Pastor Search

Latest Update from the Pastoral Team - Oct 24, 2021

Congregation ,

As you are aware we remain on a journey of making congregational decisions regarding our elder transition plan, as Pastor Dennis prepares for a reduced role.  It may have been a surprise to some that the path proved to be much more complicated and confusing than anticipated.  In a spiritual reflection and examination of the Scriptures we discover that even though God begins knowing the end, rarely does He show us in the beginning exactly how we are to arrive at His end.  This is where our understanding of living the Gospel takes on the character of total dependency, faithful expectancy, and diligent consistency.  

A verse that has been guiding us through the twists and turns is Psalm 118:23 (“This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes”). Now instead of looking at the “what if’s”, as though we were in control, and instead of entering “the blame game”, while maintaining personal accountability for our words, actions, and decisions, we submit to following the Lord through all the various twists and turns trusting that He is leading us toward His destination.  This is not the time for us to rush to a decision, but rather in faith we are waiting on the Lord and joining Him to accomplish His larger purposes.  Therefore, congregationally we are returning to a season of prayer and fasting for the purpose of seeking confirmation in His direction, unity in visions, and for the purpose of glorifying God as He continues to revitalize His Church.  

There are many things we will take from this process that point to the fact that it has been a Psalm 118:23 defining journey. One of the most precious unfolding outcomes is that our church structure is being tested (as to its value), is being realized (in practical ways), and is being perfected (for the greater glory of the Lord).  Every church is unique, and our uniqueness is not an indication of superiority but of His calling.  As a congregation, we are realizing how important it is that we demonstrate God’s glory by being Christ-Ruled, Congregation-Commissioned, Deacon-Served, and Elder-Led.  We are seeing that these are not just words, but that they are expressions of The Hills Church’s heart to glorify God through transformed lives – by knowing God, loving others, and living the Gospel.  Our church structure explains how The Hills Church strives for the climaxing verses of Ephesians 4 found in verses 15-16, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”  

As an elder team it is our desire to allow our body time to process the journey and then congregationally come to a unified decision.  To facilitate this there will be more discussions with small groups, more church conferences, and opportunities for members to directly contact any elder for a personal one on one.  To allow adequate time and due to scheduling challenges, we do not anticipate a full church body presentation opportunity, on a Sunday, before December 5 at the earliest.  Let us use this time to continue to seek the Lord in a season of prayer and fasting, while submitting ourselves to one another according to Ephesians 4:2-3, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Our Guiding Verse

"I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment."  1 Cor 1:10 (ESV)

Prayer

Continue to pray and seek God's will so that we may "be united in the same mind and the same judgment." (1 Cor 1:10, ESV)

Transition Plan

  • Transition gradually from October through December to allow Pastor Dennis to step away from the responsibilities he currently carries. Pastor Tom will transition in to be the primary preaching pastor and provide daily pastoring and guidance in a bi-vocational role. Pastors Hank, Kevin, and Earl will take on additional pastoral responsibilities to help with the shepherding needs of the body.
  • Allow Pastor Dennis to take a sabbatical of 2-3 months starting in January to refresh in preparation for his continued ministry as part of The Hills Church. Pastor Dennis’ desire is to continue to shepherd in a reduced capacity primarily through counseling, discipling, and LCA leadership.
  • Expand our Deacon team to include 5+ deacons. Target date is to complete the nomination, examination, affirmation, and ordination process by the March 2022 timeframe.
  • Expand our Pastor-Elder Team to include 1-2 more elders over the next year. Part of this expansion will be developing an intentional mentoring program to develop elders.
  • Hire an additional staff member with the likely focus on Children and Youth. Target date is to complete this within the first half of 2022. The desire is to see the staff member embrace our body and become one of our elders as well.  
  • Engage the entire body in the work of the ministry to advance the gospel among our body, among our neighbors, and to the utter most parts of the earth.

Envisioning Our Future

Below is a list of items to try to capture what we as a body and as elders envision for our church moving forward. While the list is not exhaustive and in places it is aspirational, it helps us to paint a picture of what we seek to be and do as a church.
  • A vital and invigorated church (community of believers) that find their joy in God, love the body, seek out the lost, and advance the gospel in all aspects of our lives.
  • Strong involvement and attendance in the work of the ministry and participation in the life of the church across all age groups: Children, Youth, Young Adults, Singles, Married, Seasoned Veterans.
  • Ministries driven by and carried out by the body.
  • Fellowship groups that are focused on walking with Christ together and bring others in who do not embrace the gospel and know Christ. We invite believers and unbelievers into our fellowship groups so that they can experience what it is like to actively participate in the life of the body of Christ.
  • Weekly Worship gatherings where the body gathers around the word of God and the exaltation of God through prayer, singing, and preaching. We invite believers and unbelievers into worship with us so that they can see what it means to worship God and embrace the gospel.
  • Gospel-driven outreach ministries that evidence to our communities and our neighbors of our love for them and brings us into contact with unbelievers so that we have opportunity to share the gospel with those outside our body.
  • Short-term missions within Texas, the US, and in other countries, especially Honduras, where we establish long-term, meaningful relationships and ministries to carry the gospel and glorify God.
  • Healthy Growth through involving ourselves in the life of the body, the community, and our neighbors and through engaging our community and neighbors to be involved in the life of the church. Our call and commitment is faithfulness; our faith is in the work of God.
  • Committed and faithful practice of prayer throughout our body expressing our utter need and dependence on God to accomplish the work of the ministry.
  • Faithful caring of our body through our deacons’ service to meet the non-shepherding (non-teaching and non-counseling) needs of the body (e.g. physical needs of the body)
  • Faithful shepherding of the body by the Pastor-Elders through strong preaching, teaching, and counseling ministries.
  • Joyful financial support by the body of the church so that the body can accomplish together the work of the ministry.