At some churches, you can count on a friendly handshake at the door, a smile at the coffee bar, and the option to hide on the back row the rest of the morning. At West Hills, you’ll definitely get the handshake and smile (…and coffee!). But we want to get to know you too much to let you hide.
FROM OUR PASTOR
I love God’s church! The older I get and the longer I serve as a pastor, the greater my love grows for the local church. The church isn’t a building, or a location, or a spiritual service provider. The church is people – of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, skin colors, political persuasions, and socio-economic statuses – flawed, broken people who have discovered (and are still discovering) that God is good, and that he has shown just how good he is by giving his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be our Savior.
But maybe you’re not there yet. Maybe you have lots of doubts and questions about faith. I think the church is at its best when doubters and believers come together in a learning community, where believers and skeptics are learning from each other in an atmosphere of mutual respect and love. So whether you are a doubt-filled skeptic, a curious explorer, or a devoted follower, we would love for you to join us on the journey.
WHO WE ARE
“Why West Hills?” – That’s a great question. Here are just a few of the distinctives that make West Hills uniquely who we are:
“Smallest Big Church” (or “Biggest Small Church”) – This is one of the most common descriptors you’ll hear about us if you ask West Hillians. Oftentimes, choosing a church can feel like a decision between the excitement and programming of a “big church” or the intimacy and connection of a “small church”. At West Hills, our people love that they truly feel a part of a family, without sacrificing excellence in ministry.
Active Involvement – Numbers don’t lie. At West Hills, three-fourths of our regular attenders are also involved in a life group. Over two-thirds actively serve on at least one ministry team. And half of those serve in multiple volunteering roles. Our people love West Hills because it’s so much more than a drive “in and out”, Sunday morning experience; it’s a place to connect with people and to live out your ministry passion.
Discipleship-driven – We believe the church’s primary job is to encourage and equip believers for ministry to a world in need (Eph. 4:11-12). We love it when people bring their non-Christian friends to church, and we are committed to proclaiming the gospel every Sunday. But we are also committed to “declaring the full counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) through expositional preaching, so that believers might grow in spiritual maturity, able to do the work of ministry themselves.
Intergenerational – At West Hills, we value the church’s diversity, and you’ll find believers here of different races, nationalities, socio-economic standings, political ideologies, and faith backgrounds. But we are perhaps most diverse in the intergenerational nature of our church. One third of our church is over the age of 55, another third is under the age of 30, and the last third is in between. Our “older saints” get energized by all the young families and kids, and our “younger saints” glean wisdom from the more experienced believers. We believe God designed the church to function in just this way (1 Pet. 5:1-5), and we wouldn’t have it any other way! West Hills is a proud member of the Converge (Baptist General Conference) denomination. Click HERE for more info.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” -Titus 2:1
The apostles who wrote the New Testament spend the vast majority of their letters teaching us what constitutes “sound doctrine”. When they aren’t doing that, they are reminding us of the importance of holding fast to sound doctrine. We take these exhortations to heart at West Hills. Click HERE for a comprehensive list of our core biblical beliefs.
One of the great rally cries born out of the Reformation was “In essentials Unity, in non-essentials Liberty, in all things Charity.” At West Hills, we believe our calling to glorify God in our worship is one of those “essentials” (it’s why we were created in the first place! – Isa. 43:7, Rev. 4:11). However, how we worship (the exact way in which each individual responds in gratitude and praise to God’s gift of grace in Christ) is a “non-essential”. For that reason, here’s what you can expect to experience during worship services at West Hills:
- Dress: You will see everything from coats with ties to jeans with tee-shirts. We aren’t all that concerned with how you look on the outside; we try and keep the focus where God does – on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7b).
- Music: You will hear everything from timeless hymns to the best of what’s on the radio (and even some songs too cool for the radio). Are you a belt-it-out, “hand-raiser”? You’ll fit right in. More of the quiet, meditate-on-the-lyrics type? You’ll feel at home too.
- Length: Our services typically last an hour and a half. We start at 10:30, and promise to have you out in time for lunch!
Most importantly, what you can expect to experience at West Hills is a lot of “CHARITY”. You’ll see lots of hugging and lengthy catching up between people dressed very differently. You’ll hear lots of joyful exaltation during song we sing. And we bet you’ll leave feeling blessed, personally cared for, and recharged for another week’s worth of worship
Gary has served as the lead preaching pastor of West Hills since 1989. His additional responsibilities include giving leadership to the staff, discipling younger men, and serving with his fellow elders in providing care and oversight to the West Hills church family. Gary and his wife, Jenny, have been married for forty-two years and have been blessed with four children – Jesse, Josh (Joanna), Jud (Sarah) and Erin (Reid), as well as five grandchildren. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking the Lake Michigan shoreline, gazing up at the night sky, enjoying a good book, working outdoors, and cheering for the Cardinals!
Will oversees our kids and youth ministries, life groups, and helps coordinate the lay leaders who head up our other adult ministries. He brings over 10 years of experience in student and family ministries to the team, and his driving passion in life is to help people – especially young people – come to know Christ in a deeper way. He moved to St. Louis in 2015 with his wife Polly and daughter Ellery. He loves enjoying the outdoors together as a family, playing games/sports of all varieties, and hosting and connecting with people both in and outside the church.
Lana oversees the administrative duties at West Hills Church and is a support to the pastoral staff. She has worked in several office settings during the last 15 years but really enjoys working along with fellow believers in Christ. She is married and has 2 teenage sons and an elementary school-aged daughter. She enjoys hiking with the family, reading and going out to eat with friends.
Ally assists with our children and youth ministries and is passionate about sharing Christ’s love and discipling the future generation. She brings an array of experience including various work with children in the US and overseas, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Ministry, with an emphasis in Children’s Ministry, from Lincoln Christian University. Ally is a native St. Louisan, who loves her city. She enjoys building relationships, being outside and traveling to see God’s beauty in the world.
Taylor serves in the areas of marketing, website maintenance, graphic creation and video production. Taylor has spent over 8 years in the graphic design field, and loves making Christ known through aesthetic mediums. Taylor moved to St Louis in 2005 with his wife Abbe, and has 3 children – Amelia, Julianne and Griffin. He enjoys sports like rock climbing and ultimate frisbee in his free time.
We get it – being new at a church can feel like a LOT to take in all at once! That’s why we created Entry Point – a 5-week class specifically designed to
- introduce you to West Hills (the people and the place)
- answer all those FAQs you’re probably already asking yourself; and ultimately,
- invite you to join the family! (week 5 culminates in a discussion about church membership and what that entails)
Entry Point is offered a few times throughout the year, so you shouldn’t have to wait long no matter when you arrive at West Hills. But just in case, you can contact us to sign up for the next session!