Blog
Posted on September 14, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
In a meeting with Aaron Swensen, our CABA Moderator and pastor of SonRise Church, Aaron shared how he had encouraged another pastor. The pastor was dejected because 20% of his regular attenders had not returned to regular worship services. Aaron switched it around and complimented the church for having 80% of the members return. I liked Aaron’s perspective and positivity. He ministered to another pastor at an important juncture in his ministry.
 
Jason McKinney, CABA’s church planting coach, had another change in perspective at a meeting conducted by leaders in No Place Left. They identified ten qualities of a church using the church at Corinth in the Bible as an example. Jason’s church actually had more going on in his church than Corinth did!
 
What markers do you use to determine your church’s health? No Place Left uses 10 markers that are not budgets, bodies, and buildings:
1.      Repent & Believe – professions of faith in Jesus
2.     Baptisms – first sign of obedience
3.     Pray – constant and consistent
4.     Go Make Disciples – maturing, but also going
5.      Love – exhibited by care
6.     Worship – genuine adoration
7.      Lord’s Supper – ‘til He comes
8.     Give – a culture of generosity
9.     Leaders – developing and empowering
10.  Gather – finding ways to meet
Celebrate or address any or all of these markers of a healthy church.
 
NOTE: This year many CABA churches have been distributing Hope Changes Everything CSB New Testaments. They were funded by the Dunn-Hopkins Associational Offering. In the back are printed the “10 Commands of Christ.” Each of those Bible studies line up with the 10 Qualities of a Healthy Church. In No Place Left training, the Church Circle is a church health diagram for new believers to study and participate in churches who want to be as biblically healthy as possible. If you would like to have a few dozen of these Bibles to use, LifeWay blessed us by printing an additional 1,000 copies. I believe at this writing some 700 still remain.
 
--Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership, CABA
 
Posted on July 20, 2021 8:00 AM by Dwayne Lee
Categories: Leadership
Believe it or not church bullying is common in many churches. They will wreak havoc and cause dissension among the church. Typically, they are not happy unless they are fighting a battle or not getting their way.
 
They position themselves or posture in such a way that regardless of whether or not they have an official position they make their voice heard. This training will help us look at ways we can defuse a situation, address the current issue or maybe eliminate it all together.
 
Church bullies have always been around. Perhaps as we look at various methods of dealing with this issue it can help us recognize them before they do too much damage.
 
Dwayne Lee's presentation on Church Conflict is on CABA's YouTube Channel: Click Here for Part one. 
Posted on July 15, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
     All CABA churches should be working toward be a sending church. Three CABA pastors and I have been in touch with a church planter in South Asia for the past year. We haven’t been able to travel, so we have met monthly via Zoom. There are other creative ways to serve on mission, too. A deaf interpreter at FBC Seaman where Boyd Lacy pastors, has spent the last six months discipling a new believer who is deaf via Zoom and now she is teaching the same lessons back to her. 
     What should you be looking for when you connect with a missionary church planter? Here are a few ideas:
     :: Some orientation to the missiology and strategy driving the work
     :: Advice for mobilizing more workers once back home
     :: If this is a second trip or more, then connect with a local church planter for follow-up monthly via Zoom.
     Contact me if you’re in a church with limited resources and want to collaborate with another church on mission. I’ll be glad to train or connect you!
 
-- Mark Snowden serves the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association as director.
Posted on July 13, 2021 8:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Leadership
Recently, a well-known pastor in California announced that his church was ordaining three women as pastors. They are not being ordained as senior pastors, but the concept of ordination was clearly present, so this is more than semantics. There is not an example in the Bible of women being ordained as pastors, but is this really a big deal?
 
In our day, many people are focused on women’s rights and opportunities. Rightly, women now can run companies, serve as firefighters, and hold high political offices. In the Bible we see women like Esther, Deborah, and others who had great spiritual influence over the people of God. These are not, however, the same as ordained pastors. Many denominations have been ordaining women as pastors for several decades now. We sincerely believe the Bible is the foundation for our faith and practice, so that is where we should start on this difficult issue. On women as pastors, there are two things in the Bible that need to be worked through. The "husband of one wife" statements in 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 clearly assume a man is a pastor or “teaching elder.”
 
Also, the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12, speaks of women not being permitted to teach men or usurp authority in a public church setting. The context lets us see that the teaching Paul is referring to is Bible teaching to a mixed congregation, not teaching music, missions, Sunday School administration, or holding a women’s Bible study. Since a pastoral position carries with it a certain ecclesiastical authority, that again would keep a woman from serving as a pastor under normal circumstances. There is, however, not a restriction on women proclaiming God’s message if it is to other women or if it is done outside the local church setting in a non-pastoral role.
 
We find in Acts 2:17 that sons and daughters shall prophesy, that is, proclaim the Word of the Lord in these last days. Also in Acts 21:9 we find that Phillip had “four daughters who also prophesied.” These women proclaimed God’s message somehow, even though they did not serve as pastors in a local church. I think I should add—there may be situations where there is not a pastor available and in that case a woman may need to step up to do pastoral-type ministry. I am thinking especially on the mission field.
 
Sharing Jesus and discipling believers is a priority, and that must be done even if a pastor is not available. Paul is giving Timothy and Titus teaching on local church conduct where there are men called and qualified to pastor. But if there is no such man, a spiritually mature woman may need to serve in that capacity until a qualified pastor can be found and called. Some try to explain away the teaching on women as pastors as part of an ancient culture that no longer applies, but I think God has a reason for this. First, He knows the carnal tendency of men to "leave the religion to the women and children." Second, I think the Lord is providing an example in the church to help men be spiritual leaders in their homes.
 
We have too many men who think spiritual leadership is honking the car horn while their wives get the kids ready for church. There are women authors and Bible commentators that I greatly enjoy reading and I listen to their teaching as well. I would not, however, recommend them to be pastors or have them in the church pulpit on a Sunday morning with a mixed audience for the reasons above. My concern is not with church tradition, but rather in violating the passages God has inspired and recorded in His Word. It has nothing to do with their obvious intelligence and spiritual maturity. The real issue is not what culture says, but what the Bible teaches us about our faith and practice.
 
--David Frasure is senior pastor, First Baptist Church, South Lebanon
Posted on March 9, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
There was a Baptist Press article last month that reported 200 pastors every month are resigning from their churches, likely never to return. (Here is the article.) Is that on your mind? The article says the stress over wearing masks -- or not to -- has been at the heart of this round. Sound familiar?

CABA is still blessed to have biblical counselors ready to talk with you or one of your staff members. Just send me an email or text requesting help and I'll connect you. You pay nothing and CABA pays the counselor. Dr. Scott Kennedy and David Sherwood are our two go-to guys. Scott will meet with you via Zoom and David can meet you via Zoom or in a neutral spot such as a public library. 

By the mercies of God, there is quality help available to you. All of this is confidential.  
Contact Mark at CABAdirector@gmail.com or (513) 344-0054.
Posted on February 2, 2021 8:00 AM by Scott Kennedy
Categories: Leadership
Not too long ago, many CABA pastors participated in a workshop based on Paul Tripp’s book: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. It should be most alarming that several of the pastors that endorsed Tripp’s book (James MacDonald, Tullian Tchividjian, Joshua Harris), now represent the dangers addressed within the book.

Everyone experiences problems, including pastors and their families. Sometimes these problems can be self-managed. Other times these problems require outside help. For pastors, some of the unique challenges that come with the position make it extraordinarily difficult for them or their families to seek help when necessary. 
In most vocations, employees are evaluated for the job they do by one or more supervisors. Their personal and family lives are mostly off-limits unless job productivity becomes an issue. Not so for a pastor. A pastor’s work environment is unique. What job, other than pastoring, requires an employee to bring his entire family to work with him at least one day a week, week-after-week? A pastor’s work, personal, and family life are all interconnected and under the scrutiny by not just a few people, but the entire organization.

Additionally, for most people there is a clear demarcation between one’s source of compensation and one’s source of community support. People go to work for compensation. People go to their church for community support. The functions of each are not combined into one as they are for a pastor and his family.  
While there are numerous barriers people must overcome before seeking outside help for their problems, because a pastor’s compensation and community are intertwined, the risk associated with seeking help for he or his family is often greater. If he or his family’s problems become public, he may lose his source of compensation, which only further compounds and complicates his problems. If he loses his source of compensation, his source of community support for he and his family will likely follow as well. 

--Scott Kennedy is a biblical counselor available via CABA. Participate in his Zoom Meeting on March 17 at 10:00 a.m. A link is to be emailed to CABA pastors. 
Posted on January 5, 2021 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
When a missionary to East Asia was learning the local language, their housekeeper listened to the Gospel being translated and conveyed it to her family and neighbors. When the missionaries got to the part about being baptized, the housekeeper invited the missionaries to baptize her household and friends. Before the missionaries had officially “started,” the Holy Spirit was already at work. 

While admittedly slugging through the end of Ezekiel and the details of a new Temple, there was a verse that really popped out at me providing instructions to priests who had been in the Holy of Holies:

Before they go out to the outer court, to the people, they must take off the clothes they have been ministering in, leave them in the holy chambers, and dress in other clothes so that they do not transmit holiness to the people through their clothes (44:19 CSB). 

Now, I remember Moses wearing a veil to block the holiness of God shining on his face (Ex. 34:29), but not transmitting it to others. In staff meeting when I mentioned this, Jason McKinney said that helped him understand the miracle of Paul’s work cloths causing diseases and evil spirits to come out (Acts 19:12). 

In this New Year 2021, would you examine what you are doing and those who are affected by it? Do people actively engage you in Gospel conversations? Is the holiness of God being transmitted through you? If God is moving immigrants to our land so we can engage them with the Gospel, is He also putting people in your path just so you can transmit holiness? I’m not saying you need to place a shop towel on them, but don’t veil God’s glory shining out from your life as a follower of Jesus! As we reach a point of removing our masks safely in public this year, may it symbolize unveiling God’s glory and a mouth speaking unhindered.
 
-- Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. He wears a mask in public. His favorite is from the church he attends, Clough Pike Baptist Church, Cincinnati
Posted on November 2, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Steve Long invited me to Toledo to observe their network meetings of pastors. Josh Carter and I traveled there. In the prayer time, one of the pastors said, “My son was just diagnosed as severely autistic.” The group rallied to pray for him. The next pastor said, “My wife left me two weeks ago and she and her boyfriend moved her stuff out yesterday.” Josh and I offered to step out, but the pastors wanted us to stay and see how beneficial this huddle was for them. Steve later said, “Our pastors have a safe place to meet and be completely vulnerable. It’s not always this way, but the other sessions together made today’s experience possible.”

In September, I met with Tom Pendergrass and the Urbancrest staff. We brainstormed why a pastor and staff would want to participate in a network of pastors. They quickly built this list:
  • Encourage each other – fellowshipping
  • Team/Cooperation – working together
  • Resources
  • Coach/Train – learning
  • Celebration – recognizing progress
In mid-October, CABA’s regional Conveners met at CABA’s office. Randy Wheeler, a trainer with John C. Maxwell, led the Conveners in leadership training. Toward the end, we listed reasons why our pastors would feel threatened to stop meeting. The #1 prob-lem was identified was the difficulty meeting because of Covid-19, but that also included political & social fear. Other reasons included lack of time, a pastor being too proud to meet with other pastors, buy-in to the idea, fragmentation, and moral failure.

CABA exists to impact lostness and one of the major ways we do that is by having quality regional networks. We have seven great pastors who are extending monthly invitations to get together Southern Baptists excel at cooperation and pastors will find that cooperative spirit at work in our midst. When trouble – or celebrations – come, then there is a network in place that cares, really cares.
 
-- Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership (AMS), Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on October 6, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Changes in church size require adjustments for church leaders. The chairman of deacons of a once-large church in another state sought my input on his new plan. The church used to run 900+ and was now doing good to have 250 in AM Worship. His plan was very formal and freed up the pastor for vision-casting just as they had always done. Things had changed in this church, but would the chairman’s plan still be relevant in a much-smaller church?
 
Timothy Keller wrote a paper titled, “Leadership and Church Size Dynamics: How Strategy Changes Growth.” “There is a ‘size culture’ that profoundly affects how decisions are made, how relationships flow, how effectiveness is evaluated, and what ministers, staff, and lay leaders do,” Keller said. “A large church is not simply a bigger version of a small church.” His point was that churches have to attract and keep different types of people who take on or are given roles, largely because of their church size.
 
In reading Keller’s ideas, in short, it was obvious to me that the deacon chairman seeking my counsel was using an outdated church size paradigm. He still acted like just because the worship center could seat 1,200, that the church was still a big church. His plan literally separated his pastor from the very people he needed to touch in order to have closer relationships.
 
Church leaders need to be aware of their changing church dynamics and foster the right outcomes for their churches. Understanding church growth changes a church’s character, how it grows, and barriers to overcome for growth as the Lord leads. 
 
--Mark Snowden is the director for missional leadership, Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
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. 
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