What are Life Groups?

Life groups create space within our busy schedules stay connected,  go deep, have fun and grow together.

How do I know if a Group is for me?

All that’s required to be a part of a life group is a desire to grow, experiment, and share your spiritual journey as you feel comfortable. You don’t need any religious background or knowledge; it’s OK to be seeking what faith looks like for you. All of us are beginners together, just trying to take the next step towards Jesus.

This Lent, many of our groups are experimenting with forums for conversation about complex and sometimes controversial topics. We engage these topics not to debate or disagree, but because they are important aspects of our journey in following Jesus. In these forums our deepest goals are to 1) grow in spiritual friendship with each other 2) grow in love with others whose viewpoint, identity, or experience is different than ours, and 3) grow in biblical discipleship, following Jesus with more faithfulness, joy, and wisdom.

Sign ups now open!


Contact Pastor Gary VanderPol (gary@churchwithoutwallsberkeley.org)

DYN 01 – Environmental Justice Forum
led by: Gary VanderPol
when: meeting weekly on Wednesday or Thursday nights
where: South Berkeley
From the first page of the Bible, God gave us the honor of caring for this very good world. Healing our beautiful but battered planet remains one of our most fundamental callings. Shouldn’t Christians be known for our environmental justice activism? This Lent our group will seek to hopefully live our biblical calling, showing that a little church like ours can effectively combat a big issue like the climate crisis.

DYN 02 – Gender and Sexuality Forum
led by: Abby Jensen and Gary VanderPol
when: meeting weekly on Wednesday or Monday nights
where: South Berkeley
We are all aware that sexuality and gender have generated tremendous controversy among people of faith. While recognizing that we approach these intimate aspects of our identity from very different perspectives, we will seek biblical, spiritual wisdom together in our pursuit of greater wholeness and faithfulness.

DYN 03 – Asian American Identity & Faith
led by: Joyce Lee, Jake Qian, and Anne Park Grant
when: 4 weeks in March, scheduled according to signups
where: Berkeley
We will reflect on our Asian American identity and how it has impacted our faith journey. By sharing personal stories, we hope to capture our diversity as well as unity. Key questions we will consider:
*How has our Asian American experience/identity blessed or hampered our relationship with God and others within our faith community?
*As Asian American members of a multiethnic church, how do we experience CWOW?
*What gifts can we contribute as Asian Americans to build up the church?
This group is not limited to only Asian Americans but also open to anyone who would like to explore these topics as allies and friends of the Asian Americans within our church.

TUE 01 – Spirituality in Everyday Life
led by: Loretta Matty and Erin Schweng
when: Tuesday evenings, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
where: Northwest Berkeley
We have an unstructured approach, but often include worship songs and time for sharing. We attempt to understand and experience Ignatian spirituality as well as engaging with historic and present injustice, especially as it regards race, in our culture.

TUE 02 – Virtual
led by: shared leadership
when and where: Tuesday evenings, 8:15 – 9:30 pm
Our group exists to form community and discipleship for people in circumstances that makes attending a weekly, in-person group challenging (e.g., parents of young children). We are an entrepreneurial bunch who will try different technological and logistical approaches to facilitate both remote and in-person discussions, which will be inspired by the sermon series.

WED 01 – Spiritual Direction and Discernment
led by: Sharon Henthorn-Iwane
when: Wednesday evenings, time TBD
where: Berkeley
God is speaking, but how do I hear him? God is at work, but how do I recognize His activity? God is loving and empowering me, but how do I experience that reality? Are you asking these kinds of questions or do you desire more of God? In the context of group spiritual direction and prayer for each other outside the group, we will form a spiritual community which assists people in ongoing individual discernment. We will meet twice a month in a set group of 6-8 people. Come as you are. No spiritual direction experience necessary!

TUE 03 – Spirituality in Everyday Life (aka Eat, Share, Pray)
led by: Bora Reed
when: Tuesdays at 7:00 – 9:00 pm
where: Berkeley
We love Jesus, good food, art, and one another. We will follow along with the sermon series and have time to eat, share, and pray.

THU 01
led by: Kim Winkleman, Tracy Ashlock, and Lynn Lee
when: Thursday mornings, 9:45-11:45am
where: West Berkeley
Got time during the day? Join us to study the texts of the sermon series, pray and worship together. We put an emphasis on creating a safe space to share our real selves and what God is up to in our lives.

THU 02 – Justice and Restoration
led by: Ryan Grant and Dana Lundblad
when: on hiatus for Lent
where: Berkeley
Starting with a foundation in what scripture has to say about justice and restoration, with some consideration of issues present in and influencing our criminal justice system, we will serve people entering life after incarceration. This is meant to be an exploration with much learning, experimentation, discovery, and a variety of ways for members to respond. Okay, that all sounds pretty serious. We will also be enjoying life together as we nurture our spiritual lives and eat good snacks.

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