Exalting the Savior
Explaining the Scripture
Edifying the Saints
Emancipating Souls


Willow Grove Church is a loving congregation in South Phoenix that focuses on the holistic spiritual growth of the person, exalting the Savior, explaining the Scripture, edifying Saints and emancipating Souls. The late Reverend William Hardison saw a need for a church in the small Okemah Community, and being led by the Holy Spirit, organized the Willow Grove Church on November 19, 1929. The church, without a building structure, initially held services under a willow tree.  Later it relocated to a brush arbor (a shady garden shelter) constructed by members in 1931.  That structure was replaced by a tent until a house was made available for use by a church member. Being a people of vision and determination, property was purchased and an adobe structure located at 3933 East Miami Street became the new church home.  The community continued to grow with Willow Grove as the core and it was again apparent a larger building was necessary.  Property was purchased at 3244 South 40th Street and the congregation moved into the building constructed on that site in 1948.
Willow Grove continued to meet the spiritual needs of the community, a “beacon” serving as a resource center, town meeting hall; and, as part of the community’s school. Reverend Hardison continued to labor with love, nurture, serve and pastor his flock for forty-two years, until his death in 1971. 

Reverend Robert L. Johnson became the second pastor of Willow Grove, 1972-1983. 

Reverend James N. Preston became the third pastor of Willow Grove, 1984-1989.

Reverend John R. Powell became the fourth pastor of Willow Grove, 1989 -2002.

Reverend Frederick D. Clark, Sr. became the fifth pastor of Willow Grove, 2002-2004.

Reverend Shawnn D. Boyd became the sixth pastor of Willow Grove, 2005-2006.

Reverend Darryl T. Henry became the seventh pastor of Willow Grove, 2006-2012.

Reverend Milton Pleasant became eighth pastor of Willow Grove, 2013-present.


As God would have it, Pastor Pleasant was pastoring Abundant Life Baptist Church and upon being called to Willow Grove, the members of Abundant life joined forces with Willow Grove and the two churches became one, fulfilling the scripture, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

Willow Grove has been blessed with strong leadership, both spiritually and financially since the foundation. In 2000, a decision was made to sell the property at 3244 South 40th Street, due to industrialization of that area.  Property was purchased at 4150 East Southern Avenue, Phoenix, affectionately known as our “promise land”, at that time.  Our congregation worshiped at several temporary sites from 2000 through 2007. A decision was made to purchase a building “Gilgal” until we are able to reach our “promise land”. We moved into our present building, located at 4401 South 7th Place in 2008.  This facility, in keeping with Willow Grove’s “debt free” reputation, was paid in full in 2011. We continue to grow and to be blessed, encouraged by Reverend Pleasant’s vision for the pilgrimage to our “promise land.”

From a very humble beginning Willow Grove has spawned ministers, city leaders, doctors, lawyers, educators, entrepreneurs and productive citizens both in the valley and around the United States. It continues to inspire, feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless, comforting those in mourning and spreading hope in the community.  The Holy, inspired vision of Reverend Hardison and the early pioneers has been sustained and carried on over these many years by worthy pastors, trustees, deacons, ministers and members.  Mayor Phil Gordon proclaimed the week of November 09, 2009 “WILLOW GROVE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH WEEK” in Phoenix, Arizona.  We also received special recognition and congratulations from Arizona State Governor Janice Brewer in 2009; and, again in 2014 to commemorate our 85th anniversary.

Whereas, the church continues to spread the “Good News” that is the gospel of Jesus Christ, baptizing those that have expressed their hope in Jesus Christ, providing guidance, teaching the Way of righteous salvation can only be found in the Holy Bible; and, only by studying and hearing the Word of God.  To God be the Glory.

The Vision of Willow Grove Church

A Church that Exalts the Savior, Explains the Scripture, Edifies the Saints
and Emancipates Souls
Psalm 150:2; II Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 4:11-12

The Mission of Willow Grove Church

Willow Grove is a church striving to be H.E.A.L.T.H.Y.
Holy – Exceptional – Anointed – Loving – Teachable – Harmonious – Yielding
to the will of Jesus Christ
I Peter 1:13-16; Daniel 6:3; I John 2:20 ; Luke 22:42

The 2019 Church Theme

S.O.S. (Saving Souls; Offering Ourselves; Serving Our Savior)
Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 12:2; John 12:26





Willow Grove is fortunate to have strong leadership, from the Senior Pastor to Ministry Presidents, our leadership team sets the example and standard of Willow Grove.
The Reverend Milton Pleasant
Senior Pastor

The Reverend Milton Pleasant was born December 19, 1966.  He was educated in the public schools of Los Angeles, California and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology from Pacific Coast Bible College and Seminary.  He completed his graduate studies at Faith Seminary in Tacoma, Washington where he earned a Master of Theology degree.

In September 2013, Reverend Pleasant was elected pastor of the Willow Grove Missionary Baptist Church – one of the oldest African American churches in Phoenix, Arizona.

Prior to his pastorate at Willow Grove, Reverend Pleasant was the organizer and founder of Abundant Life Baptist Church where he served for 11 years.  

Reverend Pleasant is a former professor at the Southwest School of Theology, an extension of Golden Gate Seminary.  He is currently the President of the Salt River Valley General Baptist Fellowship.  He has preached extensively across the state of Arizona and America in churches, conferences, and seminars. Reverend Pleasant participates in the following; World Baptist Alliance; National Baptist Convention USA; and the National Baptist Convention of America.
Pastor Pleasant is married to the former Ms. Nadine McCain; and together they have five adult children.
The Reverend
LaNita Smart
Executive Minister to the Senior Pastor and Women’s Ministry Leader
Sister Shirley Fields
Financial Secretary
Deacon Bill Mosley
Media Ministry
Sister Susie Leslie
Church Secretary
Sister Felicia Townsend
Youth Ministry and
Ushers President
Deacon Michael Powell
Men’s Ministry
Deacon Willie and
Sister Brenda Fields
E-Squad Ministry




 Willow Grove Church is a growing and dynamic ministry in the heart of South Phoenix with opportunities for growth and service for every person, at every stage and walk in life. From our youngest members to our seasoned active older adults, there is a place for you in one of our Ministries at Willow Grove.
Men’s Ministry
Dedicated to helping men be the Godly men God called them to.
Women’s Ministry
Ministering to the holistic needs of women of all ages and stages.
Youth Ministry
Specialized ministry and for members 3-17-years-old.
Providing outreach in the community, ministering to those in need.
Music Ministry
Providing musical opportunities for men, women, children’s and adult (sanctuary) choirs.
Usher’s Ministry
Adult and youth ministry opportunities to serve as doorkeepers in the sanctuary.
Media Ministry
Supporting worship services with the audio/visual aspects of worship.
We have a great time in Ministry at Willow Grove. Check out some of our great ministry opportunities from this year from events within Willow Grove and other activities.
The Prayers of the Righteous
Please use the link below to submit a prayer request to the Willow Grove MBC Family. We are praying with you and for you!

Tracy Lewis, April 7, 2020 - 12:46 pm

Please keep my mother in your prayers who underwent surgery this morning and is in recovery.



Church School
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Weekly Bible Study
for Adults & Children
Tuesdays – 6:30 – p.m.
Prayer – 6:00 p.m.
Women’s Bible Study
2nd and 4th Saturdays
10:00 a.m.


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Willow Grove Missionary Baptist Church
3802 East University Drive
Phoenix, Arizona 85034
Phone: 602-437-0260
Email: willowgrovembc@gmail.com