River West Church started in 1989 when a small group of Christians gathered together to pray that God would transform their lives and their community in a special way. God is still answering that prayer today. What started out as a small prayer group soon became the planting of a new, non-denominational Christian church. Pastor Guy Gray, along with his wife Maureen and three children, answered the call to come and pastor this tiny new church plant. The story that follows from that prayerful beginning is the story of God’s grace and love at work in many lives.
The name “River West” was chosen because of a promise from the Book of Isaiah: “’Forget the former things and do not dwell on the past. Look, I am doing a new thing! I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Just as a river is a flowing, renewing source of life, at River West we believe our church experience ought to be the same. God is ever at work, by His grace, to bring forth newness of life in the wastelands of our world. The story of River West Church isn’t the story of a religious organization, or particular place of worship—a church building. It’s the story of people whose hearts have been captured by Jesus Christ.
In many ways, the story of River West Church is the blending together of many personal stories of faith in Christ: stories of rescue and reconciliation, despair turned to hope, guilt finding forgiveness, and bitterness swallowed up by joy. Each story is unique. Some came to faith late in life, others responded as children, having seen the love and faith of Christ in their homes. None of our stories are finished. There are still struggles and setbacks and breakthroughs yet to come. But for each there is a common theme: Jesus is the hero of every story.
Over the years, River West Church has grown into a vibrant community of faith. Along the way, we have been through all kinds of transitions. For over 10 years we were a mobile church, setting up in auditoriums and school cafeterias in Southwest Portland. Over time, our growing community secured a property and put down roots in Lake Oswego. Then in 2018, Guy passed the baton of leadership on to our current senior pastor, Adam McMurray. Through every transition, the heart and mission of River West Church has stayed the same: We are building a community of Christ for the world.
To find out more about the core commitments and beliefs that shape our community click here.