Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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“The Hillcrest Institute”
by Tom Goodman
June 1, 2005

I hope you will come to our special called business meeting and support an important proposal.  In the last Quarterly Business Meeting, the congregation passed a motion from one of our members asking the staff to address the problems in our Sunday night schedule.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. this Sunday, June 5.  The proposal we want you to approve involves a change to Sunday night adult activities.  In short, we want to launch a “Hillcrest Institute” and make it the only churchwide adult activity for Sunday evenings.

What is the Hillcrest Institute?  It’s an exciting collection of classes designed to help adults grow spiritually.  Each semester, you will find practical classes on subjects like money management, understanding other religions, marriage enrichment, parenting, making peace with your past, prayer, witness training, spiritual gifts, church history, and so on.

Some classes will have a registration fee while others will be free.  Some classes will require homework and weekly attendance while other classes will have no commitments.  Staff or members will lead some classes.  Other classes will be video-based.  Some will even be led by experts in their fields, such as a practicing Christian counselor leading a class on marriage enrichment.

These classes will help believers grow while also helping THEMs discover how the Bible can meet their needs.  I’m convinced that the Hillcrest Institute will be a great outreach tool as well as a great personal-growth tool.

While most people will simply take whatever class interests them, Herb and I are working on several Institute “diplomas” that people can earn by taking a specific series of classes.

When this was proposed last year, one of our members offered to lead a service of gospel music and a devotional during the classes.  I support this idea of a lay-led service, but I think every member will benefit from participating in one of these classes.  Since we already have a strong morning service with music and preaching, and since we’ll be launching a new emphasis on our Wednesday night service, I think we need to use our Sunday nights for these classes.

A lot of our people are in leadership, and we need protected times for them to meet.  Currently, there is no dedicated time slot for administrative or ministry meetings such as Sunday School Leadership meetings, Deacon Meetings, and Committee Meetings.  Under the proposal, these meetings can have a dedicated time and not conflict with anyone's participation in Discipleship Courses.  No other adult activities will be scheduled during the time set aside for equipping and maturing believers.

Be praying about your staff’s proposal.  Last year, I asked for a vote of eighty percent and we missed that mark by just two votes.  I had a lot of folks write me and say, “Oh, I’m so sorry that my wife and I weren’t there!  We were the two votes you needed!”  I’m going to ask for eighty percent again, so be sure to come out!


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