LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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by Tom Goodman
January 13, 2005

Be in prayer for me and the following men who will be with me in the Cayman Islands until January 22 rebuilding a home that Hurricane Ivan destroyed: Al Shaffer, Don Scott, Tim Raymund, Michael Plaster, David Littlestar, and Patrick Koch.  There will not be a LeaderLines next Thursday while I am out of the country.

This past Sunday I shared the third step in our six-step “I.N.V.I.T.E. Evangelism Strategy.”  Herb Ingram, Jim Siegel and I are designing a course to train people in this strategy.  Across this year, we’re “unveiling” one of the six steps every couple of months.  If you missed the sermon this past week or want to review the points, hear it online at Click here.

I am glad to report that our church has really become “THEM-conscious” across the last several months.  This is the first step in the I.N.V.I.T.E. Strategy, and the first step to some real spiritual and numerical growth for a church!  I’ve had some neat conversations with folks recently that convince me we’ve really turned this corner!  Let me recount some of those conversations:

One of those who attended my “Discover Hillcrest” class on Sunday told me she began to attend Hillcrest during our “Forty Days of Purpose.”  She's been bringing people with her nearly every week.  On the Sunday morning of the last day of the Christmas musical, she was given two tickets by a member in the lobby who could not use them (the member would not take her money).  That afternoon she felt the Lord was telling her to invite an unchurched neighbor.  She did, and both of them thought it was the best thing they had seen any church do.  Our new Hillcrester said, "It had a wonderful, subtle message," and the neighbor said, "Yes, it was subtle but I heard it loud and clear.  Hit me between the eyes."

On Sunday afternoon, when I was calling some of our guests from Sunday, one told me that she and her boyfriend were blown away at how they were surrounded by 10-15 "greeters."  They thought it was the friendliest group of people they had ever met.  They enjoyed the service—her boyfriend said he couldn't believe it was OK to laugh in church!

One of the men who signed up for the Cayman trip told me he tried to get a seeking friend to come with him.  The plans fell through, but God will bless the ongoing relationship this Hillcrester has with his seeking friend!

I caught up with the Tobeys on Sunday night.  David told me that his Friday meeting of Upward people who belong to Hillcrest was well attended.  The intent of this meeting was to fire-up Hillcrest members involved in Upward to "connect" with the unchurched people in the program.  He made them practice 2 phrases to use on the sidelines the next 8 weeks: (1) "That's my kid there; which one is your kid?"  (2) "If you like what we're doing today, why not come sit with me tomorrow?"  This is wonderful news!  Pray that God uses the Hillcresters in Upward as they reach out to those who need a church home and a Savior!

I talked with a young woman (I’ll leave her name anonymous for now).  She had a THEM sitting with her in the morning service where I talked about our evangelism strategy to our THEMs.  At the end of the service her friend said, "I guess I'm your project, huh?"  They both laughed, and the friend pointed out where she was at on the "Readiness Scale" (somewhere between spectator and seeker).

This was just on one Sunday!  I’m thrilled with all these signs and indicators that we’re getting “THEM-conscious” at Hillcrest!  God bless YOUR efforts at making an eternal difference in someone’s life!


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