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Inreach and Outreach
by Tom Goodman
January 8, 2009

This weekly e-newsletter is designed for my Hillcrest "leadership partners," though many others subscribe to it as well.  On this first LeaderLines for the new year, we need to think about inreach and outreach.

Some churches excel at one or the other; few churches can do both well.  Inreach is about building relationships with those already attending, while outreach is about drawing in those who aren't connected to a church or our Savior.

There are two events in January that will help us in both areas.

First event: the vote on our Sunday morning schedule.  Well, not just the vote.  I'm thinking about the discussion leading up to it and the implementation of whatever is decided.  Whether we decide to combine into one service on continue in two, this whole process can help us with our inreach.

How so?  As I said in our church business meeting last night, we never graduate from God's college:  He's always teaching us something.  I believe that God uses business meetings like we had last night to build our fellowship.  Of course, too often we're poor students unwilling to hear God's lessons, but he's always teaching those with ears to hear.

In discussions like we had last night, one of the things that God can teach us is to listen to other segments of our church.  We get so accustomed to expressing our opinions among a small group of like-minded individuals that we forget that Hillcrest is a lot larger than our small group.  Discussions like we had last night can broaden our perspective.

That's what's happened in our deacon body.  It's a joy for me to see such camaraderie, laughter, and mutual respect among the men.  And all of this takes place despite a wide age range.  We have younger men with small children or kids on the way; we have middle aged men whose children are teenagers and college students; we have other men at the empty-nest years or just entering into retirement; and we have senior adult men.

How in the world does such a diverse group enjoy unity?  Well, they meet regularly, and instead of avoiding hot topics they discuss them (and discuss them, and discuss them, and discuss them, as chairman William Hyden joked last night).  They pray with each other, they ask questions of each other, they verbally express respect for each other.

The deacons have given us an example of how our entire church can enjoy each other's company.

And that leads me to a suggestion:  We need more meetings like we had last night.  In 2009, I'm going to figure out a way to have "town hall" meetings where we can hear from each other across the generations.  I haven't settled firmly on how to accomplish this, but I'm thinking about having panel discussions:  I'd put three people from various generations on the stage, interview them on a particular topic, and then open the floor for questions and comments.  What do you think?  And if you like it, what topics should I cover in such meetings?

Now, here's our second task at Hillcrest: outreach.  Not only must we build fellowship with all who attend, but we need to draw into our fellowship those who need to attend.

And there's a second event in January that can help us with that: our "Winning Ways" Banquet January 25.

This Sunday, I'm going to challenge all our Sunday School and Common Ground groups to plan on your group sitting together at the banquet.

The banquet is on Sunday evening, January 25, in the Multipurpose Center.  Jay and Dee Simpson will be cooking the barbeque, our own country recording artist Brent Blaha will sing, and Representative Jim Keffer will speak.  Among other responsibilities, he currently chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.  In addition to hearing from Rep. Keffer, you will be able to meet some of the men and women who represent you, including those from the United States House and Senate.  After Jim Keffer shares his Christian testimony, I will explain the plan of salvation.

Make plans in your class today to sit together at the banquet.  This will make it easy for you to introduce prospects to your class!

Outreach and Inreach.  As we put it on our banners, you need to "Invite Your World to Life" and "Love the Fellowship for Life."  Let's make sure we're a church that's famous for both!

Still in School,

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