Monday, September 09, 2013

Make a Joyful Sound...No, Really!

Recently, at Highland some big announcements were made. Here was the announcement...

Earlier this year the Highland Elders announced that as a group we were discussing adding an instrumental worship service on Sunday mornings here at this building.  Our discussion was centered on 3 essential questions, which has led us through our discernment together:

1. Does Scripture allow for an instrumental worship service on Sunday mornings?

The Highland elders voted that we believed that Scripture did allow for instrumental worship on Sunday mornings.

2. We asked is an instrumental worship service missionally effective for Highland?

The Highland elders voted that we believed adding an instrumental service could remove a barrier for people in our community to come to Highland as we fulfill our purpose of calling all people to God.

3. The third question we asked was is this the right time for Highland to implement an instrumental worship service on Sunday mornings?

We spent the last 3 months inviting you, the Highland family, to spiritually discern this question with us. Thank you for your daily prayers and conversations in Bible Classes, in shepherding group meetings, in letters, emails, and in one on one conversations.

After listening to all the different feedback, after much prayer, and seeking God’s guidance, the Highland elders have decided that it is the right time for Highland to move towards implementation of an instrumental worship service on Sunday mornings as we partner with God in His great work of Restoring Highland, Abilene, and the World.

From a practical perspective, it would have been best for us to wait a few months to announce this, until we knew all the details and could answer every question. But in the spirit of being fully transparent, we wanted to tell you as soon as the decision was made.

We would like to be able to stand in front of you today and tell you all aspects of the implementation, but we do not know all of those yet. We can tell you what we do know today, and we promise to continue to communicate with you throughout this process.

So, as I stand before you today, here is what we do know:
1. We will continue to offer an acappella service. We will continue to do acapella worship at the same high level, and it will continue to be an integral part of Highland’s worship.

2. It will be 2014 before we are able to begin an instrumental service on Sunday mornings, and more than likely it will be after we complete the remodel of the auditorium. We will continue to have the instrumental worship service at our Grace campus on Sunday Nights at 5:00, and encourage you to attend that service.

3. We also want you to know that the Highland elders and staff desire to always be available to you. Please continue sharing your comments and questions.

4. Finally, we want you to know that God has faithfully provided for and blessed Highland since 1929 and we are excited about the ways he will continue to bless us in this time at Highland.


2 Chronicles 5:11-14 tells the story of the worship service that took place when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to rest in the temple. The text reads,   The priests then withdrew from the Holy Place. All the priests who were there had consecrated themselves, regardless of their divisions. 12 All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. 13 The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:
He is good;his love endures forever. Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.”  

AND SO, the elders want to send you out today with this challenge:  let us live into our calling to be a priesthood in which divisions disappear when we see the glory of the Lord rise in worship with instruments and with voices, as we praise and honor a good God whose love endures forever.  
The ACU paper did a story on it as well...this article is helpful in describing our process too.

Highland to add instruments to worship | The Optimist

So--here's where I am... it is with great anticipation and a healthy dose of wonder at the unknown that I step into this new season. My commitment to providing resources for a cappella churches is still as strong as ever. ZOE will continue to work hard to do that.

Our prayer at Highland is that more people will be opened to story of Jesus. That's it. Will you pray that God will guide us and give us wisdom and discernment as we walk this road? These are exciting times and sometimes it feels like the Lord is leading us like 27 horses running for the barn. I just don't want to miss anything He has for us along the way. I remember that the biggest example of hearing His voice in scripture is in the still, small voice. So, please pray that I will also take the time I need to be listen.
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
Be lifted up, you ancient doors
That the King of Glory may come in!
Who is He, this King of Glory?
The Lord Almighty--HE is the King of Glory!
Ps. 24: 9-10


Les Ferguson, Jr. said...

Good for you guys! Many blessings!

Brandon Scott Thomas said...

Sorry folks...anonymous comments always get deleted. Just like anonymous letters get thrown in the trash before being read.