HILLCREST CHURCH OF CHRIST,ABILENE,TX.,USA

HILLCREST CHURCH OF CHRIST,ABILENE,TX.,USA

Kevin Hamm
Kevin Hamm

January 30th, 2002, 12:46 am #1

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.

Kevin Hamm
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Kevin Hamm
Kevin Hamm

January 30th, 2002, 1:17 am #2

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.

Kevin
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Alan Highers
Alan Highers

February 1st, 2002, 3:04 am #3

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.

Kevin Hamm
THE SPIRITUAL SWORD is a quarterly publication, which I edit. Several issues have dealt with the very problems you describe. For your needs, I especially recommend the following: THE COMMUNITY CHURCH MOVEMENT(October 2000), THINGS MOST SURELY BELIEVED (October 2001), and IS THE RESTORATION PLEA VALID? (January 2002). If you will provide a mailing address, I will be happy to send you a free copy of each. After you read these issues, if you think it would be helpful, I suggest that you order copies to give to others who are concerned about what is happening.
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Martha Benafield
Martha Benafield

February 1st, 2002, 2:42 pm #4

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.

Kevin Hamm
Dear Sisters and Bro's,I am solely sorry for you if this is the case.The congration I attend Has gone thru this very thing.We hired a Minster and then slowly things started goin weird and Members started leaving,a Congretion of 600 is now down to about 90 people and we are on the road to recovery,the Preacher is gone the Elders resigned and now we have only 2 Elders previously we had 8,so my Heart and My Prayers go out to you and I would get rid of the culprit's we did and now things are back to normal the people that left are starting to slowly come back,again You are in my Prayers and Be Strong and Faithful,and remember"what would Jesus Do"?He would fight to throw out the evil ones.
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Elvin Bobo
Elvin Bobo

February 1st, 2002, 4:05 pm #5

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.

Kevin Hamm
Subject: Re: Brothers and Sisters at Hillcrest Church of Christ
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 07:32:39 -0500 (EST)
From: "Elvin Bobo" <bobo.elvin@worldnet.att.net>
To: concernedmembers@webmailstation.com




Dear Kevin: Received your email and am so sorry that another congregation is being taken in by what apparently is a nationwide movement. Hope you can do something to stop it before it gets as far gone as Richland Hills CofC in Fort Worth. We have fought Charismatic beliefs, ecumenical pushes, Instrumental music, Baptism is not essential, and now we are fighting no deacons but "special servants--both men and women" and when I say fight I mean meetings, letters, everything we can think of and to no avail., so I guess we have no advise but a lot of concern and sympathy for what you are going through. At RHCC we have a full time paid worship minister who plans songs, skits,etc and is under the direct command of the pulpit minister------forget the elders. Our elders told me just yesterday that as a hard fast policy they will NOT meet with an open meeting of the members of the congregation. They would agree in a minute with your list that was made of what you wanted from the elders, but agree is all it would amount to.

Nothing would ever change. Wish we could be of more help . I would just say that if you aren't able to stop this immediately you might as well give up.
We will soon be leaving RHCC and it breaks our hearts to leave so many sweet friends and a church that has been so good before all this but we feel we can't fight it any longer because we make no headway and by staying we are only condoning it. We will keep you in our prayers and ask that you do the same for us. Keep us posted. Maybe at some point we would know something
to help. In Love Elvin Bobo
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Patricia L. cole
Patricia L. cole

February 12th, 2002, 5:47 pm #6

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.

Kevin Hamm
What is Happening to the churches of Christ?
We have only to look at the Denominations for the answer.

The Wind of "Change" came to the "Traditional" denominations in the 1960's. Even though we as members of COC look upon Denominations as lost anyway. They fell further away from truth, in the 60's. Falling Away from truth, is a series of progressive steps. The fringe element, (our fringe element:Rubel Shelley's and Max Lucado's of our time) soon overcame the denominations. All the Mainline churches were "Traditional". There would have never been seen a woman preacher in the denominations of the Mainline churches! But what happened?

There would have never been heard of Divorcing and remarriages which was virtually unheard of among "christians" prior to the 60's. Divorce now is as common as grass. Looking at the denominations we can see what "change" has accomplished. The exact same progression is occuring in the churches of Christ. We are only mirroring their fallen steps.

The churches of Christ have been holding fast the high calling and the doctrine once delivered unto the saints. But now too, the winds of "change" have blown upon our doors. And the doors are swinging wide open.

There is only a remnant who will not succumb and be led away with the error of the wicked.

I applaud COC for holding to the doctrine all these years, in the face of change and televangelism and many prosperity teachings going on in the denom's. They have Another Jesus and Another Gospel and Another Spirit.

But because we are at the End of the Age, all churches will! succumb to the error of the wicked. Now is the time for the Fall of the churches of Christ along with her sister Judah (denominations).

I read a recent article, which the writer used the Term "Dying! Traditional! Zealot" with reference to the Churches of Christ. Truer words could not be spoken. For we are witnessing the Death of the Church Age.

"Come out of her MY people, that ye receive not of her plagues."
Patricia Cole
Exile for the Word of God and the testimony and Jesus Christ
Chicago, IL



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Joe McKnight
Joe McKnight

February 19th, 2002, 3:58 pm #7

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.

Kevin Hamm
In one of your articles you addressed the issue of the highly educated, or is it influenced, Elders rought riding the other Elders with their phd's. Now that you have seen this for your own eyes can you see why some of us call it a cemetery? Satan does his greatest work in the seminary. Welcome to the fight, I hope and pray that more of your Brothers and Sisters at Hillcrest will join you in your local fight. The best advice I can sagest concerning this issue is Pray and Pray alot.

To God be the Glory
Joe McKnight
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Joe McKnight
Joe McKnight

February 19th, 2002, 4:09 pm #8

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.

Kevin Hamm
I do believe Chuck has hit the nail dead on the head!
He is writing about our country, but it is true about our congregations also.

Christians are our own worst Enemy
By Chuck Baldwin
May 8, 2001
Several news reports of late serve to remind me that Christians have no one
to blame but themselves for many (if not most) of the problems plaguing our
country today. In the final analysis, history will record the rise and fall
of the United States in terms relating to the action (and inaction) of its
sizeable Christian population.
For example, the U.S. Marshall who led the government's confiscation of the
Indianapolis Baptist Temple is reported to be a Baptist deacon. The Attorney
General and President of the United States who issued the order to carry out
that confiscation are also outspoken Christians.
Likewise, several professing Christians participated in the government's
bloodletting at Waco, Texas. Professing Christians were among the federal
agents that used tanks, CS gas and machinegun fire to kill old men, women
and children in a manner reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
Further, several Christian churches recently joined homosexual activists for
a "gay pride" parade in Lake Worth, Florida. And a recent newspaper article
reported that as many as a third of all "Christian" young people believe it
is ok for unmarried couples to cohabit.
The common consensus of many (if not most) "Christians" today is that they
will submit to whatever the law and the culture say, regardless of how
unlawful or sinful it may be. Of course, such a philosophy enjoys neither
the approbation of history nor Biblical authority.
It needs to be remembered that the Church was born in a baptism of
resistance to unlawful governmental edicts and to immoral cultural
deteriorations. Simon Peter's clarion call, "We must obey God rather than
man" was heard throughout the churches.
Also understand that it was the reigning government that persecuted,
imprisoned and killed those early Church fathers, not gangsters and outlaws.
In fact, the government itself had become outlaw. But, that didn't keep
those early Christians from paying for their faith and independence with
their lives.
The American story is a similar one. When Ethan Allen and those Green
Mountain Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga, they proclaimed in no uncertain
terms the cry of the American Revolution, "No king, but Jesus." It was
allegiance to God and to God alone that birthed the Christian Church and the
United States of America. However, this spirit is virtually nonexistent
today.
Today, Christians consider their final authority to be not the eternal laws
of God but the evolving laws of men, while morality is determined not by
Biblical injunction but by cultural whim. It is frightening to think just
how far modern "Christians" will go to get along with "the powers that be."
If Biblical characters had behaved like American Christians are behaving
today, we would not have the stories of Moses, Elijah, Daniel or John the
Baptist. And if our Founding Fathers had behaved like our "Christian"
brothers today, neither would we have a nation called The United States of
America.
The thing that American Christians lack today is RESISTANCE. We seem
incapable of resisting evil of any kind. While immorality is destroying our
families and internationalism is destroying our independence, Christians
collectively not only do nothing to resist these Draconian developments, but
also seem more than willing to applaud them.
When looking for a culprit in the story of America's demise, look no further
than to the doorstep of the church. We are our own worst enemy.
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Glyn Hodges
Glyn Hodges

February 25th, 2002, 9:06 pm #9

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.

Kevin
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??????
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matt brown
matt brown

February 27th, 2002, 7:21 am #10

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!
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