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Posted on April 10, 2017 8:16 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Direction
Direction Catalyst Report – CABA Semi-Annual Meeting 2017
Mark Snowden, Director of Missional Leadership
 
Mines run in seams. If gold were discovered in your church’s parking lot, it wouldn’t be a single chunk under a couple of parking spaces. It would run beyond your church’s property lines into the community beyond.
 
Andrew Fuller, a British pastor, once said, “There is a gold mine in India, but it seems as deep as the center of the earth. Who will venture to explore it?” A cobbler named William Carey answered Fuller’s godly challenge. In 1793 Carey became the first modern-day missionary. He left the relative comfort of England to take the Good News to India. And so must the Gospel spread beyond our church property lines!
 
April marks one year for me serving as CABA’s Director of Missional Leadership. Over the past year, I have viewed the Cincinnati Area as a godly gold mine! I have loved working with our leaders, attending church gatherings, and getting the sense that the Lord is at work in the lives of God’s people living in the Cincinnati Area.
 
Here are five areas addressed in the “WIGtake: What’s It Going to Take” study that are being worked out across nine counties in southwest Ohio:
1.      The 10 ministry teams were folded into five catalytic, fully cooperating task forces based on Ephesians 4:11: Catalytic Direction, Acts 1:8 Missions (go tell), Evangelism (tell), Leadership, and Disciple-making. The Catalysts now plan, collaborate, share resources, and mobilize those in our Cincinnati Area and outside it. Praise God for Tennessee Baptists engaging in a two-year partnership.
2.     Special attention was given to financial processes to foster trust and generosity. We have changed to a business management model. We are engaging in an associational Week of Prayer scheduled for May 14-20, 2017 that includes prayer guides and raising $4,900 for the Dunn/Hopkins Offering.
3.     Networks of pastors have begun starting with one group. We look forward this to spreading across the association as a way to create and fuel fellowship, leadership, and missions. The Preaching Conference on April 10-11 will be important in networking among pastors.
4.     A very simple church diagnostic tool was developed for CABA churches. It is available online free to churches to use as an evaluation tool. The Biblical Justice Study Group will help shine a light on church responsibilities, too.
5.     Communications has become clear and consistent. We have now have a revised monthly newsletter (CABA Focus), weekly leader briefings, an updated website with TRESS—Trailer Reservation System, improved signage, promotional tools for mission fairs, and an active Facebook page (like CincinnnatiBaptist).
 
Be sure to read the other reports in this Book of Reports. God is clearly at work in our Collegiate Ministry, Block Party Ministry, Disaster Relief, Youth, Prayer, Evangelism, Missions, Disciple-making, Women, Youth, and other ministry opportunities.
 
God is already at work in the gold mines that we call the Cincinnati Area. God wants us to mine those gold seams full of people who are far from the Lord. We must join God in His mission by cooperating to experience great things that bring glory to Him and fill the Great Commission.
                                                            
 
 
Posted on August 1, 2016 11:14 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Direction
Small changes matter! Back in 1979, Air New Zealand TE109’s flight coordinates were off just two degrees, but that resulted in the airplane crashing into a mountain. A typo in updated software sent the plane 27 miles off course. Clouds obscured the mistake until it was too late.
 
System dynamics are rarely addressed in churches today. Andy Stanley has said, “The conversation in the hall trumps the vision hanging on the wall. Systems create behaviors.”
 
What systems carry the highest priorities for CABA churches? The North America Mission Board analyzed 175 Baptist associations and found four keys to effectiveness. Do these sound familiar for your church?
1. Leadership/Vision – this included both leadership within the church as well as the pastor.  An overwhelming number of pastors could not adequately state a vision for their church.
2. Sunday School/small groups/discipleship – basic programming.  The need involved both organization needs as well as training.
3. Outreach/Evangelism – very few pastors could identify an intentional outreach strategy.
4. Community/Family/Social issues – pastors knew issues connected to their community, but generally did not know how to adequately connect with the community.
 
Small changes are important! And some changes are more important than others. Choose carefully — and prayerfully!
 
SIDEBAR: Other findings...
  • When it came to church planting, churches recognized the need, but “there generally was a low level of readiness on the part of the churches.”
  • The top 10 giving churches to the Cooperative Program and to the Association usually represented about 75% to 80% of the total giving.  The association needs the smaller churches to do their part.
  • Collaboration among the churches is usually low.  There seems to be an inability or unwillingness for churches to work together.  In addition, pastors tend to be isolated.
  • Pastors understanding the Purpose of the Association was usually rated low. This is an educational challenge.
  • The spiritual vitality of the churches was often low as well as the spiritual vitality within the region.
—provided by Hugh Townsend, former NAMB associational consultant and now DOM in the Atlanta, Ga., area.
 
(c) 2016, Mark Snowden