LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
January 8, 2004

LeaderLines is a weekly “e-briefing” providing valuable information and inspiration to those who serve at Hillcrest Baptist Church.

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Here is this week's LeaderLines. . . .

“Moving People Through the Circles of Commitment”
by Tom Goodman

SPECIAL PRAYER REQUEST:  Be praying for two special outreach opportunities at Hillcrest.  The first is this Friday’s seminar, “Finding God in The Lord of the Rings.”  A lot of our folks have been using invitations to this seminar as a chance to build bridges to those they know, so pray for their efforts today.  The second outreach opportunity is coming up in a few weeks.  On February 1, we’re holding a “Friend Day,” and we hope to have a record number of members and guests in Sunday School that day.  Be praying for our wonderful Sunday School workers who have already begun to inspire their classes for this special day!
At the end of 2003, I began to introduce LeaderLines readers to the different levels of commitment that people have to Christ and his cause.  As leaders at Hillcrest, our job is to identify each person’s level of commitment and help them reach the next level.  Over the next few weeks in LeaderLines I want to look at these levels of commitment in more detail and suggest ways we can help people move to the next level.

Think of these different levels as concentric circles.  It’s been a few weeks since I introduced you to these circles, so here they are again, from the outermost circle to the inner circle:

The Community:  This is the outermost circle of commitment.  Don’t think of “The Community” as all those in, say, a 10-mile radius around our building.  Instead, the Community our church is called to reach is made up of all the unchurched people known by those who attend Hillcrest.  The heart of my leadership strategy begins with that conviction.  I see my job in very simple terms:  I will equip our attenders to develop relationships with the unchurched people they know, and I will equip our leaders (you!) to develop events that our attenders would want to invite unchurched people to attend.  To understand how vast this outermost circle is, add up all the unchurched people you interact with (neighbors, coworkers, classmates, and so on).  Then, multiply that number by our membership.
The Crowd:  This is the next circle in. Once an unchurched person accepts our invitation to attend one of our services, they’ve moved from “The Community” to “The Crowd.”  The majority of people who decide to “give church a try” do so on Sunday mornings, so it’s particularly important that our morning activities have them in mind!  Keep in mind that only a portion of those attending are members—and that’s the way it should be!  In fact, some who regularly attend aren’t even Christians yet.  This awareness won’t ever cause us to change our message, but it ought to cause us to constantly review the ways we share our message.
The Congregation:  After people attend for a while, many decide to become members (and to become believers if they haven’t taken that step before).  This is the next circle of commitment as we move inward through the concentric circles.  Our “Discover Hillcrest” class is designed to introduce people to what it means to be a member so that people can make an informed and enthusiastic commitment to our church’s mission.
The Committed:  Sadly, in every church there are members who are not committed to spiritual growth.  We need to make sure that we’re constantly challenging our members to commit to the disciplines of spiritual growth:  Honor the Lord of Life, Invite Your World to Life, Love the Fellowship for Life, and Live the Word in Life.  This will bring them from the Circle of the Congregation into the Circle of the Committed.
The Core:  Now we’re at the innermost circle in our five concentric circles.  The people in this circle are members of the congregation who are committed to spiritual growth and who have accepted positions of service and responsibility at Hillcrest.  Most who get LeaderLines every week are found in this circle.
What a huge responsibility you and I have as Hillcrest leaders!  Our job is nothing less than moving each person through the circles!  That involves identifying the “circle of commitment” a person is in, and then finding ways to move them to the next level.

Next week we’ll take a look at how to do just that!  In the meantime, I hope to see you Friday night for our Rings seminar—with a friend!


P.S.  Our thanks to Charles Draper for leading a packed-out room full of Sunday School workers last night!  I’m already getting word from Sunday School leaders who are planning some creative things to build attendance on Friend Day, February 1!  Make sure to promise your support to your Sunday School leaders when they announce their plans across the next few weeks!