LeaderLines - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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The Church Leadership Summit
by Tom Goodman
January 3, 2008

We want Hillcrest to be a place where Austin can find and follow Jesus together.  In practical terms, though, how do we fulfill that aim as leaders?

I plan to answer that question at our Church Leadership Summit this Sunday, January 6, from 5:30-7:00pm.  I want to show you how your service at our church fits into this mission, whether you are a deacon or greeter, Sunday School teacher or Common Ground host, nursery worker or choir officer.

Whatever you do at Hillcrest fits into our grand scheme of helping people find and follow Jesus together.  Tim Keller described this kind of mission in a lengthy interview for "The Cutting Edge" magazine.  Keller is pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and he's got a lot to say about what he calls "city-center churches" like Hillcrest:

In Acts 2 and 1 Cor. 14:23 we see non-believers attracted and challenged by worship.  We learn there that non-believers are expected in worship, and that non-believers must find worship challenging and comprehensible.  In city-centers where there are a mixture of world-views, it is crucial to include both Christians and non-Christians in the same service -- even in many of the other meetings and ministries of the church....  Why?  In a "mixed" group, when the preacher speaks somewhat more to non-Christians, the Christians present learn how to share the faith....  On the other hand, when the preacher speaks more to Christians, the non-Christians present come to see how Christianity "works"....  In short, a center-city church should not simply "do mission" or "do evangelism."  Every part of its ministry should be geared routinely both to Christians and non-Christians, and expecting non-Christians to be "overhearing" whatever is said and done in any context.

. . .

If you speak and discourse as if your whole neighborhood is present eventually more and more of your neighborhood will find their way in or be invited.  Why?  Most Christians, even when they are very edified in church, know intuitively that their non-Christian friends would not appreciate the service.  What you want is for a Christian to come to your church and say, "Oh!  I wish my non-Christian friend could see (or hear) this!"  If this is forgotten, soon even a growing church will be filled with Christians who commute in from various towns and communities far and wide rather than filling up with Christians and seekers from your church's immediate neighborhoods.

So, we are to be a church where people can find and follow Jesus together.  But, in practical terms, though, how do we fulfill that aim as leaders?  And how does our role at Hillcrest fit into that mission?

I'll show you at this Sunday's Summit that it all has to do with the H.I.L.L. we must crest.  This acronym reminds us of the four "life purposes" we were designed to accomplish: Honor the Lord of Life, Invite Your World to Life, Love the Fellowship for Life, and Live the Word in Life.

Start your 2008 off right by joining me at the Church Leadership Summit!


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