Blog
Posted on February 2, 2021 8:00 AM by Scott Kennedy
Categories: Leadership
Not too long ago, many CABA pastors participated in a workshop based on Paul Tripp’s book: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. It should be most alarming that several of the pastors that endorsed Tripp’s book (James MacDonald, Tullian Tchividjian, Joshua Harris), now represent the dangers addressed within the book.

Everyone experiences problems, including pastors and their families. Sometimes these problems can be self-managed. Other times these problems require outside help. For pastors, some of the unique challenges that come with the position make it extraordinarily difficult for them or their families to seek help when necessary. 
In most vocations, employees are evaluated for the job they do by one or more supervisors. Their personal and family lives are mostly off-limits unless job productivity becomes an issue. Not so for a pastor. A pastor’s work environment is unique. What job, other than pastoring, requires an employee to bring his entire family to work with him at least one day a week, week-after-week? A pastor’s work, personal, and family life are all interconnected and under the scrutiny by not just a few people, but the entire organization.

Additionally, for most people there is a clear demarcation between one’s source of compensation and one’s source of community support. People go to work for compensation. People go to their church for community support. The functions of each are not combined into one as they are for a pastor and his family.  
While there are numerous barriers people must overcome before seeking outside help for their problems, because a pastor’s compensation and community are intertwined, the risk associated with seeking help for he or his family is often greater. If he or his family’s problems become public, he may lose his source of compensation, which only further compounds and complicates his problems. If he loses his source of compensation, his source of community support for he and his family will likely follow as well. 

--Scott Kennedy is a biblical counselor available via CABA. Participate in his Zoom Meeting on March 17 at 10:00 a.m. A link is to be emailed to CABA pastors. 
Posted on January 26, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Prayer
One of the men I’ve been witnessing to this year posted on social media at Thanksgiving how lucky he had been in 2020. He was trying to be upbeat, but listed over and over again how lucky he was because he could do things like work at home and lucky to live in a day when science could cure his debilitating skin disease. 
Hearing someone give credit to luck hit me cold when, at his request, I had prayed for him for months and I saw God healing him. In an old Reader’s Digest, I once read, “Luck is what a fool calls it when God gives him a break.” 

It is not appropriate to stay silent either. When I was in the Holy Land this time last year, I saw the place in Caesarea Maritime where Herod addressed the crowd and people declared that he must have been a god (Acts 12:21-23). Our tour guide pointed out that Herod would have worn a shiny gold frock and had the afternoon sun illuminating him on a special throne in the amphitheater. Herod didn’t correct those who made such a public claim and shortly afterward, he was struck down by the hand of God. 

Is it possible to overlook thanking God? Is it possible to mutter a “thank you” when being complimented? Or do we shout, “PRAISE GOD! He gets the glory for that!” 
When James Howard, a WW2 fighter pilot and missionary kid to China was complimented by bomber pilots for protecting them against 30 Luftwaffe planes, he quoted from a parable Jesus told, “We’ve only done our duty” (Luke 17:10 CSB). Howard was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His humble reply quoting Jesus became a model for me. 

Do you flippantly say, “Good luck!” Have you slipped someone a buckeye for luck’s sake? Do you find yourself thanking your lucky stars? And don’t get me started on crossing your fingers, not breaking mirrors, avoiding walking under ladders, knocking on wood, opening umbrellas indoors, and flinching when black cats cross in front of you. Have you ever repented of crediting science for God’s providence? As the Covid-19 vaccine makes its rounds, do you credit science or the Lord who provided an answer to the pray-ers who cried out for the pandemic to stop?

God, help us to bow our heads and not just say we’re thankful for our food at mealtime. Help us to bow our heads in reverence for everything that You do in and through us. 

Give all praise to God and it’ll knock down the shine on anything posing as Lady Luck.
 
--Mark Snowden serves as Director of Missional Learning (DOM, AMS), Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on January 5, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
When a missionary to East Asia was learning the local language, their housekeeper listened to the Gospel being translated and conveyed it to her family and neighbors. When the missionaries got to the part about being baptized, the housekeeper invited the missionaries to baptize her household and friends. Before the missionaries had officially “started,” the Holy Spirit was already at work. 

While admittedly slugging through the end of Ezekiel and the details of a new Temple, there was a verse that really popped out at me providing instructions to priests who had been in the Holy of Holies:

Before they go out to the outer court, to the people, they must take off the clothes they have been ministering in, leave them in the holy chambers, and dress in other clothes so that they do not transmit holiness to the people through their clothes (44:19 CSB). 

Now, I remember Moses wearing a veil to block the holiness of God shining on his face (Ex. 34:29), but not transmitting it to others. In staff meeting when I mentioned this, Jason McKinney said that helped him understand the miracle of Paul’s work cloths causing diseases and evil spirits to come out (Acts 19:12). 

In this New Year 2021, would you examine what you are doing and those who are affected by it? Do people actively engage you in Gospel conversations? Is the holiness of God being transmitted through you? If God is moving immigrants to our land so we can engage them with the Gospel, is He also putting people in your path just so you can transmit holiness? I’m not saying you need to place a shop towel on them, but don’t veil God’s glory shining out from your life as a follower of Jesus! As we reach a point of removing our masks safely in public this year, may it symbolize unveiling God’s glory and a mouth speaking unhindered.
 
-- Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. He wears a mask in public. His favorite is from the church he attends, Clough Pike Baptist Church, Cincinnati
Posted on December 15, 2020 8:00 AM by Eric Taylor
Categories: Missions
The mission of God is simple: to glorify Himself by giving eternal life to everyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. The question is, are God’s people committed to His mission of redeeming a people for Himself? Is the church of Jesus today committed to seeing, “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9)? Well, our lesson for this week shows us why we can, and should, be committed to God’s mission.

First, we are committed to God’s mission because of God’s promise of salvation. When one reads verses 9-10, there is no question as to how one is saved. When, by faith, a lost person confesses “Jesus is Lord” and believes in their “heart that God raised Him from the dead,” they are “saved.” In the Roman world, the requirement was to proclaim, “Caesar is Lord.” But for the genuine follower of Christ the one who “believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness” and by faith “confesses with the mouth,” is saved by the great grace of God. And while some want to debate the issue of “Lordship salvation,” there is no debating the fact, that a requirement for salvation is to “believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.” In other words, if one denies the literal death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ they are not born again. Besides, 1 Corinthians 15:14-17, makes it clear that without the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus we are not saved, and are still lost in our sins.

Second, we are committed to God’s mission because of the reach, or scope of salvation. In other words, verses 11-13 tell us that God saves everyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. You see this in words like “Whoever” (v. 11), and “all.” Second Peter 3:9 says that God is “long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance.” This is why we “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Third, we are committed to God’s mission in reaching the lost, because He calls out His messengers. In the last section of verses, Paul reminds the reader that the only way the lost hear is through faithful messengers willing to go and preach the Good News. In other words, God calls His people to” go and make disciples of all peoples” (Matt. 28:19). There are great multitudes of people in our world today, who have not yet heard. Every year, I have the privilege of traveling to South Asia, where I consistently encounter people who have never heard a clear Gospel presentation. People who have no Bible, no Christian friends, and no exposure to Christianity as we do in Tennessee. However, that reality has come home. I recently stood before a group of High School students after giving each of them a Bible, only to learn that for some of them, it was the first Bible they had ever received, and the first time they had heard the Gospel.

We have been called by God to carry the Good News to a lost and dying world. Let’s recommit ourselves to God’s mission of saving sinners for His glory.
 
--Eric Taylor is the pastor of Cedar Hill Baptist Church in Cedar Hill, Tenn. This article first appeared in Baptist & Reflector, Nov. 28, 2020.
Posted on December 8, 2020 8:00 AM by Larry Randolph
Categories: Direction
The Inspirations Quartet recorded a song some 20 years ago called, "I have more to go to heaven for today than I did yesterday." As a result of the assessment ministry trip in Pensacola, Fla., my friend Ken Dillard and I participated in September 27th through October 3rd, 2020, I would say, we have more reason to go to heaven today than we did on September 26th.

What a blessing it was to see the Holy Spirit draw five souls to Himself. Hearing people pray to God to forgive their sins and save their soul is indescribable joy. To think that we will meet these folks on the other side as Paul suggests is special. Christians that we were able to counsel with was heartwarming.
The biggest disappointment was an 84 year-old lady that didn't know Jesus. When given the opportunity to accept Him, she couldn't bring herself to do so, even though she admitted she needed to. One neighborhood we were assigned to assess just had the feel of Satan's possession. You could literally feel it driving down the street. That's when it was so comforting to know many of you were praying. Thank you.

One of the highlights happened when we went to Whataburger for lunch. A lady got in line behind us in the order line. Overcoming my shyness I struck up a conversation. She had picked up a van load of eighth graders at her local Catholic Church and was getting them lunch before she returned to work. I offered to share a tool I use as a chaplain, which I referred to as the HOTLINE to heaven. That got her attention and after getting the students settled she came to our table to see it. I explained the official name is the Evangecube. During my presentation she told me she is a Catholic. As I continued my presentation her demeanor and facial expression radically changed. When asked if she'd like to accept Jesus, she answered yes with a degree of enthusiasm. After she made her profession of faith, l gave her a New Testament with everything I'd shared detailed in the first seven pages. Ken told her she could lead her family members and friends to Christ using those first seven pages. She said, "I promise you, I'm going to share this with all these kids." So, does that mean we planted a church within St Paul's Church where she attends? I'm thinking we may be church planters and don't know it, after all it is the IN THING.

Our host Church Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, prior to Covid, had an average attendance of about 2,400. I was honored when asked to do an introductory training session on evangelism using the Evangecube. Even though they are a large church, they are apparently open to and seeking different strategies to win people to Christ. Please take a moment and thank God for Hillcrest as they continue to host Disaster Relief teams helping with storm recovery.
 
--Larry Randolph serves Ohio Baptist's Disaster Relief efforts as Chaplain and disaster assessor. 
Posted on November 30, 2020 8:00 AM by Jason McKinney
Categories: Disciple-making
If we get discipleship right, we get church planting right.

I like to use a series of diagnostic questions to learn about the state of a church:
 
  1. “How do you identify new areas in need of the gospel?”
  2. “How do you share the gospel reproducibly in the context of that area?”
  3. “How do you equip new believers to obey Christ and become disciple-makers?”
 
There are a couple others, but that third question is often a sticking point. Too often, we struggle to express (let alone implement) how we can disciple in such a way as to have healthy disciple-makers.

I can’t identify a command in scripture that says “Go and make churches.” Certainly you get what follows, however: it’s clear that we are to make disciples. Teaching them to obey Jesus’ commands. Entrust such teaching to them that they may teach others also. This generational discipleship has a natural result: new pockets of new believers begin forming. New churches arise, just as we see through-out Acts. Further, existing churches become healthier.

It begins with healthy disciple-making. That’s not a program we can buy and implement. Discipleship is a lifestyle and a priority shift. When we get it right, we’ll see movement.
 
--Jason McKinney serves as CABA's Church Planting Coaching. He also pastors One Church, Cincinnati. 
Posted on November 17, 2020 8:00 AM by Ken Slaughter
Categories: Prayer
In 1985, a 17 year old joined the Navy to become an Electronics Technician and Nuclear Reactor Operator. As he studied subatomic particle physics, he found himself absolutely in awe of the unparalleled design and perfect operation of what he knew to be basic building blocks of all matter everywhere. By the grace of God, he also came to know, love, and worship the Great Designer/Creator. That young man was me.

I was honorably discharged in 1991 following 6 years active duty. Christ had changed my life and I began following Him very intentionally. Over the years, I was often surprised and always pleased where He led me. I learned that I was most satisfied when I followed most closely. I thought my greatest surprise was when He called me to be a pastor. But after 17 years of pastoral ministry, God surprised me again: At age 53, I’m going back into the Navy, as an active duty Chaplain!

Not many 53 year olds sign up for active duty military. Even fewer have taken a 30 year break in their military career. Could I be the only one? Perhaps. But it doesn’t matter what others do. God has opened doors that were shut. He has made it abundantly clear that for me and my wife, this is what it means to follow Christ.
So, I’m resigning as the Prayer Encourager for CABA. Already, God has called someone to take this ministry into the future. Someone else will now experience the twin blessings of growing in prayer and encouraging others to do the same. If you are that person, contact me and Mark Snowden. I encourage you to faithfully follow the Great Shepherd. Talk with Him regularly. And finally, I encourage you to pray for me and the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps. Pray that I will be an adequate encouragement to them… that they too, along with all of us… may follow our Great Shepherd wherever He may lead.
 
--Ken Slaughter has served as Prayer Encourager for CABA and pastors Mt. Repose Church, Milford.
Posted on November 2, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Steve Long invited me to Toledo to observe their network meetings of pastors. Josh Carter and I traveled there. In the prayer time, one of the pastors said, “My son was just diagnosed as severely autistic.” The group rallied to pray for him. The next pastor said, “My wife left me two weeks ago and she and her boyfriend moved her stuff out yesterday.” Josh and I offered to step out, but the pastors wanted us to stay and see how beneficial this huddle was for them. Steve later said, “Our pastors have a safe place to meet and be completely vulnerable. It’s not always this way, but the other sessions together made today’s experience possible.”

In September, I met with Tom Pendergrass and the Urbancrest staff. We brainstormed why a pastor and staff would want to participate in a network of pastors. They quickly built this list:
  • Encourage each other – fellowshipping
  • Team/Cooperation – working together
  • Resources
  • Coach/Train – learning
  • Celebration – recognizing progress
In mid-October, CABA’s regional Conveners met at CABA’s office. Randy Wheeler, a trainer with John C. Maxwell, led the Conveners in leadership training. Toward the end, we listed reasons why our pastors would feel threatened to stop meeting. The #1 prob-lem was identified was the difficulty meeting because of Covid-19, but that also included political & social fear. Other reasons included lack of time, a pastor being too proud to meet with other pastors, buy-in to the idea, fragmentation, and moral failure.

CABA exists to impact lostness and one of the major ways we do that is by having quality regional networks. We have seven great pastors who are extending monthly invitations to get together Southern Baptists excel at cooperation and pastors will find that cooperative spirit at work in our midst. When trouble – or celebrations – come, then there is a network in place that cares, really cares.
 
-- Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership (AMS), Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on October 20, 2020 8:00 AM by Ken Slaughter
Categories: Prayer
“… He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.” (HCSV, Jn 15:2).
 
Before Covid, most churches needed revitalization. Now, the context has changed and EVERY church needs it. We’ve had to shut down many programs. We’re all trying to adjust, adapt, and shift paradigms. But take heart, we’re not being cut off from the vine! We are being pruned so we’ll produce more fruit. God cares enough to prune us! But the process… will sting.

Our churches are at a watershed moment in history. The good news is: God isn’t angry at us. Just the opposite. This momentary light affliction is intended to spur us us to actions resulting in more spiritual fruit for God’s glory. (1 Peter 5:10; Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Hebrews 12:11) It’s about the Great Commission! But it won’t happen automatically. We really do… have to… change.
 
Right now, church leaders are in a pressure cooker. But God’s people thrive under pressure. Elisha asked the widow what she had in her house. So, what are our available resources? Communication technologies, money, volunteers, leaders and partners in CABA, SCBO, SBC, etc. What else? A direct connection to the VINE! We have the Bible and the Holy Spirit! How do we prioritize our resources?
 
“The greatest resource for accomplishing the
Great Commission is not missionaries or money. The
greatest resource is the Holy Spirit. We access Him
through prayer.” – Paul Chitwood with Terry Sharp,
IMB, The Baptist Association, p. 56.
 
We’ll revitalize our churches only after we revitalize our connection to the True Vine. Will you pray about it? Join me in praying for a resurgence of prayer leading to another Great Awakening in America!
 
“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it
will be done for you. My Father is glorified by
this: that you produce much fruit and prove
to be My disciples.” (HCSV, Jn 15:7-8).
 
--Ken Slaughter is CABA's Prayer Encourager. He also pastors Mt. Repose Church in Milford, Ohio. 
Posted on October 6, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Changes in church size require adjustments for church leaders. The chairman of deacons of a once-large church in another state sought my input on his new plan. The church used to run 900+ and was now doing good to have 250 in AM Worship. His plan was very formal and freed up the pastor for vision-casting just as they had always done. Things had changed in this church, but would the chairman’s plan still be relevant in a much-smaller church?
 
Timothy Keller wrote a paper titled, “Leadership and Church Size Dynamics: How Strategy Changes Growth.” “There is a ‘size culture’ that profoundly affects how decisions are made, how relationships flow, how effectiveness is evaluated, and what ministers, staff, and lay leaders do,” Keller said. “A large church is not simply a bigger version of a small church.” His point was that churches have to attract and keep different types of people who take on or are given roles, largely because of their church size.
 
In reading Keller’s ideas, in short, it was obvious to me that the deacon chairman seeking my counsel was using an outdated church size paradigm. He still acted like just because the worship center could seat 1,200, that the church was still a big church. His plan literally separated his pastor from the very people he needed to touch in order to have closer relationships.
 
Church leaders need to be aware of their changing church dynamics and foster the right outcomes for their churches. Understanding church growth changes a church’s character, how it grows, and barriers to overcome for growth as the Lord leads. 
 
--Mark Snowden is the director for missional leadership, Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
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