LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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“The Lord of the Rings: Step Three”
by Tom Goodman
May 5, 2005

Today is the National Day of Prayer.
If you’re not gathering with a group to observe this special day, please take some time on your own to pray for our country, our state, and our community.

How are we doing at helping our members grow in Christ?

This edition of LeaderLines is part of a series on the Commitment Rings.  We’re looking at the different levels of commitment to Christ and His church.  Think of those levels of commitment as five concentric rings.  Moving from the outermost ring to the inner ring, you would label the five rings like this:

     o  The Community
     o  The Crowd
     o  The Congregation
     o  The Committed
     o  The Core

Two week ago we looked at ways to move people from the Community into the Crowd.  We defined the Community as all the unchurched people known by those who attend Hillcrest.  When they begin to regularly attend Hillcrest, they become part of our Crowd.  We defined the Crowd as our Sunday morning attendance at Bible study and worship.

Last week we looked at how to get those who are part of the Crowd to become part of our Congregation.  We defined the Congregation as those who become members of our church through profession of faith or transfer from membership in another church.

Now, after they make a commitment to Christ and to membership, what’s next?  As thrilling as it is to see people begin attending and then join our church, there’s more work to do!  Once we lead someone to commit to our Congregation, we need to look for ways to move them into the Committed Ring.

By distinguishing “The Committed” from “The Congregation,” I’m not speaking about the difference between “active” and “inactive” members.  Many churches, including Hillcrest, will mark someone’s membership as “inactive” on the database when that person has not attended for a long time or when that person can no longer be located.  It’s a simple clerical identification of members who are eligible to vote or hold church positions.

When I say that our job is to lead people from the “Congregation Ring” to the “Committed Ring,” I’m not talking about helping “inactive members” become “active members.”

Instead, I’m talking about something much deeper:  Our prayer and labor should aim to lead every member to make it up the discipleship H.I.L.L.  Our job isn’t done until every member Honors the Lord of Life, Invites his or her World to Life, Loves the Fellowship for Life, and Lives the Word in Life.  I’ve hammered this point for the last two years.

So, here’s a summary of the process we’ve looked at in the last three weeks of LeaderLines:  First, we reach out to our Community until they become active Sunday morning attenders—this makes them part of our Crowd.  Second, we find ways to convince attenders to join our church by profession of faith or transfer of membership—this makes them part of our Congregation.  Third, we develop those who have become members so that they are climbing the discipleship H.I.L.L.—this makes them part of the Committed.

There’s one more step.  Those who are Committed to climbing the discipleship H.I.L.L. need to be put in places of influence and leadership—this makes them part of the Core.  We’ll look at that last Ring in the next edition of LeaderLines.


Important Notes:

Mother’s Day Parking:  On Mother’s Day, May 8, we need to free up parking spaces in our largest paved lots (the ones closest to the Children’s Wing).  If you don’t have small children to handle, please park in the gravel lot on the other side of the gym (where the new retaining wall was built).  We need about 25 cars that are normally parked in these big lots to be moved to the gravel lot on May 8.
Schedule Proposal:  In last week’s Quarterly Business Meeting, the congregation passed a motion from one of our members asking the staff to schedule another consideration of our schedule proposal.  The accepted motion was to ask the staff to bring a recommendation in just ONE area of last year’s schedule proposal: Adult Sunday night programming.  If you remember last year’s proposal, the staff recommended that the Sunday night service be moved to Wednesday night.  The only adult program on Sunday night would then be a ninety-minute slot of classes called the Hillcrest Institute.  Our staff is looking at the church calendar to determine the best time to hold this special business meeting.  We will let you know when it has been scheduled.

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