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Growing Pains

It has been awhile since I updated everyone on Hagar's Community Church because it has been a whirlwind of a fall! Hagar's Community Church has grown faster than I ever could have imagined! I feel as though I have been at a full sprint the past couple of months and I'm barely keeping up. We now have approximately 150 members which is about 15% of the population at the WCCW. God's faithfulness and grace have shown up in so many ways during this time of growth and transformation.

A growing church is something that gets most people excited. Often the story we are hearing about churches is that they are decreasing in numbers so when one hears that a church is growing it seems like a joyous occasion- and for Hagar's Community Church the growth is joyous. But with growth and joy also comes pain. Hagar's Community Church is experiencing a lot of growth because the word is out at the WCCW that there is something really good happening during our worship services. But with growth came a lot of new problems. We no longer all fit in the Chapel- we have a 150 members and only 105 chairs. Also there was disagreement about how to spend our time together Some women longing for silence and contemplation, other women desperate for fellowship and space to talk with their friends.

This was the first big discernment conversation for the inside leadership team to consider. I meet with a group of women from HCC every other Wednesday to discuss our worship services, bible study, and get ideas and feedback from the women on how it is all going. Figuring out how to move forward with so many people and different needs was a conversation I wanted to work out with this group. Together we came up with the the plan of holding two simultaneous worship services each week.

Each week we offer a Contemporary Worship service and a Contemplative worship service. I get the privilege of leading the Contemporary service in the large Chapel while Crawford leads the contemplative service in the small chapel. In the Contemporary service we leave more space for fellowship, we sing contemporary music (and multiple songs at a time) and often have skits or other interactive elements in the worship service. The contemplative service is a quieter service. There is space left for silent contemplation, the music is typically Taize, and the atmosphere is gentle.

The two worship services are related in that we do the same liturgy and share communion in the same way every week. I also prerecord the sermon (I do a voice

over a slideshow with images that relate to the sermon) so both worship service have the same sermon.

We have been doing this format for about 2 months now and it has been a joy to watch this new way of being together grow and develop. Each service has "its regulars" but the design also allows women to choose each week the service that fits their needs for that particular week. Maybe one just got bad news from home and just needs contemplative silence one week, maybe one just got out of cell confinement and is desperate to be with friends and laugh. I am thankful that Hagar's Community Church is able to provide a place for both of these women.

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