Posted on December 28, 2022 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Direction
Going into my 7th year at CABA, I sure hope Jesus returns! But should He tarry, here are some things you'll want to get excited about as much as me!
1. CABA's Consultants begin rolling in mid-January. Everyone has been trained over the past six months and are ready to go. Pastors, thank you for participating in interviews! Pray for Aaron Swensen, Brent Wilson, and Mark Wilson as they begin helping "network solutions" and "develop a dynamic resource network."
2. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Good communication is a two-way street, so we are working with John Park to develop ways to get you engaged. We want to involve church leaders in lasting solutions.
3. Go and Tell! Ray Taw is helping any and all of us join in on international partnerships. Some churches are already planning on a trip to the IMB in January and then to South Asia in August. Where could God move you? I just met a South Asian at a convenience store. He had never heard about Jesus since he's been here. Go and tell and go again!
--Mark Snowden serves as director for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on March 2, 2022 10:00 AM by Tom Pendergrass
Categories: Direction
   Pastors meet people all the time who struggle with anxiety and depression. It’s something else when it’s in your family. My journey has led me to some insights that might help church leaders.
   1. Socially—Keep track of good days and bad days. Solutions might vary, but it usually means getting outdoors; a change of scenery. Find friends that can support you and your family doing things together. The trap of the enemy is isolation. 
   2. Sexually—Intimacy can be affected. Touch, hold hands, kiss, and don’t let that be interrupted. Protect yourself by avoiding pornography. You should have an accountability partner. When possible, never travel alone.
   3. Sanity—Seek professional Christian counseling. CABA provides biblical counselors for pastors and church staff. Christian counselors experience a 65% success rate compared to 8% with secular counselors. Rely on the promises of God! Keep eternity in mind; look ahead. 
   All of us have bad days. It’s when it becomes a pattern that it becomes a problem. 
   Let me say that God has provided medicine that really helps. Sometimes medicines can cancel each other out, so be proactive and continue to monitor medicinal effectiveness. It may take a long time, but it’s worth it. 
   As a caregiver, it has helped me learn about the father and not just the prodigal son (Luke 15). Don’t be afraid to speak into someone’s life that needs help. If I can help, just let me know. 
--Tom Pendergrass pastors Urbancrest Baptist Church in Lebanon, Ohio. Reach him at
Posted on January 12, 2022 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Direction
Hearing of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was to me like the second plane hitting the World Trade Center on 9/11. My thinking is now, “They’re not going to stop. Virus mutations ride on our worldwide transportation systems.” 

Associational leaders are being told by church coaches: “Help pastors know that their absentee members are not coming back.” The faithful 80% have largely returned. Broadcasting via social media is once-again a priority. Should pastors view Omicron as something to get through for a season and then everything will re-set to pre-Easter 2020? What happened with Covid? With Variant D? 

Losses for churches have borne a different price. As I travel in CABA, I have seen a dozen pastors and their families suffer through the symptoms. John Holbrook, Blanchester Community Church, died from Covid. Others have gotten seriously ill, requiring hospitalization.  Pastors have interrupted their plans to manage the Covid-bearing exceptions. One church had the pastor, assoc. pastor, and 14 families get rather mild Covid symptoms at the same time. 

Pastors tell me they learned several key lessons:
1.    Never shut the doors of the church, but do pulpit-supply. Embrace social media broadcasting. Invest in online communication. 
2.    Encourage new leaders to step up, often getting on-the-job-training. Laud obedience rather than perfection. 
3.    Cut back on ministries to the essentials. This could add new focus to priorities! Review everything and ask if it is accelerating, booming, declining, or tanking. 
4.    Rework your church budget. Pay your bills, anticipating 20% inflation annually. This means tracking expenses and projecting what you’ll need.
5.    Plan ahead personally. Make arrangements for your family with contributions to retirement accounts. Guidestone’s Mission Dignity has increased by approximately 25% their monthly payments to widows to $42,000/year.

The Omicron virus – and other viruses that will come—may slip into your church and your family, but by the grace of God, we have today to tell the Gospel to the lost and care for the suffering in a way that brings glory to God. 
-- Mark Snowden serves as AMS for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
A article last October 19 contrasted Covid with the Spanish Flu, which lasted 24 months 1918-19. The Spanish flu killed 675,000 Americans when the U.S. population was one-third of what it is in 2022. Today, the U.S. death toll has topped 750,000.
Posted on April 12, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Direction
[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 
     Monthly training events were carried out via Zoom to strengthen pastors and their churches. These are available on, 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 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 May 11, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Direction
Are you preparing yourself to bring change B.O. — Beyond Opening? Let me start by highly recommending the first few chapters of Joshua and 1 Samuel. Joshua and David brought lasting change as they were God's men doing God's purposes with God's resources in God's timing.
There are also some very helpful business books to recommend to you. I’ve just finished three years on the executive council of the SBCAL - Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders. Back in 2017 we all agreed to read five of the six books in the photo that's attached. I added Seth Godin’s 2002 book.
Out of our study, we changed the name of the associational leader to Associational Missions Strategist (AMS), developed  an ideal job description, identified 17 AMS proficiencies, and wrote a book that is to come out next month. It was a joy to write one of the chapters. For CABA pastors, you'll be delighted to know that my JD is very similar to what was recommended for the AMS role. From our Spirit-led process, I can recommend each of these business books to the pastors that don’t want to go B.O. and sink back into the status quo, but effectively bring missional change to the glory of God.
Start with Why - Simon Sinek
Leading Change - John P. Kotter
The Advantage - Patrick Lencioni
Managing Transitions - William & Susan Bridges
Deep Change - Robert E. Quinn
Survival is Not Enough - Seth Godin
-- Mark Snowden is the AMS for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
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
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