By Amy Wagner
Standing room only is what the sign alongside Sperryville Pike should read as it marks the location for Church on the Rise; a floundering church just over four years ago that today, is bursting at the seams.
Beginning on Sunday, Feb. 3, Church on the Rise will be offering two services each Sunday morning as their sanctuary continues to overflow and their attendance rises.
Currently offering a single service at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays the congregation will have more options next month as they continue to restructure and plan for two Sunday services; an earlier one at 9 a.m. and another one at 11a.m.
When pastor Baker Rigg arrived at Church on the Rise in 2008, the congregation had been without a pastor for a while and they were “tired.”
Rigg breathed new breath into the church and on any given Sunday morning one may be pressed to find a parking spot. Today the average attendance is 125.
“There is a little more room after the kids leave for children’s church,” chides Rigg who was instrumental in rejuvenating the church.
Standing by the belief that ministry is not “cut and dry”, the congregation of Church on the Rise ministers to its members in a somewhat different way. Instead of having a worship leader or a children’s minister, Church on the Rise has a worship ministry and a children’s ministry along with a variety of other ministries.
Rigg said the average American church has a worship leader and other leaders in place for particular roles within the church and that puts a face on those ministries. At Church on the Rise many members serve, or lead, together in a variety of areas.
No two Sunday services are alike at Church on the Rise. Different worship teams lead the services on a rotational basis just as the service leader varies.
Similarly, the length of the service fluctuates [anywhere from 45 minutes to well over an hour and a half on occasion] and some Sundays Rigg delivers a message and some Sundays he doesn’t.
Adding the additional service is not about church growth though, said Rigg, although he quickly admits you aren’t going to stop it from happening. “You have to accommodate what God’s doing so we are adding a service,” said Rigg.
Their vision, however, is not about growth and getting bigger and bigger Rigg points out. “We are just creating a community. We want to be a family-oriented community. We want relationships in this house to be real and deep,” he said.
Rigg realizes that people don’t want to come to a church where they have to stand or sit on temporary chairs, but he quickly points out that that is exactly what they do because they want to come there. “This place attracts spiritually hungry people,” said Rigg.
“For those who come, love it here, and want to plug in and stay, we welcome them into our family,” said Rigg whose congregation engages in regular prayer gatherings, intercessory teams, bible studies, women and men ministries and young adult and children ministries.
Rigg said this year he is focusing on promoting the spiritual health of his church family. “Outreach is necessary and if you are part of a community you need to have a voice in that community. But, first, you have to be healthy, spiritually. We are focusing on that health this year,” said Rigg.
Togetherness, connectivity and camaraderie are key ingredients in Riggs’ life in and outside of the church. “To get people together and have that relationship . . . it’s the best!” Rigg exclaimed. Preaching and connecting people are his favorite things to do.
Amy Wagner covers church news for the Star Exponent. Have a story idea? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.