Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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"Either-Or Christianity and Missions"
by Tom Goodman
November 9, 2005

We’re breaking the commandments of “Either-Or Christianity” in this newsletter.  Here’s the Third Commandment of Either-Or Christians:  “A church can only have one target: either people across the street or people across the ocean.”  It’s either Balcones or Bangladesh, they say, so take your pick.

I just don’t find that in Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).  I’ve had the unique opportunity to live in three countries and minister in eight.  In the last twelve months I’ve conducted Bible studies in my neighborhood and I’ve been part of building trips to two countries.  The Great Commission compels me “across the street” and “across the ocean.”  It’s not an either-or thing for me.

What we typically call “missions work” should be “foreign” to our location, but it should not be “foreign” to our thinking. “Missions work” is the act of extending to other settings the work Hillcrest does in our own setting.

That means that an understanding of “missions” in other settings begins with an understanding of what God has called Hillcrest to do in our setting.  In our setting, we help people find Jesus and follow him up the H.I.L.L.  “Missions support” simply means supporting work in other settings designed to help people find Jesus and follow him.

Meeting human need is a big part of this assignment.  Across the ocean, we know people would benefit from things such as hygiene kits, school supplies, and fresh water wells.  Across the street, we know that people in and around our church would benefit from things such as family counseling, money management, and recovery programs that target addiction.  We fulfill the Great Commission by doing all that!

Sometimes someone will ask me what percentage of our budget goes to “missions.”  I say, “One hundred percent.”

Yes, I know that the question is meant to find out what we give to work outside our area.  The answer to that question is sixteen percent.  Add special offerings and our church gives over 25 percent of our total income to work outside our area.

But I still like my answer.  I’m proud to be a part of a church that commits one hundred percent of its offerings to fulfilling the Great Commission—across the street and across the ocean!

I’m getting some great comments from this newsletter series on “Either-Or Christianity.”  Next week we’ll break the Fourth Commandment!


Important Notes

E-mail Problems.  Recently, e-mail sent from our accounts was being rejected by AOL and Compuserve and a number of other large internet service providers (ISPs).  We have been able to receive e-mail sent from these ISPs, but we have not been able to send to e-mail addresses on these ISPs.  This problem appears to be fixed, but if you haven’t received a reply to an e-mail you sent us in the last week or two, this is why.
Turkey-N-Testimonies.  Join us for a churchwide Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday, November 22, in our MPC. Tickets are $5 ($15 maximum per family), to be collected at the door.  Let us know you plan to come by e-mailing my assistant at
Rick Spencer to Speak.  I will be speaking at a former church this Sunday, on the occasion of their 125th anniversary.  While away, I’ve asked Rick Spencer to preach at Hillcrest in the 10:45 a.m. service.  Rick did a great job as the interim pastor at Hillcrest before my arrival.
Budget Adoption.  Our Finance Committee has begun to present the proposed 2006 budget.  If you want a copy, please contact my assistant at  You do not have to be a member to receive a copy.  The Finance Committee will host a Q&A time this Sunday afternoon, and a special business meeting has been called to adopt the budget next Wednesday, November 16.  Final adoption of the budget will be Sunday morning, November 20.
E-Giving is Here! If you enjoy the convenience of automatic bill-paying, you can extend that convenience to your Hillcrest support.  Go to to learn more, or contact Patty Bailey at or Betty Morgan at
Voices Needed.  Add your voice to our Praise Choir!  Rehearsals are every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium.

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