Jim and Denise Rion pastor Westover Hills Assembly of God. They started it in 1986 with a call from God and a small rented building. When they outgrew that location and began searching for a place to build, Pastor Jim felt led to an undeveloped area of San Antonio called Westover Hills. The area grew tremendously in the years to follow, and became one of the fastest growing zip codes in the nation. As a result, Westover Hills Assembly of God (WHAG) has grown into a thriving, diverse congregation with a weekly attendance of nearly 4,500, often making Outreach Magazine’s annual list of the Fastest Growing U.S. Churches.
Good Data Drives Great Decisions
Leaders of large churches ask themselves tough questions. They use their data to help them make wise choices. Staff at Westover Hills have been managing their data with ACS for the past 10 years. Melissa Gonzales-Arellano, their database manager, says they couldn’t live without their data. She’s not passionate about computer code. She passionate about the people the data represents. Each line of code represents at least one person, and likely a whole family. They protect the integrity of their data because it helps them make the decisions that change lives.
Westover Hills is a growing ministry with great things happening. Why use The City instead of an existing free social network? Unlike others, The City is built for groups. Ministry in a church with 4,500 people is not easy. However, leaders lead, and Pastor Jim felt The City wasn’t just good for data collection. It was good for people. The City connects the people to the church, but most importantly, it connects Westover Hills to the people. As Pastor Jim says, “It allows everyone from the first time guest to the long time member to communicate throughout the week.”
A Church in Action.
They’ve been using The City for 8 months and 2,100 of their 4,500 people are using it, but The City came alive after only 4 months.
A serious car accident threatened the life of a young adult, and one of the pastors posted a need for prayers and meals. God’s people love to serve when given the chance. Before the staff were fully mobilized, the people took action. The church prayed for the young man and served his family. It was a moment when many of the ministry leaders said to themselves, “Hey, this works!”
When a 7 year old needed a heart transplant, the people used The City to share the need and care for the family. The ease of communication allowed the people to coordinate themselves and serve the family. The church began taking care of the older siblings and feeding the family while they were busy tending to their sick child.
Westover Hills is called to share life and encourage each other in faith 24/7. The City helps them do that.