Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Click here to keep up with Tom in Zambia! Finding a Forever Family
by Tom Goodman
July 1, 2009

What does it take to reach unchurched people, and how are we doing in that effort?

To find out, I invited a few formerly unchurched people to my house.  They ranged in age from 20-something to 80-something.  They have made their profession of faith here, or they have renewed their love and loyalty to Jesus after years of little spiritual growth.

The reason I wanted to visit with them was to simply find out what "clicked" for them at Hillcrest after years without a commitment to Christ and to a church.  Here are some of my conclusions from the meeting, in no particular order of importance.

First, I'm grateful for the "Connection Campaign," which God used to reach into the lives of several unconnected people.

Second, the Anchor Course has played a key role in the lives of the formerly unchurched.  The eight-week study with me has given people a chance to ask their questions about Christianity and to gain more confidence about Christian basics.

Third, the formerly unchurched find Hillcrest to be a very welcoming church.  All who visited with me at my house had stories to tell about those who befriended them, called them, remembered their names on subsequent visits to the church, and invited them to activities outside the church program.  Keep up the good work!

Fourth, the formerly unchurched feel that Hillcrest really is a place where people can "find and follow Jesus together."  Before walking into Hillcrest, they assumed they would be the only ones who were new to the place, unfamiliar with the Bible, or plagued with personal problems.  Instead, they quickly found others who, like them, were newcomers still learning their way around Hillcrest.  They found others who, like them, were willing to admit what they didn't know about the Bible.  And they found others who, like them, confessed the heartbreak of personal problems.  In other words, the formerly unchurched appreciated the level of honesty they found here.

Fifth, as I talked with the formerly unchurched I was reminded again that God is in charge of this process of salvation and spiritual growth!  We simply need to make ourselves available as instruments in his hand as he does his sovereign work in lives around us.

So, as you gather with your Hillcrest Family this Sunday, keep in mind how many unchurched people that God has turned into formerly unchurched people through the work of Hillcrest.  And keep praying for that work to continue!

I’m halfway through my 5-week mission service in Zambia.  This Sunday, David Smith will bring the message at Hillcrest.  David serves as the director for our Austin Baptist Association.  Gene and the music team are preparing some patriotic music to celebrate the nation of our birth, and David will talk about the duties in the kingdom of our new birth.  Gather with your Forever Family at 10am!


P.S.  Today’s edition of Winning Ways was shared with our LeaderLines readers a few weeks ago.  I wanted Winning Ways subscribers to read about this, too.  If you want to subscribe to LeaderLines, my e-newsletter for church leaders, go to our website.

Weblog:  Check out my blog, "Get Anchored."  Some things to look for...

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