HILLCREST CHURCH OF CHRIST,ABILENE,TX.,USAJanuary 29 2002 at 7:46 PM
|Kevin Hamm (no login)|
from IP address 184.108.40.206
I am a member at Hillcrest Church of Christ in Abilene, TX. We have been experiencing similar problems in our church that Madison Church of Christ has.
I have read everything I can get my hands on about the Church Growth Movement including your website and links.
In an attempt to reconcile differences in our church, the elders requested that everyone sign up for a meeting on Wednesday night (these meetings were
spread over several weeks in order to keep the groups small). The idea was to have a representation from each class at each meeting. Two elders would be present in each meeting and they would have one moderator. The only stipulation put on the meeting is that it has to be "positive".
Did you experience anything like this at Madison? I know the moderator in our meeting and I don't think it is an attempt at the Delphi Technique.
How can I get my points across about the error of the changes without getting negative? Do you have any ideas? Our meeting is tomorrow night, Wed Jan 23, 2002.
Any ideas would be appreciated.
Thank you in advance.
The TimeLine - What Happened This Week
|January 29 2002, 8:17 PM |
About 3 years ago Hillcrest adopted the Purpose Driven Church model. In August, 2001 we hired a new pulpit minister (who was selected by a selection committee and approved by the elders, there was no vote by the congregation). It wasn't until the end of September that we realized something was wrong. Quite a few new songs were sung during the Sunday morning worship service that included alot of hand clapping. There arose such a furor that the next Sunday only older, more traditional songs were sung. The Sunday after that it was mixed, old and new. Also during this time, Brent McCall, a church growth expert conducted a survey of the church. My wife and I were dealing with her mother being in the hospital when the survey was given to the church, so we didn't know what the questions were, but the next Sunday there was another big explosion. We were told that the survey's questions were too vague (could be answered any number of ways depending on how you interpreted the questions) and that they were terribly skewed.
My suspicion is that there are a few elders with ties to the university here, Abilene Christian University, that lord over the other elders. The more conservative elders are intimidated by them because they have PHD's. This is just an educated guess on my part.
Quite a few people who supported this change have left our church (some key people however are still here). I don't know if they wanted to change faster or if they truly did not want to be involved in dividing the church. Another possibility is that they have only left temporarily and will return when things are going more their way. It's all so bazaar.
I was thinking along the same lines for the meeting tomorrow night as far as reading applicable Scripture. I believe only the Word might possibly get through to these people. I also plan on addressing the problems with the workbook "Experiencing God" since it is being taught in one of the Ladies' classes on Wednesday nights. I just wonder if the elders have even read it.
We recently found out that a worship committee has been appointed by the pulpit minister to help design the worship service. The elders agreed to this committee and gave them much freedom including skits. There is no elder serving on this committee at this time, but there was one serving on it when it was first formed. This elder is the one that "represents the post-moderns" (his words). Who would have thought?
We had a meeting with the elders about 2 weeks ago on a Sunday night. It was open to the whole church. Only about 20 people attended (not including the elders) out of a membership of about 800. Nothing was accomplished as far as I know. But then you already guessed that. It was after this meeting that I read about the Delphi Technique and realized that one of the elders was using it during that meeting. The same elder that has a PHD, is a professor at ACU and served on the worship committee.
The week before this meeting open to the whole church, a small group of people wanting this change met with the elders. I understand it lasted until midnight and they made a list of five (5) things they needed from the elders:
1. Elders' public commitment to spiritual and numerical growth
2. Public commitment to being led by the Holy Spirit through prayer and tangible evidence of it
3. Each elder take a group of members and visit them to understand spiritual needs, including those people who have already chosen to leave
4. Immediate selection of more new elders so these spiritual needs can be met 5. Small-group study by the elders of a book on spiritual leadership, such as They Smell Like Sheep, Experiencing God, and Spiritual Leadership
We were only allowed to talk until 9PM. That definitely did not sit well, but I think we already knew that what we had to say would fall on deaf ears. I genuinely don't think some of the elders know where this thing is headed. Or if they do, they don't know how to stop it.
That's a brief description of what's going on here. I don't know all the details since most of it is covert. Now, it would seem that they want us to focus on "getting along" although they are the ones that caused the division. But I'm not telling you anything new.
Quite frankly, I wouldn't have know about Madison Church of Christ if I hadn't overheard someone say something about an article in the Christian Chronicle. That's when I started doing my research. You are providing a
tremendous service for all who seek the truth.
Thank you for your patience and sharing your wisdom.
Re: The TimeLine - What Happened This Week
|February 25 2002, 4:06 PM |
About 5 years ago my grand daughter went to ACU. It was such a thrill for me. She was grounded in the faith and I thought this would be a great thing.
I found out about 3 years later that she was attending a Community church and they were playing musical instruments etc. I asked her how she ever got started in such a thing and she told me that this is where her professors worshipped.
I have never been so disappointed and upset. I thought the ACU professors had to be members of the Church. They were also teaching that you did not have to pray in Jesus name and various other things.
Someone should examine the professors that are teaching at ACU.
I have a grandson at UTAustin. He refused to go to ACU and I am so grateful.
I am very worried about this stuff at Richland Hills Church of Christ as I went there for about 20 years.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO CHRISTIANS??????
Get your head out of the sand
|February 27 2002, 2:21 AM |
I used to live Merkel 15 mi. west of Abilene from 1978-1987 and ACU had false teachers in their bible dept. decades before that. The late Foy Wallace,Jr. warned the church of their diggression back in the fifties. Wake up brethern! God's people perish for lack of knowledge!
|Mellon A. Fry M.D.|
Same story all over the country.
|March 22 2002, 9:52 PM |
I attended th Farragut Churchof Christ in Farragut, Tenn. until about 2 years ago. About 70 of us left because of the elders attitude and also a preacher from Texas. Now I understand that an additional 30 members are very unhappy. They seem to what to join the community church concepts. They are learning from the change agents in Nashville. I dont see any hope unless they are draged from the church building . Pray for th Lords Church. I was a deacon and finance chairman.
You have a better perspective...
|March 28 2002, 5:46 PM |
...than I do because you were closer to the "inner circle". It just hit us one day and we didn't know where it was coming from.
I would like to hear more about the process they used. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Preacher from Texas?
|November 24 2005, 6:21 AM |
My 83 year old father was recently Baptized at the Fourth Ave Church of Christ in Frankin, TN. The preacher there introduced him to the Congregation and lied about his age. He is 83 years old and the Preacher said he was 75. My father was led to his decision to be babptized by this Preacher. Due to the recent division in that Church I am concerned about the Preacher's honesty. Can you tell me the name of the Preacher from Texas that you referenced in your e mail to ConcernedMembers.com/ Thank you
What took You so long
|June 29 2008, 6:52 PM |
Im a member of the Lords church in Chino Ca. About 4 years ago I was travaling through and stoped for Bible study on a Wed. night. From the moment that I walked in I just knew that something was not right, I could not put my finger on it just something odd to me. As Bible study started I was disturbed by the lack of Bible Knowledge, being a guest I was not as out spoken as I would be at home. After Bible study I asked to speak with the Elders of the congregation they were happy to speak with me until I started asking questions about what was being taught. The preacher at the time who's name I do not remember was lling me about how we can't make judgments about people and what they beleive and thet He often had lunch with and fellowshiped with preachers of Denominations. I told them that it was sad that the Lords church was becoming just like those in the World. and left.
If we study to show our self approved, then when false teachers appear we will recognize them as what they are wolfs in sheeps clothing.
To God be the Glory.
|September 3 2002, 12:46 PM |
hmm... gossip has always been a seed satan plants. It happens when a Brother, or Sister, begins giving his version of what happened, based on "educated guesses". It happens when a person begins assigning motives to the leaders God has placed in his life...motives based not on faith in God, but on doubt in one's self..and others.
Change is difficult. Ever wonder why the Hebrews began complaining so shortly after they were freed from the slavery of the Egyptians....change is difficult.
I grew up in Abilene. Attended Baker Heights CoC until the hypocrisy and insanity of small minded, immature spirituality drove my family away. We looked at many churches (all CoC, of course). We settled on Highland CoC. Now...before you role your eyes, Lynn Anderson was preaching then. And never a more conservative group of Elders were there in the CoC. But something different was happening then...Lynn Anderson was doing something new. He was worshipping God, not the Church of Christ. He was learning and teaching from the entire Bible..not just learning and teaching the Church of Christ party line. And the Elders at that time, they began to learn to do something they had never really learned to do before; trust God.
Until that time, they thought they had been trusting God; but they came to see that what they had been doing was trusting the traditions of the Church of Christ, and saying God enough times to make themselves feel justified. And they used the scripture they needed to keep all their traditional Church of Christ ducks all lined up.
But with Lynn Anderson, they had a new model; a genuine, full faith Christian; born and raised Church of Christ, and committed to its heritage and body, but still.... and a full faith Christian. They saw a new way to read the Bible... not to pull out scripture and post it next to a stand...but to read it, in big parts; find the stories. They learned to let the Bible change them into 'new creatures', instead of using verses in it like sticks, to prop up the old person.
I haven't attended at Highland in almost thirty years. My parents still do. They have been hard set by many of the changes they have seen. But they learned a long time ago, when Lynn Anderson was there, that it was God they were to trust; it was His Word they were to seek. So they have managed the changes, and believe it or not, they have found their faith, and their lives enriched by it. You see, God has a plan for us all; and it rarely matches ours. When we cling to him, change happens! And it is hard! It often looks strange and scary...even wrong at times. But we cling to him!
What do we learn when we cling to God? We learn that he never changes; that we can depend on Him when our world seems to be lost. We can find a good word, when we let him speak through us. We learn that we were focused on the wrong things when we worried, and that when we focused on Him, everything worked out fine.
I dont know what will happen at Hillcrest. I do know what wont happen; God wont abandone anyone who clings to him; and how will you know who is clinging to him? well...they wont be gossiping, that's for sure..
Peace, brother, peace.
The Best I Could Do Under the Circumstances
|September 13 2002, 2:56 PM |
Since the changes taking place at Hillcrest Church of Christ were being made behind closed doors, all that was available were educated guesses. My educated guesses were not just based on what I saw, they were based on what I was told by credible sources on the inside.
You can call it gossip all you like. It is no different from you making comments about Highland based on what your parents have told you.
The post that you are referring to was originally an email to the Concerned Members at Madison Church of Christ. I believe it was an honest assessment of what was taking place at Hillcrest Church of Christ at the time. I did not state as facts anything that I did not know to be a fact and they were not intimate in nature. The information I relayed was not unverified and was not from uncertain origin (that is the definition of gossip in case you were wondering).
As for the comment on motives of leaders not based on faith in God, I can only add that the "leader" mentioned in my post that aligned himself with the post-moderns was not reaffirmed by God.
Change has nothing to do with the problems we are facing. I work in an industry that changes every day. I am not allergic to change. When changes are made to conform to man and not to God, then I have a problem.
As for Lynn Anderson and the Highland Church of Christ, I'll leave that to God. Lynn Anderson's thoughts are well published and Highland Church of Christ's recent changes are not in keeping with Scripture. Only time will tell.
I'm praying for you Kevin
|December 10 2002, 10:35 PM |
I was curious to what I would read on this website. When I first learned that it even exsisted my heart dropped as if some type of new pornagraphy had been offered to man in an attempt to guide him away from God. THAT IS WHAT THIS WEBSITE IS ABOUT! There are people in Abilene, TX and even in your home church that need to hear about the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ. I know this because I live in Abilene and my wife and I are on staff at Hillcrest. I teach the kids at Hillcrest and let me tell you something YOU PEOPLE SHOULD BE ASHAMED. Many of the kids at this congregation are already caught in such a web of Christian hypocrisy and complacency. Do you know how discouraging it is to speak to a group of kids about Christ when most of them have been raised to just be "church goers". I try my best to stay in line with God's will through the guidance of His Word. The one thing I do not do is let PRIDE in myself come in and tell me that I must have things figured out about God than everyone else does. I'm am sorry if I seem harsh, but brother you need to get right, realized that ALL (even you) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and start taking your part in the Great Commision of Christ. If you would like to talk to me you may call the office for my number and I would love to meet with you as a loving Christian brother.
Always Makes Me A Little Nervous
|December 11 2002, 9:23 PM |
I don't know about Kevin, but I always get a little nervous when someone tells me they are going to Pray for me and gives me a tongue lashing in public.
Knowing Kevin, I'm sure he has forgiven you.
|This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Dec 11, 2002 9:24 PM|
No dust under my feet
|December 15 2002, 4:28 PM |
I was rebuked by one of the elders in a very public forum. Although my name wasn't mentioned, he knew that I knew who he was referring to.
That ex-elder no longer attends Hillcrest.
"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."
|December 6 2004, 4:52 PM |
...and yet is not that exactly the way in which Paul handled his times of confrontation? He begins with a greeting; often in the form of expressed prayer (consider both 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 and Galatians 1:3-5). In both of these letters he then immediately goes into a very blunt "public tongue lashing" or as others refer to it, confrontation. I find it interesting that those who would post claims about errancy would be so quick to display chagrin at someone turning the lens of accountability around. Remember brothers, even at the end of the tongue lashing in 1 Corinthians (1 Cor. 16:19-24), Paul never questioned the fact that these people were his family - not to be dismissed or disfellowshipped, but loved and prayed for...tongue lashing or no.
|February 22 2005, 6:11 PM |
There is a difference between being admonished for something you have actually done and something that was done TO you. I was "admonished" for the latter, but that was long, long ago.
Know that I have been praying for you for over a year
|December 12 2002, 3:05 AM |
I'm thankful that members from Hillcrest are reading this website.
I began praying for the elders and the staff over a year ago when the change agents infiltrated Hillcrest Church of Christ. I pray that they will abandon this manmade scheme to "improve" upon God's plan. I pray that they will be more sensitive to the members' consciences and convictions. I pray that they will stop jumping on the bandwagon of every fad that comes along in the name of "church growth". I pray that they will stop bombarding our youth with "feel good" psychobabble. I pray that they will return to God's Word. I pray that they will FIND God's Word.
This website exists to educate the brotherhood about the changes that are taking place in the church. There is nothing pornographic about it and your implication of such is unacceptable.
I have never claimed to be without sin as you seem to imply in your post and those that know me, know that I am not a prideful person (another implication you make in your post). You, sir, don't even know me, yet you make these sweeping accusations and then offer an invitation to meet me as a "loving Christian brother"? Please accept my humble decline to your invitation.
If you would like further correspondance, you are welcome to post any questions you may have in this forum. I will be glad to answer them.
It appears James Hall is not on staff
|December 13 2002, 1:23 AM |
The church office doesn't have you listed as "on staff".
Correction: James Hall is a youth intern
|December 14 2002, 12:07 PM |
I discovered from another source that James Hall is a youth intern. Sorry for the confusion.
|December 14 2002, 7:56 PM |
After calling the church office (the first time they did not know who you or your wife were!) and asking around, I finally found out that you were a youth intern. Part of being an intern is to learn. I hope that I am about to teach you something very important. One should NEVER judge another person or that persons motives. You do not know Kevin. You do not know Kevin's heart. You do not know where Kevin is in his walk with God. You do not know his personal or family situations. If Kevin happened to be a weak (HE IS NOT...THANK GOODNESS!) Christian, he might have taken your letter to heart and been turned away from the church totally. You may be new to Hillcrest (and I am giving you that benefit) and are not aware that things are not always as they appear!
Now to your mention on the youth at Hillcrest...
I have had children in the youth program there. They were raised to be neither complacent nor just church goers. Teenagers go to church and participate where they enjoy the youth minister, the other teens and the programs going on. They do not report to their home congregation (the one that their parents MAKE them go to on Sunday!) every Christian work that they perform. My son quit going to Hillcrest the first Sunday that he moved out of our home. He did quit the youth group during his Sr. year. He saw a group that was being led by someone he did not respect. Teenagers were chosen to be leaders. These were the same teens that were leading very unchristian lives outside of church. The teens certainly knew what was going on...should the leaders not be as informed? More thought should have been taken on who would lead our youth! Oh, yeah, my son has not left the church or felt defeated by the ongoing problems at Hillcrest...he is now a youth and family minister major at ACU and I am not ashamed of him! I believe that is the same major that you have. I will also warn him of the dangers in judging people.
I will also try not to judge you for being so harsh to Kevin and talking ugly about the youth. You are supposed to be there to help with problems...not to be judge the problem. I am sure that in your heart, you were just venting!
Na Na Na
|December 17 2002, 11:27 PM |
Cathy, you are doing the same thing to James as was done to Kevin. You judged the "youth leaders" the same way James judged Kevin. In some circles, they call that hypocrisy....
You don't know James, and he was not being ugly to the youth. I am a youth worker, and what he says is true about YOUTH IN GENERAL which includes the youth of our churches. GET A LIFE and parent your children, not other churches youth interns.
NAH NAH, NAH NAHHHHH NAH