LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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“The Lord of the Rings: Wrapping It Up”
by Tom Goodman
May 19, 2005

If someone asks you if we’re trying to be a church that attracts seekers or a church that’s trying to develop Christians, what will you tell them?

Before you answer, reflect on the things I’ve been sharing in the last few weeks of LeaderLines.  Today we conclude our series on the “Commitment Rings.”  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 like this:

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.
So, here’s a summary of the process we’ve looked at in the last several 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.  Finally, we develop the Committed until they can be leaders and influencers who help Hillcrest move people through the Rings—this makes them part of our Core.  That’s what God has called us to do.

So, now you can answer the question I started with:  If someone asks you if we’re trying to be a church that attracts seekers or a church that’s trying to develop Christians, what will you tell them?


You’re getting good at remembering that answer!  It’s true.  Sadly, lots of churches have a narrow-minded focus on moving people from just one circle to another.  For example, a few churches are real effective at attracting seekers, but they don’t know what to do with them afterward.  On the other hand, I also know a few churches whose only focus is on helping existing Christians go deep—they don’t know how to get a lost person started in discipleship!  Of course, way too many churches just work on moving members from the Congregation Ring of one church to the Congregation Ring of another church.

That’s where the Commitment Rings can help us understand our work.  God wants us to pay attention to all the Commitment Rings.  We need to have a passion and a plan to identify what Ring someone’s in and then move him or her to the next Ring.

As Clark Kent said, “This is a job for Superman!”  I’m sure glad God gives strength and wisdom for the work!


Important Notes:

Vote on the Schedule Proposal, Sunday, June 5, 6:30 p.m.  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.  Please make an effort to add your voice and vote to this important proposal.

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