About US

What a joy it is to introduce you to our church! You’ll discover that our passion is to provide a place where people just like you can have a life-changing experience with God.

At Upward Church, our doors are wide open to people from all backgrounds, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey. What people usually notice first about us is the life-giving nature of our ministry. Our goal is to infuse life and God’s love into people and families through engaging, powerful worship services that offer biblical truth in relevant and practical ways.

Our Pastor

Craig Walker

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Craig Walker is the Founding Lead Pastor of Upward Church, a multi-campus, multi-state church, with its two main campuses in Norfolk, VA and in Pensacola, FL. Upward Churches are spreading across America as they aggressively make the Gospel relevant and accessible to our generation. Pastor Craig has been blessed to speak and travel around the world. He and his wife Lezli are former missionaries and together have planted churches in China, Czechoslovakia, and America. He is the founder of Friends of Internationals Inc. and the author of the books, Catch: The Art of Fishing for Souls, Secret: The Single Greatest Leadership Key, Taboo: God and Money, Right Message Wrong Method: Church Marketing in a Postmodern World, Forecast: Surviving and Thriving in the Coming Tsunami of Change, and Last Minute God. Craig holds a Master Degree of Theology. He has been married to his sweetheart Lezli for 23 years and they are blessed with two children, Christian and Candace. They currently live in Williamsburg, VA.

Common Questions

1. What are your weekend services like?

Each weekend at Upward Church you’ll find a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with exciting, modern worship music and a practical, relevant message. Children are well-cared for in a loving, quality nursery and fun-filled Upward Kids service.

2. What is it like to visit for the first time?

If you are visiting for the first time, we will not embarrass you, have you stand up, or ask you to give money. We know that many people want to check out the church and “be anonymous” for awhile—and that’s fine with us! Come in, enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, and see if this is the church for you.

3. What should I wear?

You’ll find everything from casual clothes to business suits at our Weekend Services. Come in what is comfortable for you, because Upward is not about what you look like or what you wear.

4. WHAT ABOUT MY CHILDREN?

Our goal at Upward Kids is to provide a safe environment for children from nursery age up to fifth grade to receive the life changing message of Jesus Christ in a relevant, creative, and engaging manner. Be assured that the safety of your child is of utmost importance to us. We provide matching security numbers for parents and children.

5. DO YOU HAVE A MIDWEEK SERVICE?

Each Wednesday night we provide our Refuel Service. At this one hour service you will experience a message from your campus pastor and thirty minutes of prayer in a relaxed setting so you can have the chance to meet God and refuel during the middle of the week.

6. HOW CAN I MEET OTHERS AND GET CONNECTED?

There are many ways to get involved. You can begin by attending our Newcomers Coffee & Discovery Class. Community Groups are another great way to connect. In each of these, you can build friendships, learn more about the life of our church, and have the opportunity to grow in your faith.

7. WHY DO YOU HAVE community GROUPS?

Community groups are an important part of Upward Church; in fact, you haven’t fully experienced the church until you’ve experienced our community groups. Groups allow you to meet other members and develop relationships that will spur your relationship with God. As Upward Church grows, groups allow us to “stay small” and connected.

8. HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED IN A SMALL GROUP? 

We post available community groups on each campus pages so you can easily sign up or get more information from the leader. We also provide Upward University which is a set recurring groups so you can get a chance to attend through out the year.

Statement of Faith

Values are those beliefs and convictions that make us uniquely us. They are the things that really matter to us. They define who we are and act as the driving force behind all we do. They are, as the name implies, who we are at the core of our being.

The Bible

The Holy Bible, and only the Bible, is the authoritative Word of God. It alone is the final authority in determining all doctrinal truths. In its original writing, it is inspired, infallible and inerrant (II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20-21; Proverbs 30:5; Romans 16:25-26).

The Trinity

There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three are coequal and co- eternal (I John 5:7; Genesis 1:26; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 3:7-11).

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. On earth, Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. He is the only man ever to have lived a sinless life. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, performed miracles, died on the cross for mankind and thus, atoned for our sins through the shedding of His blood. He rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and will return again in power and glory. (John 1:1,14, 20:28; I Timothy 3:16; Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:5-6; I Timothy 2:5).

Virgin Birth

Jesus Christ was conceived by God the Father, through the Holy Spirit (the third person of the Trinity) in the Virgin Mary’s womb; therefore, He is the Son of God (Matthew 1:18, 25; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 23-25; Luke 1:27-35).

Redemption

Man was created good and upright, but by voluntary transgression he fell; his only hope of redemption is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Gen. 1:26-31, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-21).

Regeneration

For anyone to know God, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential (John 6:44, 65).

Repentance

Repentance is the commitment to turn away from sin in every area of our lives and to follow Christ, which allows us to receive His redemption and to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Thus, through repentance we receive forgiveness of sins and appropriate salvation (Acts 2:21, 3:19; I John 1:9).

Sanctification

Sanctification is the ongoing process of yielding to God’s Word and His Spirit in order to complete the development of Christ’s character in us. It is through the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that the Christian is enabled to live a godly life (I Thessalonians 4:3, 5:23; II Corinthians 3:18, 6:14-18, II Thessalonians 2:1-3, Romans 8:29, 12:1-2, Hebrews 2:11).

Jesus’ Blood

The Blood that Jesus Christ shed on the Cross of Calvary was sinless and is 100% sufficient to cleanse mankind of all sin. Jesus allowed Himself to be punished for both our sinfulness and our sins, enabling all those who believe to be free from the penalty of sin, which is death (I John 1:7; Revelation 1:5, 5:9; Colossians 1:20; Romans 3:10-12, 23, 5:9; John 1:29).

Jesus Christ Indwells All Believers

Christians are people who have invited the Lord Jesus Christ to come and live inside them by His Holy Spirit. They relinquish the authority of their lives over to him thus making Jesus the Lord of their life as well as Savior. They put their trust in what Jesus accomplished for them when He died, was buried, and rose again from the dead (John 1:12; John 14:17, 23; John 15:4; Romans 8:11; Revelations 3:20).

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is manifested through a variety of spiritual gifts to build and sanctify the church, demonstrate the validity of the resurrection, and confirm the power of the Gospel. The Bible lists of these gifts are not necessarily exhaustive, and the gifts may occur in various combinations. All believers are commanded to earnestly desire the manifestation of the gifts in their lives. These gifts always operate in harmony with the Scriptures and should never be used in violation of biblical parameters. (Hebrews 2:4; Romans 1:11, 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:16; II Timothy 1:5-16, 4:14; I Corinthians 12:1-31, 14:1-40; I Peter 4:10).

The Church

The church is the Body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of Jesus’ great commission. Every person who is born of the Spirit is an integral part of the church as a member of the body of believers. There is a spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:22, 2:19-22; Hebrews 12:23; John 17:11, 20-23).

Water Baptism

Following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the new convert is commanded by the Word of God to be baptized in water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38).

The Lord’s Supper

A unique time of communion in the presence of God when the elements of bread and grape juice (the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ) are taken in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12, 36-38; 10:47-48; I Corinthians 10:16, 11:23-25).

Healing of the Sick

Healing of the sick is illustrated in the life and ministry of Jesus, and included in the commission of Jesus to His disciples. It is given as a sign, which is to follow believers. It is also a part of Jesus’ work on the Cross and one of the gifts of the Spirit. (Psalm 103:2-3; Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:16-17; Mark 16:17-18; Acts 8:6-7; James 5:14-16; I Corinthians 12:9, 28; Romans 11:29).

God’s Will For Provision

It is the Father’s will for believers to become whole, healthy and successful in all areas of life. But because of the fall, many may not receive the full benefits of God’s will while on Earth. That fact, though, should never prevent all believers from seeking the full benefits of Christ’s provision in order to better serve others.

Spiritual (John 3:3-11; II Corinthians 5:17-21; Romans 10:9-10).
Mental and Emotional (II Timothy 1:7, 2:11; Philippians 4:7-8; Romans 12:2; Isaiah 26:3).
Physical (Isaiah 53:4,5; Matthew 8:17; I Peter 2:24).
Financial (Joshua 1:8; Malachi 3:10-11; Luke 6:38; II Corinthians 9:6-10; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Psalm 34:10, 84:11; Philippians 4:19).

Resurrection

Jesus Christ was physically resurrected from the dead in a glorified body 3 days after His death on the cross. In addition, both the saved and the lost will be resurrected; they that are saved to the resurrection of life and they that are lost to the resurrection of eternal damnation (Luke 24:16, 36, 39; John 2:19-21, 20:26-28, 21:4; Acts 24:15; I Corinthians 15:42, 44; Philippians 1:21-23, 3:21).

Heaven

Heaven is the eternal dwelling place for all believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:3, 12, 20, 6:20, 19:21, 25:34; John 17:24; II Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 11:16; I Peter 1:4).

Hell

After living one life on earth, the unbelievers will be judged by God and sent to Hell where they will be eternally tormented with the Devil and the Fallen Angels (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 14:9-11, 20:12-15, 21:8).

Second Coming

Jesus Christ will physically and visibly return to earth for the second time to establish His Kingdom. This will occur at a date undisclosed by the Scriptures (Matthew 24:30, 26:63-64; Acts 1:9-11; I Thessalonians 4:15-17; II Thessalonians 1:7-8; Revelation 1:7).