Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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"Find... Follow... Together"
by Tom Goodman
July 19, 2006

“I’ve been visiting and I like what I see,” one of our guests said this weekend.  He went on, “Here’s one of the things I’m asking at every church I visit:  What are you trying to accomplish as a pastor?”

What an excellent question!  Here’s my answer:  I want us to be a place where people can find Jesus and follow him together.  Highlight three words in that sentence:

Find:  Some of you come to Hillcrest to find Jesus, like the Greeks who came to Philip in John 12:21 saying, “We want to meet Jesus.”
Follow:  Others of you come to Hillcrest to faithfully follow the Jesus you’ve found.  Like the believers Paul commends in 2 Thessalonians 1:3, “your faith is growing more and more.”
Together:  All of us come to Hillcrest because we know we’ll be more effective together than alone in finding and following Jesus.
Some churches are very effective at helping people find Jesus, but they don’t really focus on helping people grow once they’ve come to faith.  Other churches are very effective at helping people follow Jesus, but frankly they’re uncomfortable with the issues and questions that seekers raise.  Our church needs to be where people can come together to meet Jesus and grow in him.

Don’t leave out that word, “together.”  We’ll never be as effective alone as we will be together in our spiritual search or in our spiritual growth.  People figure out Christianity and grow in Christianity only as they discuss things together, challenge each other, pray with each other, and watch how others live the faith.

If we don’t need to be together to find and follow Jesus, then we may as well sell our church property to a condominium developer.  If we can figure out who Jesus is just by doing Google searches on the internet, or if we can grow in Jesus just by reading Max Lucado books at home, then there’s no need for all the stuff we do at the corner of Steck and Greenslope.

Neither our spiritual search nor our spiritual growth will go far unless it’s done with others.  What am I trying to accomplish as a pastor?  I want to build a community of people who are finding Jesus and following him together.


Important Notes:

Summer Fair.  Mark your calendars for Sunday evening, August 13.  We’ve rented the Quarries for a Summer Fair!  Get ready for an indoor Ministry Fair and BBQ, and an outdoor worship service that includes communion and lakeside baptisms!  Watch Winning Ways and your weekly worship bulletin for more information!

Links to Your World

In “Cheering The Code After Punching The Passion,” Chris Weinkopf wrote, “To the establishment press, plots that strongly uphold traditional Christian beliefs, whether explicitly (as in The Passion) or allegorically (as in Narnia), are regarded as dubious, rude, even dangerous.  Stories that undermine Christianity, on the other hand, are "hot" and edgy, and attract A-list celebrities, big studios, powerful news outlets, and charmed-circle journalists.”
Several of you will identify with the people in the Statesman article, “Grandparent's job never ends,” featuring older adults who have moved to Austin to stay involved in their grandkids’ lives.
In “The moral burden of bankruptcy,” Christian leaders discuss the rights and wrongs of bankruptcy.
Lee Strobel has a response to those who have been troubled by Bart Ehrman’s popular book, “Misquoting Jesus.”
In “Chill with some forgiveness,” cooling that hothead may improve your health, says a psychologist and minister.
You’ll find more articles and commentary at my blog, “Anchored” hosted on MySpace.  Subscribe or assign the rss feed to your feedreader today!

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