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Your Home Can Be a NOMAP
by Tom Goodman
December 3, 2010

If you live within five miles of the Hillcrest campus, Herb Ingram wants to turn your home into a NOMAP.

If you didn't receive his invitation by mail, consider this yours.  And if you did receive his invitation, consider this a gentle nudge to reply.  Here's Herb:

God has impressed a need to focus more ministry to people who live within our bulls-eye.  If "bulls-eye" is a new concept, think of it like this:  Our ministry target is everyone within driving distance of HBC, while our bulls-eye is everyone within 3-5 miles of our church.

We are asking you to join us in adopting a missions mindset that our church facility has been strategically placed at the corner of Steck and Greenslope to impact this part of Austin with the gospel.  We want to augment current outreach events like Upward, the Pumpkin Party, and Summer Sports Camp (VBS).  Recently we started English classes for international adults.  In 2011 we want to take other bold steps, and I'm asking you to consider being part of one of those steps.

Will you consider volunteering your home as a "NOMAP" in 2011?  A NOMAP is a Neighborhood Outreach Mission Action Point.  Your home is in our bulls-eye and could become a local branch for the ministry of Hillcrest.  Before you "freak out," I'm not asking you to do the work or even lead the work.  I asking you to let a mission team from Hillcrest join with you to minister to your neighbors.

If you agree, other Hillcrest volunteers will join you to form a Mission Action Team.  Volunteer enlistment in January will be a major emphasis as we form the teams.  Mission projects in 2011 will be like mini-mission trips to our home mission field!

NOMAP teams would select projects to fit the needs they find around them.  Perhaps it would be a canned food drive, or a block party; a backyard Bible club or a BBQ.  It could be a three-on-three basketball tournament at a local park.  It might involve live music using a music team from Hillcrest or other talent.  It might involve a children's carnival using games from our pumpkin party.  It might involve leading neighbors to do construction, painting, or yard work for a neighbor.  As you can see, projects would vary yet convey the common goal of connection and ministry to neighbors.

Sound interesting?  Want more info?  I want to get everyone remotely interested in this idea together for a brainstorming session.  I need your input to make this even more effective.  If you would be willing to meet with me, email herb@hbcaustin.org.  You aren't committing your home by coming to this meeting; you are just indicating interest.  I believe this has potential to bear kingdom fruit, and I plan to serve on a team myself.  Please let me know soon of your interest.

If you want an idea of what a Ministry Action Point could do, here's a note from Ken and Melanie Clonts about their efforts to build relationships with their neighborhood:

When we moved into our neighborhood in 1992 we had a wonderful group of neighbors who brought us a meal and welcomed us with open arms.  We were so excited to find ourselves in such a caring neighborbood.

Several years later when the block organizer moved away, Ken took it upon himself to keep us all connected.  He made a neighborhood chart (just our immediate street) and put each family's name, children's names, address, and phone numbers in the appropriate blocks.  As a new family moved in he would take them a chart, get their information and welcome them to the neighborhood.  He still does this about every six months just to keep the chart current.  Although we don't get together as a neighborhood very often it's nice to know who lives two houses down or in the house on the end of the street, just in case we need to contact them.

On a recent National Night Out we decided to put our patio fire pit on our driveway and enjoy the cool evening and just see if any of our neighbors were also participating in this event.  Ken did call some of the neighbors and invite them over just to have a "group" for others to join.  As we sat there visiting and catching up with each other we saw another couple walking down the street and asked them to join us.  They have lived on another street over for 22 years but none of us had ever met them.  We had an enjoyable evening getting to know some new "old" neighbors.

Since the first try was such a success and with our neighbors encouragement we set up the fire pit again last Sunday evening.  Ken had recently updated our neighborhood chart and had walked around that afternoon inviting anyone who wanted to bring a chair and come sit in our driveway.  We ended up with our two couples from next door and two from down the street with their small children (you do have to watch the fire more carefully!!).  Everyone seemed to have a great time, and we were all cleaned up and back inside by 9:00pm.  We have passed the word around that anytime they see the fire pit in the driveway just come on down and join us.  Next time we might even break out the marshmallows... or even consider smores because we want s'more of this!

"S'more of this" -- I get it.  (I think Herb is beginning to rub off on people!)

Now, if you live within our larger ministry target but not within our ministry bulls-eye, stay tuned.  Herb will be asking you to partner with a Ministry Action Point in the future.  For now, though, we want to hear from those of you within 5 miles of the Hillcrest campus:  Will you be a NOMAP?


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