Anniversary Highlight: Westside Christian Church
It is always good to remember where you have come from, especially when you are coming to your fifteenth anniversary. When you start a new church plant, you are never really sure that you will make it through your first year (or 3 months or 6 months, etc) – at least I wasn’t. I had been on the pastoral staff of Adventure Christian Church in Roseville for almost eleven years as Pastor of Discipleship when my wife and I felt led to plant a new church in the rapidly growing West Roseville area in early 2005.
We approached the senior staff and elders about it and they asked for a written proposal with demographic information, possible locations and a plan to make it happen. After submitting the plan and being interviewed by the team we were recommended to Stadia for further evaluation and training. We attended sessions in Vacaville and then Nashville, Tennessee and were approved by the Stadia Team to move forward. Upon our return from the Nashville training we were allowed by our home church to begin the process of preparing to put the plan together to get the church launched.
There are many details that I could bore you with as we made preparations to launch, but the church gave us a “Baby Shower” to help us get needed equipment and resources to start up the ministry – either through monetary donations or donations of the equipment itself. We also began a series of meetings for those who might be interested in being “missionaries” to help us get up and running by being part of our plant for specified time (3, 6, or 12 months), as well as, who might be interested becoming part of the new church beyond that.
We gathered about 40 people (including children) who were on board to be part of the plant and by early fall we made plans to launch on Easter 2006. We now began looking for a place to start meeting for services. I received a call from the pastor of a church plant in town that was going to restructure and become part of the “home church” movement. They had been meeting in Woodcreek High School in West Roseville and he said I should go immediately and put in our request for the facility before the news of their departure got out. I did so and in early October, I received a call from the school that we and another church had both applied and would we consider sharing the campus for services. After talking to our team, we felt there would be too much confusion, as well as the concern that we weren’t sure there was adequate parking for two churches. After a number of days of back and forth, they awarded the school to us on the condition that we start services the first Sunday of November 2005.
Well, we were far from prepared and only had about two and a half weeks until that date! We prayed, we scrambled, we called every relative and friend and co-worker and neighbor and barber we knew and invited them to our first service. A number of people from Adventure also had signed on to help us and attend as we started services .
So with a ragtag worship team, some used projectors and a small sound system, we began services on November 6, 2005 and had almost 300 people in attendance (we had to add more chairs!) By the first of the new year we leveled out to about 165 in attendance.
As the year went on I knew we were in desperate need of a Leader for our Children’s Ministry and at just the right time I was contacted by Nathan Cherry who had recently moved to the area. He had been a Youth Pastor for a number of years and he and his family was now living with his in-laws while he attended Graduate School at Hope University. He wondered if there was anything available in Youth or Children’s Ministry and I told him I only had enough money for a part-time person. He said that was fine because his studies only allowed him part-time availability. That was September 2006 and Nathan has been on our staff full time since he graduated with his master’s degree.
In fact, as of January 2018, he transitioned into our Senior Pastor position and is now leading Westside into the next phases of our growth and ministry. Over the years we have also added a Worship Leader and Youth Pastor.
In 2010, after five years in the High School, we needed to find a permanent location to continue to serve our community. We found our current location and through saving, generous giving by our church family and God’s grace we were able to build out and sign a multi-year lease for our current facility. We were able to move in in October of 2011 and we have never owed anything to anyone financially, but have always trusted God to provide so that we can have freedom to serve and give back our community and beyond.
In January of 2017, I felt it was time to step down and allow a new generation of leadership to step up and move us forward. I approached Nathan and he agreed to step up. So we announced it to the church in January 2018 and began the transition. It really only took six months before Nathan was taking on all of the everyday responsibilities and preaching weekly. I am so proud of our church for trusting us with this change and making the transition so smooth. I feared there might be pushback or people leaving but my fears were unfounded – you don’t plant a church to see it dissolve.
In that vein, the Lord has brought us so many amazing people who have helped to build and make Westside a warm and welcoming place. They are saints who continually encourage one another, who serve selflessly and give generously and are always ready to step up whenever there is a need to be met. I am so proud to have been their pastor and led them for this time. I am also proud of Nathan and how he has been leading the church since his ascension to Senior Pastor, especially in these difficult times we have encountered.
There is much more I could have shared as we approach our 15th year as a church, but the bottom line is that God is good and His grace is sufficient for our every weakness and need. He has been faithful to our staff and our people every step of the journey and we trust that He will continue to be our Rock and strong Fortress in the days to come.
Frank Mascaro is the retired, founding pastor of Westside Christian Church. Upon his retirement, the church conveyed on him the title of Pastor Emeritus. Frank was born in Sacramento and grew up in the small, rural Sacramento Valley town of East Nicolaus. He and his wife Cheryl have two children and four grandchildren with more on the way. Frank has been in full–time ministry for 30 years, with the final 13 years at Westside Christian Church. As Frank transitions into this new phase of life, he will continue to pursue his passion of pointing others to Christ through the Scriptures, as well as pursuing his interests in fishing, hunting, golf and photography.