Blog
Posted on January 31, 2023 8:00 AM by Oliver Hawkins
Categories: Missions
Over the years one observation that I have made is that God moves and raises up church planters in his timing and sometimes when we least expect it.
 
When our area first started receiving Nepali Refugees in 2009, we prayed and worked with churches to raise up leaders. For many years we had one Nepali Church that was SBC. In the past seven years, God has moved in a great way and now there are ten SBC Nepali Churches in the Greater Cincinnati area with a few more possibly being planted soon.
 
A few years ago, the first Arabic Church was planted in Cincinnati. Amer Safadi became the Pastor of the Arabic Church of Cincinnati. God has now blessed Amer’s ministry and is using him to train more Arabic Pastors to plant in other cities. The first Arabic church planting conference was held November 28th-30th in partnership with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. At that conference, there were fourteen church planters from six states. The planters were originally from Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, and the Sudan. Nine of these planters will plant a church in 2023.
 
The speakers included several SCBO staff, Pastor and SCM, Travis Smalley, and Pastor Amer. Dr. Jeremy Westbrook with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio spoke and presented a compelling challenge to potential planters. Next year’s conference takes place in Michigan July 13th-15th. There are currently plans to plant Arabic churches in Northern Kentucky and Columbus.
 
Other cities need Arabic speaking churches as well. Several will move to Cincinnati to complete a residency working with Amer, then be sent out to plant churches to reach the Arabic speaking population.
 
It is amazing to see all that the Lord is doing right here in Cincinnati. We are praying that the Lord will raise up leaders amongst the Spanish speaking population so that seven years from now we can count many Spanish speaking churches that the Lord has birthed.
 
Amer and the other church planters in Cincinnati are helped by your gifts to the Cooperative program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Thank you for your support both by praying for our church planters and supporting them financially.
 
Oliver Hawkins serves as NAMB's Church Planting Catalyst for the Cincinnati Area
Posted on November 2, 2022 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Ed. During the Week of Prayer, CABA promoted “Churches Multiplying Churches.” We heard from several pastors for how they support church planters throughout the Cincinnati Area--and beyond.
 
Jerome Byrd, Good News Baptist, supports Gene Moore, who is planting Guiding Light Church. “We support him with prayer support,” Jerome said, “we also took up an offering for him recently to help with the work. He also has access to our baptistry and we also assist him in various outreach projects that he’s already held. Two families from our church are also with him each Sunday.”
 
Tom Pendergrass, pastor, explained how Urbancrest supports their church plants: “At Urbancrest and as a pastor we approach church planting from the same model we do with missions. Pray, Give, Go, and Send. Our goal is to support the church plant in a holistic approach that begins with the fundamental principle of prayer. We try and surround our church planters with a core group of intercessors who pray on a consistent basis for their needs. When we commit to give, our partnership is for a minimum of five years to give the new church plant a greater chance to become self supporting. Going is where we can send teams to help with various projects that need boots on the ground. This can be from one day to two week commitments. At times we can send our members to help for extended periods of time. Finally, the send aspect includes the planter as well as sending families to become a part of the core team of the new church. Over half of our current church planters came from Urbancrest. I want to encourage pastors to consider being involved in one of these four ways.”
 
Mark Jones, lead pastor for Living Church, tells of the ways they support planters: “We support Martin & Karen Jones in their church planting through having them participate in a ministry we provide called The Living Room. This is a monthly zoom call with other house church leaders from around the world. Martin actively participates in this call every month to learn from other like minded church planters. We also come alongside them by providing Martin with monthly coaching with our lead pastor, who mentors and coaches Martin through a monthly coaching meeting. One other way we support the Joneses is by serving on their church’s board providing feedback and guidance.”
 
Supporting Planters Can Lead Overseas, too! Overseas travel to South Asia was discouraged by the IMB during COVID. However, an IMB missionary, two pastors, a church leader, and I found a way to continue supporting a church planter. He is bivocational and lives in a bustling city. We have met regularly over the past 18 months via Zoom. We have a standing meeting time. It helps that he works a night shift, so we can meet with him during our day. We have used our meetings as a time for prayer, encouragement, problem-solving, and equipping. The missionary has pulled out of the conversation, but our CABA group continues to meet. Some of our wives have met, too, to offer encouragement.
 
--Mark Snowden serves as the AMS for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on October 17, 2022 10:12 AM by Jason McKinney
Categories: Missions
Gene Moore’s Guiding Light Church has been holding services now at the Moore’s venue in Sharonville. It’s quite a space! Of course, they’ve been very active in exploring various ways of engaging the community.
 
What excites me most isn’t a worship location, however. Gene gets that reaching his community takes more than any one congregation. More than working as a church planter, Gene is working out how to be a multiplying disciple-maker that can see multiple gospel communities forming. People can attend churches anywhere, he says. His desire is to raise people up to work, and by work he means go out to be the church.
 
While Guiding Light does have a gathering of people to worship on Sunday, Gene is intent on the church being defined by the work of the gospel in community during the week. It's easy to have a mindset of invitation, enabling our people to become ambassadors of the church, inviting people to our activities. Yet our calling is to be ambassadors of Christ.
 
Disciple-making is equipping people to engage around them with the gospel and discipleship. Church growth should be a mere bi-product of our focus on disciple-making and church planting. Contact Jason at jtrait@me.com to find out more about Church Planting in CABA.
 
Jason McKinney serves as CABA' church planting coach. 
Posted on September 19, 2022 10:03 AM by Phil Hopper
Categories: Missions
Everything was unplanned, but everything went as planned. This sentence seems contradictory, but to those who know the sovereign hand of God, this sentence makes perfects sense. When a tornado swept through the Goshen community on July 6, we were caught flat-footed, but God had been preparing us for this moment for over fifteen years. I have been blessed with the privilege to pastor Hill Station for almost twenty years, and my wife and I have been around HSBC for almost all of our lives. This has allowed us the unique opportunity to witness God’s hand in preparing the church for this moment. God is always at work. His sovereignty can be witnessed in the short and long terms.
 
Several years ago, Ohio Baptist had a partnership with Tennessee Baptist. Our former pastor, a Tennessean by birth who came to HSBC via West Virginia, returned to Tennessee after his time in Ohio. This Tennessee connection caused HSBC and the Weakley County Baptist Association to form a five year partnership which bought large mission teams to stay at HSBC and serve in our surrounding area. This mission team converted a Sunday school room into a restroom with two showers and a washer and dryer in our basement. The need to accommodate these large groups caused HSBC to install RV hook ups. Another Tennessee church provided the funds for a tankless hot water heater for the showers.
 
As Chain Saw teams with Disaster Relief were being deployed to Goshen, Tennessee Baptists returned to Goshen. We had the privilege to house over 80 Disaster Relief volunteers over two weeks. Tommy Wilson was one of those volunteers. Tommy was probably the only Tennessee Baptist that had ever heard of Goshen because he was part of those Weakly County mission teams. It would be easy to dismiss this story as coincidentally, but we know that God was preparing Hill Station to host these Disaster Relief over many years. We had not planned for the tornado but it was part of God’s plan.
 
As we were planning our yearly schedule, Vacation Baptist School was not falling on the calendar in any manageable way. After some prayer and brainstorming, a church member suggested moving VBS to Goshen’s spring break. VBS would work on the church calendar over spring break, but we had never done that before, nor had anyone we had known had ever done VBS over spring break.
 
Hill Station has always been a church willing to try something new and outside the normal box. Spring Break VBS was scheduled. We knew our community and we would need to provide dinner night nightly. This forced us to purchase two new stoves to replace the two stoves that only half way worked. This was only one example of God’s plan for the summer of 2022. It would have been impossible to cook on those old stoves and feed the Disaster Relief teams. When the Disaster Relief rolled in, there were two new stoves waiting on them. There are numerous other stories of God working through the Goshen tornado and its aftermath.
 
The tornado caught us by surprise, but God has never been surprised. Looking back, we can see where God has been preparing Hill Station for this moment for years. I just wonder what God is doing today that is preparing us for what will happen in the years to come. God is always at work. He is never surprised. Rejoice in God’s sovereignty. It is all part of God’s perfect plan.
 
Phil Hopper pastors Hill Station Baptist Church near Goshen, Oh. 
Posted on September 12, 2022 9:56 AM by Josh Wright
Categories: Missions
After we finish a rough Mud Out project, we circle up with the homeowner. Just before we pray I try to say a few words as the Blue Hat.
 
Here’s what I said to the team and Billy, the homeowner:
 
“I’ve been involved with this ministry since 2012. I’ve been to New York, Nebraska, Florida, and this is my second trip to Kentucky. I have cleaned up a lot of homes, and I know that some of them could not be saved. People have asked me, why are we doing this. Why are we working hard and getting dirty to clean a house that we all know will go under a bulldozer in a few weeks? I respond, it’s not about the house. They’ll back down and say, you’re right. It’s about the homeowner and helping people suffering by the flood. I say, it’s not about them either. We have a Lord who came down here, got dirty, and died to save us from ourselves. When you accept Christ as Lord, you are voluntarily putting yourself under His authority."
 
That means Obedience.
 
Josh Wright leads the Mudout Trailer Team (Disaster Relief) for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. 
Posted on September 5, 2022 9:53 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Should churches go beyond their walls to help other churches?
 
On Wednesday, July 6, Goshen was hit with an EF2 tornado ripping through with 130 mph winds.Lake Lorelei and a few other communities were hit with an EF1 tornado. More than 100 telephone poles were downed, knocking out power for thousands lasting days.
 
Aarron Ellerman, planting a church in Goshen, jumped into action and was one of the first on the scene. Doug Sibcy, G3 Church, had been enroute to Goshen to pick up Trailer #4 when the storm hit and made multiple trips to recover it. Phil Hopper, Hill Station, had COVID, but within days established his church as the command center for Southern Baptist chainsaw and feeding teams. Dozens of volunteers quickly descended on Goshen. Even Clough Pike and G3 sent a crew to help transfer contents of Trailer #4 to a replacement.
 
I’m writing this after just returning from floods in E. Ky. Some 70 Ohio and Tennessee DR volunteers trained in Mudout, Laundry, Feeding, and command worked seamlessly helping dozens of desperate home-owners. Ohio volunteers were from every corner of the state. CABA’s blue hat, Josh Wright, is leading a team this week. He’s a member of University Baptist in Middletown.
 
DR response is one visible way that churches jump to help others in need. Look around you at other churches. Nurture relationships to volunteer to help meet a specific need. CABA churches over the next few years need to learn how to go beyond their walls to help other churches whether or not there’s an acute weather event. Associations help churches do more together than we can do alone.
 
Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. 
Posted on July 26, 2022 8:00 AM by Jason McKinney
Categories: Missions
Fear of not having all the answers can hold a believer back from sharing the gospel. It can also hold a believer back from meeting with the curious or new believers for discipleship. Ultimately it becomes the very same principle that holds us back from encouraging and releasing others to go out and launch new Bible studies/small groups/church plants.
 
We want everything to be perfect because going out and being faithful to Matthew 28:18-20 certainly isn’t enough. Is it?
 
Let’s celebrate a moment: Jerome Byrd of Good News Baptist knew the potential was there for Gene Moore to take up the call for reaching new communities and gathering together as a new church. Gene knew God was stirring him to step out and acted in obedience. Because of the faithfulness of these two men and the great support of believers around them, we can celebrate the forming of a new church, Guiding Light Church near Sharonville. No starting budget, no salary. Just faithful obedience to disciple-making.
 
Gene isn’t alone. My family and the Moore’s, along with David and Elisabeth (and family), have been honing disciple-making practices together to continue seeing more multiplication. Nothing fancy, just reproducible practices. KISS Method: Keep It Simple, Saint! I know, that’s cheesy, but let’s not over-complicate faithfulness to the hindrance of obedience!
 
Contact Jason at jtrait@me.com to learn more.
Posted on July 1, 2022 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
In Malcolm Gladwell’s management book, David & Goliath, the villain was depicted as a tank and hero was like a jet. Goliath was slow-moving and weighted-down. David, according to Gladwell, was nimble and very, very accurate with a single stone.
 
When I look around the Cincinnati Area, I can see the David & Goliath story playing out:
 
The Goliaths:
1.     There are 1.8 million living here; the majority living in sin
2.     There are still one million who are unclaimed by any religious organization
 
The Davids:
1.     Our churches are resilient
2.     CABA churches have 10,000 in AM Worship
3.     Southern Baptists are only 17% of all evangelicals
4.     No mega-churches or giga-churches (<2,500 in attendance)
 
The Goliaths’ weaknesses
·        Inaccurate thinking about Jesus
·        Spiritually vulnerable
·        Stationary – not moving
 
The Davidic strengths
·        Mobility—go to them
·        Ability to hone strengths
·        Rely fully on God
  
Will you enter the spiritual battle today?
 
SBC % of Evangelicals per county
  8.7 Adams
28.2 Brown
27.7 Butler
24.7 Clermont
15.8 Clinton
  2.6 Fayette
10.2 Hamilton
  8.1 Highland
29.0 Warren
 
--Mark Snowden is the AMS for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. 
 
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
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