About Oakwood

Oakwood’s Vision

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor… that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3

This is the passage Jesus turned to when he started his ministry and he announced, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). What Isaiah foresaw and Jesus fulfilled we have embraced as our vision for ministry – that we are a church rooted in God’s Word, growing in God’s grace and striving to be fruitful for God’s glory.

First, we are Rooted in God’s Word. The Bible is our starting point and foundational authority for everything we believe and do. God spoke through prophets like Isaiah and His final revelation was in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (as preserved for us in the New Testament). So we dig our roots deep into God’s Word in our worship services, Community Groups and individual lives. As we better understand and apply Scripture to our lives we will be able to stand firm, side by side, through all the storms and challenges of life.

Second, we are Growing in God’s Grace. The Gospel is our focus. This is the Good News that the Old Testament pointed to and that Jesus accomplished through his sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. We are not saved by anything we do but only on the basis of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. But because of the cross and by the power of the Holy Spirit we can and must grow toward maturity in Christ. We do this by walking together in Community Groups, encouraging one another and spurring each other on to love and good deeds.

Third, we seek to be Fruitful for God’s Glory. God’s glory is our aim. Our clear purpose is to bring honor to the name of Jesus Christ first in our church, our city and to the ends of the earth. Jesus is our supreme joy and delight and we want to spread a passion for His glory to all the nations.

Our church history

Oakwood Community Church was birthed in the fall of 1982 with a home bible study in South Tampa. On Easter Sunday of 1983, the first official worship service was held at Plant High School. Pastor Richard Parker was our first official Lead Pastor, coming down from Gainesville to give direction to the new work. In 1987, after the Lord called Richard back to his Gators in Gainesville, Pastor Paul Phair came to serve and lead the church for the next twenty-eight years.

Oakwood became a member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, an association of autonomous churches united by a mutual commitment to serve our Lord Jesus Christ with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and obedience to the Word of God. You can find out more about the Evangelical Free Church of America at www.efca.org.

After several “temporary” facilities, the Lord opened the way for the building of our permanent home here in Carrollwood. On January 24, 1993, we worshipped the Lord together for the first time in our own building here on Casey Road.

Over the subsequent years, the Lord increased our ministries, adding more lay-leaders, new staff members and facilities such as our Youth and Children’s center. In 2007 we sent out a church planting team to form what has become Candlewood Community Church in Land O Lakes. After a long and fruitful season of ministry Pastor Paul stepped down in early 2016. Then in August of 2017 the Lord called the third Lead Pastor in Oakwood’s 35 year history, Pastor Darin Anderson, to move down from Chicago with his family.

Just as we have over the years, the ministries of our church have a singular mission: to transform ordinary people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, all for the glory of God!