Holy Trinity Community Church continues to thrive
In the new Nashville West Shopping Center where Target, Best Buy, Costco, Ross Dress For Less and Marshall’s have all opened their doors within the past few months, Holy Trinity Community Church sits just across the street.
Some might call it a coincidence. Others might call it luck. However, most of those who attend Holy Trinity feel this is the hand of God guiding the church into an incredibly blessed opportunity of ministry.
Holy Trinity began eleven years ago this October as a Bible study led by Reverend Cindy Andrews-Looper (or Pastor Cindy as the church members call her). Cindy was raised an Independent Baptist, where a woman in a ministerial vocation was unheard of. But Cindy felt there was a definite call on her life, regardless of her previous denominational teachings.
During her college days she became a part of the Wesleyan faith and was embraced for her passion for ministry. Being a gifted comedienne allowed her to travel full-time with her own ministry known as “Reality Check,” where she humorously challenged the faithful to a closer walk with Christ.
Oddly enough, she never envisioned herself in a local church position. Her travel opportunities let her see a variety of church settings where she often thought, “Why step into such a beehive of activity? A church position would be difficult enough, even more so for a woman in ministry. So why bother?”
After moving to Nashville, Cindy visited a variety of churches trying to find a place where she would be comfortable. Some were way too liberal, some felt like a gay pep rally, and others were just too conservative. So oddly enough, in the city some call the buckle on the Bible-belt, finding a church with a good fit was difficult. Out of this, Cindy began a Bible study. This Bible study would become the seed of what is now Holy Trinity Community Church, the fastest growing United Church of Christ in the Southeast.
Looking back at her travel time as a full-time comedienne, and the exposure she had to an abundance of church settings and staff situations, she now realizes those experiences enable her to walk alongside her current church members and be very present with them in their troubles.
“At first, I wanted to fix everybody. But only the Spirit of God can do that. The more I’ve grown in my relationship with God, the better I become as a pastor.”
Worship is a vital part of the life of Holy Trinity Community Church. Stephen Nix, who leads worship at the 11:00 am service says, “Worship is a form of prayer. It is more than singing a hymn. It is putting together lyrics that give life and hope. I want the music to impact the message Cindy brings.”
According to Cindy, “Stephen is incredibly gifted at leading. He goes beyond the musical set, and has an ability to speak to us in midst of where life has taken us that week. He challenges us to let go of whatever has us frustrated and focus on the God who is there waiting to fill our lives with His unconditional love.”
Like Cindy, Stephen Nix has a lot of road experience as well. He traveled with his family since the age of four, singing and playing the piano. His undergraduate degree is in Voice and Piano, and his Masters is in Piano Pedagogy (the science of teaching).
While living in Louisiana, Stephen served as a state consultant for the Assemblies of God denomination and was over approximately 80 churches and their music ministry. Eventually, he moved to Nashville where he started writing and recording and even served as a performance coach for singers.
Stephen came to Holy Trinity in 1999. He literally stopped in one Sunday morning after seeing their sign out front, and had no idea it was a GLBT affirming church. One week after a potluck lunch, several members were gathered around the piano singing and thus began the music ministry of Holy Trinity.
Michael Popham leads worship at the 9:15 am service. He comes to Holy Trinity with a Pentecostal, mega-church background. He describes coming to the church as “refreshing.” “They weren’t sitting around waiting for something to happen. Things are happening! I am happy to be filling this role.”
According to Cindy, “We now have two services that are comparable.” In 2004 when the early service began, it was more traditional and averaged about 30 in attendance. But once the church moved into the current facility on Charlotte Pike, the early service declined quickly and the late service was filled to the point of placing chairs down the aisles and some left because they could find no parking.
“The best response was to make the two services comparable. This was the best way to maintain our growth,” says Pastor Cindy. The 9:15 am service now averages approximately 70 and the 11:00 am service averages 130.
All three say that the biggest challenge facing them today with their ministry is responding to the numerical growth. “We’ve grown faster than we can effectively assimilate people,” says Cindy.
As the church continues to grow, the demand for higher quality grows. “We must be intentional about quality and maintaining it,” says Cindy. "With more people present, there is a larger pool of talent and ability from which to draw. Those people all bring gifts and abilities that can be used in service."
According to Cindy, “You can always pick out who a visitor is because they are the ones crying throughout the service. There is an incredible amount of healing that occurs in our worship services. For many, it is the first time they come face to face with the unconditional love of God. They realize that God sees them as they are, they can be out, and feel the absolute unconditional embrace of the Spirit of God. It is just like the story of the Prodigal Son…they have been lost, and have now found a place to call home.”
Holy Trinity Community Church is located at 6727 Charlotte Pike. You may contact them at www.HolyTrinityCommunityChurch.com. Services are Sundays at 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m.