LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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by Tom Goodman
November 10, 2005

As leaders, we need to increase the “fellowship factor” between those who call Hillcrest their church home.  Here are six practical actions we need to lead people to take.  As they take these six actions, we’ll develop the emotional and spiritual W-A-R-M-T-H of our church.

First action: Wwork.  Those who row the boat don’t have time to rock it!  Scripture tells us that, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” (1 Corinthians 12:7, NLT)  As leaders we need to help people discover how they can contribute to the work our church is trying to accomplish.

Second, Aattach.  As leaders, help people get connected, especially to a small group.  Paul wrote, “And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” (Romans 12:5, NLT)  We are not to be spectators who slip in for the church’s “show” on Sundays and then slip out.  Find a way to get people attached to others.

Third, R--respect.  Teach people to respect each other.  The sweet movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, can teach you a lot about getting along at Hillcrest.  Gus Portokalos was the proud Greek-American father who found himself in a crisis when his beloved Toula wanted to marry Ian Miller, who was tall and handsome, but definitely not Greek.  Most of the comedy in the movie revolved around the cultural differences as the courtship proceeded—serving lamb to a vegetarian, playfully tricking Ian into saying something embarrassing in a language he didn’t know, learning how pronounce—and serve—a Bundt cake.  But Gus came to terms with his struggles in the end.  At the wedding reception, he launched into his infamous habit of tracing back the origin of all words to their foundation in the Greek language.  He reminded the audience that “Portokalos” comes from the Greek word meaning “orange” (the color, not the fruit).  And the family name “Miller”—he claimed—comes from the Greek word for “apple.”

“So here we have ‘apples’ and ‘oranges,’” he said, to some scattered laughter from those who knew that the two families were as different as, well, apples and oranges.  Then he looked sweetly at his daughter and said, “But in the end, we’re all fruit.”  It was Gus’s way of coming to terms with his daughter’s choice.

At Hillcrest, you’ve probably found some people who are as different from you as apples from oranges.  Like Gus discovered in his family, it’s mutual respect that gets us through. James wrote, “You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” (James 3:18, Msg)

Fourth action: Mmotivate.  As family members, we need to encourage, or motivate, each other to make the right choices.  “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out,” the Bible says, “not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25, Msg).

Fifth: Ttestify.  Help people share with each other what they’re experiencing with God.  I love how Paul put it: “I want us to help each other with the faith we have.  Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.” (Romans 1:12, NCV)  When Paul wrote that he had been a believer for perhaps thirty years and a church leader for twenty-five, yet he acknowledged how he needed to hear about the experiences others were having with God.  We never get too old or too experienced in following Jesus that we outgrow the need to learn from others.

Finally: Hheal.  We need to lead our people to heal the hurts of other believers through prayer and caring actions.  “My children,” John tenderly wrote, “Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” (1 John 3:18, TEV).

As you lead at Hillcrest, aim for this kind of W-A-R-M-T-H among those who participate here.


Important Notes

E-mail Problems.  Recently, e-mail sent from our HillcrestAustin.org accounts was being rejected by AOL and Compuserve and a number of other large internet service providers (ISPs).  We have been able to receive e-mail sent from these ISPs, but we have not been able to send to e-mail addresses on these ISPs.  This problem appears to be fixed, but if you haven’t received a reply to an e-mail you sent us in the last week or two, this is why.
Turkey-N-Testimonies.  Join us for a churchwide Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday, November 22, in our MPC.  Tickets are $5 ($15 maximum per family), to be collected at the door.  Let us know you plan to come by e-mailing my assistant at jami@hbcaustin.org.
Rick Spencer to Speak.  I will be speaking at a former church this Sunday, on the occasion of their 125th anniversary.  While away, I’ve asked Rick Spencer to preach at Hillcrest in the 10:45 a.m. service.  Rick did a great job as the interim pastor at Hillcrest before my arrival.
Budget Adoption.  Our Finance Committee has begun to present the proposed 2006 budget.  If you want a copy, please contact my assistant at jami@hbcaustin.org.  You do not have to be a member to receive a copy.  The Finance Committee will host a Q&A time this Sunday afternoon, and a special business meeting has been called to adopt the budget next Wednesday, November 16.  Final adoption of the budget will be Sunday morning, November 20.
E-Giving is Here!  If you enjoy the convenience of automatic bill-paying, you can extend that convenience to your Hillcrest support.  Go to www.HillcrestAustin.org/#H2 to learn more, or contact Patty Bailey at patty@hbcaustin.org or Betty Morgan at betty@hbcaustin.org.

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