Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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(You must be connected to the internet to see this picture.)--> “A Fellowship . . . A Partnership”
by Tom Goodman
September 14, 2005

Former U.S. Senate chaplain Richard Halverson offered this tongue-in-cheek history of the church:

“The church began as a fellowship of men and women centered on Jesus Christ.  It went to Greece and became a philosophy.  It went to Rome and became an institution.  It went to Europe and became a culture.  It came to America and became an enterprise.”
We’re doing our part to get back to God’s original vision for the Christian community. God wants the Hillcrest Family to be a fellowship and a partnership.  These are the words the Bible uses to define the church.  In Acts 2:42, we read that the first Christians “devoted themselves . . . to the fellowship.”  And then in Philippians 1:4-5, Paul wrote, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel.”

The fact that Hillcrest is a fellowship reminds me to look inward at the life we should share together.  The fact that Hillcrest is a partnership reminds me to look outward at the work we should do together.

Without both considerations, the Hillcrest Family would be imbalanced.  Without a sense of fellowship, all we would do is tackle our projects, complete our assignments, and finish our work.  In such settings a person’s moral choices would never be challenged, his beliefs would never be refined, and his needs would never be addressed.  That’s why we should remember that we are a fellowship.

On the other hand, without a sense of partnership, a congregation quickly becomes introverted.  Soon, the only factor that is addressed in deciding what to do is simply that which pleases the current participants.

We are supposed to be a fellowship that meets each other’s needs and a partnership that mobilizes people for meaningful action.

This Sunday, September 18, we conclude our Movie Messages series with a look at this biblical vision for the church.  I think you will like the scene of the Amish barn raising from Harrison Ford’s drama, Witness.  Mind the rating if you’re renting the film, but our focus this Sunday will be on the film’s beautiful picture of fellowship and partnership in the Amish Christian community.

A Sunday where we focus on Christ’s vision for his church seems like a perfect Sunday to hold a membership class!  So we will!  Our Discover Hillcrest class will be held right after the morning service.  This class is required for membership, but it’s also a great way to just “check out” the church, so plan on coming.  Lunch and childcare are provided, and we’re done in two hours.  Our youth minister will lead a membership class for students in grades 6-12, and our children’s minister will lead one for kids ages 8-12.

With the Movie Messages series ending, what’s next?  On Sunday, September 25, we begin a new series called Jesus Meetings.  One of the best ways to get to know Jesus is by looking at how he dealt with people.  Each week we’ll focus on a different encounter with Jesus.  A politician, a parent, a scholar, a soldier, a skeptic, a demon-possessed man, a superstitious woman—each person was changed by their “Jesus Meeting.”  You will be surprised to find out how much you have in common with these people.

Tell someone about our Jesus Meetings starting September 25!  You can send an attractive e-card about the new series.  Just log on to and follow the instructions!


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