Harris Creek exists to help everyone follow Jesus by engaging the lost, equipping the saints, and empowering members for service.
Engaging the lost means intentionally having conversations with people far from Jesus about who He is and what He has done for us. We believe that we are to take Jesus’ instructions to create disciples in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) seriously, so we want our lives to reflect the grace and hope of Jesus through all of our interactions with the people in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and communities.
Equipping the saints means the church should be a training ground for believers in Jesus (Ephesians 4:12). As followers of Jesus, we should constantly look for ways to grow and strengthen our faith. Whether it is through Life Groups, Bible studies, workshops, or Sunday morning services, we are called to gather together and be equipped, and then go out into the world to make disciples.
Empowering members for service means we believe every follower of Jesus has unique gifts, skills, and abilities that should be used to help the people around them follow Jesus (Romans 12:6-8). We want to help all of our members identify what their gifts are and find ways to use them. For some, it may be serving with our kids or youth. For others, it may be directing traffic or playing an instrument. For others, it may be serving outside of our walls advocating for the same things Jesus cared about (such as orphans or the poor). Whatever your gifts are, we want to deploy you to use them.
What We Value
Every business, organization, family, and individual has certain values important to them. How closely our actions align with the things we say we value is often an indicator of how well we are accomplishing our mission. Harris Creek is no different. We have eight Core Values that are vital to who we are as a church. We want these values to serve as a filter for what we say and do as a church.
We believe authenticity, integrity, transparency, and sincerity should mark those whose confidence is in Jesus. “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” – 1 Timothy 1:5
We believe success is measured by our ability to help everyone follow Jesus. Full devotion to Jesus is normal for every believer. As Christians, we are called to action in carrying out our faith. This action necessarily includes deployment of our unique spiritual gifts in serving others. In our service, as with every area of our ministry and in our lives, we strive for excellence without compromise. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2
We believe prayer is essential to everything we do. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2
What We Believe
We believe all 66 books of the Bible are God-breathed, meaning they originated from God. He revealed His words to mankind through human authors, using their unique personalities to reveal the truth about God and His activity in the world. As a result, the message of the Bible is God’s absolute, timeless truth about who God is and is useful for guidance and correction in all areas of life. It provides the principles upon which God judges us and recounts the steps our loving God has taken to redeem fallen humanity. We believe the Bible is the source of ultimate truth and the final authority in all matters that pertain to what Christians should believe and how they should live. In matters where the Bible is silent or not specific, Christians should seek timeless principles found in the Bible for their guidance, resisting the temptation to make the Bible say what they want it to say. (Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Matthew 5:17-18; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21)
We believe there is one and only one true and living God, who created the heavens and the earth. He is the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, Sustainer, Provider, and Ruler of the entire visible and invisible universe. He has the power and authority to accomplish His purposes and will. He is one God, and yet three distinctive Persons:Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit, functioning relationally in absolute oneness, humility and harmony. The Father reigns with providential care over His universe and the creatures within it. He loves and cares for all humanity with a fatherly attitude. We believe God the Son reveals Himself to creation through the person of Jesus Christ. He existed as the Divine Word before the incarnation. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a perfect life according to God’s law and was sacrificed as God’s perfect plan to redeem humanity. After Jesus’ death, He physically rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven to rule with God the Father for all eternity. As a result of what He accomplished and who He is as God’s only begotten Son, Jesus is the only One through whom mankind has direct access to God. All creation eagerly anticipates Jesus’ promised return to earth where He will rule with justice and compassion and restore peace to all His creation. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and moves in those who believe in Him. He comes to personally reside within every believer at the moment one places trust in Jesus. The Holy Spirit inspired humans to write the Bible and makes the Bible more understandable and applicable in the life of the believer. The Holy Spirit also comforts the afflicted. The Holy Spirit convicts humans of sin and is sent as the Helper to enlighten believers and churches in the areas of worship, evangelism, and service. The Holy Spirit gives each believer supernatural abilities (gifts) to help believers accomplish His purpose through them in the Church and in the world. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 19:1-3; Ephesians 4:6; John 1:1-5, 1:14, 3:16, 4:24; Romans 8:14-16; 1 John 5:7; Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Matthew 1:18; Luke 3:22; Romans 1:20-23, 3:10-26, 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Peter 4:10-11)
THE HUMAN CONDITION
We believe that human beings, both male and female, were created by a special act of God, in His own image, and are the crowning work of His creation. God specified roles for both male and female, each beautiful, equal, and unique in their reflection of attributes about our Creator. As the just and loving Creator, one of God’s designs was to have a personal relationship with the people He created. Humans were innocent in the beginning, but brought sin into the world by rebelling against God, thus fracturing our relationship with Him. But God, because of His great love for mankind, made it possible for a personal relationship to be restored while at the same time meeting the just penalty each person owed for their rebellion. Every person is guilty of sin and in need of redemption. At the same time, God’s workmanship is written on the deep fabric of every being in His creation, and each human yearns to be redeemed from this present state by our Creator. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for every person; therefore every person possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. (Genesis 1:26-31; 3:1-19; Romans 1:19-32; 3:23)
SALVATION & THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
We believe that salvation involves the redemption of the whole person, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. Sinners are justified only by God’s grace and are made new creations by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and set apart for all eternity. Those who are redeemed by Christ also become a part of God’s redeemed community, both past and present. All who have rejected God, by rejecting His provision for their sin through Jesus, will suffer eternal separation from God and the life He designed for them originally. The regeneration of the forgiven takes place upon placing trust in Jesus Christ as the only possible solution to accomplish a full remission of our sins. Conviction by the Holy Spirit brings a sinner to have a repentant heart, thus beginning the process of sanctification. Those who have found His grace are to serve as a witness to this free gift and not judge those who have not found this saving knowledge. The only judge of the universe is found in the being of God, and believers should show the same grace that was so freely given to them. As believers progressively learn to trust God with more and more of their lives under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit, their perspectives, character, and choices will increasingly be like those of Jesus. God uses many varied means, including suffering, to accomplish this progressive life-change in a believer’s life. Believers, at death, will be received into the presence of God to live out that perfect relationship with God they were designed to enjoy. (Matthew 1:21, 16:21-28; John 5:24; Romans 2:4,3:23-25, 5:8-10)
We believe the Church is the physical presence of God in the world. By putting their trust in Jesus, all Christians become members of His earthly family, the Church. The Bible tells all believers, as part of His church, to come together in local groups (congregations) to worship corporately, pray, fellowship, study Scripture, participate in baptisms and public professions of faith, celebrate communion, confess sins to one another, serve others using their gifts and care for those in need, and to go and make disciples of others throughout our city and the world for the glory of God. Members of each local congregation are led by those who meet the qualifications of church leadership explained in the Bible (elders), who are recognized as qualified by the congregation, and who are then appointed by the present leaders (elders). (Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, 12:27; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5-9; James 5:16)
Where We've Been: Our History
From the outside looking in, Harris Creek appears to be a church plant or a fairly new church. In reality, we are one of the oldest churches in Waco and have been a church for over 135 years. In 1872, Aquilla and Delila Jones gave a 1.6 acre site for the construction of a new church, schoolhouse, and cemetery in the McGregor area (just outside of Waco, Texas), which is now known as Harris Creek Baptist Church. The official date of the constitution for Harris Creek was 1879, but church services were held in the Jones’ home prior to this date. On Friday, August 8, 1879, the church was granted full membership into the Leon River Baptist Association.
The church experienced initial success after its formation but went through a period of decline and eventually ceased meeting from 1893–1904. However, under new leadership, the church was reconstituted and received full membership into the Waco Baptist Association in September of 1904. That year, the church reported 30 members, an offering of $70.05, and nine people were baptized. Obviously, many things have changed over the past century.
Among the many unique facts in Harris Creek’s history is the period of time between 1932 and 1960. This is when the church shared their facility with a Methodist congregation. The church alternated between a Methodist and Baptist preacher on Sundays, and the two congregations even held joint revival meetings each summer under the spread of an oak tree. In 1960, the Methodist congregation decided they had enough resources to sustain themselves, so they replanted their own church, once again. This forced the existing members of Harris Creek to make some decisions. At the time, there were only 13 members left that belonged to the congregation. This small group of people had to decide whether to close their doors or re-launch the church in a new direction. They ultimately decided to keep the doors open and kept Harris Creek alive during these lean years.
The next two decades brought stability and slow, but steady, growth to the church. Based on this growth, a new brick sanctuary was constructed in 1977 on the original site of the first church building. The 1990s brought on more growth with the average worship attendance growing from 65 to 150 people. The annual budget doubled in this time period, as well, and the church moved to two worship services. In 2004, the church felt led to, once again, imagine where God was calling them in the future. These discussions led to even larger changes that truly shaped what Harris Creek is today.
Through a number of conversations, the church adopted a new constitution and moved to an elder model of leadership. In 2007, Harris Creek made another big move by building a new facility and moving from its historic location to the current location on Highway 84. Over the past few years, the church has experienced rapid growth, which meant undergoing additional changes.
Through all the changes, the current leadership, elders and staff, simply want to be good stewards of the storied history that has been entrusted to us. We are thrilled to add new chapters to Harris Creek’s story and desire to be faithful to our mission of helping everyone follow Jesus.