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 join a new community?
At Westside, we are constantly planting new communities of people in our city to love, learn, and live the way of Jesus. If you would like to be part of a new community, please fill out our “Community Startup Interest Form” by clicking on the “Community Startup” button on our Communities page. Once we have received your submission, we’ll reach out to you to connect and share next steps. We’ll set up a time for you to meet personally with the Community Life team at Westside, so that we can get to know you, and work with you to figure out what it will look like for you to be part of a community startup at Westside.
How do I join a pre-existing 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 the Family” 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 meet some of the Westside staff, hear about Westside's history and where we are headed, and learn how to get connected with our church family! We'll spend a good chunk of this hour talking about community life, and helping you get plugged in. If you are longing for community at Westside, there’s really no better way to get started than by joining us for “Welcome to the Family.” 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 these gatherings, simply click on the “Welcome to the Family” 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 interviewed and trained by the Community Life 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.
Is there a Directory of Westside Communities?
There sure is! If you would like to see a map that shows all of our official Westside Communities, simply go back to the Communities page of the website and click on the “Directory” button. You will have to set up some credentials before you can login – simply follow the instructions on the login page. Once you can view the Directory, you will be able to see all of our groups, along with details for each one. Each of our community listings in the Directory comes with contact information, so if you see one you are interested in, you can reach out to them for more info, or to setup a time to visit. All of the communities in the Directory are ready and excited to receive visitors, with the only exception being groups that are listed in the Directory as “Currently Full” (due to lack of space). While the Directory is a great tool to assist you in finding a Westside Community, we still highly recommend coming to one of our “Welcome to the Family” gatherings. These gatherings operate as sort of the front door to our Westside Community Network, and provide friendly, face-to-face human interaction - which ultimately is more helpful than an online tool ever could be.
What if I just want a traditional bible study or small group?
At Westside, we try to keep things simple, which means keeping our programs to a minimum. While we do occasionally offer more traditional bible studies and small groups, Westside Communities are the primary way in which we scatter together throughout the week. And we’ve found that Westside Communities actually meet most of the needs people are looking to satisfy in more specialized groups. Looking for a Bible Study? Westside Communities are passionate about learning and growing together, and studying Scripture is a big part of that. Looking for a support group? Westside Communities are a place where people rally around each other, and build each other up. Looking for a stage of life group? Some of our communities provide just that, with certain groups focused specifically on young professionals, families, empty nesters, etc. Looking for a gender specific group? Many of our Westside Communities have male/female specific nights as part of their rhythm - and if that doesn’t float your boat, we have great Men’s/Women’s Ministries at Westside that facilitate a lot of gender specific activity, check them out!