Returning Home: Pastor Mike and Stephanie Plan Return to Giles County

After serving Westside Fellowship for 20 years, founding Pastor Mike Mitchener and his wife, Stephanie, are leaving Westside to return to the mountains of Virginia.

On Sunday, Aug. 23, Pastor Mike accepted the senior pastor position at Riverview Baptist Church in Ripplemead, Va. For years, Mike has called Riverview his “home church,” and he will be returning there to succeed the man he has long called his spiritual father and mentor.

Shahn Wilburn has pastored Riverview for 40 years. He will be retiring in October to spend more time with his wife, Juanita, who is battling breast cancer.

Riverview is in Giles County – a county often referred to by Pastor Mike in his sermons and his stories.

“This was one of the most difficult choices we have ever had to make in ministry,” Pastor Mike said. “It has been a joy to be the pastor of Westside for the last 20 years, and we consider folks here our family. So, we are excited to see what God will do with Westside in the future.

“We love Westside and the whole Western Alamance community. To be faced with the choice to no longer pastor such a great group of friends and family was beyond hard. But we just want to be where the Lord wants us to be, and we have sensed His hands guiding us through this whole process.”

Sunday Services in the Worship Center

Westside is currently hosting two Sunday morning services.  The first service from 9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. will be a MASK REQUIRED service.  The second service will take place from 10:45 a.m. to noon and attendees are recommended to wear a mask.

Childcare will be provided during the 10:45 a.m. - noon service for birth through kindergarten.  The 9:00 a.m. service will not offer childcare.  

We are taking a number of precautions to keep folks as safe as possible:

1)  We ask that everyone wear a mask throughout Sunday’s worship services unless a medical or behavioral condition or disability prohibits doing so.  Free masks will be provided at both services for those who need them.

2) Our greeters and safety team will be holding us accountable to practice Social Distancing.

3) We will limit the number of seats we set up and limit the number of people we allow in each service.  

4) The chairs will be set up with Social Distancing in mind.  

5) Interactions will be kept to a minimum.  

6) Our greeters, safety team, and childcare workers will wear masks.  

7) We will have a cleaning crew clean bathrooms, classrooms, door handles and other frequently touched surfaces before and after each service.  

8) Childcare will be limited as we will only have classes for children from birth through kindergarten. Children in first grade and above will sit with their parents in the sanctuary.  

9) We will only offer pre-packaged breakfast bars and bottled water. We will NOT offer any self-serve coffee options.  

10) We will NOT pass an offering plate nor the Friendship Registers. You will still have ways to give, submit your prayer requests, and/or request additional info.

11) We also plan to locally broadcast the services via 88.1 FM. This should allow folks to sit in their cars and listen to the service from the parking lot. We are making this option available as overflow seating and for anyone who may want to “attend” the service but not interact with others.  

Everyone’s health and safety is very important to us. We will do our best to provide a safe place for folks to worship. Please realize those of us who attend the services do so at our own risk.   If you are experiencing ANY SIGNS of sickness, please STAY HOME and watch online.   Or, if you are in an AT RISK group, please stay home and watch online.  Or, if you are still hesitant about being in a public place, please stay home and watch online.  For the rest of us, we look forward to our return to the sanctuary.  

If you are not able to attend in person, then please use these links to view the service online, or watch it from our home page:
Westside YouTube:
Facebook Live:

F3 Youth Gathering

F3, a new youth gathering for all middle and high school students, will be held on Wednesdays this fall.  The event will be each Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. in the backyard of Pastor Steve's home (430 Parkview Drive, Burlington).  The weekly gathering will begin Wednesday, Sept. 16 with a cookout. Each week, students should bring a lawn chair and bug spray. The meal will be provided Sept. 16. Future weeks, students will be encouraged to bring a bagged meal.  For more information, contact Pastor Steve ( or 336-516-0547).  

Share Your Story

Over the next few weeks, Westside would like to share how God has been working in your life. Let us know of ways that you have seen God at work – in your personal life, in the life of your family, at home or at work. Your story may be used to help encourage others. Please take a moment and brag on God. Share your story by contacting Pastor Kurt at 336-516-3762 or

Study the Attributes of God

You are invited to participate in our Wednesday Worship Service each Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Over the next two months we will examine the aspects of God’s character that we as Christians are called to imitate by depending on the power of the Holy Spirit. In addition to participating in-person, you can also choose to participate online, as the service is broadcast on our Livestream page.

Hungry For Fellowship?

In an effort to promote additional fellowship, the Westside Mall will be open from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday evening for families to bring their meal and eat with other families. Tables will be set up in the mall for families to use. Families can bring food from home or pick up take-out on the way to church. The special meal time will precede our Wednesday Worship Service (which begins at 6:30 p.m.).

Youth Fall Retreat at Camp Cheerio

All middle and high school students should mark their calendars for Oct. 9—11 and make plans to attend the Youth Fall Retreat at Camp Cheerio in the mountains of North Carolina. The cost is $99 per student and covers all meals upon arrival, lodging and bed linens.  Each student should bring a bagged meal and a face mask for the ride to Camp Cheerio. Money and registration are due by Wednesday, Sept. 30. To register for Youth Fall Retreat, visit the youth page and scroll down to the registration form.  You can also refer to the youth page for information about what to bring to the retreat.  Contact Pastor Steve with questions or for more information ( or 336-516-0547).  

Have Questions about Our Senior Pastor Search?

The Westside elders, along with other members of the Pulpit Search Committee, will host a Q&A Session Sunday, Oct. 4, following the 10:45 a.m. service. The session is expected to start at about 12:10 p.m. Criteria for the senior pastor position has been established by the committee, and the job is expected to be posted online this week. Once posted, you can view the information here.  

Westside Food Pantry Assists Families in Need

Westside’s food pantry is available to provide food for families in short-term crisis situations. The pantry distributes food throughout the year. If you or someone you know could benefit from a bag of non-perishable groceries, please let us know. For more info or to receive assistance, contact Nikki Haith in the the church office at 336-524-0098 or

W-Teams Share Daily ‘Thought’

God’s word encourages us to think on good things.  Since Aug. 1, Westside has published a “Thought of the Day” meme to help us focus our thoughts on God and His word. The thought is typically a Bible verse or a God-honoring quote. It is published here on the home page and on the Westside Fellowship Facebook Connection Group page. Many of the “thoughts” were submitted by members of the W-Teams, and many of them promote and/or support that particular team’s ministry focus. Visit the website to read the “thought” each day.

Submit prayer requests online

Do you have a prayer request that you would like to share with your church family? In addition to filling out the Friendship Register at church on Sunday morning, you can also submit them during this week by clicking here or navigating to the "Contact" menu item above and clicking on "Submit a Prayer Request."

You Can Help Clean Facilities

All of our Westside facilities are maintained by the Levite Team, a group of dedicated volunteers who give of their time and talents to make sure the facilities are clean and in good working order. You can join the team. To volunteer, contact Donald Bowlin at 336-260-8424 or