A Clear Calling - Issue #79
This is an excerpt from a PDF download. To download the full text of this document, click: A Clear Calling.
Westside United Methodist Church in Beaverton, Oregon, is a relatively young congregation, chartered in 1996 and moving into its own building in 2002. Mission clarity has helped it to grow in numbers and effectiveness.
Here is how it describes its mission: "The mission of Westside United Methodist Church is to connect people to Jesus Christ, nurture them in the faith, and equip them to serve in our community and world. We see the mission as a pathway -- a means for us all to be growing from initial connection, to growth and being equipped in the faith, to maturity. We are now eeking to build into our ministries, through all age-levels, the opportunity for all to be on that pathway of growing up in Jesus. God is calling us to be a multicultural congregation, known for serving our community."
This multi-ethnic congregation emphasizes a "come as you are" openness that puts a strong emphasis on authentic relationships with one another and a deepening relationship with God. These relationships are fostered through varying small-group opportunities led by lay and clergy leaders at the church and in homes. They run the spectrum: prayer groups, meditative worship groups, book studies, life transformation groups, Bible studies, Christian life classes, and more.
True to its stated calling, Westside is known for serving in its community. It partners with other churches to support a community-based family shelter and to provide services to local migrant farm worker camps during the summer months. Not only does the congregation have an emergency food pantry, but it also encourages members to reach out through its "Grace for the Road" ministry. Sack lunches, including a note about God's love, are made available for Westside members to take with them and distribute to those they see who are in need. Members of the congregation also volunteer as "camp friends" for low-income families so they can attend family camps at the Oregon-Idaho Conference's camps.
Some Questions for Discussion
Would it be obvious to a visitor how the ministries of your congregation relate directly to its mission statement? If not, is that because the mission is fuzzy or the ministries don't align with it?
How might you collaborate with annual conference camp and retreat leaders to expand faith formation opportunities for your members and to strengthen families in your community?
Kevin Witt is the former Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries at Discipleship Ministries.