Highland Church of Christ announced plans to renovate the auditorium space at their main campus as the next step in their Restoration Movement.
The Restoration Movement began in April 2012 as Highland asked the questions, “What difference does it make that we believe in Jesus? Are the people around us better, is the city better, is the world better because we believe that Jesus is God in the flesh?” posted on their website, www.arestorationmovement.com.
From these questions, the church began to reshape their vision to restore Highland, restore Abilene and restore the world. Highland has played a role in the restoration of Abilene through different initiatives and partnerships with organizations in the community and throughout the world.
Out of the three movements toward restoration, restoring Highland is the area that hasn’t been touched yet. The church has made significant pushes to have more funds go out into the community and the world than stay inside the church. In this next season of the movement, restoring Highland’s auditorium is part of that vision.
“Restoring the auditorium is one of several initiatives under the ‘Restoration of Highland’ umbrella,” said Ben Siburt, executive minister at Highland. “Highland paid off almost a million dollars of debt and is now a debt-free church.”
In addition to the renovations, Highland wants to make sure members are connected to the church.
“We have worked to involve more people in small groups through an initiative that has launched around a dozen new groups,” Siburt said. “We are working on improving hospitality at all our campuses, and a team has begun work on more intentional ministries to strengthen the many diverse families at Highland.”
Since Highland is debt-free, they have decided to move forward with this stage of restoration.
“Now that there is funding available and that the Restoration Movement is so close to the heart of Highland, they’ve decided that now is the right time,” said Hayden Richardson, assistant director of communication at Highland.
The entire worship space will be remodeled over the summer. The renovations will include new seats, flooring, carpet and lighting, as well as a new stage. One of the main aspects will be a new center aisle, eliminating the difficulties of getting in and out of the crowded rows. These changes will be within the existing confines of the auditorium.
The new and improved components will hopefully make the worship center more spacious, and the renovations will breathe new life into the area that hasn’t been re-done in nearly 50 years.
“It’s been 30, 40, maybe even 50 years since anything has changed in the auditorium,” Richardson said. “This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time.”
The remodeling is set to begin May 4 and will hopefully be completed by the end of July. The church will meet at the Abilene Civic Center over the summer while the auditorium is under construction.
Highland is a church home to many ACU students, and the timing of the remodel was made with these students in mind.
“Students being gone during summer played a part in timeline decision,” Richardson said. “We want to be back meeting in the auditorium the first week of August.”
Earlier in the year, Highland announced plans to implement an instrumental worship service at some point during 2014. Those plans will be put into action in the new and improved worship space, which will be better equipped for sound and instruments.
All of these changes fall right in line with Highland’s vision of restoration.
“The Highland Church must continue to consciously and courageously partner with God to risk, to welcome our neighbors, to invest in healthy community and to make sure life inside the walls of Highland form people and families into the image of Jesus,” Siburt said. “We want Highland to be a place where the past and the present work together in spirit-filled ways to create a beautiful future.”