The Werner Way A Legacy of Living for Jesus

The Greg and Kim Werner Family (2015)

Introduction: #thewernerway

The following record of the Werner legacy stands as a testimony of God’s faithfulness to transform the lives of ordinary people and use them for His extraordinary purposes. The intended audience of this account are the children of the four Werner siblings born to Greg and Kim Werner (Brandon Werner and his wife Rachael, Lauren Werner Clay and her husband Britt Clay, Jonathan Werner and his wife Whitney, and Justin Werner); however, this account is also written to anyone who has seen the light of Jesus through any member of the William David (W.D.) Werner family.

William David (W.D.) Werner

The Legacy Begins: W.D. Werner

Many years ago, God began to show His mercy to a family that was not seeking Him or committed to following His ways…

Arna Werner (left), and W.D. "Bill" Werner (right)

In the mid 1940’s, a man named W.D. (William David) Werner knelt down in the middle of a field and gave his life to the Lord. He was about 28 years old, and the first Christian in the Werner family in many generations.

W.D. Werner's parents, David (left) and Lilly (right) Werner

W.D. (also known as Bill) was born in the United States, but his parents, David and Lilly Vonverner (changed to Werner), were immigrants from Germany.

W.D. Werner Family. Top, left to right: Arna and W.D. Bottom, left to right: Henry, Russell, and Cecil.

W.D. was married to his wife, Arna, and they had three boys together: Cecil, Henry, and Russell. They were a family of farmers, and they worked together on a farm in Southeastern Oklahoma City.

Bill was devoted to doing what was right even before he came to know the Lord, and that is part of the reason it took him so long to find Jesus. However, once he became convinced that he was a sinner, that He needed to be saved, and he discovered the truth about who Jesus is, he never wavered.

As a farmer, Bill's life was full of routines that he performed, along with consistency and routines that he required his family to perform. Having worked on a farm, Bill understood the importance of doing the same things, at the same time, and the same way. You knew what to expect from Bill, and this gave the family a real sense of security.

He was a very strong leader, and he believed that anything worth doing was worth doing right. He exuded authority; when Bill gave a command, people listened and followed naturally. Bill’s boys rarely crossed him, and when they did they did so with great fear and trepidation.

From just plain farming, to farming & preaching...

Within a few short years after Bill came to know the Lord, he was ordained as a minister at Foster Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. The Lord was wrestling with Bill by way of a calling to preach, and Bill was being resistant. When Bill’s middle son, Henry, became ill as a child, Bill told the Lord that if He would spare the life of his son that he would go and preach. God spared Henry’s life, and Bill started preaching in a little country church in Norman, Oklahoma at the age of 34.

The next year, Bill took on the official role of pastor at First Baptist Church in Luther, Oklahoma (1949).

FBC Luther, OK (present day)

During his lifetime, Bill pastored at several churches throughout the state of Oklahoma, often driving with his family for over an hour one-way to the churches where he served. At different points in his life, Bill pastored at churches in Paoli, Vicie, Luther, Seminole, Guthrie, and Union Valley (all in Oklahoma).

#thewernerway legacy grows...

W.D. was known as a man who loved his family. He loved family gatherings, and he loved to visit with his family. He had a deep, strong laugh that was unforgettable. For Bill, his greatest joy was knowing that his family loved the Lord and was serving Him. This made a lasting impression on his boys and all his descendants that followed. All three of Bill’s boys, and all of their children, and all of their children’s children (including Brandon, Lauren, Jonathan, and Justin), have professed Jesus as their Lord and have chosen to live the Jesus way...

Family Pictures with W.D.

W.D.'s SONS... top left photo, from left to right: Cecil, W.D., Henry, and Russell.

W.D.'s GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN (born to Greg & Kim Werner)... bottom left photo: W.D. with Brandon (top left), Lauren (top right), Jonathan (bottom right), and Justin (bottom left).

W.D's GRANDCHILDREN... right photo: W.D. with his adopted granddaughter (Tonya) and grandsons (Scott, Dennis, David, and Greg).

The Next Chapter: Henry Werner

God spared Henry’s life when he was a boy, and Henry gave his life to the Lord when he was twelve years old. Henry Werner, W.D.'s second born son, married Phyllis Jacobs in 1963.

Henry and Phyllis Werner at their wedding.

Phyllis and Henry had two sons: Greg and Scott. Henry continued the legacy of his father by leading his family to follow Jesus through his words and his example, and Phyllis became a pillar of faith in the Werner family as well.

From left to right: Scott, Phyllis, and Greg Werner
Phyllis and Henry Werner when Henry was about 40 years old.

The Lord brought Henry and Phyllis to Western Hills Church in OKC in 1965, a church where many of the Werners serve in Christian community today. Like his father, Henry became a leader in the church, was ordained into ministry, and he served as a deacon at Western Hills for several years.

Auditorium of Western Hills Baptist Church as it appeared in the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1983, Henry died of a stroke induced by a seizure at the young age of 46. While Henry’s life on this earth was relatively short, Henry's legacy as a follower of Jesus is alive and well in the lives of Phyllis (his widow), his children (Greg and Scott), and his children's children.

Legacy Continues: Greg Werner

Greg Werner was the firstborn son of Henry and Phyllis Werner. At the young age of five, Greg received Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior at Western Hills Church in Oklahoma City.

Greg Werner around the age of 5 with his father, Henry Werner.

While Greg came to know Christ at a young age, he experienced a significant drift in his relationship with Jesus around his Junior year in high school. During this season of doubt and confusion, Greg confessed to God: “If You’re real, I’m like Thomas – I need you to show me… I need to see that you are there.”

Greg during his high school years.

Within a few days of this confession, God answered Greg’s prayer in a major way. Greg was with the wrong crowd in a McDonald’s parking lot late one night and, in a spirit of rage, grabbed a wooden club out of the back of a truck that he intended to use as a weapon against another teenage boy – an action that would have likely landed Greg in prison. Greg’s football coach, Ron Yocum, seemingly appeared out of nowhere and took hold of the club Greg was about to swing. Greg turned around to fight whoever grabbed his club, but when he saw who it was, Greg asked Ron, “What are you doing here?”

Ron replied, “The Lord sent me here, Greg, to tell you to go home.”

Greg went home that evening and surrendered his life fully to Jesus, deciding to live the Jesus way. Later, Greg learned that Coach Yocum was at that McDonald's that night by way of divine intervention. God led Ron to get out of bed, get dressed, leave his wife and daughters at their home, and drive to that McDonald’s where Greg was about to get into a fight without Ron ever knowing why he was going there until he arrived. Ron Yocum’s obedience to God proved to be a message from the Lord to Greg and was exactly what was needed to stir Greg’s faith and lead him to repent of his own way and start living Jesus’ way.

Ron Yocum

Jesus changed Greg’s life that night, and he wasn’t the same from that moment on. Greg was the captain of his football team in high school. During his Junior year, Greg would cuss out the guys in his huddle to try and get them to play better. In his Senior year, Greg stopped using fowl language and started leading his guys to pray and to play their best for the Lord. Greg was part of a small graduating class, so in addition to being the captain of the football team, he was also the Senior class president. Greg used his influence during his Senior year to help several students focus on their relationship with Jesus.

Greg & Kim Werner in high school.

After he graduated, Greg married his wife, Kim, in 1984. Greg and Kim were young in their faith, but from the beginning of their relationship they knew they wanted Jesus to be the center of their home. They had their own challenges as a young married couple, but the Lord saw them through as they grew in their relationship with Jesus and with one another.

Greg and Kim at Western Hills Church with their oldest son, Brandon (1987).

In 1984, Greg followed in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather when he was ordained into the ministry. Greg joined the professional staff team as a part-time leader at Western Hills Church in 1993, and in 2003, Greg accepted a full-time staff position at Western Hills.

Greg as a pastor at Western Hills Church in 2004.

Greg and Kim had four children: Brandon, Lauren, Jonathan, and Justin. Greg and Kim worked diligently to raise their children to live the Jesus way. Their home was a place of ministry, and Greg and Kim often hosted home church meetings and prayer meetings in their home and with their children. Greg and Kim refused to simply be “good ole’ southern church members;” instead, they saw themselves as ministers of the gospel and valuable members of the body of Christ, and this well before Greg was ever on staff.

Greg and Kim's four children (from left to right): Brandon, Lauren, Jonathan, and Justin.
The Werners singing together at Western Hills Church.
The Werner family on vacation at their favorite childhood vacation location, Golden Missouri.

Greg and Kim’s home continued and expounded upon the same values that had been passed down the Werner line since W.D. Werner:

• They practiced faithfulness in the way they lived, and they led their children to be faithful dependable servants in their community and their church.

• They led their family to work hard together and to play hard together.

• As the head of the home, Greg was a strong leader, and all of his children became strong leaders in the church (more below). Greg taught his children how to lead with humility, to lead by example, and how to engage others in ministry as they served. They became the kind of family people naturally wanted to follow.

• Greg was a strong and understanding leader with his children, and his children rarely crossed him. When they did, they most often responded to his leadership with respect.

• Every strong-willed, outgoing family will have its share of conflicts, but in the end, the entire family loved one another, stayed committed to one another, and often worked as a team in ministry.

Greg Werner and W.D. Werner

Like W.D., Greg and Kim found their greatest joy in knowing that their children were following Jesus and walking in the truth. Greg and Kim wanted the Werner way to be synonymous with the Jesus way, and they raised their children to not just go to church, but to join with other believers and be the church.

The Greg and Kim Werner Family (2015)

Because of the culture of the Werner home, and ultimately by God’s grace through Jesus Christ, all four of the Werner children grew up to be followers of Jesus. As adults, all of the Greg and Kim Werner children live committed to using their lives to make disciples of Jesus, to work in community with their local church, to witness and lead passionately in their church and communities, and to lead their own families to understand that living the Werner way means living Jesus’ way…

Greg and Kim Werner, their children, and their children's children (minus baby Silas who was still in the womb). (2016)

A Major Event: "The Accident" April 10, 2010...

A time of testing...

Greg & Justin's accident...

April 10, 2010

A story of God's faithfulness

On April 10, 2010, Greg and Justin Werner were in a severe car accident. Justin walked away with relatively minor injuries, but Greg's condition was life threatening for several weeks.

Justin sustained several injuries, but he was able to make a nearly full recovery within a matter of months, and Justin experiences very little affects from the accident today.
Greg was not wearing a seat belt, and he was thrown from the car as it tumbled down the interstate at high speeds. When witnesses found Greg, they didn't believe he would survive, and he was barely hanging on to life.

Greg was in a coma for weeks, and he suffered a brain injury that took him months of therapy before he could return to any type of normal cognitive abilities. Greg's accident left him totally disabled. Although Greg has made a miraculous recovery, his accident has left him with permanent disabilities that are with him to this day (2017).

Greg (a few months after the accident) and his brother, Scott, worshiping Jesus together with Greg's mom and the rest of Greg's family while Greg was still in the hospital.

From the moment of the accident, Kim took on the role as Greg's primary caregiver. Although Greg and Kim did not anticipate this change so early in their lives, both have responded in faith and have continued to allow the Lord to use their lives (and their suffering) as a witness of the goodness of God to others.

Greg and Kim Werner (2015)

April 10, 2010 and several months that followed were some of the most trying days in the history of the Werner family. Because of God's faithfulness and because of the culture in the Werner home, Greg and Justin's accident has grown from days of darkness to stories of God's faithfulness and grace. Today, these stories serve as reminders of God's faithfulness as the Werner family continues to follow Jesus and live #thewernerway.

Justin sharing his testimony about the accident with just over 100 children as part of a gospel presentation. Justin shared this story in May of 2010 during a children's program hosted by Character Focus Ministries, a non-profit organization founded by Brandon and Rachael Werner.
Justin sharing the gospel one-to-one with a young man who responded after he shared.

Present Day Updates: #thewernerway

All four of the Greg and Kim Werner children came to know Christ at an early age and were baptized at Western Hills Church. Each of their children have their own stories about God’s faithfulness and how He saved them and called them to engage in ministry with their local church. The culture of Greg and Kim’s home has left a lasting impression on each of their four children, and Greg and Kim would say that all of their children are raising the standard for what it means to be a follower of Jesus in the Werner family.

Sections below will be updated in the future, and each section will be proceeded by the date of the update…

April 24, 2017:

Something unusually yet exciting is taking place in the Werner family during this season of life - most of us are at Western Hills Church together. As a disclaimer, we don't believe that grown children with families of their own need to attend the same church. The Lord has led each of us to Western Hills in our own way, and several of us have left Western Hills and now returned. We are, however, grateful that God has us together serving as part of the same local body of believers during this season!

The following Werner family members are currently at Western Hills Church: Greg and Kim Werner, Brandon and Rachael Werner (and their children), Britt and Lauren Clay (and their children), Jonathan and Whitney Werner (and their children), Justin Werner, Phyllis Werner (Greg's mom), Shirley Werner (Cecil Werner's widow - Cecil passed away about a month ago), and Barbra Lowry (Kim's mom).

A tribute to Cecil Werner...

It is important to pay tribute to Cecil Werner in light of his recent passing. For the children of Greg and Kim Werner, Cecil was more like a grandfather than a great uncle. Henry died in 1983, and Brandon (Greg and Kim's oldest) was born in 1986, so none of us knew our Grandpa Henry. In many ways, Cecil filled his shoes for us and helped pass on the Werner legacy in ways our Grandpa could not. We are so grateful for Cecil and Shirley Werner! We love you, Uncle Cecil. You are missed.

Cecil and Shirley Werner (on both ends) with Pastor Jerry Wells and his wife, Saundra Wells. Pastor Jerry has been the Senior Pastor at Western Hills Church since before Brandon was born, and he has invested in the Werner family and our legacy in more ways than we can mention or count.

Pastor Jerry shared the message at both W.D. and Cecil's funerals. His messages captured the Werner legacy very well, and some of his material was used in the creation of this page. Use the links below to access Pastor Jerry's notes for both messages...

The video tribute above was made for Cecil Werner and Cecil's lifelong friend, Paul McKeithan - both incredible men who served the people at WHC as deacons for many, many years.

Brandon and Rachael Werner:

Brandon and Rachael have three children: Elizabeth, Katherine, and Jackson. Elizabeth and Katherine have both accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, and Jackson (who is 5) is showing early signs of understanding his need for Jesus. In 2009, Brandon marked the fourth generation of Werner men ordained into the ministry. Brandon is currently on staff at Western Hills Church as an Executive Pastor and as the pastor over the group and discipleship ministry; additionally, Brandon is about to enter his Senior year of studies at Moody Bible Institute where he is earning his Bachelor’s of Science in Biblical Studies. Rachael home educates their children, works in a homeschool P.E. program with the kids, runs a photography business, and is currently giving effort to start a business that sells planners that she designed; additionally, Rachael leads the preschool ministry at Western Hills Church and is also very involved through several other ministries in the church. Brandon and Rachael both lead a discipleship group that meets in their home.

Brandon and Rachael Werner living life with family and working as a team with their local church, Western Hills Church in Oklahoma City.

Britt and Lauren (Werner) Clay:

Britt and Lauren have three children: Brightson, Raelynn, and Silas – all currently ages 5 and younger. Britt serves as the Student Pastor at Western Hills Church, and Lauren is the volunteer Women’s Ministry Director at Western Hills. Lauren also manages two home-based businesses: one with Premier Designs and another business coordinating special events. Together, Britt and Lauren lead a discipleship group that meets in their home every week, and they also coach college-age emerging adults who lead discipleship groups at Western Hills Church.

Britt and Lauren sharing life with family and serving at Western Hills Church.

Jonathan and Whitney Werner:

Jonathan and Whitney have two children: Henry and Lydia – both under the age of 4. Jonathan makes his living as a power washer and window washer at Sapphire, but he and Whitney have a vision to open a coffee shop in the near future. Jonathan is a deacon at Western Hills Church, and he serves as a volunteer in a variety of ways including leading the Men’s Ministry and organizing and operating the coffee corner at the church. Whitney is a stay-at-home mom, and she also leads the Hospitality Ministry at Western Hills. Jonathan and Whitney lead a discipleship group that meets in their home.

Jonathan and Whitney Werner living life with family and serving at Western Hills Church.

Justin Werner:

Justin Werner is a single young man who works full-time at Kimray in technology. Justin is currently dating Taylor Ruckel, a godly young woman who has faithfully served at Western Hills for a number of years. Justin is the volunteer Media Team Director at Western Hills, and he oversees two paid staff people who serve as Media Technicians. Justin helps the church keep their computers, videos, projector systems, and more up to date. Additionally, Justin has a his own business called RestartIT that offers a wide variety of tech options to businesses and individuals. Justin also leads a young men’s discipleship team that meets every week at his apartment.

Justin Werner sharing life with family and serving at Western Hills Church. Justin's girlfriend, Taylor, is with him in the top left and bottom right photos.

Our desire...

It is our desire that our children will read this testimony of the Werner legacy, that they will see God's faithfulness to call our family to serve Him, and that they will respond to the call of Jesus on their lives to be saved and to join Him in His mission. We desire to continue the legacy God has given our family as we strive to make living #thewernerway the same thing as living Jesus' way.

Created By
Brandon Werner
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Credits:

Created with images by moniquayle - "corn corn on the cob fodder maize"

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