First Church Plant
In 1996 Hill Country Bible Church planted their first church, Hill Country Bible Church Georgetown. Along with the first church plant came the vision of planting churches to reach every man, women, and child in the Greater Austin Area who would have repeated opportunities to hear and respond to the Gospel from the lips of someone associated with our movement. To make this vision a reality, the Association of Hill Country Churches was formed.
In 2000 the second church plant was launched in Pflugerville. The third church was planted in 2002, Hill Country Bible Church Southwest. The church planting vision exploded in 2007 with Hill Country Bible Church planting their 4th church plant, Crossroads Community Church, and Hill Country Bible Church Pflugerville becoming the first church plant to plant a church, Hutto Bible Church. Why is this so significant? Bringing church planting to a full circle, the planted became the planter. The student became the master. Churches had been discipled to go out, make disciples, and send them off to do the same thing: multiply.
Since 1996, 26 of 32 church plants from within our Association that have been planted from churches within our Association are still active. 6 have either merged or closed.
A Life-Changing Vision
By 2003, the leadership of Hill Country Bible Church began to feel their hearts pulled more toward a specific vision, one that would take the church body’s united commitment to accomplish. As we partnered with missionaries and discussed the enormity of our vision, we realized that we had vision and passion for every man, woman, and child to have an opportunity to respond to the Gospel, but perhaps we were not trusting the Spirit to do the work. The elders began to see what Jesus said in Acts 1:8 in a new light:
Is such a sweeping vision achievable? We believe it is – and in our lifetime. If even one in 10 people in the Greater Austin Area have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and are part of a local church body, it is reasonable that each of those people can reach 10 others with the gospel. With strategic developments like the Association of Hill Country Churches and Saturate Austin, we are able to expand the influence for Christ.
Moving Forward with Purpose
Today, God is still extending His faithfulness, favor, and grace. As we continue to grow, He continues to provide us with opportunities to reach every man, woman, and child with the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ.
God has given the Association of Hill Country Churches a rich and vibrant history, filled with repeated instances of His favor and faithfulness. As a body of believers, we consider ourselves blessed to follow the vision He laid before us over 30 years ago, and we eagerly look forward to continuing to fulfill that mission. The story, growth, and impact of the Association of Hill Country Churches is all because of Him.
That every man, woman, and child in the Greater Austin Area would have the chance to experience the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ because they hear the gospel from the lips of someone in our movement.
Every Association church is committed to actions in support of apostolic strategies that are necessary to realize the common Vision:
We believe that the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments that comprise the Bible are the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God. We believe that the Holy Spirit supervised the writers of the Bible in what they wrote so that, using their own unique personalities, the very words recorded in the original manuscripts are the direct revelation of God. We believe the Bible not only contains the Word of God but actually is God’s Word and, therefore, is the complete and final authority for belief and behavior. As such, it can be completely trusted. We believe that inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility extend equally and fully to all parts of Scripture: historically, poetically, doctrinally and prophetically (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:21, 1 Cor. 2:13, John 17:17).
We believe that there is one and only one true and living God, an infinite Spirit who is the Maker and Supreme Ruler of the universe. We believe the Bible reveals Him to be holy, sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, immutable and full of love, justice, goodness, mercy and truth. This is only a representative list of His eternal and unchanging attributes. Although there is only one God, He exists eternally in three persons as the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe these members of the Trinity are coequal in essence, having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections, but are distinct in subsistence, executing different but harmonious functions (Mark 12:29, John 4:24, Matt. 3:16-17, Matt. 28:19, 2 Cor. 13:14).
We believe that Jesus Christ has existed eternally as the Son of God. At a specific point in time, Jesus became a man (the incarnation) in order to reveal God and redeem humanity. We believe He was supernaturally conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, Mary. In His incarnation, He forever possesses both full deity and full humanity in such a way that the properties of each nature are fully retained and undiminished by the union. We believe Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for sinful humanity, was buried, rose bodily from the tomb, ascended into Heaven where He ministers on the behalf of those who have trusted in Him, and someday will come again for His own (John 1:18, 8:58, Matt. 1:23, Col. 1:15-17, 1 Tim. 1:15, 3:16).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, fully coequal with God the Father and God the Son in terms of divine being, but distinct from the Father and the Son in His personhood. We believe the Holy Spirit actively ministers to the world. This ministry includes restraining evil, convicting the unsaved of sin and bestowing God’s goodness on mankind. We also believe He ministers to every believer in Jesus Christ in numerous ways: regenerating, sealing, indwelling, baptizing into the Body of Christ, and the giving of spiritual gifts. Other ministries to believers include filling, assuring, teaching, guiding and comforting (Acts 5:3-4, 2 Thess. 2:3-9, John 16:7-11, Matt. 5:45, Tit. 3:5, Eph. 1:13, 1 Cor. 6:19, 12:13, Eph. 3:20, 1 Cor. 14, James 5:14, Eph. 5:18, Rom. 8:16, 14, John 16:13, 7).
We believe that God, according to His sovereign will and for His own glory, created the heavens and the earth without the use of pre-existent material. We also believe that all living things came into being by the creative act of God and not by a random process. Creation has an existence distinct from Him and yet is always dependent on Him (Gen. 2:4, Prov. 16:4, Acts 17:24, Col. 1:16-17).
We believe that humanity was created in the image and likeness of God and in a state of innocence. Through deliberate disobedience, humanity fell from its sinless state and as a consequence lost its fellowship with God and became subject to spiritual and physical death. We believe that through Adam’s transgressions the entire human race has inherited a corrupt nature, which is prone to do evil and unable to please God (Gen. 1:26-27, 3:24, Rom. 5:12, Eph. 2:1-3).
We believe that sin is anything contrary to the character of God. Every person is alienated from God because of their depraved nature as well as personal acts of sin. Everyone is separated from God and completely incapable of meriting salvation and avoiding the judgment of God. This sinful nature is never eradicated, even for those who have trusted in Christ alone for salvation. It remains until the end of life on earth. However, we believe God has made provision for forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ and victory over sin through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 3:10, 23, 6:23, Eph. 4:18, 1 John 1:8-10, Gal. 5:16-17).
We believe that salvation from the penalty and power of sin is available through faith in Jesus Christ alone. This salvation was made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ which He shed on the cross. It is through this act that He became sin for us and died in our place. There is nothing a person can do to earn this salvation (including good works, moral achievement or religious status). The one and only condition for salvation is personal faith in Jesus Christ as one’s own substitute for sin and savior from sin. At the time of salvation, a person is spiritually regenerated, sins are forgiven, God’s righteousness is imputed, and he/she is declared righteous in the sight of God. This salvation is complete and a present possession of all believers which remains his/hers forever. All who have trusted Christ as Savior are kept secure and will never lose their salvation (1 Pet. 1:18-19, 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Pet. 2:24, Eph 2:8-9, Tit. 3:5, Eph. 4:32, Rom. 5:1, Rom. 8:38-39).
We believe that the Church is a unique organism composed of people who have placed their faith in Christ alone as Savior. The Church began on the day of Pentecost and will continue its distinct purpose until Christ’s return. We believe that the Church exists in both a universal aspect, as the Body of Christ, and in a local assembly of believers in Jesus Christ. The local church has the twofold purpose of the edification of believers and the evangelization of the unsaved. We practice water baptism by immersion, and the Lord’s Supper, which we believe to be a memorial of Christ’s death. Both are open to all believers (1 Cor. 12:13, Acts 2:1-4, 1 Thess. 4:13-17, Col. 4:16, Eph. 4:7, Heb. 13:17, Matt. 28:19-20, 1 Cor. 11:23-28.)
Marriage and Sexuality
Marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship with His Bride – the Church. It is defined from the beginning of Scripture as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman. God designed sexual intimacy for a marriage relationship and does not endorse or condone it in any other context (1 Thess 4:3-5, Eph 5:22-23, Gen 2:24, Matt 19:4-5).
We believe that God created an order of spirit beings (without physical bodies) known as angels, before the formation of the world and for the purpose of worshipping and serving Him. Angels possess individual personalities and are intelligent and powerful. They are inferior to God but superior to humans. These angels (also known as elect or holy angels) carry out the will of God by ministering to humankind (Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:6, 2 Pet. 2:11, Isa. 14:12-15, 1 Pet. 5:8, Eph 6:12, Heb. 1:14).
Satan and Demons
We believe Lucifer was one of the highest ranking of all the angelic beings, but he sinned through pride and rebelled against God, thereby becoming Satan (or the adversary) (Isa. 14:12-20). We believe that Satan’s declared purpose is to oppose the plan of God and to promote his own evil designs by deceiving and attacking humanity (2 Cor 4:4, Rev 20:3, Acts 5:3). In carrying out his work, Satan is aided by other fallen angels known as demons or evil spirits (Eph. 6:11-12). We believe these demons can influence and tempt people, exerting a greater degree over unbelievers (Matt 4:24).
We believe that God accomplishes His purposes in the world through and for humanity under varying dispensations or administrations. These administrations are sometimes referred to as the age of the Mosaic Law (former times); the Age of Grace (the present time); and the future millennial kingdom (the time to come). We believe that these dispensations span the entirety of human history but that dispensations are not different ways of salvation. Rather, they are ways of life which test the obedience of man to God’s revealed will during a particular time. We believe that it is necessary to observe the dispensational distinction in order to properly understand the teaching of the Scriptures (1 Cor. 10:32, Eph. 1:10, 3:2, Gal. 4:2, Luke 12:42, Heb. 12:22-23).
*Strict agreement with this doctrine is not required for membership at HCBC; however, we affirm these beliefs as taught in Scripture and have established them as official positions of our Church.
We believe that the next major event in God’s prophetic calendar is the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture will occur when living and dead believers are caught up to meet the Lord and receive rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Following the Rapture, a seven year period of Tribulation (or distress) will commence upon the earth at which time God’s wrath will be poured out on mankind. God’s millennial kingdom will be ushered in by Jesus Christ when He returns to the earth in power and glory to rule sovereignly over the world for a thousand years. The unsaved dead of all ages will be raised after the millennium to face the final judgment also known as the Great White Throne Judgment. Those who have not trusted in Jesus alone for their salvation will be cast into the lake of fire where there will be eternal and conscious punishment. We believe that the redeemed of all ages will exist in an eternal state of joy and bliss in the new heavens and new earth where they will worship and serve God forever (John 14:3, Heb. 10:37, 2 Cor. 5:10, Matt. 24:21-31, Rev. 20-22).
John Herrington, Board Member
John began his church planting journey in 1983 in Los Angeles helping canvass neighborhoods with another young church planter named Rick Warren. Following that experience he went on to plant his own church plant in Nebraska that grew to over 1000 people and would plant two more churches and deploy 20 global missionaries. He later became a church starter strategist for the North American Mission Board and assisted church planters launching in the Midwest. Since 2007 John has served in various roles at Hill Country Bible Church Austin. During his tenure he has overseen the planting of 17 church plants and has consulted with scores of other church planting efforts across the country. John has been married to his wife Angela for 41 years. Angela has taught mathematics at the University level for many years. They have four grown children and five grandchildren dispersed between Omaha, Austin, Chicago and Dallas.
Chris Plekenpol, Board Member
Chris graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1999 and served in the Army for seven years. Upon Gods call in his life to ministry, Chris attended Dallas Theological Seminary and received his Masters in Theology (ThM.) Chris traveled as an evangelist and missional group trainer with iamsecond.com for two years before becoming the Lead Pastor of Wells Branch Community Church. Chris is married to his beautiful wife Adrienne, a graduate of Abilene Christian University, a former high school Spanish Teacher, and his best friend. They have three incredible boys: Austin, Jett, and Titus. Chris loves watching sports, especially Army Football, dancing with Adrienne, and thinking of creative and innovative ways to communicate the love of God. Chris has written five books.
Danny Box, Board Member
Danny served as a youth pastor in Conroe, Texas before attending Dallas Theological Seminary, graduating with a ThM in Old Testament in 1990. He also has a BS degree in advertising from the University of Texas. Danny joined the staff of HCBC Austin serving for 10 years first as Youth Pastor and later as Family Pastor in 1994, before planting HCBC Pflugerville in 2000. Danny and Kathy have three adult children and five grandchildren: Jake & Krista, Camp, Enock and Della Box, Ben & Jennifer, Deacon and Mary Beth Box, and Kaley & Sebastian Anzaldo.
Jake Box, Secretary
Jake Box is Lead Pastor at Midtown Church which he helped plant in 2013 along with his wife Krista Box. Before planting his own church Jake worked in student ministry for 8 years at multiple AHCC churches. In 2009 Jake transition to the Community Pastor at Hill Country Bible Church Pflugerville. Jake received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Texas A&M University and his Master of Christian Education at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Keith Ferguson, Board Member
Keith grew up in Garland, Texas, and became a Christian in high school. He did his undergraduate studies at Baylor University, where he first surrendered to ministry. After college, Keith moved back to the Dallas area to attend seminary and work in full-time student ministry. Keith completed his Th.M. from DTS in 2005 and moved to the Austin area to complete Hill Country Bible Church's church-planting residency program. After completing his training, he planted Cityview Bible Church in September of 2007, where he still serves as the lead pastor. Keith and his wife, Barie, have five sons and one daughter. Keith’s ministry passions include helping people find life in Jesus Christ and being a catalyst for multiplying movements at home and abroad.