Blog
Posted on June 10, 2021 8:00 AM by Oliver Hawkins
Categories: Missions
        An observation I have made over the years is that God opens doors or provides opportunities and leaves it up to us as His followers to take advantage of those 
opportunities. Working with different ethnic groups to plant churches has reinforced that truth to me. 
     Ten years ago, the extent of ethnic church planting in Cincinnati was primarily Korean and some Hispanic churches planted. In recent years, the Lord has 
blessed with seven Bhutanese/Nepali Church plants, several planters from Ghana, one from Nigeria, one from Jordan and most recently the Lord has opened 
the floodgates with planters from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC).
     One planter from the DROC has already been approved to plant and has secured a building to meet in. He preaches in French but provides translation for those that need it. Two other planters from the DROC are in the early stages of partnering to become Southern Baptist Church planters. The Lord opens doors and blesses when we are willing to step through.
     Some ethnic groups we are praying to reach with new churches are Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Russian speaking as well as more Hispanic churches. 
     We desperately need to plant more Hispanic Churches which is our fastest growing ethnic group. 
     Pray with me that we will see more church planters both raised up locally and be brought to our area to plant churches. Thank you for your support of the 
Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering which supports these church planters and their ministries.
 
--Oliver Hawkins serves as church planting catalyst, NAMB
Posted on May 18, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
     The latest technology reports are in and purchases of mobile phones and apps are at all-time highs. Apple is the most alluring thing since the Garden of Eden. There’s not a bite out of the side of that logo for nothing.
     But the latest relationship reports are also in and countries with the most technology are finding that isolationism is at all-time highs. Cocooning is not the half of it. Those that do emerge find that they no longer fit easily into any single group. Their BFFs aren’t really. Some show up merely because they are societal outcasts, looking for what is offered and hoping it is less painful than what they’ve endured. Social distancing has changed churches’ playing fields.
     Believers are getting creative to actually walk among the lost. We look for persons of peace; people-linkers that actually know folks. Forming small groups is not an automatic with those who would prefer talking with their thumbs or showing up for online church cloaked as an avatar. Those that do gather find that they are increasingly involving the disconnected.
     Forming small groups across the Cincinnati Area post-Covid just may become non-traditional networks of dissimilar people. Pastors and those working with small groups get excited to see grandmas and punkers and immigrants and jocks interacting side-by-side. Mingling is one thing. Disciple-making is something else.
     The late Jim Slack, an IMB missiologist, liked to say, “Worldview resides in the idiom of the heart language.” Making disciples at their heart level by using their language is critical. That doesn’t mean base talk, but relating where they are on their spiritual development level. 
     Jesus never shirked diversity. Paul urged Ephesians to be alert. Every slice of life is an opportunity to raise up and release believers out into their relational networking as disciple-makers for Christ.
 
Mark Snowden is the director for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. 
Posted on April 27, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
A lot of mission trips are being planned for the summer. Here are a few tips:
:: Do it at home to do it on mission. If you’re not going to do it here, you will struggle to do it there. 
:: Multiply by using reproducible methods. Think Bible Storying instead of curriculum. 
:: Draw an illustration with a marker or stick in the dirt rather than slick teaching pictures to be reproducible. 
:: Don’t give them stuff they can’t afford to replace or repair. 
:: Prepare at home first and not on the fly.  
:: Invite believers where you serve to join your church on mission projects back home. 
:: Don’t leave a new believer alone until discipling is established. Remember you can always use Zoom. 
:: Avoid evangelizing just to get a yes and walk away. Be a disciple-maker of disciple-makers. 
 
--Mark Snowden has led a number of mission trips overseas and in the U.S., most recently to Boston and So. Asia. He serves as AMS for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. 
Posted on December 15, 2020 8:00 AM by Eric Taylor
Categories: Missions
The mission of God is simple: to glorify Himself by giving eternal life to everyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. The question is, are God’s people committed to His mission of redeeming a people for Himself? Is the church of Jesus today committed to seeing, “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9)? Well, our lesson for this week shows us why we can, and should, be committed to God’s mission.

First, we are committed to God’s mission because of God’s promise of salvation. When one reads verses 9-10, there is no question as to how one is saved. When, by faith, a lost person confesses “Jesus is Lord” and believes in their “heart that God raised Him from the dead,” they are “saved.” In the Roman world, the requirement was to proclaim, “Caesar is Lord.” But for the genuine follower of Christ the one who “believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness” and by faith “confesses with the mouth,” is saved by the great grace of God. And while some want to debate the issue of “Lordship salvation,” there is no debating the fact, that a requirement for salvation is to “believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.” In other words, if one denies the literal death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ they are not born again. Besides, 1 Corinthians 15:14-17, makes it clear that without the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus we are not saved, and are still lost in our sins.

Second, we are committed to God’s mission because of the reach, or scope of salvation. In other words, verses 11-13 tell us that God saves everyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. You see this in words like “Whoever” (v. 11), and “all.” Second Peter 3:9 says that God is “long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance.” This is why we “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Third, we are committed to God’s mission in reaching the lost, because He calls out His messengers. In the last section of verses, Paul reminds the reader that the only way the lost hear is through faithful messengers willing to go and preach the Good News. In other words, God calls His people to” go and make disciples of all peoples” (Matt. 28:19). There are great multitudes of people in our world today, who have not yet heard. Every year, I have the privilege of traveling to South Asia, where I consistently encounter people who have never heard a clear Gospel presentation. People who have no Bible, no Christian friends, and no exposure to Christianity as we do in Tennessee. However, that reality has come home. I recently stood before a group of High School students after giving each of them a Bible, only to learn that for some of them, it was the first Bible they had ever received, and the first time they had heard the Gospel.

We have been called by God to carry the Good News to a lost and dying world. Let’s recommit ourselves to God’s mission of saving sinners for His glory.
 
--Eric Taylor is the pastor of Cedar Hill Baptist Church in Cedar Hill, Tenn. This article first appeared in Baptist & Reflector, Nov. 28, 2020.
Posted on September 29, 2020 8:00 AM by Jason McKinney
You are not a failure.
 
There’s plenty telling you otherwise. You’ve fought a temptation to feel like you’re a failure. Someone might have even offered proofs that you’re one, not
that you can’t offer even better proofs.
 
First, you were called to follow Jesus. You’re a follower. Visions of grand leadership aside, you’re not the head guy. It’s not on you. You can’t fail God if He’s
not counting on your success.
 
Second, you were called to be a fisher of people. Regardless of the rise or fall of whatever great programs in 2020, your role is unchanged. You’re His follower and fisher; you’re His new creation and His ambassador. Forget failure. Our win is to abide in the Spirit and to make Him known to others. So don’t carry the burden of fighting for success, and don’t cast it on those around you. Instead, embrace the identity in Mark 1:17.
 
Living and leading thus freed, enable others likewise. They too may experience the same identity to abide and make disciples. Pastors and elders are to equip them in doing so, right?
 
Our upcoming cohort will wrestle with the implications of such an identity for ourselves as leaders and our approaches to generational disciple-making. 
 
--Jason McKinney is CABA's church planting coach. He also pastors One Church Cincinnati. 
Posted on June 1, 2020 7:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Have you visited that Indian Restaurant takeout by the gas station in Eastgate? It’s about as authentic as Indian lunch buffets in Colerain and Sharonville. Have you been making friends with the owners of the Moroccan restaurant in Northside? Oh, and don’t forget about that Turkish upscale restaurant in West Chester. The owner will come out and talk with you personally. The Vietnamese restaurant in Norwood was so much fun to visit with a Nepali-speaking Bhutanese pastor. Did you know that according to the Yellow Pages, there are 16 Vietnamese restaurants in Cincinnati? And not one Southern Baptist church is predominately Vietnamese?
 
All around the Cincinnati Area, there are restaurants run by first generation immigrants. They want to talk with you. They want your patronage, for sure, but they’re open to talking about their faith, too.
 
Years ago, the police urged us to take a bite out of crime. In these ethnic restaurants, you can take a bite out of lostness.
 
--Mark Snowden serves CABA as the Director of Missional Leadership
Posted on February 4, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
A family friend is third generation Hong Kong Chinese. She is as American as my daughter. Although her race is Chinese-American, I would never have witnessed to her with a Cantonese language JESUS film or encouraged her to join a Chinese church. She was culturally American. She and her family were an active part of our church.

Race and culture are two different things.

Spiritual gifts inventories used by some churches help believers identify potential church involvement. It is often referred to as helping people “assimilate.” But in a conversation with a respected Korean Baptist leader, I learned that “assimilation” is a terrible word to many foreigners living among us. This godly Korean man patiently explained that first-generation immigrants fear losing their ethnic identity. Believers seek to follow Christ and at the same time retain their own culture that doesn’t contradict with the Bible. And those who assimilate are considered on the fringe and lose credibility.

So, how do we respect Leviticus 19:34? “You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God” (HCSB).

Jim Slack, an IMB missiologist–and anthropologist by training–explained it to me that when dominant cultural church groups–whites, Hispanics, blacks, whomever–expect people to become like them to get along in their church. Jim point out that a dominant church culture “seals off” other cultures from coming to Christ. We too often assume that the foreigner among us must give up their identity and take on the culture of our dominant group.

If you’ve seen Star Trek: The Next Generation, you’ll remember the ship’s captain was taken captive by the Borg, a giant floating space colony. “Resistance is futile” was the catch phrase as cultural distinctions were replaced by conformity.

When we as a dominant culture permeate a group of believers, we unconsciously expect everyone to enjoy our experience in the Lord just like we do. And while that may work for worship, disciple-making needs to take place at a different level; a heart-level.

A Muslim immigrant living in Virginia converted to Christianity through the help of the girl that he was dating. She wanted him in her Sunday School class in our predominately Anglo church, but the curriculum they used did not disciple him as a “MBB;” a Muslim Background Believer. He soon left and joined in with other MBBs.

An African-American pastor in Los Angeles told me, “Six Nicaraguan young men attending my church barely understand English. Our church’s worship styles are alien to them.” And to let me know that he really got it, he said, “So, I will begin working with them to start a Nicaraguan church.”

As a learning exercise in Albemarle, North Carolina, I sent out participants to interview “people who are not like them.” The church leader thought everyone was a lily-white Southerner. It surprised him that Buddhist Laotians were encountered at a local laundromat. In Lansing, Michigan, a survey group I was in found thousands of Mexicans in one housing project. In each case, they had become sealed off from Baptist churches because of their deeply-held cultural convictions.

Church is more than one hour and then heading out to the restaurants. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America.” While it may be true, it didn’t get that way and stay that way by accident. A church planting consultant at NAMB once observed that there are few truly multi-cultural SBC churches in America. Again, race is different from culture.

If you desire your church to welcome culturally-diverse people, expect there to be “worldview” distinctions. This requires training church members as missionaries. By adopting a people group to study, they will understand whether to bring them into an existing church or start a new one around cultural realities.

Let’s work hard to understand and show Christ’s love to those different from us.
 
--Mark Snowden, Director of Missional Leadership, Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on November 5, 2019 7:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
NCAA Football fans are asking “Who’s In?” They know the Championship Game is coming.
 
When you scan the Cincinnati Area’s harvest fields, you have to ask, “Who’s in?” Dozens of unchallenged, untapped, and unused missionaries are in our CABA churches. They must be because I know the Father’s will is to reconcile a lost world to Himself. And missionaries go beyond their comfort zone to begin disciple-making. They cross barriers such as distance, culture, and language. Think no further than the Apostle Paul’s example in Acts 13-14!
 
Here are the characteristics pastors have found helpful evaluating potential missionaries in their midst:
•    take on new initiatives
•    have their own ideas of what they want to do
•    influence people easily and gain a following
•    don't fit the mold, color outside the lines
•    genuine hunger for a deeper relationship with God
•    show impressive spiritual insight
•    noticeable areas of character immaturity
•    broad in their horizons and think beyond "our" church
•    thrive on doing things that are challenging and risky
•    claim loyalty to "our" church yet seem critical and impatient
•    tend to become overextended in their commitments
•    see real potential in them, but we are unsure how far we can trust them
 
George Miley put this list together after mobilizing missionaries 15 years with Operation Mobilization. This list in his book Loving the Church, Blessing the Nations (Biblica Books 2003).
 
So, “who’s in” your church? Encourage potential missionaries to connect with Jason McKinney or me. Let Jason coach them. If they haven't been through No Place Left, that's a great place to start. Jason is CABA’s Lead NPL Trainer now. Text Jason (304) 710-0961.
Other options:
NAMB missionary: Travis Smalley tsmalley@namb.net or Oliver Hawkins ohawkins@namb.net
IMB missionary: Barbara Smith bsmith@imb.org or www.imb.org/go
 
--Mark Snowden serves as CABA's director of missional leadership
Posted on September 3, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
This summer I visited South Asia. One city’s population tops 12 million making it a giga-city. And it is 99.9% non-evangelical Christian. The trip culminates an Acts 1:8 model for CABA pastors.
 
My director of missional leadership job description includes being active in my local church. For the past two years, I have served as Missions Committee
 
Chairman at Clough Pike Baptist. Josh Carter is the pastor. The committee caught the Acts 1:8 vision working among So. Asian Indians and the church adopted it.
 
Clough Pike now has an active partnership here in Cincinnati with a NAMB church planter. Last February, I led a team to Boston to work with the (only) So. Asian Indian (NAMB) church planter in Boston. These godly men are both from the same state in So. Asia, so in July, I led a vision team to what we’re calling Curry City, for security purposes.
 
This “Glocal” challenge started here in Cincinnati. So. Asian Indians are one of Cincinnati’s largest people segments. Who would the Lord have you engage here in Cincinnati, Boston, and around the world? There are 47 people segments in the Cincinnati Area, but only 11 are engaged. That means some 36 peoples have no one evangelizing among them.
 
When we contacted the IMB, the missionaries overseas said, “You’ll need to use No Place Left when you work in So. Asia.” The team that was traveling from Clough Pike was glad because we’ve all become NPL trainers in the past year. When we visited Boston, we trained that church in NPL methods.
 
Sitting at a coffee shop one day, I shared Three Circles with a Hindu man. He wanted to know more and gave us his contact information. But across from us was a local lawyer who was already a born-again Christian. He said, “That was fantastic hearing you witness like that! Can you teach me?!” So, he slid in next to me and for 45 minutes, I trained a brother who had never witnessed before how to share his faith and make disciples.
 
So, don’t just ask, “where” can I serve? Instead, try asking God “who” needs a witness here, there, and over there? You might just end up eating the best curry of your life!
 
-- Mark Snowden serves as the director of missional leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on August 19, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Within 90 days of teaching 19 church members from several churches how to start a church, they had begun a biker church and a Hispanic church. A biker complained that the seminary had yet to send them a biker. And nobody in the training was very good at speaking Spanish. Nobody spent any money. Yet, this model is both simple and effective.
 
Here is how any church can start a new church. NAMB has a pipeline for planters and CABA is capable of helping with traditional church planting and even multi-site, which is now popular. And, available to your church through CABA is a process that is based on Acts and does not require funding. It’s like church planting for the rest of us. And it’s in seven steps that rely totally on the Holy Spirit.

1.    Prayerfully mobilize teams of two that go out to do the work of the Lord.
2.    Address lostness by understanding the people, area, or interests.
3.    Develop a master plan to help everyone be onboard and focused.
4.    Evangelize abundantly through relationship-building and follow-up.
5.    Gather new believers into small groups and meet whenever it suits them.
6.    Coach leaders from within the group including pastor and teachers.
7.    Mobilize believers from the new church to seek new people and places.
 
Church members doing the planting keep their membership and tithe in their sending church. Pastors serve as encouraging champions. As CABA’s coordinator for church planting, it is my role to coach and connect with them. Funds are budgeted by CABA to develop and support church planting teams of church members.
 
These types of church plants work anywhere as they are a biblical model. We’ve seen them fit a unique niche where church members do not have much disposable income – refugees earning minimum wages (peoples), low income apartment complexes and university students (places), and some groups associating around a unifying purpose such as bikers, shift workers, or truckers (interest).
 
Pastors might look for these seven characteristics that seem to fit successful apostolic disciple-makers:
a.    Highly relational outgoing people who make friends easily; joiners
b.    Maturing believers looking for “next”; risk-takers
c.    Those who are often restless and sometimes criticize the status quo
d.    Strong in faith and seeking ways to be spiritually more mature
e.    Often bite off more than they can chew; love being busy
f.    May appear capable, but might lead a pastor to not easily trust them
g.    Comfortable attending other churches and Christian events
 
The Apostle Paul would easily be identified as having a missionary gift. Right by his side on the Second Journey was Silas, who was a prophet. Timothy was very much a shepherd / teacher in his own right. And Luke evangelized through writing the Gospel and Acts. Each of those character qualities are captured in Ephesians 4:11 apostle, prophet, evangelist, preacher/teacher. Perhaps Paul remembered his effective missionary band (recorded in Acts 16) and recognized those leaders in Ephesus. Their purpose was to bring the church to maturity. And healthy things multiply.
 
In the Lord’s timing when you’re ready, a short manual is available from Snowden Ministries. The book is Workers in the Harvest: Missionary Training for Church Members. Write SnowdenMinistries@gmail.com.
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