LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
June 17, 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 Education Minister, Herb Ingram”
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 Herb Ingram.  In March, Herb joined the staff part-time as our interim Education Minister.  In just a few months, Herb has firmly bonded with our staff and the rest of the congregation.  Herb has that unique combination of being a “seasoned ministry veteran” while also staying open to new ways of ministry.  I’ve also been impressed with the way he gets key leadership on board in the planning process.  I’ve asked Herb to share his vision of our adult Christian education 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 Herb—
“I Have a Dream”
by Herb Ingram

Thirty years ago, when God called me into full-time Christian ministry, I wasn’t a kid.  In fact, I had two children of my own.  (One of those is well known to many of you.)  I didn’t choose ministry as a “career path.”  In fact, my career was already going pretty well.  I had just bought a new house for my family, we were very active in a church, I enjoyed my job, my wife was teaching school, and life was good.  My entrance into ministry was fairly traumatic for my family, and for me as we sold out and moved off to Seminary.  That was my “first calling.”  After 20+ years of what many would classify a “very successful” ministry in Southern Baptist Churches with 15+ of those years at one church (Bannockburn in Austin), God issued a second calling.  It was as real and as traumatic for my wife and me, as the first.  God called me to leave all the security and fulfillment of my “successful ministry” to labor in the rocky fields alongside churches that were too small to be able to afford someone like me.  Not that I’m anything, but God had blessed me with experience, gifts, and a base of knowledge on how to help a church grow.  I have been actively involved in that ministry now for the past 7 years.

Now God seems to be doing a “new thing” in me.  I don’t have it fully defined yet, but I do know it revolves around “THEM”—“Those Humans Entitled to the Message.”  God is breaking my heart over the state of our churches.  So many are seemingly satisfied to sit back and enjoy doing church while millions of people in their spheres of influence are seeking spiritual guidance and not finding it in Christianity, but in hundreds of other places, none of which have a true message.  What are we doing?  How can we mobilize Christians to be intentional about reaching others for Christ?

Anyway, back to the dream.  I have a dream of a church full of “on mission” people who see their role in life not as a “church-goer” but as a kingdom builder; not involved in church because of all the good stuff it can offer them and their family, but because God has placed a call on their life to join Him in His Great Commission.  I dream of being involved in a church where I’m not one of the few “ministers” paid to do the work of God in the community but where every member takes on the calling to be a minister in their field of souls.  I dream of being a part of a church whose heartbeat is . . .

. . . “TH-THEM, TH-THEM, TH-THEM” . . .

. . . and everything we do is driven by that beat, and the eternal purposes of God for His people are the guideposts for every activity and every program.

In short, I dream of being a part of a great church which is making a difference in a post-Christian world.  I see great churches in other places that are reaching hundreds and thousands of new believers every year and doing it because the people recognize their mission as one of reaching their THEMs for Christ.  Is Hillcrest capable of being this kind of church?

YES!  You have a good facility which could be great.  You are placed in a strategic location.  You have a large number of dedicated people with all the needed gifts and talents, who love the Lord and want to follow Him wherever He leads.  You have a Godly, talented, called, dedicated staff who wants to see this church catch fire for God.  You have financial resources God will bless and multiply to do His work.  You have a wonderful vision statement and strategy based on the eternal purposes of God.  You have a rich past and a bright future.  All that’s needed now is to get the right compound in the right proportions in the right timing, and I think we could see an amazing thing happen here.  I think we could see my dream come true—a dream I know many of you share.  God help us to get our eyes off ourselves and help us focus on the fields which are white unto harvest!

I Have a Dream . . . Do You?