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