ABOUT Our Pastor
Our Pastor, Michael Woodcock, has lived in Southern California most of his life. He came to a life-changing faith in Christ during his teen years, and soon felt God’s call to ministry. After serving in a few different church ministries, and much education and training, God led him to become the Pastor of our church. Michael has been joyfully married to Kathy for thirty-seven years, and the Woodcocks have one adult daughter, Michelle, a son in law, Adam, and a grandchild on the way.
Preaching, teaching and living the Bible are big parts of Pastor Mike’s ministry. He encourages us to pursue a vibrant daily experience of God through prayer and the Bible. He wants to help us connect our Sunday faith to our Monday work, and connect with God in the whole of our lives.
We share Pastor Mike’s belief that real unity is possible, but costly. Together we’re saying, “Let’s keep growing in our practice of genuine love and truth; let’s become more like Jesus in our relationships with each other, and with our world.”
Pastor Mike encourages creativity and range in our approach to worship, and in the ways we connect with our local community. He uses humor and speaks honestly. We share his deep conviction that God has given us a unique opportunity to model racial and social reconciliation.
A little bit more about Pastor Mike. He is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University (B.A., Biblical Literature), and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.; Ph.D. in Theology, with concentration in Old Testament). He’s an ordained American Baptist minister, and has served as our Pastor for thirty-one years. Pastor Mike contributed articles on hope, intercession, repentance of God, vision, theology of work/labor, and several other topics to the Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary. He teaches courses in biblical studies for International Theological Seminary, New Theological Seminary of the West, and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.
VISION & VALUES
THE GPS/ THE MAP & COMPASS
The Bible, the inspired Word of God; from it we derive both our message and our method for doing God's work - by learning, studying, preaching, teaching and living out the Word.
Hope that springs up when we discover God can change lives like ours and give us a new beginning. We want all people to find this hope, so through our caring and evangelistic ministries we invite non-believers to be converted, and stalled believers to restart their faith walk.
A church family of acceptance, love, joy and creativity, learning to pursue the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
Growing upward through worship, sinking our roots down deeper through discipleship, caring for one another through fellowship, and reaching out to a broken world through mission.
Growth in Christ that we can know and feel for ourselves, that we can see in one another, and that our world can see in us.
The very diversity of our heritages and ages; our talents, gifts, and life experiences; and the context in which we live out the gospel here in No Ho!
who we are
Rooted and growing. In 1925, a few families stepped out in faith and began meeting as a storefront church in our neighborhood. In 1927 we organized officially with 49 charter members. Our growing congregation met in a community hall and then a local theater.
In 1930 we sank our roots more deeply in this community by building our first sanctuary on the corner of Otsego and Fair. Even during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, we kept stepping out in generous faith. We were building for the future by encouraging families, preaching God’s good news, reaching out with love to our neighbors, and completing two large educational wings. In the mid-1960’s we saw the need for a new worship space, and began to pray, plan and give sacrificially.
Branching out in faith. Flash forward twenty years. In the 1980’s, with leadership of Pastor Dale Goodrich, we took the unique steps of receiving the core members of another local American Baptist church that had closed its doors, Vanowen Baptist Church. These dedicated disciples merged into our church family andleadership. They were an incredible shot in the arm that enabled our church to move ahead and flourish. Pastor Goodrich retired in 1991 and after serving as interim Pastor, Dr. Michael Woodcock became the permanent Pastor in 1992. The church continued to praise the Lord, grew in diversity and expression, saw the launching of new ministries that serve the community... right up to today!
We know and sense that a remarkable purpose of God has claimed us. People feel it when they come into a worship gathering… we see it in the lives being reclaimed for Jesus Christ… it comes out as a fresh openness to the moving of the Holy Spirit… and we receive it in the welcome and family atmosphere. God has enabled us to grow and flourish in Christ beyond what our founding generation could have imagined… he has called us to serve his kingdom purpose as multi-ethnic, multi-generational church here in our growing, changing NoHo context!
As we reflect on the past, enjoy the present, and pray into the future, we stand on God’s unshakable promise:
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future… Y
ou will seek me and find me when you seek me
with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11, 13).
For what has been - we say, THANKS!
For what is to come - we say, YES!