I remember first coming to Westwinds and being absolutely blown away by the music, the aesthetics, and the incredible hospitality. I loved the freedom to drink coffee in the auditorium, wear jeans during church, and participate in all the wild weirdness that makes the Winds so special—from writing on the walls to painting on the chairs, from giving away “found” money to helping others in need. The Winds is an absolutely fabulous place to call home.
You probably agree.
But after the initial tide of enthusiasm wears off, you begin to wonder now what? What’s next? Now that I call Westwinds “home”, how should I invest in my church? Now that I’ve decided to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus, what can I do to reorient my life around God?
Let’s take a moment to parse out an answer to these very common questions.
First things first. Figure out what you need. Ask yourself some hard questions about whether you need help socially (counseling, therapy), materially (money, work, housing), or spiritually (guidance, understanding). We do a limited amount of counseling at the Winds, but we know qualified therapists, and our staff will help you connect with the appropriate service in the community. If you need help finding a job or paying your bills, we have a “Needs Assistance” fund managed by our deacons. The amount of help we have to offer is fairly limited, but we want to help where we can. More importantly, once we know you’re looking for work we can keep our eyes and ears peeled for appropriate opportunities. Finally, if you need spiritual help we can connect you with a deacon, an elder, or a satellite group so you can receive the ongoing perspective and assistance you need to live the way God intended.
If you don’t need help—if there’s nothing wrong—then consider taking steps to either get involved or grow in your faith.
If you want to get involved, ask yourself if there’s something specific you’d like to do. Are you a musician? You might consider auditioning for the band. If you love coffee, you might consider volunteering for the coffee team. Or you might have something much more personal in mind. You may have a deep concern for victims of human trafficking, or empathy for the homeless, or passion for evangelism. If you’ve got one of these deep concerns, I suggest you get in touch with a staff member at the Winds. Let us help you get something started that scratches the itch God has placed on your soul.
If you want to grow spiritually, there are two major pathways at Westwinds: Satellites and Apps. Satellites are small group Bible studies that meet (mostly) in people’s homes throughout the week. They are conversation based and give participants the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences in light of biblical teaching. Apps are short-term courses we offer on site at one of our campuses. They are curriculum-driven, with an instructor taking a group of students through structured learning. So, if you’re more interested in building relationships, we suggest trying a satellite. Go at least 5 times, so your experiences normalize and you become comfortable with the other people there. After that, you can decide whether you’re in the right group. If you’re more interested in learning, we suggest you register for one of our Apps (Doxa is a good place to start, as it’s an overview of Christian spirituality). Once you’ve signed up, make sure you attend every session so there are no holes in your understanding, and so you begin to establish some trust and relationship with both the instructor and the other participants.
If you’re still unsure what to do next (and neither of the options above really describes you), let me tell you there are really only two things you need to get the most out of church: you need something to do, and you need to find people you like. For church to “work”, you need friends and a task. This, of course, is why I began by asking you whether you wanted to get involved (i.e. find a task) or grow deeper (i.e. strengthen your relationships with both God and others). It’s because I know you need these things in order for church to be something more than just a hobby, a club, or a pastime. In order to “be” the Church, you’ve got to do more than just come to church.