Blog
Posted on November 19, 2019 7:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
What if your church was known as a leadership factory? Is it possible to “grow your own” leaders?
 
In CABA Pastor's Survey conducted in September 2019, the #1 Training need identified was Leadership Skills. Here's where to start:
 
The idea is to start with just one leader working with three followers of Jesus in your church. This can be done with one, but be careful in this day and age of accusations and improper behavior.
 
Step aside from your usual routine. Fast and pray about producing leaders on a consistent basis. What leaders does your church need? Small group leaders? Youth workers? An outreach leader?
 
Pray for God to show you someone with leadership skills. This usually means starting with someone who is good with people. One church in North Carolina did away with all of their know-it-all cold-fish Sunday School teachers and shut down Sunday School over the summer. The church staff identified nine highly-relational members. They recruited them as new teachers and spend six weeks one summer getting them ready to lead small groups. Three months into their successful transition, they had to add three additional small groups leaders because so many of their church members wanted to participate. And, as before, the church staff trained them over a six-week period.  I knew about this church because they found Bible stories the easiest to learn and reproduce in a highly-relational small group. This case study is written up in Truth That Sticks.
 
You can coach one or more Apprentices into ways that they can wisely invest in a leader in the making. Carve out at least two hours per week for training following a pattern called M.A.W.L.:
 
Model -- the leader exhibits knowledge, skills, and character -- the time is short -- the idea is to pray out and raise up an Apprentice ideally who has been in the group awhile
Assists -- asks the "apprentice" to do whatever he sees the leader doing. If it's leading a Bible study, then they do parts, then the whole. Coach along the way. 
Watches -- the apprentice takes the lead and gets coached separately by the leader for feedback, correction, and tweaks. This stage is sometimes called a “Silent Partner.”
Leaves -- not permanently, but can easily receive delegated tasks and initiate opportunities. In this scenario, they “leave” to develop more leaders.
 
I worked with the late Avery Willis to develop an 8-part leadership development process based on Jesus’ process for making disciples. I have to sell it as a part of Snowden Ministries Int'l, but it's titled "Multiplying Disciples: Making Disciples like Jesus did." I kept "leadership" out of the title on purpose. You want to start with new disciples and not old dogs who will never learn new tricks. If you'd like to review the Bible study, please contact me at SnowdenMinistries@gmail.com. I have had pastors use the 8-week study over two months -- one lesson at a time in "Teachers and Officers" Meetings. Others have stepped aside for two months to get the process going with an Apprentice.
 
The saying from Curtis Sergeant, a missiologist and friend, is true, “If you wait until you need leaders to train leaders, then it's already too late.” Get started cranking out leaders to the glory of God!
 
--Mark Snowden is CABA's director of missional leadership
 
Posted on November 5, 2019 7:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
NCAA Football fans are asking “Who’s In?” They know the Championship Game is coming.
 
When you scan the Cincinnati Area’s harvest fields, you have to ask, “Who’s in?” Dozens of unchallenged, untapped, and unused missionaries are in our CABA churches. They must be because I know the Father’s will is to reconcile a lost world to Himself. And missionaries go beyond their comfort zone to begin disciple-making. They cross barriers such as distance, culture, and language. Think no further than the Apostle Paul’s example in Acts 13-14!
 
Here are the characteristics pastors have found helpful evaluating potential missionaries in their midst:
•    take on new initiatives
•    have their own ideas of what they want to do
•    influence people easily and gain a following
•    don't fit the mold, color outside the lines
•    genuine hunger for a deeper relationship with God
•    show impressive spiritual insight
•    noticeable areas of character immaturity
•    broad in their horizons and think beyond "our" church
•    thrive on doing things that are challenging and risky
•    claim loyalty to "our" church yet seem critical and impatient
•    tend to become overextended in their commitments
•    see real potential in them, but we are unsure how far we can trust them
 
George Miley put this list together after mobilizing missionaries 15 years with Operation Mobilization. This list in his book Loving the Church, Blessing the Nations (Biblica Books 2003).
 
So, “who’s in” your church? Encourage potential missionaries to connect with Jason McKinney or me. Let Jason coach them. If they haven't been through No Place Left, that's a great place to start. Jason is CABA’s Lead NPL Trainer now. Text Jason (304) 710-0961.
Other options:
NAMB missionary: Travis Smalley tsmalley@namb.net or Oliver Hawkins ohawkins@namb.net
IMB missionary: Barbara Smith bsmith@imb.org or www.imb.org/go
 
--Mark Snowden serves as CABA's director of missional leadership
Posted on October 29, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Why should you belong to CABA this year? 
Keep in mind that CABA is not an organization, but it IS our churches. Just as a church is the people and not building, a Baptist association is not a true network or parachurch organization. It is the churches. We exist because your church wants us to exist -- and supports it so that happens!
 
CABA praises God for these services for pastors to impact lostness:
 
Networks:
:: Monthly meetings in seven regions, led by Conveners
:: Fellowships -- quarterly
 
Church coaching – large and small churches:
:: Church Coaches -- one for >100 and one for <100 in AM Worship
:: Special Workshops for Pastors
:: Facilities assessment
:: Mystery guest
:: Biblical Counseling – free counseling from three certified counselors
:: Free Logo Service
:: Bi-vocational Night School
 
Church Planting:
:: New church planting coach available to all CABA pastors
:: No Place Left – evangelism, small group, and church planting training
:: Glocal Missions Partnerships – what happens here, happens there
:: Disaster Relief Mudout Unit – the hardest job and most appreciated!
:: Trailer Ministry – dozens of salvations and spiritual conversations
:: Tennessee Baptist missions partnership
:: Coordinating with NAMB Send Network and Pipeline
Posted on October 15, 2019 8:00 AM by Ken Slaughter
Categories: Prayer
David was wise enough not to trust his heart. He prayed about it.
 
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way
everlasting! (Psalm 139)
 
Human hearts naturally acquire inappropriate targets. The Book of Judges teaches that what seems “right in our own eyes” may be wrong. We faithlessly follow our first parents’ fatal footsteps. We are born into a wilderness of sin, consequences, and separation from God. Life is difficult. The difficulty is escalating as people increasingly love wrong targets of self, money, and pleasure rather than God and neighbor (2 Tim. 3:1-5). There is a time to love, and a time to hate (Ec 3:8).
 
It’s all too easy to follow Lot’s wife’s example and confuse the two. Our desperately wicked hearts (Jer. 17:9) make us love the wrong things. Loving the wrong things is still lethal today. Addictions of every kind are deadly. So, discipline yourself to deny yourself. Fast and pray as Jesus did.
 
Thankfully, God offers us right desires (good targets to desire). But wrong targets still abound. Choose your targets prayerfully and aim your heart carefully. Guard your steps even when you go to the house of God. Come as Jesus came, to serve. And after worshipping with the Church, follow Christ into the wilderness. Be His messenger. He is still seeking and saving the lost.
 
Is Christlikeness in your heart? Search it. And ask God to search it again, because love is powerful. And you’d better be sure of your target and beyond.
 
-- Ken Slaughter serves as CABA's Prayer Encourager. He also pastors Mt. Repose First Baptist Church in Milford, Oh.
Posted on October 7, 2019 8:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
if a first-time church guest asked you what Sunday School is all about, what do you think you would say?  Some might say it is about teaching the Bible.  That would only be partially correct.  If it is about Bible teaching alone, then why do we worry about keeping the groups smaller?  Why do we organize the groups by age/grade?  Why do we encourage discussion and participation?  Why worry about caring for one another’s needs in the class?  If it is just about Bible teaching, then why don’t we have one big class with the most qualified teacher teaching it?  Sunday School is a ministry that involves teaching the Bible and reaching new people and caring for the needs of people, but without relationships, the functions of the Sunday School could easily be done in another way.
 
Sunday School allows relationships to grow by spending time with people.  As we spend time with people in the classroom setting, we can learn about the Bible from one another, but in the process,  we learn about each other as well.  If a Sunday School class is deliberate about it, relationships may also grow outside the classroom setting.  By visiting over coffee, at an event or even in someone’s home, we move from casual acquaintances to close friendship just by spending time together.  Sunday School gives us that opportunity.
 
Relationships grow in a place of safety.  In a good Sunday School class, people feel they can express their hurts without out fear that someone will gossip about them.  People can share their struggles without fear of being judged and condemned.  If criticism about the church staff or a church decision flows freely in a classroom, people feel they are in the middle of a conflict and are unlikely to return.  Even emotional political discussions can make people feel they are not in a safe environment.  When we see that Sunday School is built on relationships, we can take the needed steps to create an environment that feels more open and safe.
 
Relationships grow through listening.  God gave us two ears and two eyes and only one mouth.  Perhaps there is a message there for us.  We can listen better when we notice body language with our eyes and listen to what is being said and how it is being communicated.  By focused listening, we can perhaps feel the emotion behind what is being said and be less preoccupied by what we are about to say.  By asking questions about the person’s comments and repeating a paraphrase of what they have shared, we make deeper connections by being better listeners.
 
Relationships grow through motives of love and acts of kindness.  Simply remembering a person’s birthday or anniversary can communicate love.  Knowing a person’s favorite color or empathizing with what they experience in their workplace can communicate love.  Praying for or with someone is an act of love.  Love is meaningless unless it is communicated, so words and acts of kindness are vital for growing deeper in relationships.
 
Relationships can take you in the right direction or the wrong direction.  Teens get caught up in gangs and toxic peer groups because of wrong relationships.  With social media and interactive video games, predators can take advantage of kids longing for a meaningful relationship.  Even adults can be pulled into destructive and unhealthy activities in their quest for stronger relationships.  In the church, we have a powerful relationship tool called the Sunday School.  Like any tool, it can only do its job in the hands of a willing worker. 
Posted on September 5, 2019 8:00 AM by Diane Sibcy
Categories: General
Here are some tips for having a successful Block Party event:

Before:

PLAN AHEAD: Possible Events could be Back to School Celebration, Fall Harvest Parties, Winter Wonderland in the gym, Spring Fling, End of School Celebration, VBS, Block Parties, Church Picnics etc.
 
RESERVE A TRAILER NOW: Go to CincinnatiBaptist.com and look for TRESS on the toolbar. To ensure your reservation, send your paperwork with payment to Diane two weeks after your reservation is made.

PREPARE YOUR TEAM: Be ready to share the gospel. 2 Timothy 4:2 In advance, train "Tellers" who share the gospel.

During:

REMEMBER-Block Party Trailers are great fun for both inside and outside Events; however, if you’re outside and it looks like rain, inflatables and any electrical machines such as blowers or food machines cannot get wet. Please watch the radar and put them away prior to rainfall.

After:
BE-good stewards of God’s blessings and courteous to the churches who use the trailer after you. You don’t want to be the church that finds the trailer in disarray so don’t leave it messy when you drop it off. Everything has a specific spot and should be returned to its proper place.
 
--Diane Sibcy serves as CABA's Block Party Trailer coordinator. Her husband pastors Impact Church, Lebanon.
Posted on September 3, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
This summer I visited South Asia. One city’s population tops 12 million making it a giga-city. And it is 99.9% non-evangelical Christian. The trip culminates an Acts 1:8 model for CABA pastors.
 
My director of missional leadership job description includes being active in my local church. For the past two years, I have served as Missions Committee
 
Chairman at Clough Pike Baptist. Josh Carter is the pastor. The committee caught the Acts 1:8 vision working among So. Asian Indians and the church adopted it.
 
Clough Pike now has an active partnership here in Cincinnati with a NAMB church planter. Last February, I led a team to Boston to work with the (only) So. Asian Indian (NAMB) church planter in Boston. These godly men are both from the same state in So. Asia, so in July, I led a vision team to what we’re calling Curry City, for security purposes.
 
This “Glocal” challenge started here in Cincinnati. So. Asian Indians are one of Cincinnati’s largest people segments. Who would the Lord have you engage here in Cincinnati, Boston, and around the world? There are 47 people segments in the Cincinnati Area, but only 11 are engaged. That means some 36 peoples have no one evangelizing among them.
 
When we contacted the IMB, the missionaries overseas said, “You’ll need to use No Place Left when you work in So. Asia.” The team that was traveling from Clough Pike was glad because we’ve all become NPL trainers in the past year. When we visited Boston, we trained that church in NPL methods.
 
Sitting at a coffee shop one day, I shared Three Circles with a Hindu man. He wanted to know more and gave us his contact information. But across from us was a local lawyer who was already a born-again Christian. He said, “That was fantastic hearing you witness like that! Can you teach me?!” So, he slid in next to me and for 45 minutes, I trained a brother who had never witnessed before how to share his faith and make disciples.
 
So, don’t just ask, “where” can I serve? Instead, try asking God “who” needs a witness here, there, and over there? You might just end up eating the best curry of your life!
 
-- Mark Snowden serves as the director of missional leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on August 19, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Within 90 days of teaching 19 church members from several churches how to start a church, they had begun a biker church and a Hispanic church. A biker complained that the seminary had yet to send them a biker. And nobody in the training was very good at speaking Spanish. Nobody spent any money. Yet, this model is both simple and effective.
 
Here is how any church can start a new church. NAMB has a pipeline for planters and CABA is capable of helping with traditional church planting and even multi-site, which is now popular. And, available to your church through CABA is a process that is based on Acts and does not require funding. It’s like church planting for the rest of us. And it’s in seven steps that rely totally on the Holy Spirit.

1.    Prayerfully mobilize teams of two that go out to do the work of the Lord.
2.    Address lostness by understanding the people, area, or interests.
3.    Develop a master plan to help everyone be onboard and focused.
4.    Evangelize abundantly through relationship-building and follow-up.
5.    Gather new believers into small groups and meet whenever it suits them.
6.    Coach leaders from within the group including pastor and teachers.
7.    Mobilize believers from the new church to seek new people and places.
 
Church members doing the planting keep their membership and tithe in their sending church. Pastors serve as encouraging champions. As CABA’s coordinator for church planting, it is my role to coach and connect with them. Funds are budgeted by CABA to develop and support church planting teams of church members.
 
These types of church plants work anywhere as they are a biblical model. We’ve seen them fit a unique niche where church members do not have much disposable income – refugees earning minimum wages (peoples), low income apartment complexes and university students (places), and some groups associating around a unifying purpose such as bikers, shift workers, or truckers (interest).
 
Pastors might look for these seven characteristics that seem to fit successful apostolic disciple-makers:
a.    Highly relational outgoing people who make friends easily; joiners
b.    Maturing believers looking for “next”; risk-takers
c.    Those who are often restless and sometimes criticize the status quo
d.    Strong in faith and seeking ways to be spiritually more mature
e.    Often bite off more than they can chew; love being busy
f.    May appear capable, but might lead a pastor to not easily trust them
g.    Comfortable attending other churches and Christian events
 
The Apostle Paul would easily be identified as having a missionary gift. Right by his side on the Second Journey was Silas, who was a prophet. Timothy was very much a shepherd / teacher in his own right. And Luke evangelized through writing the Gospel and Acts. Each of those character qualities are captured in Ephesians 4:11 apostle, prophet, evangelist, preacher/teacher. Perhaps Paul remembered his effective missionary band (recorded in Acts 16) and recognized those leaders in Ephesus. Their purpose was to bring the church to maturity. And healthy things multiply.
 
In the Lord’s timing when you’re ready, a short manual is available from Snowden Ministries. The book is Workers in the Harvest: Missionary Training for Church Members. Write SnowdenMinistries@gmail.com.
Posted on August 5, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Disciple-making
The Supremes’ lead singer, Diana Ross, pleaded with her man not to leave her and go to another woman.
 
The lyrics of that 1965 hit cried, “Stop! In the name of love before you break my heart. Baby baby, I’m aware of where you go / Each time you leave my door / I watch you walk down the street / Knowing your other love you’ll meet.”
 
That’s how a lot of small group leaders feel when some of their participants begin to miss, look around for something else, and leave. They want to do anything it seems to keep everyone showing up.

But there’s something a bit more insidious lurking in some groups. An associate pastor of a church experimenting with Bible Storying said, “My group won’t do anything. Nothing!”

What’s a small group leader to do? Look carefully at those in your group. What if they stay and never bear fruit for the kingdom, continue living in disobedience to what Scripture commands, and even distract others from joining the group?

I once shut my small group down. After 18 months of no growth, lots of socializing, growing conflicts with the home group schedule, and prayer, my wife and I canceled our group. We simply encouraged them to go to other classes in the church. One couple continues and is very active. A single lady is now engaged to another young man she met in another small group. Another couple bounces from church to church.

It bothered me for months. No spiritual fruit and we were often regressing! We were doing so many things right. But fruit-bearing was getting irritating.

On March 22, 2015, USA Today ran an unusual-for-them article asking “Has the Sun Set on Sunday School?” The article used statistics from research by the Barna Group noting consistent decline in attendance across America. The expectations set for spiritual training in Sunday School were countered by other options ranging from racial divides in an increasingly diverse culture, other fun options, to increasingly sparse family time.

Actually getting someone to attend a small group is amazing in our culture. So, the idea of stopping a small group seems downright drastic. At least it takes thought.

But stop the small group we did and the kingdom of God has been better for it. I’ve invested in the lives of one couple that not only started a new young adult class using orality methods, but the teacher is also starting a Bible Storying group at the jail. And then my wife and I mentored a small group for three months. They are sold-out to start a new work in a Missouri community with no evangelical churches.

Jesus exhibited tough love. Luke 9:57-62 notes that some with good intentions also had their own conditions that prevented them from following Jesus as they should. Jesus would not relent on the conditions to follow Him. Neither should we. Getting buy-in on the front-end seems to be vital. It sets the DNA for the group.

Why was your small group started? What’s its current vision? What progress for making disciple-makers is being made by the participants?

A church planter in Illinois reported to the work group that I was in that he had to stop his small group. They had met for six months with no change, growth, or even sharing their faith. They were a Bible-centric social group that was content to just meet and “do life together.” They were hanging out around the status quo pole. Ouch. Life together with Jesus requires a different set of standards.

Perhaps instead of singing Motown’s lovelorn plea, we need to raise the bar on disciple-making and adopt the title from this country song by Bobby Harden, “All I Want from You (Is Away.)” Let’s keep striving to make disciples that make disciples to the glory of the Lord – and not just cower at the thought of losing someone.

It just might be the right thing to do in the name of Love.
 
--Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on July 15, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Evangelism
When I accepted Jesus as my Savior as a boy, I walked the aisle at the end of an evangelistic service. Someone filled out a card with my name and address and then the pastor presented me to the church. I was voted in as a member right on the spot pending my baptism.

Churches today are taking a closer look at how they receive decisions. Those who continue to live a lifestyle contrary to biblical teaching are being received under a form of “watch care.” They don’t have voting rights and cannot hold office, serve on committees, or be approved as a Bible study teacher. In some churches, this requires a change to bylaws and constitutions.

Counselors are on the frontlines of decision-making and follow-up. Just as we say in sports, “the best offense is a good defense,” so the best follow-up is good preparation. Prayer for revival and spiritual awakening saturate everything the counselor will ever do on behalf of the church. They must know how to lead someone to faith in Christ and use their own testimony when appropriate to do so.

It is important to be security-minded and sensitive to those who come forward. “Why have you come today?” is still the best question to use to greet people making decisions. A child may have come on a dare. A college student may admit looking for a place to meet a godly spouse. A man may want help paying his car payments. An older adult may want to be in a church where their children belong. And, of course, there are those who are making spiritual decisions with eternal consequences!

Listening is the key. My wife was a decision counselor in a church when we lived in another state. A woman came forward and the pastor nodded to Mary Leigh to accompany the woman to a counseling room. The married woman confessed to having an affair with a co-worker. My wife was coached to listen carefully and arrange a meeting with one of the church staff, which they did.

Children and students should not be escorted by an older man into a private counseling room. All they have to say is, “he touched me,” and, well, it’s over. Despite having had a godly reputation, it will be instantly ruined. Counseling with parents present is always advised or in a pinch, a front pew in the open is advised.

After the decision is made, and made public, new believers must be discipled intentionally. They may be carrying baggage from another religious background. “New Believers Following Jesus” is available free from my office. New believers need training in five areas: abiding with Jesus in prayer and worship, obedience beginning with baptism by immersion and stewardship, studying the Bible, loving others as part of active church life in and beyond the church, and telling others about Jesus as He commanded in the Great Commission.

Hal Seed pastors New Song Community Church, Oceanside, Calif. This SBC church has seen over 17,000 people come to Christ. Seed explained to a group of us that during their invitation time, they encouraged new believers to give fist pumps right where they stood if they made a decision. Trained counselors spotted them from the back and handed them a guide. They treated the first 20 minutes after their profession of faith as the most important time in the life of a new believer. Each of these counselors took the initiative to schedule meeting times the coming week.

Decision counselors have that immediate relationship that works perfectly for follow-up. Invite parents, spouses, or friends to join in, too. When you reinforce the decision and the Gospel message, they may follow Christ, too.  
I’m available to help you train your church’s decision counselors. (CABAdirector@gmail.com)
 
Mark Snowden is the Director for Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
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