[This was written for the October, 2012 Newsletter. I post it to my blog so I can reference it easily in other articles I may write/create.]
In March, key Hilltop leaders made several bold decisions aimed at recreating Hilltop. The belief was that unity would be realized by moving to a single worship service and using elements of the national church’s Vital Congregation elements to focus on Christian education and fellowship. When we talk about it, key leaders use the image of a three-legged stool to remind us that the elements—worship, Christian education, and fellowship—are to be understood in unity. If any leg of a stool is too long, or too short, the stool is improperly balanced and is less than it can and should be.
I was not here to witness the three different worship services that existed before the current unified service. Reports I hear are that bold moves by your leaders are proving fruitful in bringing a new energy to Hilltop worship. The New Hilltop will continue to seek avenues for us to experience in community through worship all that God plans for us.
In last month’s newsletter, I invited you to explore a deeper relationship with God through intentional growth as disciples. Some accepted that invitation, and I hope and pray that from those seeds we will experience a thirty, sixty and hundredfold harvest. This will continue to be a regular and focused priority with your leaders. We will now turn our focus to fellowship which has received the least attention in our three-legged stool paradigm.
I believe fellowship and small groups go together.
Through the end of August, nearly four hundred different Hilltop people had participated in a small group of some kind this year. That is nothing short of fantastic! That is about half of all who call Hilltop their spiritual home. Even with that success, I still want to invite those not part of that number to find a small group of some kind and participate on a regular basis.
We have consciously increased the small group opportunities that focus on our development as disciples. But small groups also include our music ministers, the men at Britton’s on Wednesday, the women in their regular meetings, the card crafting, and our ministry opportunities at Crossroads and with Family Promise. That list is illustrative and not intended to be exhaustive. We get to know each other by taking part with others in Hilltop activities. Jesus brought together twelve men from disparate backgrounds, and they transformed their world and ours. I strongly endorse our gathering together to fellowship across age and gender, for example, fellowship at 10 or 11:30 on Sunday morning or during pot-lucks.
I re-invite all to find and connect with a small group at Hilltop. That group might be one that is growing in discipleship, but it might be one that is in service, provides music, or gathers by age or gender.
I have recently challenged key leaders to ask themselves who is not a regular participant in the life of Hilltop and to discern what they might do to invite those not at the table to be part of the oneness of Hilltop. Jesus did not stand in the synagogue and invite the broken of his time to find their way to him, he rather went out looking for them. Those we invite to join us on our spiritual journey will be blessed and enriched through our three-legged paradigm of worship, discipleship through Christian education, and fellowship of fellow sojourning Christians. That’s our prayer, our call, and part of our mission and vision.
Pastor’s Musings – October 2012