ABOUT US

"The great purpose toward which each human life is drawn is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Each member of the church glorifies God by recognizing and naming His glory, which is the manifestation and revelation of His own nature." From The Essential Tenets of the Reformed Faith.


That may be a lot to take in, but this statement paints a beautiful and true picture of what it means to live in God's world as His child. God cares for us, so we care for each other. God sought us when we ran from Him, but now, as His children, we enjoy the Father's heart and share it with our neighbors. It's a beautiful Gospel truth that shapes our identity. 

WHO WE ARE

THE BIBLE DEFINES OUR IDENTITY

Our Mission

The Mission of First Presbyterian Church is to share the love and inheritance of God with all who are in need of refuge and a place to thrive in God’s household. 

Our Vision

The Vision of First Presbyterian Church is to Engage people in the life of Christ, Equip people with Biblical answers, & to Empower people to exercise their gifts.

Our Values

First Presbyterian Church wants you to encounter God in worship. The primary way that God meets with people is through the Bible. For that reason, we read, pray, sing, preach, listen to, and obey the Bible because it's God's actual words given to us. 

WHAT WE BELIEVE

WE HAVE JESUS, HE HAS US

Purpose
God's Word
Trinity
Incarnation
God's Grace in Christ
Election
Covenant Life in the Church
Faithful Stewardship of All of Life
Sanctity of Life
Covenant Marriage

OUR PASTORS

Rev. Tom Willcox

Lead Pastor

Pastor Tom became a Christian as a highschool student and was actively involved in Campus Crusade for Christ (now CRU) and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship through the end of his college years. After a few years in the business world, Pastor Tom received a call to full-time pastoral ministry. He is married to Raylene, who is an RN and an ECO pastor and currently runs the Palliative Care department at Cox Branson. Tom and Raylene love spending time with their children and grandchildren and their two dogs Abby and Lasha. 

Rev. Dustin Ray

Associate Pastor

Pastor Dustin grew up in Springfield, MO and spent many summer vacations in Branson. He graduated from Evangel University and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, studying Biblical Hebrew and Greek, Theology, and ancient history. He and his wife, Debbie, married in 2009 and have three children: Abigail, Judah, and Ezra. Dustin still rides BMX bikes, listens to hardcore music, loves research and writing, and enjoys helping his family seek and savor King Jesus.

 

OUR STAFF

Kyle Denton

Director of Worship Arts

Click for Bio

Meg Pyron

Office Administrator

Click for Bio

SUPPORT STAFF

Marcia

Schemper-Carlock

Assistant Director of Worship Arts

Greg Pyron

Director of Mantenance

OUR HISTORY

A GREAT HERITAGE

Our story is one of a homestead. Why?

A homestead is a cluster of homes and families, built to provide security, shelter, and a sense of home for those in the community and passers-by.

Not long after the railroad transformed a White River camp into the bustling little town of Branson, the Old Stone Church was built.  Gospel preaching had created the Presbyterian congregation, and the congregation worked with the townspeople to create the church.  People donated the land, lumber, and labor.  They gave or raised what they could for the project – even children chipped in by picking and selling wild berries.  Together, more than a church building was built.  A settlement became a community and residents became neighbors.  But even more importantly, God's people came to embody a special expression of the Father's heart for this place.  We received the call to draw Branson into God's work and family through partnership in His mission.

This particular kind of leadership has been our call and story ever since.  We call it homesteading.  It's not charge-ahead bravado or clever trend-setting.  Nor is it heroism that saves the world singlehandedly.  Instead, homesteading is about taking a stand on the simple Gospel truth that following Jesus means loving God and our neighbor more than ourselves.  We've staked this claim, and from it we raise a vision of our Father's household, welcoming in all who desire friendship or need shelter.  Although homesteading keeps our doors open to both neighbors and passers-by, it does not seek merely to entertain in parlors or living rooms.  We are called to combine nurture and grit, generosity and conviction in a way that calls visitors and refugees alike into participation in God's work for the common good.  By inviting everyone who enters from front door to kitchen and from living room to workshop, we grow together into daughters and sons of our Father, fully equipped to seek our promised inheritance and extend God's household to new people and places.

The rediscovery of this call is essential for these times.  Branson, though unique in our country, is not insulated from the sea of change that is engulfing our world.  We are unsettled and perplexed by the noisy, disruptive storms that shake us from foundation to core.  Things we once trusted as unchanging are now uncertain, and for all of our busyness and the promises of innovation, we feel ever more lost and abandoned in a spiritual, economic, and social wilderness.  But the Gospel thrives in conditions such as these.  God's household is a refuge, and His fathering creates community out of chaos and inheritance out of desolation.  We must redouble our efforts to extend welcome to neighbor and stranger.  We must strive to deepen our learning of the ways of Jesus that involve and engage everyone in the Lord's work.  We must send each other as daughters and sons, birthing many more households, until everyone has a chance to find a place in God's family.

 

WE CAN'T WAIT TO MEET YOU!