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Posted on June 5, 2019 7:00 AM by Ken Slaughter
Categories: Prayer
When praying, we need a filter. When I was a child, a younger cousin was chattering on about nothing. My Dad interrupted saying, “Son, your tongue is loose on both ends isn’t it?” Decades later, it still makes me laugh! But then comes a sobering thought: Do I sometimes sound like that when I talk to God?

“Pray without ceasing” is not a call to “stream of consciousness” praying. God already know our thoughts, not all of which are worthy of prayer. Some thoughts should be screened out; others, refined and purified. Unceasing prayer is a call to raise our average spiritual aware-ness, resulting in more frequent and perceptive prayer.

As we “watch and pray” we gain understanding about what God is do-ing and what we should do. Prayer is part of a process of supernatural empowerment for insightful, holy action. Passionate prayers come when our hearts reach further than our natural abilities. Consider Anna and Simeon in Luke 2. Perhaps we must learn to care more before we can pray more.

It is bold of sinners to enter God’s holy presence at all. We can do so only because of the bloody self-sacrifice of our great High Priest. Guard your steps. Consider the effort David put into his carefully crafted prayer-songs. We may not be prayer artists, but we should be thoughtful.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 says: "Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few."
 
--Ken Slaughter serves as Prayer Encourage for CABA and pastors First Baptist, Mt. Repose.
Posted on May 29, 2019 7:00 AM by Brad Cunningham
Categories: Leadership
Ron “Bink” Garbutt was kind to provide this testimonial.

“The facility assessment that was provided for [Georgetown Baptist] church has been a tremendous resource for our church as we seek to become more effective for the Kingdom.

Brad gave us a very detailed and thoughtful report that outlined many things that we, as regular church attendees, may have never thought needed to be changed. This assessment was a catalyst for discussion that was long overdue for a church that has a desire to reach people with the gos-pel. I am very thankful that CABA and Brad Cunning-ham are offering this to the churches in our association. I would highly recommend that church leader-ship participate in this valuable program.”

I’m still taking requests for Facilities Assessments. Just email me at BradCunning-ham34@gmail.com.
 
--Brad Cunningham serves as CABA's Church Coach and is the senior pastor at Liberty Heights Church, Liberty Township.
Posted on May 28, 2019 9:22 AM by Diane Sibcy
Categories: Evangelism
Congratulations to those churches that beat the rest of us to the punch. 24 churches have conducted events through April. There are 70 reservations in TRESS for 2019. 2,065 people attended April events. And there have been 37 Evangelism Encounters.

All the trailers were booked two weekends in a row during the Easter Season. This is a sign to the rest of us to be thinking ahead. Here are some Events to consider in your 2019 planning:
  • End of the School Year
  • VBS
  • Parties in the Park
  • Picnics
  • Sunday School Surprise
  • Community Block Party
I hope you will not miss out on the blessing made possible to you through the CABA Trailer Ministry. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to reach your community in a non-threatening way through the creative use of the CABA Trailers.

For information on how to reserve a trailer, please e-mail me at this address:

Diane Sibcy
Block Party Trailer Coordinator-CABA
513-687-4104
cabatrailer@gmail.com

MAIL ALL DOCUMENTS AND CHECKS TO:
CABA TRAILER
PO Box 232
Lebanon, Ohio 45036
 
--Diane Sibcy is CABA's Block Party Trailer Ministry Coordinator.
Posted on May 15, 2019 6:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Evangelism
Your car’s tires have a number for ideal inflation. Your body’s blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol have ideal numbers. When I had cancer, my body confounded the doctor because my “numbers just weren’t right.”
Over the past three years, I’ve made a big deal out of identifying the numbers of lost people in the Cincinnati Area’s nine counties. If you’re beginning to make disciples who can make disciples, then there are three percentage numbers you should track: 2%, 13%, and 25%. That’s it. Track these numbers and you’ll not only impact lostness, you’ll begin to be used of God to transform communities with the Gospel.

Two percent: You’re there. Congrats and praise God! No county in the Cincinnati Area is 98% or more lost.  But we are at 85% lostness. Researchers in evangelical missions agencies around the world have agreed that a minimum threshold of two percent of their population must be born-again—and have recently planted at least one new church. Globally, there are still more than 2,000 Unreached People Groups (UPGs) that have more than 100,000 people that are not born again and nobody is planting churches among them.

We have many UPG segments in the Cincinnati Area. Of the groupings with 50 people or more in them, we have 47 nationalities with any kind of evangelical work underway. There are 36 people groups living near 16 of our SBC churches.
Thirteen percent: This is an odd number in evangelism/discipleship. It would be easier to say a “tithe” at 10% or go on up to the 80/20 rule where 20% do all the work. It’s extremely important, but it is often overlooked. When 13% of a community or people group are born again and are actively making disciples, there is a sociological phenomenon that the other 87% really takes note that something serious is going on.

Sociologists tell us that when only two percent of a population exhibit the desired behavior of a specific cause, then it begins to take off because the next 13% are watching. The initial two percent are often flaky innovators, but the larger group of early adopters know them, understand them, and watch to see if their lives are benefited. In the lingo of evangelism/discipleship, influential non-Christians are counting the cost of following Jesus.

Twenty-five percent: When a group of people exhibiting desired behaviors reaches 25%, it reaches a critical mass. A sustainable movement is possible. This is the line we need to cross for evangelization to become a movement of God.  
You would think that churches and followers of Jesus want to see others become believers. Over time, some CABA Baptists that you might want to include in that 25% evangelical statistic lose their vision. There is a significant chunk of CABA Baptist churches – one-quarter (26%) – that did baptize anyone last year. (Note that 35 churches with SBC ID numbers failed to complete their 2018 ACP reports.)

Only God can bring about a movement—churches planted spontaneously, disciple-making underway, souls being saved, etc. Missions leaders advise to remove as many barriers to movements as possible, so when God is ready to move out, His Spirit is unhindered.

So, to reach 25% is not about numbers and percentages exactly. It only includes those churches that are exhibiting specific desired behaviors. Desired behavior should emphasize a personal relationship with Christ, believe in the authority of the Bible, and prioritize the need to share their faith with non-believers.

Track the spiritual transformation of the peoples in your community. Are they just starting out under 2%, getting really serious at 13%, or becoming sustainable past 25% by exhibiting godly disciple-making behaviors?

CABA’s next training in disciple-making is May 31-June 1 at First Baptist Mt. Healthy. It’s free, but you need to get tickets here: Eventbrite Tickets
 
--Mark Snowden is the director of missional leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association (CABA)
Posted on May 13, 2019 7:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Evangelism
Evangelizing has been on our heart this Spring! Here are three specific ways we've support evangelism:
 
1. Saturate Cincinnati: Some 1.5 million still are far from God. Southern Baptist churches and other kingdom-minded churches are joining together as never before to make Christ known across the Cincinnati Area.
Saturate Cincinnati: 347,000 households were adopted zip code- by-zip code. Some 67 CABA church leaders have taken on a huge task to distribute door-to-door kits containing the Gospel. 90+ zip codes have been adopted. That’s 43% of Hamilton Co. and 63% of the surrounding counties. Sign-up to adopt a zip code, which is usually 10,000 homes: SaturateUSA.org to register your zip code and get the free kits.

2. Who’s Your One? This Southern Baptist initiative is simple yet profound. Pray for one person and seek opportunities to share the saving good news of Jesus with them! Free resources are online at Whosyourone.com.

3. No Place Left continues! NPL seeks to start spiritual conversations that lead to sharing Three Circles – or your own preferred method in your oikos; circle of influence. Then it leads to forming new small groups and even unfunded church plants. More than 200 have been trained in weekend events. Register for May 31-June 1 at Mt. Healthy. It’s free, but you need tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/no-place-left-cincinnati-tickets-57641126160?aff=ehomesaved
 
--Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on May 1, 2019 6:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Evangelism
A number of veteran IMB missionaries were given personality tests and then given four samples of print materials to evaluate. Since this was my project, I assumed that the stern accountant-types would choose terse text and bullet-point layouts with conceptual analysis. Not so. The missionaries regardless of their personality type all chose print media that had lots of photos and testimonials of personal struggles or victories.

They chose play over work every time.

There is a sociological norm that people can only handle so much work in their lives. In fact, through years of research and experimentation, the split was 25% work and 75% play. (Play Theory in Mass Communications was developed by William Stephenson. He retired from the University of Missouri in 1974.)

Play Theory says we have a need for more play than work. Some educators take their training and mix with entertaining videos (think PBS’ Sesame Street). Even the 40-hour work week is 24% of the 168 hours in a week. Tack on a few hours of “church work” each week and you get an insight into how church leaders can burn out if it’s all work and no play.

Meanwhile, some people in America actually want more “work” in their lives. I’ve noticed that after their retirement, my parents sought out far more news and preaching. (The average age for Fox News audiences is 69 years old; CNN is 62.)

Through consultation with researchers, I not only learned about Play Theory, but its implications for communicating more effectively, even among those missionaries. I conducted several dialogue sessions for insights. Missionary work was considered difficult and when they got some free time they wanted to be inspired, hear from other colleagues who were coping in similar conditions, and have wholesome entertainment. And they said they could occasionally stand help-oriented advice and skills upgrading.

Is evangelism work or play? Until evangelism becomes a lifestyle, it is work. For good or bad, most followers of Jesus had evangelism presented as work – a course, learning a complex method, or a series of tasks requiring memorization.
After Jesus cast the demons from the man in Mark 5:1-20, He gave him a new task (work). He was not to go with Jesus (play), but return to His family and explain His story about God’s mercy. The former demoniac went not only to his own family, but throughout the Decapolis—the region with ten towns—and told them about Jesus!
 
Q: Why did the little boy keep hitting himself with a hammer?
A: Because it felt so good when he stopped.
 
People don’t do things that hurt; at least not for long. The man from whom Jesus cast out the legion of demons took no courses in evangelism, but actively shared a personal witness that likely became very pleasurable (play).
Sometimes people that love their job say, “I’d hate to have to work for a living.” They mean that what they do day in and day out is a pleasure (positive) and not work (negative).
 
If evangelism seems like a non-pleasurable task, then it is not yet part of your lifestyle. Sure, it can be discouraging to be rebuffed or ignored. But it becomes a glorious positive when there are results. Experts say it takes 40 days to establish a habit.
 
For those of us who encourage believers to be obedient to the Great Commission, we know the joy of seeing people come to faith in Christ. The trainers and encouragers forget that people are hassled by life—kids, spouses, jobs, bills, etc. It’s a lot easier to plop down in front of the TV than engage those around you with the gospel. It’s work!
Yet, Jesus knows what’s best for us. He calls us to come and die to self each day and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Spiritual development that matures makes evangelism the new normal – and that’s good “play” whether you’re an IMB missionary or a Baptist in Cincinnati. Witnessing anyone?
 
Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on April 15, 2019 9:07 AM by Ken Slaughter
Categories: Prayer
Could it really be that the most important part of the worship service is prayer? It is difficult to understand these verses in any other way. Not forgetting the fact that this is the second chapter and not the first. The first chapter stresses the necessity of right teaching. That’s a given. A church with false doctrine is no church at all.

True churches will preach the truth. And when they gather for public worship, the most important part of the worship service is prayer.

“… supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings…” The idea is not to include certain types of prayer and exclude others, rather the idea is to prioritize prayer and plenty of it. Public prayer must be an emphasis in the public worship service.

These prayers are to “be made for all people” . You can’t get any more inclusive than that. There is nobody we should NOT pray for. Paul is emphasizing the local and global (glocal), scope of the church’s influence and work (which flows from the universal scope of the work of Christ Himself).

It is no accident that Paul makes this emphasis
4 times here:
Verse 1 - prayers for ALL people
Verse 4 - God desires ALL people to be saved
Verse 6 - Jesus gave himself as a ransom for ALL
Verse 7 - “Gentiles” means literally ALL the nations or ALL the people groups.
 
If a church loses its outward reach… caring most about itself and losing its concern for others… that church will find itself disconnected from the persona, purpose and power of Christ.
 
I invite you to pray about what more we can do to introduce people in our communities (and in Cincinnati) to Jesus. First of all, we should pray. Also check out saturateusa.org.
 
Ken Slaughter serves as CABA's Prayer Encourager and pastors First Baptist, Mt. Repose Baptist Church in Milford, Oh.
Posted on April 1, 2019 1:49 PM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
The email said, “Mark, we’d like you to address this topic: ‘Are We Training Our Pastors Wrong?’” Now, there’s a good way to alienate yourself from godly men you have served alongside for several decades! At least I was able to add, “Or How Can We Train Pastors More Effectively?”
 
The article required hours of research. I began to understand that there was a disconnect between pastors and their church members. The Bible created the biggest gap. Biblical ignorance is rampant in our churches. I discovered that pastors often talk about the Bible, but rarely, if ever, tell intact Bible stories. Most Bible narratives only take about three to five minutes to tell, so why not use them? The index of stories listed in the Reese Chronological Bible adds up to 500 to 700 stories, comprising some 75 percent of the Bible.

Before summarizing a Bible story as his text, one pastor in my hearing said, “I don't want to bore you with the details of this Bible story….” Yet this same preacher told a detailed joke and a longish life story that served his purpose.
Church members have been subtly trained by pastors to tolerate the Bible passages being read in order to hear their pastor’s own thoughts he devoted to sermon development. The random verses used in sermons and Bible studies are often abstract to someone without a broad Bible knowledge coupled with proficient reading levels.  

Rather than establish the authority of God’s Word, some pastors unwittingly establish their own authority at the Bible’s expense. Personality cults flourish that generate a consumer mentality among church-goers. The pastor is expected to do most everything, while the church members watch passively from the sidelines. No wonder the Barna Group reports that only 18% of men volunteer in churches and only one in eight men attend weekly Bible study.

Few churches evaluate the quality, but celebrate the quantity of their members. Encouraging small group leaders to not just teach the lesson but make disciples must become a priority. Celebrations must erupt over disciples reproducing the evangelism and discipleship process done with them in the lives of others.

There is a need for deep change. Pastors are usually trained with such high literacy standards that they forget how to communicate with oral-preference learners. And the majority of people in the U.S. and the Cincinnati Area only “hear” this way (Rom. 10:17).

1.    Systemic changes in education mean taking the training to the pastors. Online learning helps some, but I recommend learning on a local level. At least half of Missouri Baptist churches that have pastors are bi-vocational. The Bible Training Centre for Pastors is one curriculum available for a “cohort” to form and study for two years using only $200 worth of study manuals. www.bibletraining.com

2.    Pastors should be teamed up with an accountability coach who can make their worship experiences to be more interactive, communicate in the common language their people use, and humbly lift up God’s Word over their own. Your association’s director of missions is well-connected and can assist pastor-mentoring.

3.    Pastors must know how to develop different expectations of their members, raising the bar for disciple-making by learning how to coach, support, and empower. Why not model church multiplication within the life of the church? No Place Left training is next scheduled for May 31-June 1 at FBC Mt. Healthy, Ohio. Look for it on Eventbrite.

4.    Pastors should value Bible Storying as a reproducible method. A tremendous opportunity exists for Bible colleges, seminaries, and others engaging pastors. Training is increasingly incorporating orality methods. Pastors need to experience it firsthand to see the power of the Holy Spirit at work through the Bible conveyed in oral form. And they will be excited to see church members catching it, then sharing their faith and the Bible with the lost in their own community.

5.    Teaching pastors how to preach needs to change to encompass the oral learning preferences of most people. TruthSticks Training is available as a starting point. At this writing, TruthSticks Training is scheduled 9:00 a.m. to Noon, Saturday, April 27, 2019, at West Union Southern Baptist Church, 107 Rice Drive, West Union, Oh. Register by calling the church office at (937) 544-7276. To schedule TruthSticks Training in your church, contact CABAdirector@gmail.com.
 
Mark Snowden is the Director for Missional Leadership, Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. He is the co-author of Truth That Sticks and also blogs at http://TruthSticks.us.
Posted on March 19, 2019 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Steve Hopkins, the SCBO’s Biblical Teaching and Leadership Group Leader, draws four paradigms using Jesus’ parable of new wineskins. In which church are you?
This gives you an insight on where to start:
  • Old wine/old wineskins: Riveted to the status quo, highly resistant to change
  • New wine / old wineskins: Great ideas are known, but old structures and systems can interfere
  • Old wine / new wineskins: Tradition-bound thinking within new structures
  • New wine / new wineskins: Church members are making disciple-makers as they are uninhibited, empowered to do it non-stop, and celebrated along the way.
“Moving to a culture for making disciple-makers in many traditional, legacy churches, may be tough to implement,” Hopkins said. “Be patient—and brutally honest.”
 
Andy Stanley, an Atlanta pastor, once led a workshop on “system dynamics” at Exponential, an annual conclave for church planting. He said, “The chatter in the hall trumps the vision statement on the wall.” Do people actually trust what’s going on and reinforce it with their behaviors? What impedes or accelerates progress?
 
Change for change’s sake just swaps one set of problems for another. However, when we align with the Holy Spirit’s leadership and do the will of God, then making disciple-makers becomes valuable, desired, and fruitful in a way that exalts the name of Jesus.
 
--Mark Snowden is the director of missional leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on March 18, 2019 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
The Lord must be trying to tell me something. I’ve been reading about change and attended what I thought was a seminar on church revitalization, but it was really about leading lasting change. Many of the same principles were used.
 
John Kotter has the best reputation in the business world for “leading change.” He’s got a great book by that name, too. Kotter has eight steps to change that are widely recognized as successful. If your church or ministry needs change to actively making disciple-makers, consider these steps:
 
  1. Is it urgent yet? Paint a picture for your church or small group that explains why making disciple-makers is so urgent. Step back and be realistic about what is not happening; what you’re missing.
  2. What leaders will implement a churchwide heartcry for evangelizing? Kotter calls this a “guiding coalition” who has the authority – and guts – to do the right thing to make needed changes.
  3. What is your vision for making disciple-makers as active witnesses? Let everyone know the opportunities. It helps to work backwards from a preferred future to identify strategies, resources, and people needed to get going.
  4. How will you communicate your vision? Meet one-on-one and then with groups. Listen. Be bold! Tell stories of change and how it was a blessing.
  5. Who needs to be empowered to act? Typically, the most highly-relational people are best at evangelizing in a warm, welcoming manner.
  6. Are you celebrating “wins” along the way? How is the Lord bringing change? Brag on what God is doing!
  7. What tweaks need to be made to keep on track? Change is good if it keeps moving forward. Learn from mistakes and build upon them. Keep training and raising up leaders who get it.
  8. What structures and systems need to be changed to keep the movement going? Jesus said not to put new wine into old wineskins. Keep making adjustments as needed.

Not all change works. We’re after deep, systemic change that aligns with God’s way and His will.
 
--Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
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