LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
February 19, 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. . . .

“Looking Ahead”
by Tom Goodman

What a great turn-out for our All-Leadership Sunday School meeting last Wednesday!  Those of you who work in our Sunday School program are key players on our leadership team!  Charles Draper has had an important role in bringing us to the point we’re at in our Sunday School.  He’s pushed us to be our best, and as his four years come to an end, we will deeply miss his leadership and friendship.

What’s next for our Sunday School ministry?  Let me mention four things:

First, Charles has made a list of all his assignments and he is busy handing these things out to other staff and lay leaders so things will continue smoothly during the interim time.  A number of these things will fall on the desks of already-busy staff members, so pray for us!  I’m so grateful for the willing spirit of paid staff and lay leadership who have said “yes” when Charles has asked them to take an added responsibility.

Second, Herb Ingram has agreed to be our interim Education Minister!  Herb is well-known by many at Hillcrest and has a lot of experience leading education ministry.  Herb will work in the Hillcrest office Mondays and Wednesdays and will be with us one Sunday a month.  He will participate in staff meetings, maintain the monthly Sunday School leadership meetings, and continue the quarterly Sunday School Council meetings.  He will also help us evaluate our Sunday School program and he will spend time in one-on-one meetings with teachers and directors as needed.  Charles will introduce Herb to our Sunday School leaders in the next scheduled leadership meeting, Wednesday, March 3.

Third, with Herb on board, I don’t feel as much pressure to immediately begin a search for an education minister.  However, we won’t let too many months go by before starting to look.  This great church received about 250 resumes in its search for a Senior Pastor.  Our Youth Minister search committee received about 80 resumes for that position.  When the time is right to begin our search for an Education Minister, I expect we’ll have a lot of candidates to look at who want to lead such a great Bible study ministry here.

Fourth, I want to make myself available to all teachers and directors in the adult departments.  Please call on me for any help I can provide.  Here’s one suggestion:  I have prepared a three-week lesson on the priorities and purposes of our church and I’m available to teach this lesson to your department.  As I teach the three-week lesson, I will include lots of chances for questions and I will provide “take-home” sheets that will enable even more communication with me.  Two department directors have already contacted me, so let me know if you want me to schedule this three-week study with the classes in your department.

Our Sunday School ministry is one of the most important ministries in our church.  We average about 500 people a week in this small-group ministry.  And that’s just a statistical average.  Knowing that many don’t attend every single week, if you count the actual number of people who have some connection to our small-group ministry, we actually impact as many as 700 to 800 people.  So, it’s vital that we do our part to keep this ministry strong in the immediate months ahead.

This church has proven capable of stepping up to the plate during interim times!  You showed great strength during the 12 months of looking for a Senior Pastor.  You showed marvelous unity during the 18 months looking for a Minister to Youth.  Let’s step up to the plate one more time as we begin the search for a Minister of Education!

An interim time is a time to keep doing the good things, evaluate how we might improve, and get a clear picture of the things we’ll need the next Minister of Education to do.  Let me encourage you to keep doing the great things you’ve been doing:  teaching, following up on prospects, keeping up with members, and so on.  We’re on our way to seeing the highest February attendance in Hillcrest history.  Our plans for building your class attendance on Easter Sunday are already underway, and it’s very exciting.  We need to look forward with confidence to see what great things God is planning!