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

“Good to Great!”
by Tom Goodman

What does Hillcrest Baptist Church have in common with the following companies:  Abbott Laboratories, Circuit City, Fannie Mae, Gillette, Kimberly-Clark, Kroger, Pitney Bowes, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo?

There’s one thing we already have in common with those companies, and there’s one thing I’m hoping we’ll have in common.

Here’s the thing we already have in common:  every company I mentioned had been in business for at least 25 years without any significant growth for at least a 15-year stretch.  If you had bought stock in those companies during their stagnant stretch, you would have fared better in a common mutual fund.

What about Hillcrest?  Herb Ingram, our interim Minister of Education, has been showing us numbers that reveal a ten-year plateau in attendance.  While Austin exploded in growth from 1994-2004—at an increase of fifteen percent a year!—our average attendance at Hillcrest remained the same.

But, back to those companies I listed.  I mentioned that there’s one thing we already have in common with them, and there’s one thing I’m hoping we’ll have in common.

Here’s the thing I’m hoping we’ll have in common:  something happened to each of those companies that caused dramatic growth.  After 15 straight years of stagnation, they had 15 straight years of growth.  Had you bought stock in those companies during their growth years, you would have enjoyed a cumulative stock return of at least three times the general market.

Walgreens is an exceptional example:  For more than 40 years, Walgreens was no more than an average company, and its stock value tracked the general market.  Then in 1975 Walgreens began to climb.  And climb.  And climb.  It just kept climbing.  From December 31, 1975 to January 1, 2000, one dollar invested in Walgreens beat one dollar invested in Intel by nearly 2 times, General Electric by nearly 5 times, and Coca-Cola by nearly 8 times.  It beat the general stock market by more than 15 times.

What caused the turnaround in those companies?  Jim Collins sought answers for that very question in his book, Good to Great.  Over a million people have read Collins’ book, and when I accepted the call to Hillcrest a year ago, I did too.  I knew I had come to a good church that could become a great church.

Listen, we ought to be more concerned with making that transition as a church than if we were a secular company!  I mean, we don’t call Matthew 28:19-20 the Good Commission, do we?

Across the next few LeaderLines, I’ll share with you some of the principles in Collins’ Good to Great companies that apply to Good to Great churches.


P.S.  Pray for our Easter Outreach efforts, and remember that there will be no evening activities on Easter Sunday.