LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
June 10, 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. . . .

“A Word from Our Children’s Minister, BJ Linam”
by Tom Goodman

For a few editions of LeaderLines, I’ve asked my associates on the Ministry Staff to share their vision for their particular ministry areas.  Today we hear from BJ Linam.  BJ is moving toward her fifth anniversary with Hillcrest.  She has an infectious enthusiasm for working with children, and it shows up in her comments, her planning, and the prayers she lifts up for your kids.  She helps parents not only with the kids activities she plans but also with the parenting example that she shows.  BJ and her husband, Dale, are on the “front lines” of parenthood themselves, successfully bringing two sons up into Christian manhood.  They’re showing the rest of us how it’s done!  I’ve asked BJ to share her vision of our children’s ministry in this edition of LeaderLines.
—Pastor Tom
P.S.  Have you checked out the “Frequently Asked Questions” page on our website?  I hope the page will answer your questions regarding our proposed Fall schedule change.  Go online at www.HillcrestAustin.org/ScheduleProposalFAQ.
Now, here’s BJ—
“The HILL”
by BJ Linam

When I first came to Hillcrest 4½ years ago, someone on the search committee asked me what the ideal children’s ministry would look like.  I told them that it would depend upon the church.  Every church has a different vision and context for its ministry and will approach how it ministers differently as a result of its uniqueness.

After serving here for four years with you, God has begun to clarify in my mind and in the minds of our children’s leadership His vision for Hillcrest Kids.  I pray that He will help me communicate with you some of what He has been showing us.  I hope that your mind will open and allow you to see this picture that God showed me on the way home from California!

Picture with me a hillside covered with kids being kids.  There is laughter, squealing, running, playing, twirling, scuffling, praying, hugging, walking, and climbing.  Along with the children are parents and leaders whom God has called to influence these kids.

The base of the mountain is filled with activity.  There are games, special events, reading groups, classes, sports, presentations, service endeavors, and fun times.  Music fills the air.  This activity is distinctly different from all other “worldly activity” because it’s focused on providing opportunities for children to come to know Jesus and take the first step up the HILL.

If you’ll look at the HILL with me, you’ll see children at all levels of spiritual maturity on it.  Some have just begun to know Jesus.  Others are growing to love and obey him more each day.  Each child is climbing this discipleship HILL at his or her own rate with someone in front they can follow, someone behind they can lead, and others alongside who can encourage.  They are pressing upward while inviting others to join them as they climb.  I see them crawling, walking, leaping, jumping, tumbling, sitting to rest, and stretching!  They are enjoying the climb!

The crest of the HILL is the destination of those climbing.  Jesus is there, watching us climb, laughing and cheering us on!  He sees Hillcrest kids and adults striving to climb toward Him.  Their lifestyle demonstrates a passion to Honor God.  They have found practical ways to Invite others to know Jesus.  They are positive and compassionate as they Love their forever family.  In everything they do, they are purposeful in learning to Live like Jesus.

The reality of this HILL is my prayer for Hillcrest Baptist Church.  May God be glorified in all that we do here!!!  May we find ways to conquer all four aspects of the H. I. L. L.  We need to help children learn to Honor, Invite, Love, and Live!  We cannot neglect the discipleship of children to focus on reaching more.  Nor can we spend all of our time and resources on the discipleship of “our” kids and neglect those who do not know Jesus.  God has called us to both reach and teach!  Our goal is transformed lives—lives that reflect Christ!

You will notice as I have, that this vision of the HILL does not focus on programs or human personalities!  As God leads us in the years ahead, the current programs and personalities will change…  But OUR GOD NEVER CHANGES!  His message, the same one He gave the people before us, is the same for us today, tomorrow, and in the days to come.  His message will never change, but our methods must if we are to reach this generation and the generations to come.

Oh please, Heavenly Father, may we see in our lifetime a ministry that truly looks like this HILL!!