Posted on September 19, 2022 10:03 AM by Phil Hopper
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Posted on July 1, 2022 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
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:
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
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
--Mark Snowden is the AMS for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on April 26, 2022 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
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
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
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
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
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.