Richland Hills

Img_4596 I don’t write many of these…and won’t after this. But, I feel compelled to…so here it goes:

The Christian Chronicle is publishing a front page article on the decision of the Richland Hills Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas, to add an instrumental worship assembly on Saturday evening. Click here to read the article. The poll on their web site asks whether or not Richland Hills’ decision will influence other churches to do the same. Right now, about three-fourths say, "yes."

I for one have great respect for the Richland Hills Church of Christ. This hasn’t changed based on their decision. If anything, my respect for them has grown. Not because I wish Highland Oaks could go instrumental, but because I know the pain that Rick Atchley and others will have inflicted on them by brethren who claim they are sticking up for God. They know it’s coming as well…and they made the decision nonetheless because they believe it’s what God wants for their congregation. That’s called leadership.

Churches could do a lot worse than be influenced by Richland Hills. If other churches had half of their dedication to world evangelism, the preaching of the Word, unity among believers, and prayer, the world would be a different place.

Highland Oaks has been influenced positively by Richland Hills for years. I don’t see that changing…instrument or not. And, by the way, it shouldn’t.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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7 thoughts on “Richland Hills

  1. I have always respected the Richland Hills church, Rick Atchley and the work they do. They set great examples in which some churches would do well to follow. It’s sad to think their decision has brought on a poll. Instrumental music has never been a salvation issue, but somewhere along the way, traditions tried to claim it was. I personally like our heritage of acappella music. There is nothing more joyous to listen to and participate in this side of heaven. But I applaud Richland Hills and their leadership for the steps they are taking. It is after all, All About God, not all about man or polls.

  2. Tim, thank you for the bringing these thoughts to us. “What God would want”…I think that question needs to be asked every minute of everyday. Not only in our personal lifes, but in the Church as well. How we do and what we do should be maximized for the mission of God through His will…not ours or our traditions.

  3. Powerful stuff, I applaud R. Atchley and the elders for their fasting, prayer and comittment to an issue that has divided many a Church of Christ. Hard to believe this has been a salvation issue amoung CofC brothers and sisters. The unity and leadership Richland Hills is displaying is courageous and inspiring.

  4. Powerful stuff, I applaud R. Atchley and the elders for their fasting, prayer and comittment to an issue that has divided many a Church of Christ. Hard to believe this has been a salvation issue amoung CofC brothers and sisters. The unity and leadership Richland Hills is displaying is courageous and inspiring.

  5. I don’t think Richland Hills makes decisions that way. My experience with them is that they make decisions based on mission and what they feel God would want. Legitimate concerns though.

  6. I have no problem with Richland Hill’s decision. But I do wonder what motivated it. Was there really a groundswell of sentiment toward adding instruments? Does it reflect the desire of a majority of their members? Or is it a way to show the world that this congregation is progressive and “with it”? I hope it’s not the latter.
    I just can’t believe this was made a salvation issue by our forefathers.

  7. Tim,
    Praise God for courageous leaders who are willing to do what in their mind is right rather than what will cause the least amount of trouble or controversy. I know of too many church leaders who sacrifice progress and growth for tranquility and calm. If I read the gospels correctly, Jesus never coddled anyone concerning the kingdom of God and His will. He said expect trouble if you want to follow the way of Jesus. I’m not for whooping it up and leaving a path of destruction for the fun of it, but following Jesus will always be controversial because of what He demands of us.
    Thanks for your post and keep up the good work.