Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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Elevating Vision
by Tom Goodman
May 15, 2013


The elevator at Seton Hospital chimed as the door opened at the ground floor.  Knowing I'd lose my cell phone signal on the ride up, I quickly wrapped up my call.

"Jami, I'm at Seton about to visit Lucille," I told my assistant.  "I'll be back at the church in 45 minutes."

As I put the phone back in my pocket, the man who stepped into the elevator next to me said, "Church.  You must be a pastor."

"Yep," I said to the man, "Hillcrest Baptist Church."  Another ding, the door opened on the first floor to let off the other passengers, leaving the doctor and me alone for the ride up to the eighth floor.

"So, my brother says he's started to attend church," the man said, staring at the floor numbers over the door.  "He's in Phoenix."

I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it sounded like church wasn't part of his own routine.

And it sounded like an invitation.

"Oh?" I said.  "Has that made you think about that step yourself?"

"Well, my brother seems to be pretty high on it."

"Good for him!" I said, grinning.  "You should come check out Hillcrest.  Our priority is to be a church where people can find and follow Jesus together."

I admit it sounded a little canned, but the elevator was passing the third floor, so I pushed on.  "That means that whether you want to investigate faith or grow in your faith, that work is best done with others instead of by yourself.  We want to be a place where spiritual investigation and spiritual growth can take place together.  On our best days, it's wonderful to hear the conversations that take place as honest seekers and humble believers build relationships with each other."

He nodded, thoughtfully.  I was hoping my image of Hillcrest was giving him the confidence to brave a visit to this unfamiliar country called "church."

"I expect a lot of churches in Austin have that same vision," I added, "but what I like about serving Hillcrest is we're deliberately multigenerational in that work.  Some churches are good at targeting those who are older or those who are younger, but we just think there's some good in all the generations learning from each other.  I like the Sundays when I can do a baby dedication and recognize a 50th wedding anniversary at the same time."

He laughed, "Not the same couple I hope!"

I laughed, too.  I wanted to add a comment about Abraham and Sarah, but I wasn't sure he'd catch the reference to the biblical story.

"Do you have some time for coffee?" I asked.

"Not right now," he said, but added, "Do you have a card?"

I took out my wallet and pulled out a card with my contact information.  I wrote down "Sundays @ 10."  There are, of course, a lot of entry points to invite people into Hillcrest, but our one Sunday morning worship experience is still the Number One entry point.

"Thanks," he said.  "Maybe you'll see me there."

"I bet your brother would like that," I said, smiling.



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