Watch Last Week   Give Now

Eddie's 2nd major update email

Sent May 27, 2020

First, a Follow-up to Yesterday’s Email

Friend, I hope you’ve carefully read the email I sent yesterday. It explained why West Side is not yet re-opening our campus for Sunday worship gatherings.

While I appreciate the many who replied to affirm our approach and to commend us, I also genuinely appreciate several who respectfully conveyed that they had hoped for a more aggressive reopening schedule. I value being able to say that I/we feel “supported,” even by those who would have preferred a different approach.

While I can’t promise a timeline, I expect us to begin laying out a re-opening plan sooner, not later. Meanwhile, let’s practice the instruction to “be anxious for nothing – and pray about everything.”

Now for the 2nd update and some very good news…

Phase 2 construction news!

If you’ve lost track of where we are in Phase 2 of our campus construction (new worship & concourse space), here’s a review and a look ahead:

  • When the shutdown began, West Side’s leaders took the precautionary step of pausing construction. We simply did not know how the economic downturn and the inability to meet on our campus would impact our collective generosity.
  • Since the roof for the new worship center was already being delivered to our campus, it made sense to install it (rather than paying to transport it again and store it), so it was installed.
  • When the new worship center roof was completed, construction activity was dramatically scaled back, though not completely stopped.

Because of your continuing generosity, our leaders have now authorized the construction of the exterior portion of the final segment of the new space. We nicknamed this final section “the connector” because it will tie the new worship structure to our new main entrance and existing space.

  • By late summer or early fall, the shell of the connector (the foundation, exterior walls and roof) will be complete.
  • What will remain at that point is the interior work on all of Phase 2 (the new worship center and connector). This interior work represents a very significant portion of Phase 2 and will require 8-9 months to complete.
  • Our leaders will not authorize the Phase 2 interior work to begin until it is clear that our collective generosity will allow for its completion.

We hope Phase 2 interior work will begin in early 2021 – and that we will occupy the new worship center by December 2021. The more generous we are in the remaining months of 2020, the more likely this timeline will become. We are thankful to God for your generosity, which is allowing us to proceed with the next part of the new construction – and to foresee a timeline for the final portion!

New online worship schedule

Beginning Sunday, June 7, we will revise our online worship schedule. With this adjustment, we will…

  1. add a weekly traditional online worship service
  2. modify start times for 2 of our 3 contemporary services.
    • 8:30am – Contemporary Worship at (TCO)
    • 10:00am – Contemporary at TCO
    • 11:30am – Contemporary at TCO
    • 1:00pm – Traditional Worship at TCO

Since start times will be 90 minutes apart, it will be easier to share them with others! Again, the new schedule is effective June 7, one week from this coming Sunday! When it’s time to resume worship on our campus, we’ll clarify start times. The new online schedule is likely to be our schedule when we return to campus.

Friend, remember what we’ve sung several times recently: “Don’t lose heart, oh my soul.” Wonderful things are ahead.

With love and hope,
Eddie & West Side's Leaders

PS – Need something? Email us at

Update from Eddie: resuming on campus worship gatherings

Sent May 26, 2020

As our world takes “baby steps” toward normal, allow me to share some info and perspective for Westsiders.

There is much discussion and some conflict (much of it politicized) around the question of WHEN and HOW churches should resume public worship services. Some federal, state and local officials have issued dueling statements about it. Many people are choosing sides and joining the war of words.

Although you wouldn’t know it by the way some people frame the discussion, decisions related to church gatherings are very complicated. To reduce the discussion to any single factor (public health, religious freedom, etc.) is to oversimplify it. Yes, churches have important reasons for wanting to resume in-person gatherings as soon as possible. We also have important reasons for moving forward with great care.

What Are the Factors?

If it were left solely to West Side’s leaders to determine when we would gather again for public worship, the simple answer to the “when” question would be: we don’t yet know. We anticipate gaining clarity on a timeline over the next month, but we are not yet ready to announce a plan/schedule. Why? Because, as of today…

  1. It wouldn’t be the kind of “West Side experience” we want to offer. With social distancing still needed, we do not see a way to offer a high quality, on campus experience at this time. Trust me, no one wants us to worship together on campus more than West Side’s leaders. But until we can welcome at least 50-75% of our room capacity, we can’t “do church” in a way that is compelling. We can minimize the number of surfaces we all touch and sanitize between gatherings, no problem. But we can’t host enough worship services to welcome thousands of people who are 6-feet apart.
  2. Most people are unwilling to attend church at this point. We’ve learned of churches across the country, who resumed public worship gatherings in recent weeks, only to host very small crowds. One church that seats 2600 people had one service with fewer than 100 in attendance. (However, WE DO ANTICIPATE RESUMING SMALLER GROUPS AND GATHERINGS SOON. Stay tuned.)
  3. Many of our neighbors would question our judgment. While we don’t intend to wait until the most cautious person in Springfield agrees that we should gather again, neither do we want to sacrifice the rapport we’ve established with our city by deciding prematurely that we will gather again. Titus 2:8 teaches us to consider what outsiders think of us and to strive to give them "nothing bad to say about us." By the way, we expect government officials to engage more actively with church leaders in the weeks ahead to maximize alignment and minimize conflict.
  4. West Side has never been in “shutdown” mode. Although we closed our building to normal activity, WE HAVE NEVER CLOSED OUR CHURCH. On the contrary…
    • MORE people have accessed our Sunday worship and teaching via
    • On average, we reached 1000 MORE people per week over the last 10 weeks
    • We have fed MORE hungry people… blessed MORE lonely people… loved MORE people on the margins
    • We have gained MORE experience and GREATER insight on how to use digital tools for ministry
    • Some are giving MORE of their financial resources to God’s work and to people in need
    • And we are MORE convinced that we will reach 10,000 people a week over the decade to come!

When We Do Gather Again

Because we are one of the larger churches in our area, we anticipate some scrutiny and commentary when we begin to worship together again. In anticipation of the questions and (perhaps) criticism that may come, I want to make it clear that our motives for resuming our gatherings WILL NOT include the following:

It won’t be for FINANCIAL reasons. While we have seen some decline in total giving during the last few months (due to reduced income for some of us), most Westsiders continue to give at similar levels. We are not panicked and financial motives will not be a factor in future decisions about on campus worship.

It won’t be a POLITICAL statement. Seasoned Westsiders know that we stay on mission regardless what party occupies any given position. The reason we aren’t meeting on campus now has nothing to do with political ties or perspectives. When we move to gather again, the same will be true.

It won’t be a play for PUBLICITY. Over the years, we’ve been given many opportunities to comment on what’s in the news, which we’ve rarely done. When we serve our city or its people in some way, I ask our staff to never seek media coverage (although we sometime receive it). That’s how we roll – and nothing we do from this point forward will be driven by a desire to become part of the media coverage.

The Test We Must Pass Together

While we wait for clarity on when to gather, my primary concern is how we discuss it. We should not be among those who hurl allegations at those who disagree with us. I know some sincere, godly people who are ready to worship with a crowd now. I know others, who are just as sincere and godly, who prefer to wait. We all must avoid attempting to invalidate those who disagree with us on these things.

That’s why I’m calling Westsiders to be patient, respectful of others’ views and fiercely committed to unity. Let’s embrace this guidance given by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:2-6, NIV): Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

During the unique season we're in, I’d summarize that verse this way: It is even more important that we stay together than meet together. Without unity, we are nothing. Let’s hang together, friend. And, when it comes to government officials, remember what Peter wrote (1 Peter 2:17), Show proper respect to everyone: love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. Thankfully, we don’t have a king. But we do have government officials with heavy responsibilities and God-given authority. I’m not pledging to always agree with how they use it, but I want to always communicate with/about them in a way that honors God.

Stay tuned tomorrow for another email about some important and encouraging developments at West Side.

Looking forward to good things,

Eddie Lowen & West Side’s Leadership Team

Do you know how NOT to pray?

Sent May 15, 2020

We’re all doing a lot of sanitizing right now, but one thing I love about the Bible is that it doesn’t sanitize people’s behavior – even godly people. Take the disciples of Jesus, for example. Their courage to originally follow Jesus and their sacrificial devotion to spreading his gospel make them key players in God’s kingdom. But the Bible doesn’t hide the fact that they were sometimes self-absorbed… sometimes afraid… and sometimes slow to trust what Jesus taught them.

But one moment when the original followers of Jesus got it really, really right was when they asked for his help with something that is essential to a personal faith. They had been impacted by seeing how important prayer was in the life and ministry of Jesus, but they felt inadequate in their own prayers. So they said to Jesus, “Teach us to pray.

As we launch our new teaching series, Well Prayed, tomorrow at, I’m asking God to teach you and me to pray. This series will be more than a teacher saying, “We should all pray more.” It will highlight the reasons we all have to WANT to pray. Every good parent realizes there are good habits his/her child will embrace, if the child will simply trust the parent’s guidance to try it and learn to do it well. That’s what our Good, Good Father knows about us and prayer.

"See" you tomorrow,

4 words for this Sunday at West Side

Sent May 8, 2020

Friend, you may not need to be convinced that joining me at this Sunday is a great idea – but if you were wavering and I had to convince you, I’d use these FOUR WORDS to help you get there:

  1. MEANING. One thing I love most about worship at West Side is that we don’t just check the box. Worship is a “we get to” and not a “we ought to.” After each week’s online gathering, we hear from Westsiders and guests that what happened really meant something to them.
  2. JOY. While it’s easier to smile and laugh while sitting in a room with hundreds of our friends, we’re continuing to learn how to convey the joyful spirit we all love about West Side in our online environment.
  3. IDENTITY. There is something good about bringing everyone in your home together for worship. It says, “This is who we are. We do this, even if we can’t do it exactly how/where we normally do it.” There’s a famous statement by Joshua in the Old Testament that begins, “As for me and my house…” Let online worship be your way to declare that the people of your house are God’s people. And if you have someone in your house who isn’t normally a worshipper, invite him/her to be part of it.
  4. GROWTH. It happens gradually over a lifetime, so we aren’t conscious of every gain – but God’s Spirit and word shape us from the inside out. By simply choosing to engage, we say YES to spiritual progress and NO to a stagnant faith.

Obviously, this Sunday is Mother’s Day, so we will definitely serve up some gratitude and encouragement for moms! However, Sunday’s message is for EVERYONE. Plus, I’ll ask you to join me in closing Sunday’s teaching in a unique way that I hope will be freeing for many.

See you at at 8:45, 10:10 or 11:30am this Sunday.

West Side's lead guy

Wow - well done - keep it going

Sent April 12, 2020

If you invited someone to join us at for Easter worship (or if you shared our social media posts), way to go and thank you. I’m proud of your boldness and grateful that even when you’re not on-campus, you’re still on-mission!

Because of your efforts, we welcomed 11,023 DEVICES to our online worship gatherings this weekend. That’s the largest number of people we’ve ever reached with a weekend worship gathering. If your device was among them, I’m so glad. If you invited someone who joined us, I’m doubly glad and grateful to you!

Would you like to keep it going?

Normally, our entire Sunday worship experience is not available “on-demand” following our weekend services. However, we are making the full Easter worship service available online for at least the next few weeks. Here’s the LINK. Copy and paste it into a text/message/email/social media post to share it with someone.

May you be filled with Resurrection Joy today. Much love, West Side.

Eddie Lowen

Let's celebrate hope today & tomorrow!

Sent April 11, 2020


Easter worship at begins TODAY at 4pm and continues TOMORROW morning. If you want to make the most of it, below are my top 3 suggestions…

1) Determine a worship schedule. Sure, you could keep your options open and catch an online service after you wake up. But I think it’s wise to continue planning our days, even if our schedules aren’t as demanding as usual. So, choose a worship time and build your meal schedule around it. Ask everyone in your house to gather a few minutes before online worship begins – do it together, even though you all have individual devices. If you live alone, consider scheduling a FaceTime or Zoom call to connect with some West Side friends before/after worship. Or text lyrics and teaching threads that strike you in real-time. Look for a way to make online worship communal.

2) Invite someone. Many great spiritual stories begin with a friend or coworker simply inviting a person to experience worship and to hear God’s word. COME AND SEE works, even online. So, forward an invitation from West Side’s Facebook or Instagram account, grab one of our Easter schedule graphics and text/message it to someone, or simply offer an invitation in your own words. Be bold and be the difference-maker someone needs you to be.

3) Use social media well. Thanks to an abundance of free time, people are on social media more than ever. While much of what they see is trivial or unhelpful, you and I can offer them a great opportunity by sharing West Side’s Easter worship info. Here’s a Facebook link. Here’s an Instagram link.

See you at Easter online,

Eddie Lowen
lead guy

5 ways to invite to Easter at West Side

Sent April 8, 2020


Have you considered whom you’ll invite to Easter at West Side? Even from the comfort of your home, you can bring hope to others this week!

Here are 5 ways to get involved in this hope-bringing mission:

1. Register for “Donut Day.”
If you haven’t heard, we’re orchestrating a massive donut delivery tomorrow (Thursday, April 9). Visit, and a member of our staff team will deliver (ding dong ditch-style) a dozen donuts to the doorstep of your friend, along with an invite to Easter at West Side. Our donut supply is limited, so order now.

2. Participate in the “Egged” Experience.
Got kids? Make plans to participate in "Egged," a fun way to invite friends to Easter at West Side. The West Side Kids Team has created multiple versions that will allow you to encourage neighbors to join us at this weekend, while still practicing social distancing. Learn more and download instructions at

3. Text or Call a Friend.
There’s no substitute for simply and boldly saying, “I’d love for you to join me online this weekend for Easter at West Side!” If you need the help of a humorous meme, visit to add some wit to the invitation. If you don’t know what a meme is, just Google it.

4. Share West Side’s Easter Social Media Posts
Let’s make sure there isn’t a person within our reach that doesn't know that Jesus is for EVERYONE and that there’s a place for them at West Side. One easy way to do this is to like, comment and share posts related to Easter at West Side.

5. Check out for more Easter ideas.
Our team has created several creative tools appropriate for different people and personalities. Explore them all at

We’d love to pray for you!
Our team would love to pray for the people you intend to invite. If you’d like for us to pray for your friends by name, simply email us at We are asking God to embolden every Westsider to extend loving and winsome invitations… to help each of us connect with him in a deeper way… and to draw thousands to Jesus this Easter weekend.

Praying for you, Westsiders!

The West Side Leadership Team

Sign up for Donut Day... and more!

Sent April 6, 2020


It's Holy Week, and Easter is just around the corner! Our team has created several ways in which to prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus together this weekend.

SIGN UP FOR DONUT DAY- Thursday, April 9
We're releasing GOOD NEWS to our community this week through a massive donut delivery. Do you know someone who is disconnected from church, lonely, or searching for hope in this season? Visit request donuts, and we'll deliver a dozen (ding dong ditch-style) to the doorstep of your friend, along with an invite to Easter at West Side from YOU. Orders are due Wednesday, April 8, at 12:00 PM, and deliveries will take place Thursday, April 9. Sign up now! Want to invite multiple people to Easter? No problem! You may submit multiple requests, and we'll gladly deliver.

Later this week, we'll provide you with tools needed for a Good Friday prayer experience. We'll focus our attention on Jesus' final moments on the cross and follow his example of crying out to God. Audio and written prayer guides (for your personal use at home) will be posted on our social media pages and at Also, a prayer area will be set up in West Side's parking lot between 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Once on campus, follow the parking lot signs, which will direct you to a parking spot and give instructions on how to access the audio prayer guide via radio or mobile device. We will not be distributing materials on-site (to maximize safety) and ask that you remain in your vehicle and maintain social distancing guidelines during the experience.

EASTER AT WEST SIDE- Saturday, April 11 & Sunday, April 12
The Christian faith rests on one epic event: Christ's resurrection. Though this season has been tough on humanity, Jesus’ resurrection still has the power to bring hope to the most broken of places. Make plans to join us for Easter at West Side ONLINE on Saturday, April 11, at 4:00 PM OR Sunday, April 12, at 8:45, 10:10, or 11:30 AM. As always, we'll stream our services at

Looking for other ways to invite those you know to Easter at West Side? Head to to download a sign to hang on your window or door… use our Facebook profile frame… or download a funny meme to share with a friend. While we always attempt to equip you with creative tools to introduce your friends to Jesus, there's no substitute for actually texting or calling a friend and saying, "I hope you'll join me for Easter at West Side." Let's bring some hope this week, Westsiders!

If you need additional help as you prepare for Easter, you're always welcome to reach out to our team at

We look forward to celebrating Easter with you all week long!

The West Side Leadership Team

8 tips for "going" to church Sunday

Sent April 5, 2020

Our team can’t wait to “see” you this morning for online worship: 8:45, 10:10 or 11:30am CT!

To make the most of today’s worship experience, take advantage of these 8 tips for “going” to church.

1. Attend “together” with family and friends.
Select a service, text or call some family or friends and then decide to tune-in together at the same time. This is the virtual way to go to church with those you love!

2. Share about on social media.
Take a moment right now to share our Facebook or Instagram posts, along with a personal invite to join us for today’s services. Spiritual receptivity and the search for God are exceptionally high. Let’s invite people into our community of hope.

3. Get your communion ready.
Each Sunday during our services, we’ll pause for a moment to celebrate communion. This is a chance to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Grab some crackers and juice before the service begins so you’re ready to fully participate in communion together.

4. Check out our kids and family worship tools.
West Side is a church for EVERYONE, including kids! To discover worship experiences for kids of all ages, visit

5. Snap a photo of your worship experience and post it on social media.
We are currently one church in thousands of locations. Post a photo of your view of worship today and be sure to tag West Side. Not only does this give our staff and other Westsiders a chance to “say hello” during worship, but it also serves as a reminder to others who might be wondering how to give church a try in this season.

6. Give online or by check.
Your giving during this season is especially important to our church. Simply visit or text any amount to 217-718-2043. For check-givers, this morning is a great time to stick a check in the mail addressed to West Side Christian Church, 2850 Cider Mill Lane, Springfield, IL, 62702. If desired, click here, and we'll send you a batch of self-addressed stamped envelopes to use in the coming weeks.

7. Complete the Connection Card.
Make sure to complete a Connection Card today. Prayer requests and any needs you may have can be listed on your card. And, for each first time Connection Card we receive today, we’ll make a donation to Inner City Mission, a homeless shelter for Springfield families.

8. Visit us in the “Zoom Room.”
When we meet on campus, we invite guests to stop by our Next Steps area. If Westsiders want to talk with someone from our team, we encourage them to visit the Waterside Room. Those who want to “hang out” with other Westsiders often do so in the Fireside Café. If you’re missing any of these spaces today, we hope you’ll “stop by” our Zoom Room. In this digital church season, the “Zoom Room” will serve as a virtual meet-up spot where you can hang out by video with members of our staff and Next Steps Team. After the service, visit to enter our online meeting room. We look forward to saying hello!

Hope to see you soon at!

an update from Eddie - April 3

Sent April 3, 2020

Hello, West Side. As a public service, I’ll start by reminding you today is Friday. (Since we are out of our usual rhythms, knowing the day of the week has become a luxury!)

Although God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1), humor is a helpful coping mechanism. The funniest tweet I’ve seen recently was from someone who rewrote the little poem that helped many of us memorize how many days there are in each month:

Thirty days has September
April, June and November
All the rest have thirty-one
Except for March of 2020, which had 8000

Friend, keep the faith – but keep your sense of humor, too.

Let’s Celebrate

Yesterday I read a just-released study by a scholar from the University of Copenhagen. While the author isn’t a proponent of faith, the data presented shows that Google searches for “prayer” skyrocketed during the month of March. The graph representing this trend looks almost opposite of the recent stock market graphs we’ve all seen. As market confidence and value have dropped, spiritual hunger has peaked.

I don’t like it when believers callously overstate the “spiritual silver lining” when discussing the very real difficulties people are facing. But even though it can be expressed clumsily and unwisely, the spiritual bottom line is the bottom line. Loss and uncertainty are real. People need comfort and help and compassion when hurting. That’s why I’m ready to see things turn in a better direction as soon as possible – I’m praying for it and ask you to join me in praying for relief.

But I do trust the sovereignty of God and I celebrate the reality that when life is difficult, many look to God. That’s one reason why we’ve seen large numbers of online worshippers with us recently. That’s also the history of Israel in the Old Testament in a nutshell. During good times, Israel tended to ignore and dishonor God. But when things got tough, they rediscovered their need for God. Let’s pray the current season will end soon – but let’s pray the Holy Spirit will use this difficult time well. The word “revival” is overused in some Christian circles, but it simply means people are finding their way back to God. Lord, please rescue our health and economies. But please bring revival.

Sunday Worship Online

Our musicians have prepared another excellent worship set for Sunday’s online gatherings – and I will lead us in a look at one of God’s most reassuring names, a name that couldn’t be more relevant in our current circumstances. Please be intentional about setting aside time to worship online. Minimize distractions and ask everyone in your home to put down their phones to worship together. And don’t underestimate how much your social media posts can point others toward Jehovah-Jireh, the God who will provide, during a time when we all need what only God can provide (yes, that’s a sermon theme hint).

By the way, while many on our team are making me proud during this time, I want to give a huge shout-out to our KIDS and STUDENT ministry teams. Make sure the kids/students in your world tap into what they are doing. Family worship resources can be accessed at Students can visit:

Be the Hope

Although my wife and I have everything we need and more, some friends dropped-off some goodies at our house a couple days ago. It really lifted our spirits. Let’s all look for people to love and encourage, while staying as safe as possible. Pray for our first responders and health care workers – they are doing heroic work. Remain aware of the things West Side is doing weekly to bless others.

Easter Is Coming

Easter Sunday is just over a week away – and I am asking you to saturate your circles of people (which include some of those spiritually hungry people who are asking Google how to pray) with digital and verbal invitations to join us at West Side for worship. Yes, we’ll be online-only for Easter (and for at least the remainder of April). But we are adding a Saturday at 4pm service to our usual Sunday schedule for Easter weekend. Remember the web address?

I love you all,

Eddie Lowen
Lead guy

Update from Eddie 3/19

Sent March 19, 2020

Sunday’s Online Gatherings and New Teaching Series
Our lives have changed dramatically in recent days. In football, a quarterback calls an audible at the line of scrimmage when he reads the defense and realizes a more effective play is needed. I’m doing something similar with our Sunday teaching in the weeks ahead. The opening week of Let It Go was just right for last Sunday, but we’ll save the remaining teachings of that series for later and launch a new series this Sunday called OMG – Reclaiming the Name Above All Names.

We’ve all heard the initials OMG used flippantly, but I want us to reclaim those letters and the phrase they represent over the coming weeks. More than anything, we need to know this God we worship and serve, because knowing him more will help us trust him more. A group of my pastor friends from across the country have decided to teach this series together over the coming weeks. My prayer is that these teachings will inspire us to worship and trust God more than ever, even in the uncertainty of current events.

Wondering how we can move forward from all that’s happening? Join us Sunday at (8:45, 10:10, 11:30am) as we worship and reintroduce our Waymaker God. Please invite others to join us online. There is greater receptivity among normally unchurched people right now. Point them toward our Great God by inviting them to our online worship gatherings.

Construction Pause
As many likely expect, we are going to pause on our construction project starting in 2-3 weeks (after the roof that is about to be installed on our new worship space is complete). This step just makes sense. Since the length of time we’ll be unable to gather is not yet known (and since economic uncertainty is high), our elders believe it is wise to pause after the important step of roofing the new worship room. We are still Fearless, but we don’t want to be Clueless! We’ll resume construction as soon as we can.

The very best thing you can do to help is to either 1) join those who give electronically (here’s the link to sign-up) or 2) mail your gift by check on the same schedule you would normally give in person. Some of you are already doing this. Again, thank you, so much. Email if you have a question about e-giving.

When we speak of West Side’s financial needs, we are not failing to realize that many individuals are already being impacted financially by what is taking place in our economy. Incomes are being reduced, while investments are shrinking. We are hopeful and prayerful that the next few weeks will hold relief and recovery, but we know this is a tough season for many. So, we encourage you to not only sustain West Side faithfully and fearlessly during this time, but to do all you can to help sustain others. Many can do both of those things – and both are very important.

It’s important that we not obsess over markets and tightening personal finances. It’s also important to intentionally focus on things that remind us that our lives have meaning and our ongoing ministry is more important than ever.

  1. I have loved hearing about kids and students and adults meeting in groups virtually in recent days (our elder team met last night for an hour via Zoom, a virtual meeting tool).
  2. I loved seeing how quickly and strongly Westsiders responded to the call to feed under-resourced kids and families while kids are away from school (where many receive meals).
  3. I loved seeing more than 6600 devices join us for online worship last Sunday.

Check on people… keep your sense of humor… limit the time you watch/read the news… remember that bad times have come and gone before… prioritize your spiritual and emotional health… pray for those infected by the virus… pray that “the curve” we’ve all heard referenced in the news will, indeed, be bent by our precautionary steps.

Tuesday and Thursday Live Devotion at 9:30am
Join us on Facebook Live next Tuesday for our first live social media devotion. I want to pour extra encouragement and perspective into you from God’s word during this time.

Carefully read all emails and posts from West Side during this season. Email us at if you need something, including prayer.

Much love,

Eddie Lowen
West Side’s lead guy

Important info from Eddie to Westsiders

Sent March 17, 2020.

Friend, I pray you are well. I want to make sure we remain connected as much as possible during this unique and stressful season. Please, read on…

Last Sunday we could not gather in-person, yet more than 6600 devices connected with us through For a non-holiday Sunday, that’s a record number of worshippers for us. The huge participation level was a result of Westsiders sharing our social media posts and inviting online guests via message, text and email. What a great response to an unfortunate limitation – let’s do the same every week that we can’t meet in-person!

For obvious reasons, we will worship together online-only until further notice. We will broadcast on during three of our familiar worship times: 8:45, 10:10 and 11:30am each Sunday. Is this the way we prefer it? No. But we trust God to use these circumstances as we pray and remain faithful.

It’s a bit strange to type these words, but until further notice, the church campus and office is closed and all on-campus ministry meetings and events are cancelled. While there will be staff in the building much of the day and night, the doors will normally be locked.

If anything, the level of activity among our staff has picked up this week. Many innovations and adjustments are underway. I’m proud of our team. Look for email communication from staff leaders of ministries to which you are connected.

If you are already signed-up for E-GIVING, thank you for leading the way and for remaining faithful while we cannot meet on-campus.

However, if you normally contribute by check or cash while on-campus, it’s crucial that you now switch to e-giving. If you discontinue e-giving once the virus concerns pass, that’s fine. But for now, e-giving is essential to ensure West Side remains strong. Thank you!

USE THIS LINK for a secure page where you can opt for either 1) a scheduled withdrawal from your bank account, or 2) set up text-to-give (which allows you to fund your gift with either a bank account or credit card).

If you aren’t comfortable using these methods, mail your check (no cash) to WSCC, 2850 Cider Mill Lane, Springfield IL 62702.

During the time we can’t meet together, I want to meet with you twice a week for a 15-minute devotion – online. The current plan is to use the Facebook Live feature on West Side’s Facebook page/account. Meet me there at 9:30am starting next Tuesday, March 24. If we determine that we can add Instagram and use both formats, we’ll let you know. Look for social media posts to remind you of this opportunity.

If you need some type of prayer or care from our team during this season, reach us through this email address:

If you want to use your increased time at home to grow spiritually, check out RIGHT NOW MEDIA or West Side’s LET IT GO resource page. Watch our Facebook page for additional spiritual growth tools. Our small groups are not meeting in person at this time, so if you’d like help meeting virtually with your group, contact

Some folks are already being impacted financially by the disruption of so many parts of our economy. So let’s be on the lookout for folks to help – and let’s pray God will bless everyone with what they need. And, of course, let’s pray for anyone who has contracted coronavirus – and for everyone involved in caring for these folks.

See you soon (I hope and pray),

Eddie Lowen
Lead guy

Important: ONLINE WORSHIP ONLY this Sunday at West Side

Sent March 12, 2020

Hello, friend. This message is from Eddie, lead guy at West Side. This Sunday, March 15, we will worship together ONLINE ONLY during three of our normal service times: 8:45, 10:10 and 11:30am.

Obviously, we are taking this step due to heightened concerns about the spread of coronavirus. Also, we desire to cooperate as much as possible with the guidance being given by local officials, who are working hard to guard the health of our community. While the orders and guidance we’ve received reflect an abundance of caution, we agree: it is wise to accept some limitations and inconveniences in the hope of stopping a virus that is dangerous for some.

Although there is much we don’t know, let me attempt to answer some questions below…

Yes, but we will make that decision week-by-week. Although some public health officials are citing a 30-day period during which large gatherings should not occur, there will likely be clarifications and adjustments to the guidance being given. Stay tuned.

All on-campus events for this Sunday are cancelled, but early next week, we will make decisions about smaller events and gatherings. Watch our social media accounts and check your email often for communication from West Side over the coming weeks.

While some are expressing this view, we believe decisions about our worship gatherings (during a public health crisis) are a test of our discernment, not our faith. Because thousands of people trust our guidance and gather with us each Sunday, the impact of our decisions is multiplied. Don’t misunderstand: we are not sending a frantic message intended to frighten you; rather, we are attempting to be responsible members of the Springfield community.

If you and I do not utilize online giving tools and the postal service to give faithfully, of course, it could. But I have a lot of confidence that Westsiders are generous, not because we happen to be on-campus, but because we are on-mission. If you don’t currently give electronically on a schedule, can I urge you to begin now? Here’s a safe LINK by which you can do so.

You should be wise. You should practice discretion. You should be patient. You should avoid amplifying politically skewed information and accusations. But… you should also be hopeful – and you should absolutely refuse to panic, even if you contract this virus. In all things, trust God.

Yes, and one reason you should join us online Sunday (and invite as many folks as you can) is that God was far ahead of us as we planned: our new series is called LET IT GO. Want to guess Sunday’s teaching theme? ANXIETY. If you have friends who need encouragement about resisting worry during this crisis – or if you have neighbors and friends who can’t make it to their churches in-person, welcome them to join us online. Again, it’s

Friend, I wish we were meeting in-person Sunday, but I’m not discouraged. You shouldn’t be, either. I am confident God is at work right now – drawing people to himself. The power of his Word and his Spirit will be evident as we “meet” this Sunday. Our church may not meet in-person this Sunday – but THE Church is alive and well.

My best advice to you (for however long this concern drags on) is found in Philippians 4:6. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Start your praying with thanksgiving. Pray for those infected. Pray for those gripped with fear. Pray for the families of those who have lost someone to the virus, not just here, but overseas, and even in countries that view us as enemies. Pray for those stranded while traveling abroad. Pray for the citizens of countries that lack medical resources and leaders who care about their well-being. Pray for our leaders (national, state and local).

See you online this Sunday. I am genuinely, incurably excited about this Sunday’s worship at West Side and the hope we will share!


calm, precautions and coronavirus

Sent March 11, 2020

As this message is being sent, there is not yet a confirmed case of coronavirus in Sangamon County. However, if and when there is, we’ll all rethink how we move about town. So I want to offer some information and perspective that I hope is valuable to you.

  1. Our facilities team has enhanced how we clean and disinfect surfaces. For the foreseeable future, our team will clean more often and employ the strongest disinfectants we can safely use on door handles, railings, countertops, etc. Also, our KIDS MINISTRY team has enhanced how we clean surfaces, toys and hands during and between our kids gatherings. Of course, you are wise to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer before/after you touch common surfaces.
  2. Although churches are known for handshakes and hugs, let’s agree to offer a “thumbs up,” a “fist bump” or just a warm “hello” to one another for a while. If you’re a Star Trek fan, Mr. Spock would say this adjustment is only logical while viruses are a concern.

  3. Your personal level of caution should match your personal health. Most of us have minimal reason to avoid public spaces (at this point). Public health officials are currently indicating that our likelihood of being infected remains “low.” But if contracting a virus would be more dangerous for you than for the average person, please make wise adjustments. The more vulnerable you are to health complications, the more cautious you should be.
  4. If you have cold or flu symptoms, recover at home. We always prefer to have you with us in-person, but if you become symptomatic, be kind to yourself and considerate of others by avoiding all public spaces. You can always worship with us at When in a public space, please be courteous by trapping coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or hand. Now is not the time to prove you’re a trooper, if it means possibly infecting others.
    On the other hand, please don’t give the evil-eye to (or attempt to shame) those who may simply be suffering from allergies. If you can’t resist the urge to make a citizen’s arrest on behalf of the germ police, you may need to stay home, also. If Mother Teresa could have compassion on lepers in India, can’t we be gracious with people who sneeze or sniffle?
  5. Resist both indifference and panic. No one knows how great the spread of the coronavirus will be, but it’s almost certain to be less catastrophic than some suggest – and more serious than others predict. Whatever the case, stay informed, and be discerning about the source of the information you consume. If you’re a worrier, remember that God’s promises apply to every kind of challenge we face, individually or collectively. Jesus said, “Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The current virus-scare will not be the end of the world – but even if it were, Jesus remains on duty.

For public health info, follow THIS LINK to the Centers for Disease Control (the oft-mentioned CDC) online page about coronavirus prevention.


Wasn’t At the Movies great?! Your response to it certainly was. If you joined us for the first time or attended more often during ATM, here’s a reminder: God’s word is living and active with or without being illustrated by a movie clip.

Some of us have grooved a new and better worship habit recently. If you are one of those folks, well done! Consider carefully whether or not your previous pattern of church attendance served you well. If not, leave those days behind. Come back to the table every week, humble and hungry. Be engaged and transformed by God’s word.

See you Sunday for the start of Let It Go,

Eddie Lowen
Lead guy

Stay connected to our website and social media for additional communication