LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
January 15, 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 from the Community into the Crowd”
by Tom Goodman

How are we doing at moving people from the Community into the Crowd?  In other words, how are we doing at helping unchurched people begin attending our Sunday morning crowd?

Last week I introduced LeaderLines readers to the “Circles of Commitment.”  Across the next several weeks we’ll look at each circle in greater depth.  Today we begin with the “Community Circle.”  Think of the Community Circle as the outermost ring of five concentric circles:

o The Community
o The Crowd
o The Congregation
o The Committed
o The Core
Most churches define the Community they want to reach as all unchurched people in, say, a 10-mile radius from their building.  This is a common way a church tries to identify their “target group.”

Hillcrest has a better way.  The Community our church is called to reach is made up of all the unchurched people known by those who attend Hillcrest.  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 resulting number will be huge!

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that we should limit our outreach exclusively to the unchurched people known by our members.  For example, I’m planning an Easter mail campaign that will target many neighborhoods within driving distance to our church.  In addition, our advertising and location attracts lots of people to our church who don’t know anyone here.

But a church that relies exclusively on these outreach strategies won’t be nearly as effective as a church that mobilizes the members to invite those they know.  Besides, a church that fails to mobilize the members for this work is failing the members!   According to Jesus, a large part of being a disciple involves making disciples.  If you’re not fishing for people, you’re not following Jesus—plain and simple (Matthew 4:19).

So we have a different definition of the Community Circle at Hillcrest.  The Community Circle is made up of all the unchurched people known by those who attend Hillcrest.  This is one way we make it up the H.I.L.L. of Christian growth—The “I” in H.I.L.L. stands for “Invite Your World to Life.”  You’re responsible to reach the lost people in your own circles of influence.

So, the first step is to move people from the Community Circle into the Crowd Circle.  In other words, we need to get someone who is “unchurched” to become part of our Sunday morning crowd.

This isn’t the end of our evangelism work, but it’s the beginning!  When nonbelievers who attend Hillcrest start studying the Bible, making friends, and watching us worship, powerful things happen!

The heart of my leadership strategy is very simple:  I will equip our attenders to develop relationships with unchurched people that will lead to an invitation to church, and I will equip our leaders to develop a church that our attenders will want to bring unchurched people to!

Once an unchurched person begins to attend and becomes a part of our Sunday morning Crowd, what’s next?  Next week we’ll look at how to move someone from the Crowd Circle of Commitment to the Congregation Circle of Commitment.  In other words, we’ll look at the importance of moving someone from simply attending our church to joining our church through profession of faith or transfer of membership.


Discipleship Training.  Our Spring semester of Discipleship Training begins.  Log on to www.HillcrestAustin.org/discipleship for information about our classes.  You can even register online!  So far, 21 registrations have been received, but only 4 of those are men.  Let me challenge the men of our Fellowship to look for classes that will help you grow as believers!

Suggestions for New Deacons.  Our Deacon Body is looking for a few good men!  At Hillcrest, deacons have two primary assignments: they serve as a "sounding board" for the pastor and they take care of our congregation's widows and widowers.  As the deacons look for additional men to help them in these roles, they welcome any suggestions from the congregation.  Contact our Deacon Chairman, Luis Moreno, to offer suggestions.


Friend Day in Sunday School, 9:30 a.m.  This Sunday, ask your Sunday School leaders what you can do to help your department and class make this a successful day of outreach!
A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Club, 8:15 or 10:45 a.m. We’re challenging kids in February to be “At Worship Every Sunday Of the Month, Enthusiastically!”  The A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Club will help kids learn more about worshipping God at Hillcrest.  There are no additional meetings.  Club members are expected to be at a morning service each Sunday in February and complete the pages in a Worship Training book.  That’s it!  If you have questions, contact our Children’s Minister, BJ Linam at bj@hbcaustin.org.
“Getting Along: Eight Solutions to Conflict,” 8:15 of 10:45 a.m.  A new Sunday morning series begins February 1.  Each week we'll look at a different biblical principal for resolving conflict.  Join us and find practical steps from God's Word for improving your relationships!