Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
June 30, 2004

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Here is this week's WINNING WAYS . . . .

“Learning Experience”
by Tom Goodman

Don't forget about our special "Fourth of July Celebration" this Sunday!  After Sunday School at 9:30 a.m., there will be ONE COMBINED morning service.  We will be inspired by the words and music of the choir's presentation, "Sweet Land of Liberty" at 10:45 a.m.  Send an e-card to your friends and invite THEM to join you for this special Sunday.  Go to
Well, if you’ve ever thought that your vote doesn’t count, Sunday night’s business meeting proved otherwise.  I asked for eighty percent affirmation in order to proceed with our change to the church’s schedule; we got 79.42 percent.  For lack of two votes, we’ll keep our current schedule.  Here are some thoughts:

First, you are all loved!  For three-and-a-half months, we’ve received words of support and words of concern, and we’ve valued everything that has been said.  In fact, the reason that I set the bar so high and asked for eighty percent affirmation was to prove that your voice and vote counts.

Second, I am so grateful for the overwhelming majority who said “yes.”  While I honor everyone’s opinion in this matter, I want to thank the huge majority who said, “Let’s go for it!”  You moved out of your comfort zone, you trusted your leaders, and you were willing to think outside the box.  You are my heroes!  Over eighty percent of the deacons thought through this decision and voted to endorse it—thanks guys!

And let me tell you who the “MVPs” of this game were:  our senior adults!  Of course, our young adults had some great things to say (way to go, Erin!).  But I’m especially grateful for the support of our seniors because they admitted that several items in the proposal challenged their traditions and comfort-levels.  I have pastor friends who struggle with inflexible seniors—not me!  They came out in force to say, “We’re ready to give this a try.”  Our silver-haired saints are worth their weight in gold!

Third, we’ve come too far to stop now!  When I arrived, it was clear to me that we were a program-focused church instead of a purpose-focused church.  In just one year, seventy-nine percent of our people have recognized this and want to make some changes:  This is a sign of great progress!  I believe we are a church ready to enter into the “Purpose-Driven Life” campaign that will be launched in the Fall.  In fact, I believe our church will be more attentive to the vital truths of this campaign because of what we’ve learned about each other through the discussion about the schedule change.

In one sense, this vote was the end of nearly four months of work.  In another sense, it’s just one step in the work God’s doing here.  God is involved in a mighty renovation project here at Hillcrest that involves (1) our heart, (2) our program, and (3) our look.  Do you think God’s pulled off his hard hat and shut down the job site for lack of two ballots in a Baptist business meeting?  Please.

Fourth, the issues that prompted us to propose the changes still exist.  For example, we still need a protected, designated time for leadership meetings.  Be praying for our staff as we go “back to the drawing board” to come up with other solutions to the problems in our current schedule.

Fifth, don’t forget Sunday morning as you think about Sunday night.  As important as Sunday night’s meeting was, what we did on Sunday morning was even more important to the future of our church.  We challenged you to “pray a dangerous prayer” and for the next five weeks there will be several hundred Hillcresters asking God to show us those in our circles who need the Lord.  If you can, join us each Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the auditorium for united prayer!

God bless your continued prayers and involvement!




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