A Personal Story: What Has Happened at Oak Hills When….

Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 6:45 am

July 9th, 2006, 6:14 am #1

<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>Perhaps, this thread should have been titled, “Showing What Has Happened to a Congregation with the Implementation of Instruments” as quoted in the article below. But the last few words of that lengthy title would have been truncated. Perhaps, “Transition to IM — A Personal Story” as in its original title; but then where the transition has actually taken place would cause the reader a bit of anxiety, it seems:</font>
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    <font class="option" style="font-size: 10pt">By wave runner
    Posted on 6/28 9:26 AM

    Most of you know that I am a member of Oak Hills Church (of Christ) in San Antonio. (The congregation where Max Lucado preaches.) I have been a member of this congregation for 24 years and have been very active in various ministries throughout this time. I have personally witnessed the slow in-roads that instrumental music has made into Oak Hills during this time.

    About two years ago, the Elders decided to move to a mostly instrumental worship service in four of the five main worship services on the weekends, two on Saturday night and two on Sunday morning. One service remained totally non-instrumental. During this period, I have chosen to worship at the non-instumental service, because that is my preference and I personally find the singing to be much better without instruments. As a former song leader at Oak Hills, I have always been impressed at the song service there and have found it to be moving and inspirational.

    Two weeks ago, due to schedule conflicts, we had to attend an instrumental service. I was actually shocked and appalled at what I witnessed in that service. The bottom line was that very few of the 1500 people or so in attendance were singing. It was as if everyone came to listen and not participate in the service, other than being a member of an audience who was there to watch, not worship. The difference was dramatic. A building that used to be filled with voices blending was filled with the sound of instruments and very little voices discernable.

    I am posting this not as a way of arguing one way or the other biblically, but trying to approach this from a realistic method of showing what has happened to a congregation with the implementation of instruments. (I think it is a result that many could have predicted, but nonetheless is shocking to actually see in person.)

    </font>
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<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>FYI, the above article came from another website. I believe it is the intent of the author that no deviation from the topic of instrumental music is allowed in discussing this thread. We would like to honor that intent and reserve the discretion not to post certain responses concerning Oak Hills. Responses that pertain to experiences with instrumental music in certain congregations in the brotherhood will be acceptable.

Donnie</font>
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

July 9th, 2006, 6:20 am #2

<font color=indigo>In response to one poster, here’s more of wave runner’s information concerning Oak Hills’ history:</font>
  • <font size=3 face=times new roman>. . . I think the Elders owe it to the congregation to honestly tell them where the funds are going and where the congregation is going. When I started at Oak Hills in 1982, there were @450 members, but the congregation was waking up and experiencing significant growth.

    Soon attendance was near 700 and plans for a new auditorium were made. That $3 million was easily raised through the significant sacrifice of many people who were convinced that the congregation was headed in the right direction.

    In 1987, when Max was hired as the minister, strong, even growth continued. Soon we were over 2000 in a building designed to comfortably hold 800. There were many great programs and many were being led to Christ. In the late 90's, the decision was made to move to a new location on 36 acres with a commitment of @$12 million required to buy the land on an interstate and build the initial phase of the complex.

    At that time, a question arose as to whether Oak Hills would remain "Church of Christ" and, after some discussion and debate, the Elders made the decision to retain the name. This, I thought was fair, because people needed to know this decision before committing to giving funds.

    In December 98, we moved to the new facility. Within a year of the move, the announcement came that the Elders did not think that instrumental music was a salvation issue, but that Oak Hills would remain non-instrumental. Then a service was added in a newly completed fellowhip hall that was instrumental. Giving people a choice of what type service they could attend.

    Within another two years, the decision was made to drop "Church of Christ" from the public name of the church and to add instrumental service in 4 of 5 weekend services. (And, I might add, make the non-instrumental service the most inconvenient service of any of them to attend - 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning.)

    Along the way, many who had been there since before me made the painful decision to leave. I have tried to hang in there, but find it difficult. There are still many good people there. I honestly do not think that things have worked out like the Elders thought they would. And, many have seen thousands upon thousands of dollars left behind because they could not support the later decisions to alter the name of the congregation or add instruments. (All while these things had been affirmed just prior to the need for funds prior to the 1998 move.)

    I agree with you that we should not give with any expectation of getting anything back, but I also believe that giving based upon the representations of those in leadership positions should give some basis for your decision to support or not support monetarily, the requested commitment of money and other resources.</font>
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Wave Runner
Wave Runner

July 9th, 2006, 2:31 pm #3

Donnie, thank you for the way in which you have presented my thoughts.
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

July 10th, 2006, 5:08 am #4

<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>Perhaps, this thread should have been titled, “Showing What Has Happened to a Congregation with the Implementation of Instruments” as quoted in the article below. But the last few words of that lengthy title would have been truncated. Perhaps, “Transition to IM — A Personal Story” as in its original title; but then where the transition has actually taken place would cause the reader a bit of anxiety, it seems:</font>
  • <table width="93%" border="0"><tr><td valign="top" width="098%">
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    <font class="option" style="font-size: 15pt">Transition to IM — A Personal Story</font></td></tr>
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    <font class="option" style="font-size: 10pt">By wave runner
    Posted on 6/28 9:26 AM

    Most of you know that I am a member of Oak Hills Church (of Christ) in San Antonio. (The congregation where Max Lucado preaches.) I have been a member of this congregation for 24 years and have been very active in various ministries throughout this time. I have personally witnessed the slow in-roads that instrumental music has made into Oak Hills during this time.

    About two years ago, the Elders decided to move to a mostly instrumental worship service in four of the five main worship services on the weekends, two on Saturday night and two on Sunday morning. One service remained totally non-instrumental. During this period, I have chosen to worship at the non-instumental service, because that is my preference and I personally find the singing to be much better without instruments. As a former song leader at Oak Hills, I have always been impressed at the song service there and have found it to be moving and inspirational.

    Two weeks ago, due to schedule conflicts, we had to attend an instrumental service. I was actually shocked and appalled at what I witnessed in that service. The bottom line was that very few of the 1500 people or so in attendance were singing. It was as if everyone came to listen and not participate in the service, other than being a member of an audience who was there to watch, not worship. The difference was dramatic. A building that used to be filled with voices blending was filled with the sound of instruments and very little voices discernable.

    I am posting this not as a way of arguing one way or the other biblically, but trying to approach this from a realistic method of showing what has happened to a congregation with the implementation of instruments. (I think it is a result that many could have predicted, but nonetheless is shocking to actually see in person.)

    </font>
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<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>FYI, the above article came from another website. I believe it is the intent of the author that no deviation from the topic of instrumental music is allowed in discussing this thread. We would like to honor that intent and reserve the discretion not to post certain responses concerning Oak Hills. Responses that pertain to experiences with instrumental music in certain congregations in the brotherhood will be acceptable.

Donnie</font>
<font size=3 face=times new roman>
  • CAQ: I have a question. Could you get a ratio of the contribution in the IM services compared to the non-IM service? I do not need the dollar amount, I only want percentage … I have been trying to get some stats on IM services vs non-IM from congregations that have both an IM and a non-IM.

    <font color=indigo>Answer: . . . I do not think I can get this type of information. The collection is reported in total and not by service. I believe that the average weekly contribution is around $150,000.</font>
  • CAQ: Does this relate to "7-11 songs" that are uncomfortable? Does this relate to the comfort level of those at Oak Hills with instrumental use? … If I were an elder at Oak Hills, I don't think I could bring myself to introduce instruments to a congregation that has a history of non-use, where many may have their conscience violated with the use. … However, I've seen just as much singing (or more) at an old timey hymnal using instrumental congregation that is small, as I have in an old timey hymnal using capella CofC of a similar size.

    <font color=indigo>Answer: ________, thanks for your words. I certainly could not either. I have seen many older people who have worshipped at Oak Hills for decades decide that they must leave.

    Is it stealing, not legally, because the decisions were made by the Elders. But realistically, I would have to say yes. Many who worked for many years and gave lots of money to build that congregation no longer attend there. It is sad.</font>
  • CAQ: wave, I admire you because you have the courage to say, This is where I attend, this is what it is like at one of the serices here." … This is so different from many of the posters here. … Here writes an honest man walking in truth.

    CAQ: Amen: I can feel the cloud pain all the way to happy valley. … Martin Luther said something to the effect that if you don't "fight the issue at hand then you are a coward." … I know the diverters always want to drag the red herring of "just love" or "just Jesus" but the issue at hand is the music issue. … We always wonder What would I have done at the cross: everyone gets their shot and if you blink in the face of danger there is no place in the Kingdom of the Suffering Servant.

    <font color=indigo>Answer: Thanks guys! I respect both of you, you have both helped me. Trying times ahead as I realize I must write a letter pointing this out to the Elders, all of whom I love.</font>
  • CAQ: Wave, an interesting number would be those who attended when you were on a growth curve without Max. Then, determine how many of those who are left. … The Purpose Driven Cult plans to loose half of the "owners" but the warning is to get the new property and finances in order, change the name and THEN make the leap. All the while it is supposed to be a secret agenda. Madison got caught mid air in the great LEAP….

    <font color=indigo>Answer: ______, that number would be small. I would guess 150 or so at best. That includes 9 or so Elders who have been around for quite a while.</font>
</font>
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chuck sonn
chuck sonn

July 12th, 2006, 2:42 am #5

<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>Perhaps, this thread should have been titled, “Showing What Has Happened to a Congregation with the Implementation of Instruments” as quoted in the article below. But the last few words of that lengthy title would have been truncated. Perhaps, “Transition to IM — A Personal Story” as in its original title; but then where the transition has actually taken place would cause the reader a bit of anxiety, it seems:</font>
  • <table width="93%" border="0"><tr><td valign="top" width="098%">
    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="98%"><tr><td width="98%" bgcolor="#ffffff">

    <font class="option" style="font-size: 15pt">Transition to IM — A Personal Story</font></td></tr>
    <tr><td colspan="2" bgcolor="#ffffff">
    <table border="0" width="98%" align="center"><tr><td>
    <font class="option" style="font-size: 10pt">By wave runner
    Posted on 6/28 9:26 AM

    Most of you know that I am a member of Oak Hills Church (of Christ) in San Antonio. (The congregation where Max Lucado preaches.) I have been a member of this congregation for 24 years and have been very active in various ministries throughout this time. I have personally witnessed the slow in-roads that instrumental music has made into Oak Hills during this time.

    About two years ago, the Elders decided to move to a mostly instrumental worship service in four of the five main worship services on the weekends, two on Saturday night and two on Sunday morning. One service remained totally non-instrumental. During this period, I have chosen to worship at the non-instumental service, because that is my preference and I personally find the singing to be much better without instruments. As a former song leader at Oak Hills, I have always been impressed at the song service there and have found it to be moving and inspirational.

    Two weeks ago, due to schedule conflicts, we had to attend an instrumental service. I was actually shocked and appalled at what I witnessed in that service. The bottom line was that very few of the 1500 people or so in attendance were singing. It was as if everyone came to listen and not participate in the service, other than being a member of an audience who was there to watch, not worship. The difference was dramatic. A building that used to be filled with voices blending was filled with the sound of instruments and very little voices discernable.

    I am posting this not as a way of arguing one way or the other biblically, but trying to approach this from a realistic method of showing what has happened to a congregation with the implementation of instruments. (I think it is a result that many could have predicted, but nonetheless is shocking to actually see in person.)

    </font>
    </td></tr></table></td></tr></table></td></tr></table>
<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>FYI, the above article came from another website. I believe it is the intent of the author that no deviation from the topic of instrumental music is allowed in discussing this thread. We would like to honor that intent and reserve the discretion not to post certain responses concerning Oak Hills. Responses that pertain to experiences with instrumental music in certain congregations in the brotherhood will be acceptable.

Donnie</font>
donnie,

why would you not start a thread for oak hills instead of placing this in madison's list? is there an agenda? or is there a connection between what has been going on in texas for 15+ years to what is happening at madison? you got some juicy info you are holding back?

bap,
chuck
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

July 12th, 2006, 4:10 am #6

<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>Chuck, did you mean a separate forum for Oak Hills … just like the one for Richland Hills? That’s really not my decision to make. Besides, we’ve had already a number of threads here dealing with Oak Hills and Max Lucado.

There’s no hidden agenda unless you know or suspect something that’s about to happen at Madison that we need to know—you’re pretty close to the leaders and perhaps you can tell us what you know.

I was really very interested in what Wave Runner had to say about musical instruments participating in the assemblies at Oak Hills. I can empathize with Wave—how he feels about this controversial issue. I can also see when leaders of the church can be influenced by a prominent religious figure in their midst … like “Reverend” Max Lucado—he loves being addressed that way, BTW.

Before I started this thread, I had promised myself to just concentrate on the music issue—I think Wave really preferred it that way. If you notice the questions and responses posted above, those were the ones addressed by Wave.

As far as Madison goes, the leaders at Madison should know better than to make it worse for the congregation. The Praise Team in itself is bad enough—personally, I think it’s even worse that using musical instruments. Performance! Performance! Performance! And your “Worship Leader” and the Praise Team were the instantaneous trouble makers at the outset. Remember the mass exodus in early 2001?

Well, the main point of this thread is to let peaceful congregations be aware of the intruders. It is just not worth dividing the church by implementing controversial and unnecessary changes—“salvation issue” or not.

Donnie</font>
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

July 16th, 2006, 6:11 pm #7

<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>Perhaps, this thread should have been titled, “Showing What Has Happened to a Congregation with the Implementation of Instruments” as quoted in the article below. But the last few words of that lengthy title would have been truncated. Perhaps, “Transition to IM — A Personal Story” as in its original title; but then where the transition has actually taken place would cause the reader a bit of anxiety, it seems:</font>
  • <table width="93%" border="0"><tr><td valign="top" width="098%">
    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="98%"><tr><td width="98%" bgcolor="#ffffff">

    <font class="option" style="font-size: 15pt">Transition to IM — A Personal Story</font></td></tr>
    <tr><td colspan="2" bgcolor="#ffffff">
    <table border="0" width="98%" align="center"><tr><td>
    <font class="option" style="font-size: 10pt">By wave runner
    Posted on 6/28 9:26 AM

    Most of you know that I am a member of Oak Hills Church (of Christ) in San Antonio. (The congregation where Max Lucado preaches.) I have been a member of this congregation for 24 years and have been very active in various ministries throughout this time. I have personally witnessed the slow in-roads that instrumental music has made into Oak Hills during this time.

    About two years ago, the Elders decided to move to a mostly instrumental worship service in four of the five main worship services on the weekends, two on Saturday night and two on Sunday morning. One service remained totally non-instrumental. During this period, I have chosen to worship at the non-instumental service, because that is my preference and I personally find the singing to be much better without instruments. As a former song leader at Oak Hills, I have always been impressed at the song service there and have found it to be moving and inspirational.

    Two weeks ago, due to schedule conflicts, we had to attend an instrumental service. I was actually shocked and appalled at what I witnessed in that service. The bottom line was that very few of the 1500 people or so in attendance were singing. It was as if everyone came to listen and not participate in the service, other than being a member of an audience who was there to watch, not worship. The difference was dramatic. A building that used to be filled with voices blending was filled with the sound of instruments and very little voices discernable.

    I am posting this not as a way of arguing one way or the other biblically, but trying to approach this from a realistic method of showing what has happened to a congregation with the implementation of instruments. (I think it is a result that many could have predicted, but nonetheless is shocking to actually see in person.)

    </font>
    </td></tr></table></td></tr></table></td></tr></table>
<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>FYI, the above article came from another website. I believe it is the intent of the author that no deviation from the topic of instrumental music is allowed in discussing this thread. We would like to honor that intent and reserve the discretion not to post certain responses concerning Oak Hills. Responses that pertain to experiences with instrumental music in certain congregations in the brotherhood will be acceptable.

Donnie</font>
<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>Wave Runner:

In “The Story of Oak Hills Church” [ http://oakhillschurchsa.org/about/ ], I read:
  • “. . . Max Lucado, world-renowned Christian author, has been minister at Oak Hills since 1988. Today's attendance numbers about 3,500. Under Max's ministry, a profound shift has occurred in that new members are coming from increasingly diverse faith backgrounds.”
I get the impression that “diverse faith backgrounds” signifies inclusiveness—acceptance of folks from various denominations—perhaps, one reason for accommodating those from other faiths where instrumental music is commonly practiced. Aside from HOW [denoting the purpose of baptism—an important issue but is not discussed here] these folks are accepted, it appears that providing the use of instrumental music in the assembly was intended to be a gateway to accepting these folks as members of Oak Hills. Would you agree or disagree with this assessment? And, perhaps, one way to increase this church’s membership count—undoubtedly a primary objective (a cause at any cost) in the minds of the elders?

The menu item “About Us” that points to the “Max Lucado” page [ http://oakhillschurchsa.org/about/Max/ ], it is stated:
  • “. . . Max and the Oak Hills leadership believe that God is blessing the work of this church. Together, they dream of impacting the city of San Antonio by raising up 10,000 members who will pray for 10 people a day, thereby interceding for at least a tenth of the city.”
Such a bold objective prompts me to ask further question(s). How accurate or recent is the count of 3,500 as “today’s attendance” mentioned earlier? I could be misstating this, but I recall that attendance has reached somewhere around 4,500 a couple of years ago—seemingly prior to dropping the precious name “of Christ” … considered a stumbling block to “open fellowship” with those of other religious faiths. Could you please confirm or deny that a decrease in attendance has occurred recently—which leads me to believe that folks have left and are still leaving for obvious reasons?

My other questions deal with the schedule of “worship services”—and I’m still trying not to deviate from, but to relate this to, the instrumental music issue. You have mentioned that the only scheduled period for the non-instrumental gathering is at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday—considered by you and others as “the most inconvenient.”

I notice in particular the two of all 5 periods being on Saturday: (1) at 5:00 p.m. and (2) at 6:30 p.m. [cf. http://www.oakhillschurchsa.org/about/w ... ndclasses/ ]. Since the likelihood is that a solo performance [or at least some singing] during the partaking of the Lord’s Supper occurs within these periods on Saturday—a part of the innovative, radical movement among the “spiritual mavericks” in a FEW postmodern churches of Christ [take a breath, my question is this…], how do the leaders determine when the SUNDOWN on Saturday that they consider the official beginning of Sunday really BEGINS so that members can partake of the Lord’s Supper? Silly addendum: How does the sunset on Saturdays factor in during the DST (Daylight Savings Time) when it changes? (Please note that I’m acknowledging that the observance of the Communion is only a side issue here—and you’re not obligated to comment on this.)

Wave Runner, I hope that you will take time to answer my questions as you deem necessary.

Thanks!

Donnie</font>
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Wave Runner
Wave Runner

July 17th, 2006, 2:18 am #8

Donnie, we are leaving on vacation tomorrow and I will not have time to address your questions until we return in a week or so, but I will do my best to answer your questions upon our return.
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Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 6:45 am

December 19th, 2006, 2:04 am #9

<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>Just reminded ... shall we continue? Wave, when you have time.... Thanks!</font>
Last edited by Donnie.Cruz on December 20th, 2006, 2:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wave Runner
Wave Runner

December 19th, 2006, 12:36 pm #10

Sorry, this fell through the cracks. I will work on this.
Last edited by Donnie.Cruz on December 20th, 2006, 2:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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