By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
Highland Church of Christ will soon add another minister to its staff. Beginning Oct. 1, Dr. Jerry Taylor, assistant professor of Bible, missions and minstry, will serve as Highland’s associate minister, preaching when the head preacher, Mike Cope, is out of town.
Taylor will leave his post as head minister at N 10th and Treadaway Church of Christ and said the transition was hard but necessary in order to balance out his workload of teaching full time and preaching.
“Being on staff with Mike will relieve me from some of the responsibilities I had as a senior minister at a local church,” Taylor said.
Cope said when he heard that Taylor was resigning his position at N 10th and Treadaway, he asked Taylor if he would visit with him about the possibility of him coming to Highland.
“He is one of the most gifted preachers I’ve ever heard in my life, and I’m gone quite a bit, so I thought this would be a perfect fit,” Cope said in an e-mail.
He said that aside from preaching in his absence, Taylor will do some teaching in the university class and perhaps speak at special gatherings, adding that he didn’t want to burden Taylor with too many responsibilities.
“He has a great teaching ministry at ACU, and he’s an influential leader in Churches of Christ across the country,” Cope said.
Taylor said he has talked with Cope a lot about breaking down racial and cultural barriers and making Highland a multiracial congregation. Highland recently added Joe Almanza as its outreach minister.
“Jerry is one of the best preachers I’ve ever heard—not just one of the best African-American preachers,” Cope said. “He’s amazing: great theological depth and great ability to connect with people. But, yes, it’s important to us that we have recently added a Christian man who is hispanic and another who is African-American to our staff. We want to participate in the mission of Christ to all people – not just people of one group.”
Taylor said the decision he and his family made to leave their congregation was difficult, but he said he feels he is doing what God requires of him. He said the family decided it was time to move and members of both N 10th and Treadaway and Highland have been encouraging.
“I feel as though I’m walking in the will of God, and I believe that this is a kingdom move, so to speak,” Taylor said. “I do believe that at this time, this is what he would have me to do.”