Blog
Posted on April 26, 2022 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
When I worked in the Church Planting Group at NAMB, I was responsible for interviewing new church planters as part of their assessment. One couple was going to a city with one million people in which evangelical churches’ average AM worship attendance never topped 45 people. When I suggested that they plant four churches simultaneously, the wife’s eyes opened wide and said, “How is that possible?” They had been so focused on planting one church that they had never considered multiplying from the start.
 
In my favorite Star Trek episode, furry animals were taken onboard their starship and immediately began to reproduce. Medical Officer “Bones” did a thorough analysis and reported to the First Officer, “Spock, they’re born pregnant!” What if new churches were started with the intention of starting a new church in the next six months?
Now, don’t think I’m only being hard on church planters. What if every church in CABA planted one new church next year? Would you just try to populate it with those already saved or would it be an ensemble of soul-winning new believers? What if this time next year we had 210 churches instead of 110 churches? What would need to change?
 
Could our 110 churches handle 18,000 new members? There are 1.8 million people living in CABA’s nine counties. If 10% of those attended CABA churches, that would be 180,000 people. According to ACP, our CABA churches have less than 10,000 attending AM Worship on average every week. What about adding 1% of those in our nine counties? (18,000!)
 
Midland Baptist Church, Keith Crank, pastor, was awarded this year’s Baptism Pacesetter award for baptizing six new believers. That represented 24% of their AM Worship attendance (25 people). What if CABA churches had a 24% baptism rate? The church that was recognized for the most baptisms had 52 last year. By contrast, they ran 667 in AM Worship. What if they had Midland’s baptismal rate of 24%? The church would have baptized 160 people!
 
Last year, according to those 68 of 110 churches reporting by ACP, only 49 churches had at least one baptism and 19 had zero.
Does your church have an evangelism strategy? It is a passion of mine. How can I help?
 
--Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on April 12, 2022 8:00 AM by Jason McKinney
Categories: Missions
There’s no doubt that it’s important to track numbers. We have a whole book in the Bible about tracking numbers! We have several numbers we especially watch: bodies in our events, professions of faith, and baptisms.
 
What do we track that reveals our ongoing or long -term impact? Are there any indicators of how we are succeeding in our core missionary task? Were we to track those participating in discipleship, we would have a certain set of numbers with a certain useful insight. Were we to track believers who are discipling others, then not only do we get insight into discipleship, we also get an insight into the reproducing nature of our work. We begin to see impact. We can track how well we are “succeeding.” What if that tracking was bent to track generationally? Second Timothy 2:2.
 
What if instead of celebrating a whole number (those being discipled), we celebrated “streams?” A leader discipling three others, who are being discipled to grow personally as well as reproduce by discipling others, and ongoing. 1-3-9. We get people discipling others because of their identity in Christ as ambassadors. The win becomes growing streams of generational discipleship rather than an individual completing a course.
 
The implication becomes significant in scope with evangelism, discipleship and reproducing congregations all at the heart. The thought is toward long-term impact, which is also long-term work and long-term transformation. What are you tracking? What are you celebrating? What are you reproducing?
 
Note: thoughts, questions or even challenges? Let’s get coffee or lunch and discuss!
 
-- Jason McKinney pastors One Church in Cincinnati and serves as the church planting coach for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on February 16, 2022 8:00 AM by Oliver Hawkins
Categories: Missions
In 2008, I was sitting in a church planting class at Southern Seminary and first heard the news that soon over a thousand Bhutanese refugees would be placed 
in the Cincinnati area. Terry Sharp, an IMB strategist that works to reach the Diaspora with the gospel, also reported that soon our cities would have people moving in that had lived for many years in seven refugee camps in Nepal.
 
A year later the Association office received a call asking for help to plant a Bhutanese/Nepali Church. Association Missionary Dennis Holmes, working with Pastor David Smith at Creek Road Baptist, helped Pastor Raj Ghimire start meeting with a handful of people that became Grace Nepali Church.Grace Nepali grew to over 100 in attendance over its first few years of existence. It quickly became evident that the Bhutanese/Nepali population in Greater Cincinnati was growing rapidly with the help of a second migration as thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Nepali people were moving to Cincinnati. 

They moved here from Texas, Georgia, Idaho, and New York looking for better opportunity or living conditions. The need to multiply churches to reach this growing population was a must. 
 
In 2016 Grace Nepali sent our Rudra Mishra who became the Pastor of Ephphata Baptist Church our second Nepali Church Plant. Working together with three Associations there are now eight Nepali Churches with three new church plants in the works. Eleven Nepali Churches planted in the past 11 years sounds great, but the need for more churches to reach one of our fastest-growing demographics will take churches raising up leaders and sending them out. 
 
If you live in Springdale, Forest Park, Colerain, Fairfield, Hamilton, or West Chester Areas you probably have neighbors from Nepal. Pray for them, engage with them by inviting them into your home for a meal and pray for an opportunity to share the gospel with them. If you would like to meet one of our Nepali Pastors to learn more about how you can talk to your Nepali neighbors, I can connect you. The Nepali people are loving, friendly people who you will enjoy getting to know.
 
Pray for the eleven pastors I mentioned as their churches attempt to reach this growing population with the Good News. Your church already has helped with these new church plants through gifts to the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. If you want to get more involved, churches are needed to be Sending or Sponsoring Churches to help these new church plants. Thank you for your partnership!
 
-- Oliver Hawkins serves as church planting catalyst, NAMB, in the Cincinnati Area.
Posted on December 14, 2021 8:00 AM by Oliver Hawkins
Categories: Missions
A little over twenty years ago, I was a public school teacher and thought I would retire as a teacher someday. Then my family and I went on a summer mission trip to Malaysia. That summer the Lord let me know that my life was going to take a different direction.
 
After serving overseas with the IMB and now fifteen years with the North American Mission Board, I look back and I am so happy the Lord has allowed me to be a part of His mission. Over the past several years He has allowed me to work with church planters from eleven different nations.
 
Currently, we have fourteen church planters planting ethnic churches. In the past five years, we have been blessed to work with seventeen ethnic church planters and all but one of those churches that were planted are still active.
 
God is doing amazing things in Cincinnati. Your church is a great part of this work.Your gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and the Cooperative Program support the church planting missionaries that are being sent out. Your church could also be involved by inviting one of the planters to your church to speak and share about their work. Your church could allow one of the planters to use your facilities, which is a big need for our ethnic church planters. You could help plant a church by reaching out to the different ethnic groups around you. English as a second language is a great way to meet new people and could lead to a new church being planted.
 
Soon over fifty Afghan refugees will be settled in Cincinnati. Your church could help them with furniture, needed supplies, and help to find work. They need friends and they need Jesus.
 
--Oliver Hawkins serves as NAMB's Church Planting Catalyst in the Cincinnati Area. 
Posted on November 23, 2021 8:00 AM by Jason McKinney
Categories: Missions
Jesus modeled for His disciples what He expected of them. Then he sent them out in pairs to go reach the towns and villages (Mark 6, Matthew 10). Later he sent them out again, but it’s the 72 going out as pairs. All along, he was preparing them and entrusting them with the work of reaching and discipling others. It was messy, and Jesus knew that not everyone would prove faithful. Yet the God of all was entrusting the work to the unlikely group.
 
Our small groups can provide a wonderful time of community and accountability as they wrestle with the Word and life together. They can also be an incredible pathway to multiply. If our outreach is about invitation, we can have a good group of attendees. Yet imagine if our vision was for making disciples that felt confident to go and make disciples. As the church made disciples-making disciples, it may even recognize that the people in those small groups could own the vision and provide the basis for new churches.
 
--Jason McKinney pastors One Church in Cincinnati and serves as CABA's church planting coach.  
Posted on November 1, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Workers in the Harvest Available
You can’t live in the Cincinnati Area long without realizing we’re on a mission field. 
 
Imagine two people from your church going on a mission trip...for two years. Pretty cool, huh?! 
:: But what if they kept their membership and tithes in your church?
:: What if they slept in their own beds here in Cincinnati every night? 
:: What if their mission work was in the Cincinnati area? 
:: And what if they invested six hours every week?
 
CABA has prioritized places like Washington Court House and Delhi. Could you or leaders in your church be moved to take the gospel into a place or among a people that needs Jesus and disciple-making efforts?

Workers in the Harvest (WITH) is missionary training for church members. It is available in the Cincinnati Area to augment what we've been doing with No Place Left. It's not to be confused with Families on Mission, our church to church volunteer opportunities in 2022. Where WITH was used in Missouri, my wife and I were glad to host one of four small groups that started Freshwater Church. When I did WITH training in the Boothill of Missouri, we had 19 laypeople start a biker church and a Spanish-language church. In Kansas City, we had the first small groups of Somalis and the first convert among them. Churches were working among Saudis, Vietnamese, and many others. 

What’s the cost? It’s church planting on a shoestring. Sending churches get excited about doing prayer walks, evangelism blitzes, and prayer support. However, because the two sent on mission already have jobs, then they don’t receive a salary and don’t need to raise funds. This IS their church ministry. 
Think of a modern-day Paul and Silas straight out of Acts 16 going out to evangelize and start small groups. Paul and Silas paid their own way and the local church did not pay them. They met Timothy and Luke along the way. They didn’t pastor, but were used by the Lord to kick lose a Gospel movement!
CABA churches need volunteers who will go out boldly in faith. The methods Paul and Silas used were infinitely reproducible. They removed as many barriers as possible so that the Gospel could spread quickly. 

Could God move you? Pastors, could you ask two members of your church to be sent? NAMB has their pipeline for career planters. Workers in the Harvest is missionary training for church members. It takes a few hours of training on a Saturday and is ready upon request from me. It’s what I developed at NAMB, used in Missouri, and would love to help you use it out of your church to the glory of God.

So, where would you send missionaries into the Cincinnati Area?
Look around you. You might identify three people groups. My missiologist friend Van Sanders called it the North American Peoples Spectrum:
1.    People – Immigrant groups or refugees – some 30 teams are needed
2.    Place – multihousing, dorm rooms, and communities like Delhi and WCH.
3.    Passion – Interests like outdoorsmen, bikers, cowboys, truckers 
What needs do you see in an apartment complex or hear about on the news? Could God call you to work among them one people at a time?
 
-- Mark Snowden has been part of three church plants and trained hundreds of missionaries. He directs the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. 
 
Posted on October 19, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Let’s start with some lostness math on the Cincinnati Area. According to TheARDA.com, there are 1.5 million who are not evangelicals. One million people are not claimed by any religious organization. SBC church members are only 17% of evangelicals in the Cincinnati Area. On average there are 122 people in AM worship in CABA churches (2020 ACP based on 52 churches reporting). That leaves CABA churches needing 2,500 new churches if we carry our weight. Let’s go one more step and say at the current new planting rate of about five churches per year (praise God!), that means it’ll take 500 years. And just focusing on new churches doesn’t mean that 17% of 1 million unclaimed will all be baptized.

How many new churches could a church start in a year, if it started one new church and their daughter church kept it going at the same rate every six months? How long would it take them to have 100 new churches? Remember, there are 115 churches and plants in CABA right now. What could ONE church do?
 
Year          Church 
   ½:     1 (1st church planted takes about six months)
   1:     1 + 1 = 2
1 ½:     (1 + 1) + (1 + 1) = 4 or 2 x 2 = 4
   2:     4 x 2 = 8
2 ½:      16
   3:      32
3 ½:      64
    4:     128 [If there are 10 per church that means 1,280 believers.]
 
The point of all this math is to say that missionaries must train church members to be disciple-makers. Can your church’s leaders make leaders? What kind of leaders are in a church? (Pastor? Deacons? Teachers? Childcare workers? Youth leaders? Financial officers? Ushers?) Leader training is a serious priority for church multiplication. Workers in the Harvest takes on this kind of multiplication. Contact Mark Snowden for more information CABAdirector (at) gmail (dot) com.
 
Mark Snowden has used this method of training with dozens of churches while serving with the North American Mission Board, SBC. He directs the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. 
 
Posted on September 27, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions, Prayer
Quick! Pick one:
____ Could your church send out families on mission for a few days next summer?
____ Does your church need to have some help for a few days next summer?
 
Planning is underway for CABA churches to send while others receive. The Youth Evangelism Study Team learned that children and teens follow their parent’s example. Why not raise the bar with a mission trip?
 
CABA’s 2021 Week of Prayer has a goal of $10,000 to provide training materials and some evangelistic resources for parents, children, and teens to receive training and then link up with a church in need. Unlike some mission trips, families on mission are to sleep in their own beds!
 
CABA churches are challenged this year to raise $10,000 for the Ann Dunn/Joanne Hopkins Mission Offering. The contributions are to be designed to support mission trips to the Cincinnati Area.
 
CABA’s Week of Prayer resources are undated, but we recommend October 17-23, 2021.
 
So, would your family take a mission trip to the Cincinnati Area? What projects are needed in your church? Call Charity at CABA to register! (513) 724-8172 or email CABAoffice@gmail.com.
 
Give generously this year to the Dunn/Hopkins Offering so that churches can send while others can receive to the glory of God!
Posted on September 20, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
The 2nd Day of the Evangelical Missiological Society's Annual Conf was no less helpful and challenging, too! Here's another 10 ideas from my notes.
1.       "New Homiletics" is facilitating an experienced event. It's no longer just transmission of cognition.
2.       90% of Muslims & Hindus do not have a Christian friend.
3.       There are more followers of Jesus in the Rest than the West.
4.       Asian religions (Islam & Hinduism especially) integrate multiple levels of life; not just knowledge as in Christianity.
5.       Global percentage of Christianity in 1910 was 34%. In 2021, it was 32.3%.
6.       In 1990, 82% of Christianity was in the Global North. In 2020, 67% percent of Christianity is in the Global South (factoring in China.)
7.       The languages of Christianity globally is 16% Spanish, 10% English, 8% Portuguese, 5% Russian, and 3% Chinese.
8.       In America in the 1800s, Christians published a Slave Bible that was 1/3 of the Bible. It removed all references to freedom and included all verses related to slavery. It was produced for slaves to obey their masters.
9.       To Blacks, the most powerful Bible story connecting missions and theology is Jesus' story of the Good Samaritan. Many view it as the crux of African-American life. They relate deeply.
10.  The arts is the language of worship through expressions. Songs and oral proclamation, yes, but also learning games, thought-provoking riddles, relevant to topic meals, planned and spontaneous dance, casual and formal visual arts, chants, poems, wearing symbolic jewelry, expressive deaf songs, witty proverbs, and video (highly visual) Scripture readings. Merge the digital with the oral = digitoral.
 
Posted on September 17, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Part 1 of 2: Ten Ideas in Missions
Heading into a 2-day annual meeting for the Evangelical Missiological Society. There are about 100 presenters and eight tracks. The conference is 11 am to 9:30 p.m. .via Zoom. I was honored to present "Orality in the West" in the Orality Track. Some tips and reactions from Day 1:
1.       Listening in dialogue allows the teacher to know the spiritual progress of those they're discipling.
2.       OT writers intended Scripture to be read. If you want a good "verbal" translation use the Voice Translation. Listen to Scripture more.
3.       Students get excited about Harry Potter and the Avengers because they don't know the story of the Bible. The Metanarrative puts Scripture in the bigger context. Students at Liberty U actually get ANGRY that they have never been taught the big picture of the Bible.
4.       Our relationships (including with God) shape our understanding of reality. The language and words we use are strong identity markers.
5.       We learn through our senses and emotions etch memories, including bad ones. Scripture is full of motion -- lift up your hands, if you have ears to hear, dance before the Lord, demonstrate your excitement, display scripture on doorposts, faith in action/behaviors/ministry, etc.
6.       Evangelical Whites in the U.S. see immigrants as (1) changing America, (2) 90% want more restrictive policies, and (3) support family separation at the borders. Most churches in the U.S. lack friendship and partnership with immigrants.
7.       When you give money for work among immigrants, you foster a "health & wealth" gospel. How can God's Story become part of an immigrant's story? When it becomes the community's story.
8.       To change culture, change their stories.
9.       The West says, "Seeing is believing." Israelis say, "Hearing is believing."
10.  Missions shouldn't just be a church strategy, but a lifestyle that shapes our lens through which our world is experienced.
 
-- Mark Snowden is the director of missional leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
 
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