Why should I be part of a Westside Community?
Westside is a big church, but in community it becomes small. One of the best ways to get plugged in at Westside and to start feeling like part of the family is to get connected with a community group. If you are feeling lost at Westside, community is where you can be found. If you want to start maturing and going deeper as a disciple of Jesus, community is the best place at Westside to grow. If you want to partner with God in his mission to reconcile all creation to himself, community is where mission goes beyond words, and becomes action. Community is where we are the church all week long, and not just on Sundays…so come join us!
What does a Westside Community look like?
Westside Communities are satellites of Westside: A Jesus Church scattered all across the Portland Metro area. They exist to help people experience the love of Jesus, learn the way of Jesus, and live on the mission of Jesus. So what does this look like in practice? It looks like people gathering together in homes and neighborhoods throughout the week to eat good food, engage in meaningful conversation, explore Scripture, and serve their city. Our Westside Communities all have the same foundational purpose and framework, yet each one is unique. Groups range in size from 5 people to 50 people, and every group looks and operates a little differently. Some groups are for a specific stage of life, and others are made up of all ages. Some groups are more study oriented, and others are more outreach oriented. Each group is a little different than the next, which we love!
Why does Westside offer community groups?
None of us are meant to live life alone. From the very beginning, it’s been God’s plan for his people to do life together. Community is Westside’s way of standing in the face of individualism and isolation, and declaring that these are not the way of Jesus. We need each other, and community groups are our way of connecting people together across our church, and across the city.
How do I start a community?
If you desire to lead or host a community at Westside, we would love to help you make this happen! We host a thrice-yearly training at Westside called “Community Launch”, and this is ground zero for all Westside Community planting. If you have a vision for a new Westside Community, we invite you to join us at our next “Community Launch” gathering! You can find out when that is, and get registered, by clicking on the “Start a Community” button on our website page. We encourage you to register today! If you have any questions about starting a new community, or want to learn more about this training, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If the next training is a ways off and you want to get started now, let us know - we can give you some steps to start taking while you wait that will better prepare you for Launch. Starting new communities is one of the best parts of our job…we look forward to partnering with you in getting your group off the ground!
How do I join a community?
If you would like to join a pre-existing community group at Westside, the best way to get started is to join us for one of our monthly “Welcome to Community” gatherings. We host these on the 2nd Sunday of every month from 12pm-1pm in the Westside School Room (located down in the office hall of Westside - Building T). At this gathering you will get to meet the Communities Team, interact with Community Leaders from around the city, learn how to access and utilize the Westside Community Directory, and discover how you can join a group! If you are longing for community at Westside, there’s really no better way to get started than by joining us for “Welcome to Community.” Plus, we’ll have plenty of snacks and beverages for you to enjoy, so you really can’t go wrong. To learn more and to register for one of our upcoming “Welcome to Community” gatherings, simply click on the “Join a Community” button on our Communities page.
When & where do communities gather?
We have Westside Communities that gather every day of the week, all of them at different times and places. The majority of our communities meet in homes, because we’ve found that there’s really nothing more warm and welcoming than gathering around someone’s kitchen table for a meal, or circling up in someone’s family room for prayer and conversation. Some of our communities gather in more public spaces (like a clubhouse or a coffee shop) or mix up their gathering location from time to time (meeting at Top Golf for a ladies night or Big Al’s for a guys’ gathering). But most of the time, you’ll find our groups gathered around a living room fireplace or barbequing on a back-deck at someone’s home.
Who leads these communities?
All of our communities have a leader – someone who has been through “Community Launch” training at Westside, who has been interviewed by the Communities Team, and who has been approved to start/lead a group. Our leaders (like our groups) are all very different from each other – we have young leaders, old leaders, male leaders, female leaders, and leaders from all different cultures and backgrounds. None of our leaders are perfect, but they all have a vision for their community, and a desire to lead and guide that community well. Our leaders aren’t the community “Boss,” ordering people around…instead, they are more like “Shepherds,” working hard to care for their community well, and to keep it healthy and moving forward.
Are there different types of Westside Communities?
Yep! While all of our Community Leaders go through the same process, and all of our groups have the same basic structure and framework, no two Westside Communities are exactly the same. They all gather in different places and are lead by different people, and as a result they all have a slightly different flavor. We believe that people are more important than programs, and our communities reflect that value. Because all of our communities are a little different, it can be helpful to visit a few of them. Just keep in mind that you will never find a perfect community, that’s just a fantasy. Ultimately, being part of a community is going to take commitment, and a willingness to invest in a group of people that is flawed and imperfect. If possible, we encourage you to find and commit to a group that gathers close to where you live, since that will make it easier for you to invest fully in that group of people.