Watch or read about the history and journey of our church from 1902 to the present!

Part 1: About the Church Of God

The story of Creekside Church begins with roots in the Church of God Reformation Movement.  Following the Civil War, the United States was wounded and desperately trying to heal.  This cultural reality overflowed into the Church.  Denominations became another way to politicize issues, draw lines of division, and maintain one’s territory.  As a result many believers began to feel the Church had lost sight of her mission to find commonality in the saving work of Jesus Christ.  Some believers became disenchanted with a Church that was increasingly arguing over doctrinal differences and often setting their own standards for membership, seemingly finding more identity in a man-made institution rather than in the Body of Christ.
As has been the case throughout church history, this concern led to action, and a broader movement known as the Holiness tradition grew out of this tension.  The late 1800’s saw many groups emerge out of established, mainline denominations and begin emphasizing a few things that seemingly had become neglected:
Among these was a devotion to studying the Word.  Instead of lay people being biblically illiterate, and only educated by denominational creeds or customs, there was a return to the hope that every believer would study and submit to the teachings of Scripture.  
Because groups had added upon Scripture in setting their creeds and membership standards, many in the holiness tradition held a defiance toward any formalized creeds or membership codes outside of Scripture itself.
There was a belief that many within Christianity had traded in relationship for religion.  Holiness groups emphasized the value of a personal conversion experience that ushered in life-change.  The idea was a name on a membership role held no bearing on one’s position with Jesus Christ.  However, when someone experienced the saving work of Jesus, their life would change and show evidence of Jesus’ transforming power.  This led to a strong emphasis on behaviors which were often labeled as becoming of Christ or unbecoming of Christ.
Among these holiness groups, arose the Church of God.  Daniel Sydney Warner, one of the many leaders in this era, felt that denominationalism and man-made creeds were steering the Church in a direction outside of God’s plan.  He and a small group of leaders branched off and began a work that would purposely avoid the practice of any formalized creed, and seek to elevate the Word.  Out of their response to membership abuses, they also resolved to not make any formal membership codes, but led under the banner “we reach our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one.”  In other words, if someone was a follower of Jesus, they were subsequently a member of God’s church.  The intention behind this was to place greater emphasis on a transforming relationship with Jesus instead of adherence to a written set of rules.  Seeking to avoid the identity as another denomination, the growing church began referring to themselves as a movement, seeing themselves as part of God’s reforming of His bride back to its essential purposes.  From this, comes the name Church of God Reformation Movement.
Early on, the movement began to grow from its first roots in Michigan and Ohio.  Evangelistic Companies would travel across the country holding tent meetings and revivals.  As a core group of followers was identified, Church of God congregations began to spring up across the United States.

Part 2: Pryor Creek, OK

One such meeting began in Pryor Creek Indian Territory in 1902.  Evangelistic work continued in this area, and in the fall of 1912, Grant and Mattie Teter with a handful of families planted this church we now call Creekside. They called it the First Church of God, first meeting in the home of William King on North Elliott St. near the water tower.  
Pastor Teter would drive into town on horse and buggy, and would pastor this group for its first 45 years of existence.  During his leadership the church experienced great growth.  In 1913 they began renting a small hall to hold services, and in 1914 the group purchased a building which had formerly housed “The Pryor Creek Clipper” newspaper.  Out of sacrifice, Rev. Teter did not draw a salary and many contributed to pay what was a grand sum in that day of $600 to purchase this building.  As the church grew and continued with a heart of sacrifice and vision, they were able to purchase a vacant Presbyterian Church building on the corner of SE 1st and Vann.  On July 4, 1920 First Church of God celebrated their first Sunday in this new building.  The same block still housed FCOG over 100 years later, and witnessed an ongoing spirit of progression and growth.  From a vibrant Sunday School ministry, to Missionary Societies, and Revivals, FCOG ministered to the community and experienced many lives changed through the power of Jesus Christ.
First Church of God continued with its founder’s foresight and visionary spirit.  In December 2021 we relocated to a new facility on the east edge of Pryor.  Our hope is to steward these beautiful facilities and acreage for God’s glory in Pryor Creek and beyond. In 2022, with a desire to identify with our community of Pryor Creek and reflect our non-denominational DNA, the congregation chose to rename our fellowship Creekside Church. Today, there is much from our history that still anchors us.  Our commitment to leading people into a saving experience with Jesus is our primary objective.  We still believe that when someone has a true encounter with Christ, there is evidence of life-change.  Because of our roots, we hold the unity of God’s church as a high priority, believing that many different denominations, while expressing their faith in a unique way, are still a part of the family of God, and we hold common beliefs that outweigh our subtle differences.  This is why Creekside Church is a home to folks from many different denominational backgrounds.  While we personally identify with a Wesleyan-Holiness theology, we believe that dialogue over various doctrinal interpretations can enhance our faith.  Though there are essential beliefs that must be held in order to be faithful to Scriptural Christianity, there are less-essential practices where we can agree to disagree.  We believe in fellowshipping with other Christian groups in our community and partnering with them in Kingdom causes.
Creekside is a church that has vibrant family ministries, elevates the importance of ministering to the needs of our community, and is engaged around the globe in Kingdom work.  We are a multi-generational church, and believe we are a healthy family when we honor our most established generations while investing in our emerging generations.  It’s worth managing generational tensions and differences in order to benefit from this diverse community.  
We continue to be network with the Church of God with general offices in Anderson, IN.  We are, however, an autonomous local church, who willingly partners with the Church of God movement in missional and ministry causes. We are now one of 2,300 Church of God congregations in the United States and Canada.  The Church of God has higher educational institutions in Lake Whales, FL, Portland, OR, Anderson, IN, and Oklahoma City, OK.  The movement is also involved in 89 countries around the globe comprising nearly 8,000 congregations and 1 million believers.
We are excited to continue fulfilling God’s mission for us, ministering to the community where he has placed us, and looking to increase influence beyond this community in the name of Jesus.