LeaderLines - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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by Tom Goodman
June 4, 2010

Pop quiz:  How many under the age of 19 live within a 3-mile radius of our church building?

Answer:  20,000.

That's an Erwin Center full.

That's how Karen Raulie put it in our annual staff retreat today.  Take all the preschoolers, kids, and teens who live within three miles of our church building, bus them down to the Erwin Center, and you'd pack it.

(Actually, the fire marshal would turn away about 3,000 of them since the Erwin Center seats just shy of 17,000.  But you get the picture:  We have a heapin' helpin' of families within three miles of our facility.)

Expand that to a 5-mile radius and the number under the age of 19 leaps up to 60,000.  Now we'll need four Erwin Centers to hold all the preschoolers, kids, and teens.

That is our ministry bullseye.

The "bullseye" is the center of a target in games like archery or darts.  You get points for just striking the target at all, but the most points are scored by striking the bullseye.

As leaders, I want us to start thinking in terms of a "ministry bullseye" for Hillcrest.  Sure, we have a "target" to hit:  We want to recruit people and welcome people from every part of Austin and the surrounding communities.  And we want to recruit people from every age range in that wide geographical range.

But then there's our "ministry bullseye" on that target.  I suggest that our ministry bullseye must be families inside a 5-mile radius to our campus.  Another way of thinking about it:  Our ministry bullseye is every unchurched family who sends their child to Anderson High School or the primary schools that feed into Anderson.

What if you don't live within that ministry bullseye?  You're still within our target, and so are the neighbors with whom you're building relationships.  Never stop inviting your neighbors to Hillcrest activities.  But as a leader, you need to help us get more skillful at hitting our ministry bullseye, too.

I suggest seven perfect ways to do that.

  1. Take a new route to church.  Do you take Mopac to Steck every week, for example?  Try 360 to Spicewood Springs.  Or wind through the Westover Hills neighborhood to get to the church from the north.  Just this change of routine can start opening your eyes to the people God has placed around our facility.
  2. Learn how to "prayer drive."  As you drive into our ministry bullseye, turn off the radio and pray for the folks who live in the homes and apartments you pass by.  Ask God to awaken them to their need of him.  Ask God to use Hillcrest to reach them.  I suggest that your Common Ground group or your youth leadership team schedule the use of our church van and take a half-hour to "prayer drive" an area of our ministry bullseye.
  3. Share in the ministry efforts of members who live in the ministry bullseye.  Everyone in your Common Ground group or Sunday School class is within our ministry target.  But you should especially identify those in your class or group who live within the ministry bullseye.  Pray for them.  Ask them about their efforts at reaching their neighbors.  If they're hosting a Backyard Bible Club, help them.  If they've identified a need they want to meet in their neighborhood, assist them in meeting it.  You don't have to live within the ministry bullseye to serve within the ministry bullseye.
  4. Patronize businesses in the ministry bullseye.  If you eat out for Sunday lunch, choose a place within five miles from the church.  If you're running errands while your kid is at Upward basketball practice, visit the shops at Mesa, Spicewood, Anderson, and the Arboretum.  Get to know the owners and those who serve you.
  5. Support Hillcrest projects that aim for the ministry bullseye.  I'm especially thinking of Upward Basketball and Hillcrest Hoops, our basketball summer camp, and our Kids Music Theater.  Volunteer at the Teacher Appreciation Lunch we host at the start of every school year for the staffs of Anderson, Murchison, and Hill.  Be a mentor at Hill elementary school.  Develop an ESL program for our area.  Watch for more opportunities to serve the ministry bullseye even if you don't live within it.
  6. Choose hobbies and activities that involve you in the ministry bullseye.  Why not participate in a CBS or BSF group that meets in or near Hillcrest?  Or get your kids in a Scouting program in the 78759 zip code area?  Or choose a Weight Watchers group in the Arboretum area?  It may take a few extra minutes to drive there if you live in Round Rock or Pflugerville, but you'll start getting to know the people in our ministry bullseye.
  7. Learn all you can about what's happening in the ministry bullseye.  Watch for surveys and stats that we'll send your way from time to time.  When watching the local television news programs or while reading the newspaper, pay special attention to news items that pertain to the northwest Austin neighborhoods.  Subscribe to the Northwest Austin edition of the Community Impact newspaper, or read it online (click here).

Again, we have a ministry target, and then we have a ministry bullseye within that target.  If you live beyond five miles from the church campus and you're drawing your neighbors into the life of Hillcrest, congrats!  You're hitting our ministry target!  But we also have to develop our skill level to the point that we're hitting our ministry bullseye more and more.

Because four Erwin Centers full of preschoolers, kids, and teens are worth our time!


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