The Lord of the Rings: Step Four
by Tom Goodman
May 12, 2005
We’ve been 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 and define the five rings
The Community: all the unchurched people known by those who attend Hillcrest.
The Crowd: our Sunday morning attendance at Bible study and worship.
The Congregation: those who become members of our church through profession of faith or transfer from membership in another church.
The Committed: those who are climbing the discipleship H.I.L.L.—Honoring the Lord of Life, Inviting their World to Life, Loving the Fellowship for Life, and Living the Word in Life.
The Core: those in places of influence and leadership who help Hillcrest move people through the Rings.
Notice that I defined the Core as those who are in places of influence and leadership where they help Hillcrest move people through the Circles.
Those in places of leadership work on committees, teach the classes, serve as deacons, and head our programs.
In addition to the recognized leaders, every church has people of influence who are not necessarily in official positions. These are the congregation’s “bell cows” whose opinions shape the opinions of others.
Iowa’s legendary coach, Hayden Fry, pointed to his ability to enlist the support of the “bell cows” among his players as one of the secrets of his success:
My dad told me to go out and feed the cows one morning. I said, “Dad, there’s no way I can find all those cows.” He said, “Yes, there is, son.” He said, “You’ve always got a leader. I put a bell around that
leader. I call it the bell cow. You listen for that bell, and you go out there in that pickup truck and throw the hay out. All the other guys will be there because they’re following that bell cow.” As the head coach, I tried
to pick a couple that were bell cows for the whole team. All the players will pay more attention to one of their own that they respect and appreciate, the bell cow, the leader. Then you develop more bell cows within the
Now, every week we’ve highlighted the importance of moving people from one Circle to the next. This is true at the Core level, too. I’m always on the lookout for those in the Committed Ring who are ready to be enlisted for the Core.
It’s vital that we develop leaders and “bell cows” by identifying people in the Committed Ring who will do their part to help Hillcrest move people through the Rings. There are other qualities to look for when looking for leaders, but a person
isn’t ready for Hillcrest leadership without this quality.
* Since we’re a flock and not a herd, maybe it would be best to call our influential members “bellwethers,” instead of “bell cows!” A bellwether is an old word for a bell-wearing “wether,” or sheep, that other sheep follow.
Schedule Proposal: In the last 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. Last year, one of our members volunteered to lead a time of gospel music for those who did not want to attend the
classes. This option is still available for members who want to lead and/or participate in gospel singing. 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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