are called to be in community with other believers.


God’s mercy and kindness are always at work in people’s lives through prevenient grace, justifying grace, and sanctifying grace. Prevenient grace is the love that surrounds all humanity and leads us to repentance and faith. In justifying grace, we are, through faith, forgiven of sin and given new life. Sanctifying grace allows us to grow in our faith and increase in our knowledge and love for God.


We believe our response to God’s grace is holiness of heart and of life. God’s grace not only allows our sins to be forgiven, but also gives us the power to live new lives. We are not merely saved “from sin” but also saved “for righteousness.” We seek entire sanctification– where our whole life is fully devoted to loving God and loving others.

Christ’s Return and Resurrection

We believe in the personal return of Jesus Christ, in the bodily resurrection of all persons, in final judgment, and in eternal reward and punishment. In the end, God will have victory over Satan and all evil and will establish His perfect kingdom in a new heaven and a new earth.

The Kingdom of God

We believe that the Kingdom of God has come in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, that it continues to come in the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the church, and that it will be consummated in the glorious, visible, and triumphant appearing of Christ when He returns to the earth as King.

The Family

We believe God created families for blessing and sanctification. We celebrate the covenant of marriage as the union of one man and one woman committed to one another in love. We seek to support and empower families in everything we do.

The Sacraments

We believe the sacraments are symbols and pledges of the Christian’s profession and of God’s love toward us. They are means of grace by which God strengthens and confirms our faith in Him. We believe that sacraments are not just something we do; they are also acts in which God works in us! The two sacraments ordained by Christ are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We have an open table at The Way Woodstock church, which means that everyone is invited to receive Holy Communion. This is the Lord’s table, and all are welcome.


The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

* universal

The Nicene Creed (AD 381)

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from
true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through Him all things were made. For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became truly human. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried. On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the
Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic* and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
* universal

Why We Exist


The Way Woodstock exists to glorify God and make disciples by…sharing the hope-filled life in Christ with others, so that we may all discover and live into our God-given purpose.  (Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 1:3-4a, Jeremiah 29:11)

In short, we are a community of Christ followers committed to Sharing In Hope, Living With Purpose, For The Sake of Others. 


Grounded in God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Guided by God’s Spirit (John 16:13)

Growing Deeper in Faith (Romans 12:2)

Going Further for Others (Galatians 6:1)

MISSIONAL MAP (Our Strategy)

CONNECT with God and others through commitment to weekly worship and through intentionally sharing one’s faith story.

CULTIVATE one’s faith and that of others through small groups and Bible studies.

CARE for others through serving, giving, and praying regularly.


How am I sharing the hope in Christ with others? (Romans 15:13)

How am I discovering and living into my God-given purpose? (Jeremiah 29:11)

Who is helping me grow in my faith? (Philippians 1:6)

Who am I helping to grow in their faith? (Hebrews 10:24-25)


21 Days of Prayer




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