Highland Church of Christ will implement a Sunday morning instrumental worship service in its main auditorium beginning next year.
Church leaders announced the decision Sunday during weekly services after a month-long study of the issue and conversations with church members.
Highland began offering an instrumental service last year at its Grace campus in downtown Abilene on Sunday evenings. Now on Sunday mornings the main campus will offer one acappella and one instrumental service.
“After listening to all the feedback and much prayer and seeking God’s guidance, the Highland elders decided it is the right time to move toward the implementation of instrumental worship on Sunday mornings,” Highland elder David Green said in an announcement to the congregation on Sunday.
Green, who is serving as this year’s chair of the congregation’s eldership, said the leadership does not know all the details of implementation at this time, but that they wanted to make the announcement as soon as a decision had been made.
“From a practical perspective, it would have been best for us to wait a few months for us to announce this, until we knew all the details and could answer every question,” he said.
Ben Siburt, executive minister at Highland, said through one-on-one conversations between elders and members, Bible classes, emails, letters, prayer and discernment, the elders decided it was the right time to add an instrumental service.
“It’s one small piece of a larger vision of trying to bring restoration for everyone who lives in Abilene,” said Siburt. “If there is any way we could remove a barrier that makes it easier for anyone to enter into life at Highland, we think this will do that.”
The church plans to remodel its auditorium in 2014 and likely will not implement instrumental services until after the remodel is complete and the stage has been outfitted for instrumental worship.
Highland is one of the largest Churches of Christ in Abilene and is the first in town to offer instrumental worship. Church of Christ denominations have traditionally only worshiped in an acccapella style. Other Churches of Christ who offer instrumental worship include The Hills Church of Christ in North Richland Hills and First Colony Church of Christ in Houston.
“God has faithfully provided for and blessed Highland since 1929,” said Green. “We are excited for the ways he will continue to bless us during this time at Highland.”