Posted on June 15, 2021 8:00 AM by Jason McKinney
The onset of spring as well as diminishing Covid fears means people are being drawn outside for some sense of renewed life. With more people outside comes more opportunities for meeting new people and having conversations free of Zoom (possibly even free of masks).
In ministry, it can seem easy to strike up a Gospel conversation with any random person. It’s what we do, right? We feel out the conversation, intuitively inserting Gospel truths. Yet, if we’re honest, it’s not the most reproducible method.
Intuition isn’t teachable.
Have we been faithful to lead people in how to share the Gospel simply and easily? A lack of proficiency can result in a lack of confidence. A 10-week course on sharing the Gospel isn’t the answer. We don’t need to begin with an intensive on the elements of the Gospel.
It begins with modeling it in our own lives, side by side with others. Having regular conversations together about our own stories. There are also incredibly simple, reproducible, biblical tools we can use to share the Gospel in conversations. Our 15-second testimony. Three Circles. The Bridge. Creation to Christ. Pick a tool, teach the tool, model the tool.
A vast majority of Cincinnati awaits.
-- Jason McKinney serves as CABA's Church Planting Coach and pastors One Church in Cincinnati.
Posted on June 10, 2021 8:00 AM by Oliver Hawkins
An observation I have made over the years is that God opens doors or provides opportunities and leaves it up to us as His followers to take advantage of those
opportunities. Working with different ethnic groups to plant churches has reinforced that truth to me.
Ten years ago, the extent of ethnic church planting in Cincinnati was primarily Korean and some Hispanic churches planted. In recent years, the Lord has
blessed with seven Bhutanese/Nepali Church plants, several planters from Ghana, one from Nigeria, one from Jordan and most recently the Lord has opened
the floodgates with planters from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC).
One planter from the DROC has already been approved to plant and has secured a building to meet in. He preaches in French but provides translation for those that need it. Two other planters from the DROC are in the early stages of partnering to become Southern Baptist Church planters. The Lord opens doors and blesses when we are willing to step through.
Some ethnic groups we are praying to reach with new churches are Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Russian speaking as well as more Hispanic churches.
We desperately need to plant more Hispanic Churches which is our fastest growing ethnic group.
Pray with me that we will see more church planters both raised up locally and be brought to our area to plant churches. Thank you for your support of the
Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering which supports these church planters and their ministries.
--Oliver Hawkins serves as church planting catalyst, NAMB
Posted on June 7, 2021 8:00 AM by Jamie Trascritti
Don’t you want to see a healthy culture of prayer in your church? It starts with small steps.
Here are two small steps you can take to enhance and rejuvenate your prayer ministry:
1. Appoint a leader dedicated to prayer.
You’re a busy pastor. Find someone in your church who is passionate about prayer to set up and execute different aspects of your prayer ministry. These aspects may be (1) a prayer chain, (2) a prayer meeting, or (3) a prayer time during your Sunday service. Equip that point person to lead in these areas—and then just participate! Treat it as you do with other ministries, let someone else take the reins.
2. Explore multiple methods of prayer.
You don’t want your prayer meetings to become stale. Changing the methods of prayer helps to freshen things up. Spend your time prayer walking around the neighborhoods surrounding your church. Or if you’re indoors, pray through Scripture. Model it for your people, then let them try. Another method is to set up prayer stations themed with different emphases, such as specific people groups, church plants, or other CABA churches.
These changes are small. But they can rejuvenate your prayer ministry! I am also available to meet and talk about how to build a culture of prayer in your
church. Reach me at (513) 490-2197 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help steer your church toward a spiritually healthy practice of prayer.
Let’s do this together!
Posted on May 18, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
The latest technology reports are in and purchases of mobile phones and apps are at all-time highs. Apple is the most alluring thing since the Garden of Eden. There’s not a bite out of the side of that logo for nothing.
But the latest relationship reports are also in and countries with the most technology are finding that isolationism is at all-time highs. Cocooning is not the half of it. Those that do emerge find that they no longer fit easily into any single group. Their BFFs aren’t really. Some show up merely because they are societal outcasts, looking for what is offered and hoping it is less painful than what they’ve endured. Social distancing has changed churches’ playing fields.
Believers are getting creative to actually walk among the lost. We look for persons of peace; people-linkers that actually know folks. Forming small groups is not an automatic with those who would prefer talking with their thumbs or showing up for online church cloaked as an avatar. Those that do gather find that they are increasingly involving the disconnected.
Forming small groups across the Cincinnati Area post-Covid just may become non-traditional networks of dissimilar people. Pastors and those working with small groups get excited to see grandmas and punkers and immigrants and jocks interacting side-by-side. Mingling is one thing. Disciple-making is something else.
The late Jim Slack, an IMB missiologist, liked to say, “Worldview resides in the idiom of the heart language.” Making disciples at their heart level by using their language is critical. That doesn’t mean base talk, but relating where they are on their spiritual development level.
Jesus never shirked diversity. Paul urged Ephesians to be alert. Every slice of life is an opportunity to raise up and release believers out into their relational networking as disciple-makers for Christ.
Mark Snowden is the director for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on May 4, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Four CABA pastors and three Youth Ministers have begun working on a report for the association. It is due at the Annual Meeting, October 4, 2021.
They are looking at one of the five SBC Vision 2025 goals (sbcvision2025.com) addressing a 38% decrease in baptisms among 12 to 17 year olds since 2000. Strategic Action #4 states: “Turn around our ongoing decline in reaching, baptizing, and discipling 12-to 17-year olds in the prime of their teenage years.”
Each of the members are from CABA's seven geographical regions.
Region 1: Tyler Freeman, Sonrise
Region 2: Ken Dillard, Mt. Healthy FBC
Region 3: Tyler Freeman, Urbancrest
Region 4: Jason Buss, FBC So. Lebanon, Chairperson
Region 5: Tom Leach, Faith, Blanchester
Region 6: Danny Calves, Clough Pike
Region 7: Bink Garbutt, Georgetown
Mark Snowden, CABA director, said, “Pray for this team to hear clearly from the Lord and help our association's churches see and address lostness among teens.”
Ronnie Floyd, SBC CEO, said in Baptist Press, “We cannot accept this dismal reality and ignore this great need.”
-- excerpted from CABA Focus, May-June 2021 edition
Posted on April 27, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
A lot of mission trips are being planned for the summer. Here are a few tips:
:: Do it at home to do it on mission. If you’re not going to do it here, you will struggle to do it there.
:: Multiply by using reproducible methods. Think Bible Storying instead of curriculum.
:: Draw an illustration with a marker or stick in the dirt rather than slick teaching pictures to be reproducible.
:: Don’t give them stuff they can’t afford to replace or repair.
:: Prepare at home first and not on the fly.
:: Invite believers where you serve to join your church on mission projects back home.
:: Don’t leave a new believer alone until discipling is established. Remember you can always use Zoom.
:: Avoid evangelizing just to get a yes and walk away. Be a disciple-maker of disciple-makers.
--Mark Snowden has led a number of mission trips overseas and in the U.S., most recently to Boston and So. Asia. He serves as AMS for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on April 12, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
[The following was reported at CABA's Semi-Annual Meeting, April 12, 2021, at New Hope Baptist Church, Lebanon.]
The association’s churches donated enough in 2020 through the Dunn-Hopkins Offering to print 5,000 New Testaments. We passed the $10,000 goal in about three months! The “Hope Changes Everything” NTs were printed by LifeWay and by my count, there were almost 2,500 extras printed for us! There are 20 churches that seized the opportunity to participate in this “focused” New Testament give-away. Others are invited to join in! Jason McKinney and I recorded a 9:26 training clip at SonRise Church. We look forward to seeing how offering a NT along with an opportunity to lead people far from Jesus to study 10 Commands of Christ will work now through the summer.
Many CABA churches distributed boxes of food through the “Famers for Families. Special thanks goes to Travis Smalley and NAMB for making the connections. At CABA’s offices, we had 16 churches give away thousands of boxes of food for five straight Thursday nights in late September in all of October. Volunteers prayed and witnessed to those receiving the boxes loaded with meat, vegetables, and dairy products.
The Pastor’s Relief Assistance has ministered to four families this winter. The ALT has set aside $10,000 for CABA pastors. There is a cap of $750.00 per pastor. The effort extends through 2021. Requests go to me at CABAdirector@gmail.com.
Monthly training events were carried out via Zoom to strengthen pastors and their churches. These are available on CincinnatiBaptist.com, CABA’s website or on CABA’s channel on YouTube: “Understanding Race in the Cincinnati Area” with Kirk Kirkland, “Coming Up for Air: Why Networks Work” with Steve Hopkins, and “Getting Your Spiritual Act Together” with Scott Kennedy. Other recorded Zoom meetings are available and being planned.
The SCBO Future Team continues meeting every six weeks. As part of a pilot project, I was asked to compile case studies from 14 Ohio AMS’s, including CABA, into a reader called “Leveraging Network Strengths.” The reader is to help Ohio associations have buy-in with the Denominee process that is to continue development through 2022.
Several CABA churches are in transition. It is a joy to work with pastor search teams to understand their community, their church, and qualities they need in a pastor.
1. FBC Mason has transitioned to be a satellite campus of Liberty Heights.
2. Clough Pike called Dr. James Kerr as pastor in January.
3. FBC Mt. Healthy is seeking a bi-vocational pastor. Ken Dillard is their present admin.
4. Harrison Avenue is seeking a full-time pastor.
5. New Life is seeking a bivo pastor.
6. FBC Edenton is seeking a full-time pastor.
7. Mt. Repose is seeking a full-time pastor.
8. Hannah Avenue is without a pastor.
Join me in praying for these churches who are in transition.
-- Mark Snowden serves as director of the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. This event marked his fifth year in that role.
Posted on April 6, 2021 8:00 AM by Kirk Kirkland
From my conversations with members of Revive City Church who happen to be black, I’ve learned many are not referencing an organization when they speak of Black Lives Matter. They think about a movement, or rally cry, with a vision to see people of color experiencing equity when engaging our justice system.
In the fight for civil rights, black churches in the 1960’s were the equivalent of this modern movement for justice. But I believe that the Black Lives Matters organization, connected to some with neo-Marxist ideologies, exists because of a vacuum once filled by churches. If we do not disciple, the next generation in our churches in matters of racial reconciliation a secular society will.
My church and yours needs to claim a stake in the process by taking the high ground.
In an interview with Matt Lyons, a Southern Seminary graduate & pastor in Maryland, he gave some history on white and black separation. “Until the 1500s, most Europeans identified with their nations. However, with the advent of slavery, ‘whiteness’ was adopted to make slavery more tolerable.”
Lyons went on to point out that when, say, and Irishman emigrated to America, he was presented with only two choices for racial identification– white or black. They naturally would choose white in exchange for their national/ethnic identity. “Today,” Lyons said, “the answer is to remove barriers.”
Let’s not diminish the importance of anything, but as Christian brothers, get past barriers and do everything possible to win as many as possible to the Lord Jesus.
--Kirk Kirkland pastors Revive City Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Posted on March 30, 2021 8:00 AM by Jason McKinney
We don’t lack tools to go out and share, or to engage those who come to us (though perhaps some tools are better choices than others). You’ve likely heard much about Three Circles as a tool for sharing the gospel. It’s simple, reproducible, biblical and sticky. There are, of course, other good tools. Tools are only good if they are used!
What is often neglected regarding the use of our tools is that they are excellent filters. Our 15-second Testimony, 3 Circles and other methods let us know where someone is. They may be a Red light, someone who is not interested. Perhaps they are a Yellow light – interested but not ready to commit – in which case we can continue sharing stories of hope (people encountering Jesus). They may be a Green light, ready to follow Jesus! Still they could be a believer after all. We won’t know until we use a filter.
Throughout the path of discipleship, there are filters that allow us to see who’s desirous of going further and who’s a red or yellow light. Jesus often applied filters, such as parables, questions and hard teachings, to draw out those ready for more. Jesus modeled how to make disciples; we need only follow His model.
We need to be proficient with our toolset, but also recognize where to invest our own time. Our tools are our filters; we need to use them wisely.
--Jason McKinney is CABA's church planting coach. He pastors One Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Posted on March 23, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
A national group of SBC small group leaders put out this question:
"If I were to use my groups as a means of connecting, strengthening, and growing the church, what four things would I need to make that happen?”
What NOT to do:
1. Buy one copy of Lifeway curriculum and photocopy it for every leader in your church. Never mind copyrights and unnecessary expense.
2. Lecture exclusively, endlessly, and erratically. Make up stuff as it hits you to stretch for time. Then have everyone – that means men, too – hold hands while you close in prayer.
3. No matter how cavernous the meeting room, make sure no more than one teacher and class are in there. It isn’t a real class with more than one; that's called a breakout. And who wants to mess with clunky partitions?
4. Never break up the koinonia of a small group by starting new classes. Just steal from another flock in a struggling church to start a new class, if the man has at least five years teaching experience, a Bible teaching degree, and writes his own curriculum (saves unbudgeted mid-year expenditures). Then insist that he has to start his own class on his own time.
Four things TO DO:
1. Relationships -- no need for name tags because members know each other and involve their networks, i.e., keeping groups “open” to new participants
2. Support -- in times of need the small groups participants are reliable, available, and capable partners
3. Transparency -- genuineness and willing to open themselves up without fear or hesitation because trust is complete
4. Accountability -- holding members responsible to do the things they volunteer to do; follow-up is essential
The “to do” recommendations are included in Truth That Sticks by Avery Willis and me, 2010, NavPress, with updated descriptions.
--Mark Snowden serves as Director of Missional Leadership, Cincinnati Area Baptist Association