Community groups launch every September and take a holiday break from Thanksgiving to New Years; at Easter break; and for summer break from June to August. The goal is to keep people in consistent community during the academic school year, but to give space for groups to take a break multiple times each year.
Westside believes in investing in our leadership, so we offer community group leadership training twice a year (summer and winter) to prepare new leaders to launch their groups. Each training focuses on a unique aspect of leadership development.
If you are new to Westside, we will help you get connected with a group. If someone invites you to join their group, go for it! Groups are usually open to new people joining with the exception of groups that have space limitations or that have reached personal capacity. Our goal is to keep groups relatively small (8-12 people per group) so that relationships can be fostered. We will be opening new groups throughout the year as more leaders go through the leadership training.
We recognize that this kind of engagement can be challenging for families, particularly with young children. We are working with our kids and family ministry to develop creative solutions for these challenges. Some ideas include: providing spaces on the Westside campus for parents to connect in community while we provide childcare; Community groups developing a plan to rotate homes for childcare during the week; Building up a team of volunteers that can rotate between Community Group homes during the week to do a special kids lesson.
For the teens, we would love to start developing this community vision within the middle school and high school groups where they use a similar model: Gathering on Sundays, and youth group during the week, and having a smaller group they meet with regularly to connect more deeply in relationship.