Posted on November 2, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
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
- 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