Richwoods is a non-denominational, biblically-based community of believers.We are an independent, non-denominational church unified with the Restoration Movement which has roots back to 1801.
The Restoration Movement was a call to unify churches based on the essentials of the New Testament: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.” Some other hallmarks of Christian Churches are the celebration of communion at every worship service and baptism by immersion as instructed in the New Testament.
Richwoods started in September 1967 with a group of twenty-five people meeting in a basement. Our first building on Terra Vista Ave., in Richwoods Township was dedicated July 25, 1976 and occupied for thirty-two years.
Our Knoxville Campus building was dedicated on July 27, 2008, we launched our East Campus on January 23, 2011 and our Parkway Campus in Pekin in August of 2014 with the merger of Richwoods and Parkway Christian Church. Our East Campus closed in October of 2015.
Richwoods is an autonomous church, but we are associated and work in fellowship with other Christian churches.
Our Mission and Vision
People all around us are struggling to make sense of this life. Christ offers Hope in the midst of it, and no one deserves to live without the Hope of Christ. We are helping people Find and Follow Christ.
Our values give rhythm to the culture of our church
We dream big and pray hard knowing only God can change our hearts.
We will love you where you are and we want you to grow over time.
We want to find as many ways to say “yes” as possible; to live within our limits, so we can share without measure.
We will pursue getting to know your story and encourage you to enter into authentic relationships with others.
We have a message of hope that we won’t depart from – but we will change our methods to find new ways to communicate it.
We won’t pretend we have arrived, or have all the answers; but with integrity we will walk together as we follow Christ.
We will live in honest pursuit of the promise of the abundant life, being light – hearted and deadly serious.
Our Discipleship Path – Finding and Following Christ
We believe discipleship is a journey, not a step-by-step process. It is a life-long process and no two people’s journey’s are the same. It is a cyclical journey, not a linear one. It is not uncommon to find yourself going around in circles or to spend more time in one area than another. But our hope for you is that you will eventually spend time in each of the areas as you grow and mature in your relationship with Christ.
For more information about our Discipleship Path click here.
Our Core Beliefs
We make a distinction between essential and non-essential doctrines.
The Trinity The term “Trinity” designates one God in three Persons.” While the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture, it is a convenient way to speak of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in their essential unity. While each of these three is individually God from all eternity, God is not a plurality. The divine nature is single and unique. Throughout Scripture we find that the Father is referred to as God; Jesus is referred to as God, and the Holy Spirit is referred to as God. Yet the mystery of the Trinity is that these three separate “Persons” are referred to as “one God.”
Jesus Christ We believe Jesus Christ is the eternal divine Son of God who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of Mary while she remained a virgin. Scripture teaches that God the Son “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” through His incarnation as Jesus Christ and “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man.” Scripture teaches that because of this incarnation, the “fullness of God” lives in Jesus and that Jesus is the image of the invisible God and the exact representation of His being.
The Resurrection The belief in the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a basic tenet of the Christian faith and an absolutely essential belief in our church. All four gospels describe Jesus’ resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus fulfills biblical prophecy, fulfills Jesus’ promise to rise in three days, and reveals His divinity by His victory over death.
Jesus’ resurrection impacts our lives both now and in the future. Everyone who is united to Jesus Christ by faith is already sharing in the power of the resurrection because it is the energy that drives our new life in Christ by the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ resurrection also guarantees that the time is coming when all who trust in Him will share in the fullness of His victory over death through their own resurrection.
Scripture The whole story of everything God did to bring Jesus into our world is given for us in God’s written word, Scripture. All along the way, God appointed, equipped, and inspired different witnesses of what He had done to record His interactions with us and His instructions by inspiring their writings by the Holy Spirit. The end result is that even though they wrote as men of their times, their words recorded God’s timeless truth. Yet as important as that is, the ultimate purpose of the Bible is revelation of Jesus Christ, the Living Word.
Creation We believe Scripture teaches that God is the Creator of all things. Creation is attributed to each of the members of the Trinity: to God the Father, to God the Son, and to God the Holy Spirit. We believe that God’s creation is good in intention, design, and essence. Due to man’s sin, it is fallen, but due to God’s grace, it is redeemable. Not only did God create mankind, but He also did so in His own image and for His own purpose. If we have a clear picture of what God is really like, we find we are estranged from Him because we choose to sin. Each of us has chosen to break with God’s expectations, and we cannot turn off our desire to have things our way instead of His.
Salvation Jesus Christ brings us salvation by His life, death, and resurrection when we turn to Him in faith. Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross to secure forgiveness for our failure to live up to God’s will for us. Jesus was raised from the dead and now lives in us by the Holy Spirit to transform us in order to make us like Him. Thus our hearts are progressively changed. Knowing Jesus is not a ticket to a trouble-free life, we find that doing God’s will increasingly becomes our joy and satisfaction. Best of all, we are promised this satisfaction will continue and we will experience unending joy because we are destined to live forever beyond this life with our God, loving Him and being loved by Him for all eternity.
Grace, Faith, and Works What is perhaps the best known verse, John 3:16, lays the foundation for salvation through faith: “…whoever believes in him shall not perish but has eternal life.” Such belief is effective because of God’s love for us—a love we do not deserve (grace). Scripture provides a clear and concise statement of the doctrine of salvation by grace evidenced by good works, which are ordained by God. All of the fullness of our salvation, starting with forgiveness on through our eternal destiny, is granted to us by grace through faith. Good works are important and expected by God. Our works cannot earn salvation, but they are the result of it. These works are a primary means by which we return God’s love to Him.
Believer’s Baptism Becoming a Christian is a process that begins by placing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, with baptism as our response to Christ’s offer of forgiveness and new life. Baptism is the public acknowledgement of our faith in Jesus’ laying down His life and taking it up again for our sake. In baptism we embrace our new identity in Christ by coming forward and essentially saying, “Count me in. I’m done with my old life; I’m here to do God’s will.”
The Church Our Father started the Church fifty days after Easter when He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell those who had trusted in Christ. Ever since, the Holy Spirit has been present in the members of the Church. His presence in us binds us to each other and makes us one as He makes us like Christ. He provides every member with special gifts to contribute to the ongoing work of the Church. Our service through the Spirit is worship because service is a spiritual sacrifice.
Eldership The story of God’s people in both the Old and New Testaments includes the stories of those He set apart to lead and care for His people. In the New Testament, elders are set apart to serve God and His people in this way.
The End of Times The teaching of the Scriptures regarding the End Times has not given us a detailed description of the ultimate manifestation of the Kingdom of God, it casts a vision. It should be noted that Jesus own words on how we should respond to this teaching were “Watch and pray.” not “Speculate and draw charts.” The central elements of Eschatology that we all can and in fact should agree on are the following. 1) Our God has appointed a time and set in motion a plan for the consummation of this present age and the inauguration of the age to come. 2) Jesus Christ is at the center of this plan because His death and resurrection inaugurated the Biblical “new age” and His second coming will be both the consummation of this present age and that time when the Kingdom of God is manifested in all of it’s fullness. Beyond that we cannot teach any view dogmatically because invariably taking a strong detailed stand proves to be a distraction from living in the moments God has given us and a barrier to fellowship with believers who do not embrace our “roadmaps”.
Spiritual Gifts We believe that God gives spiritual gifts to every believer. These gifts vary in number, function, and purpose. We believe that God still imparts and enhances these gifts into the lives of believers, where they serve to glorify Him and to build up the church body.
Of all the gifts the most controversial and potentially divisive is the supernatural gift of tongues and interpretation. We believe that God can still use this gift in the lives of believers, but we do not practice it in our services. The gift of supernatural healing was used by Jesus and the apostles to prove that their authority was from God. The use of this gift is still documented, although rarely, and usually in the same sort of circumstances. We believe that God works through the miracles of modern medicine today just as surely as He is capable of supernatural healing. Therefore, anyone who requires extended medical attention and/or is not miraculously healed of any or every ailment should not be considered to be lacking or deficient in faith or the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Assurance of Salvation Every believer should rejoice in their possession of eternal life in Christ. Our eternal life is grounded in our participation in Christ’s own risen life through His presence in us by His Spirit. Eternal life is shared with us through our faith in Christ and not on account of our works. It is maintained by abiding in Christ through faith. Our possession of eternal life is assured through 1) our continually abiding in Him, 2) our pursuit of transformation as evidenced by our faith expressing itself in love, 3) our continuing self-examination to see to what extent 1 & 2 are true.
Our relationship to Christ is exactly that and not a business transaction. Because it is a relationship, it can be severed because we have either neglected or walked away from the relationship. Our participation in Christ’s life and our future dwelling with Him through eternity may be cut off if our neglect or rejection of the relationship continues.
Politics and Opinions Our unity as a church is grounded in the reality of our allegiance to Christ and being citizens of His eternal kingdom. Our Restoration Movement heritage directs us to find unity in essentials, allow liberty in opinions, and pursue love in all things. While we will not compromise the truth of God’s Word, we will be a place of refuge for all who seek to follow Christ and we will not formally or informally exclude anyone because of their party affiliation or political views. Instead, we will seek to be peacemakers who facilitate dialogue and understanding where there are legitimate differences of opinion no matter what arena we are serving in.
Leadership There are several considerations that should be kept in mind as a means of framing this discussion so it is seen in context. 1) Being a leader is not merely a matter of holding a formal position of leadership. God often raises leaders up outside of formal structures and these leaders have more impact than those who hold a title but cannot hold their own in crucial situations. 2) The vital core of life in Christ is transformation. Holding a formal position of leadership is no guarantee of transformation and not having a title is no impediment to transformation. 3) The Scriptures encourage any person male or female to exercise his or her spiritual gifts, to be involved in corporate prayer, leadership, and teaching.
Following from the considerations listed above, Richwoods Christian Church encourages any person male or female to exercise his or her spiritual gifts, to be involved in corporate prayer, leadership, and teaching. They must demonstrate submission to the Lord Jesus Christ and the attitude of a servant toward others. In regard to the position of deacons (ministry and small group leaders) in the church, we believe that women may serve along with men.
On the other hand, with regard to the position of elders in the church, our position is that only men should serve as elders. Our understanding is in keeping with our Lord’s own example when He selected only men to be members of the Twelve. In addition, the Scriptures give express instruction that men alone should serve as elders in 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Women can hold any position in the church they desire, except the position of elder. We respect that others choose to interpret these verses differently and it is not our intent to be biased, but our understanding of these passages lead us to stand on this conviction.