While wandering the labyrinthine staircases of the Pepperdine mountainside, I ran into an elder of the Quail Springs Church of Christ. We had an encouraging chat about the Quail Springs congregation. He’s a good man. Those who speak so harshly of this eldership have obviously never met the men they so vehemently damn!
You’ll recall that Quail Springs, a congregation of 900, lost 300 members when they added a second service, which is an instrumental service. Well, that was January. On Easter, they had 1,350 in attendance! Oh, wow!
Now, for those who consider the instrument a damning sin, that just doesn’t matter. But for those who consider the instrument a matter of expedience, the question any eldership must ask is whether the benefits of the instrument outweigh the cost of making the transition. And I wouldn’t presume to answer this for anyone else. Each church is different. But those are some dramatic numbers!
You see, the Oklahoma Churches of Christ are in dramatic decline, having lost over 10,000 adherents (members and their children) in recent years, and still declining. At this pace, they don’t have many years left. And here’s one church that’s overcome a huge loss of members and friends and family, and scathing, public criticism from those who call themselves “brothers,” and is growing.
And yet I’m convinced it’s not the instruments that bring the growth. Rather, it’s the hearts of the church and its leaders — hearts that refuse to conform to the demands of legalism — that bring the growth.