Posted on March 26, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Let me step back a second from COVID-19 and shine some light on what was already going on in our community's homes just prior to the current isolation. Consider the brutal facts:
Feb. 2020: Meth seizures in the Cincinnati Area are up 1,600% 2015-2019 (Cin. Enq.)
Nov. 2019: Suicide rates are up 45% in Ohio from 2007-2018 (Cin. Enq.)
Apr. 2019: 3 in 10 people in Cincinnati struggle to find food mainly due to closing grocery stores (Cin. Enq.)
Apr. 2019: 60 million pounds of food is wasted a year in Hamilton Co. (Cin. Enq)
Jun. 2017: 7 in 10 adults (68%) are overweight in the Cincinnati Area (NKY Tribune)
Mar. 2020: Consumer debt among all Americans increased $2.3 trillion since 2009 (up 19%) in this order--mortgages, auto loans, student debt, and credit cards. (Experian)
Undated: People with mental health problems are likely increasing to have new and worsening symptoms (CDC)
And just today's news: 187,784 people made unemployment claims in the last week (Cin. Enq.)
If we thought church attendance was dropping before March 2020, consider that new habits may nail that coffin closed. And it’s not just about what we’re doing, it’s that those who were former members, the disenfranchised, and the lost world can no longer participate. Their health may be too bad. They’ve taken on second or third jobs that keeps them away. They now are experiencing a reality that seals them off from church.
In a blog and podcast, Andy Crouch, Kurk Keilhacker, and Dave Blanchard said, "From today onward, most leaders must recognize that the business they were in no longer exists. This applies not just to for-profit businesses, but to nonprofits, and even in certain important respects to churches."
If every church is now a start-up organization, in SBC parlance, we're all now very much like a church plant. If it takes a plant two to five years to get established, then every pastor and church leader needs to re-establish itself with that reality in mind.
When Ed Stetzer interviewed church leaders in Spain and Italy for his blog on Christianity Today, he came away saying, "Prayer calms our panic and also directs our preparation."
There are seven essential things churches must pray through to prepare for a reality beyond this event:
1.     Assemble a team to lead the cause. Who’s with you?
2.     Address lostness by understanding your community’s felt needs and perspectives. What’s changed? Why are they lost?
3.     Develop a plan that is realistic given your church’s resources, realizing that resources are in the harvest. What is the path to reconciliation?
4.     Convey the Gospel in all you do. How will you evangelize? What messages communicate today? What Scriptures convey relevant truth?
5.     How will small groups meet and what will they do? Will it be business as usual or fierce disciple-making that is relational, supportive, transparent, and accountable?
6.     Develop leaders non-stop. Become a leadership factory. Insist that everyone lead someone else and let it grow from there. Practice. Coach through transitions. Empower and give authority.
7.      Mobilize more teams and disciple-makers.
(Source: Workers in the Harvest book and Bible study is available from
These seven tasks were developed when I was in NAMB's Church Planting Group. I pulled together these seven from my work at the IMB and also as a consultant for Saddleback Church's P.E.A.C.E. Plan. This outline can provide a strategic game plan for such as time as this. Today is a time to plan and train so that when doors of opportunity open in the aftermath, we’re ready to re-enter as workers into God’s harvest fields.
Posted on March 2, 2020 8:00 AM by Admin
Categories: Leadership
Notes provided by Allen Suit from breakout at the Midwest Leadership Summit 2020
(David Manner, Kansas/Nebraska Associate Director)
Root causes of conflict:
     o    Relational/leadership deficiencies
     o    “Conversational narcissism” – talking to/about ourselves.  (Ex.:  talking about how we/I prefer worship vs. who we worship)
     o    Conflict is inevitable, but does not need to be fatal.
7 suggestions:
     o    Spend more time at the table (communion):
Have often made this ordinance a routine and occasional experience.  
Ideally, reconciliation would happen before you come to the table.  Relational healing is available when you come to the table.
Variety of ways to do communion, so that it is not routine.
      o    Take care of our own 10% of the conflict:
Staff conflict often happens because each person operates as an independent contractor vs. a team member.
Staff need to be in community.  Typical reasons why they would be in conflict:
•    Aren’t pastoring each other
•    Aren’t loving each other
•    Aren’t praying for and with each other
•    Aren’t sharing ministry together (e.g., territorial and defensive)
•    Aren’t playing together
     o    Play the ball where the monkey drops it
Resilient and flexible vs. rule-bound
Ex:  In 1820’s, the British built the first golf course in India.  The monkeys would pick up the ball and move it (into the rough, into the fairway, etc.).  Tried lots of things to prevent the monkeys from doing it.  Finally, they changed the golf rule to say, “play it wherever the monkey drops it.”
     o    Drink coffee with the senior adults:
Really listen and hear them out.
Jumping into change without considering the consequences can leave people feeling marginalized.
Options: (a) Demolition:  take a wrecking ball to the church, splintering everything.  (b) Deconstruction:  repurposing elements of the structure, reclaiming their value.
     o    Seek unity, not uniformity:
     o    Enter the danger:
Don’t avoid conflict, hoping it goes away.  It only goes underground and will surface later.
     o    Break camp and cross the river
You may get to the point when you are just appeasing conflicters.  If God is calling, then you may need to move, even if they are not willing to go there.
     o    You are ushers, not the bride:
Humility.  When you think you have it, you no longer have it.
Help others find their place.
Deference vs. preference.  (Ex.:  you know the names of famous Everest climbers, but it is the Sherpas who get them there).
How will you assist others vs. yourself.  (Ex:  baseball.  “Lay down a bunt” – sacrificing for others).
Posted on February 24, 2020 8:00 AM by Admin
Midwest Leadership Summit Breakout notes provided by Allen Suit, member, Mt. Carmel Baptist and Chairman ALT, CABA
Dr. Gary Mathes, AMS, Clay-Platte Baptist Assoc., Kansas City, Mo.
Note:  he did a good job of describing the various generations and the historical shapers of each generation (e.g., Builders, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z, Alpha).  I have asked for his presentation with all of the details.

•    Stop stereotyping and seek to understand each other.  (Covey approach)
•    Make mission the main thing.
     o    Too many churches let preferences trump mission.  No church is entitled to exist.  We are to be missional outposts.
     o    Need to be like the sons of Issachar – understand the times and know what to do.
     o    Like any mission effort, it is important to deal with location, language, and engagement.
•    Embrace the value of change
     o    Understand current demographics:  family structures, social pressures, tech changes.
     o    How do people communicate?
     o    Is your message relevant?  If your methods aren’t relevant, helpful, it will lead to wonder about the relevance of your message.
     o    Must deal with institutional, spiritual, moral, and legal
•    Be diligent to make Christian faith real & relevant
     o    Authentic, passionate for mission, don’t sugarcoat.
     o    Are digital natives and expect the church to be
     o    Desire for genuine worship vs. overly produced.
     o    Want to engage and make a difference.
     o    Hungry for real relationships.
•    Make mentoring a discipleship strategy.
Posted on February 18, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
After living in nine cities, Richmond, Va., had the best city planning by far. Before a new neighborhood or apartment complex could be built, studies were done to determine success potential. Professionals identified all the infrastructure that had to precede it. There must be widened roads with curbs, new stop lights, utilities run underground, and every lot staked out. Schools were built or expanded. A church plant to which I belonged was one of the first in an area being developed. When eventually homes or other buildings went in, traffic flowed better than ever. Families had infrastructure that supported them. The area became a boom town.

And that’s how it should be with church revitalization.

Church revitalization requires faith! Planning requires an active faith in God and faithful planning that honors God. In Exodus we read that the entire Egyptian Army was closing in on the Hebrews fleeing from bondage. Matters were urgent and the people knew it! God told Moses to stop standing there by the Red Sea. He was to hold out his staff and start moving. When Moses pointed the way, then God parted the waters and all the Hebrews left Egypt behind on dry ground. (See Exodus 14:16)

Which comes first? Where do you start?

Bill Hounshell has been working with several CABA churches. He’s had some early “wins” by helping them understand their community and its potential. For instance, he identified one church that wanted to wait until they had kids to update their area for kids.

“Many churches will do it when it happens,” Bill said, “instead of getting it ready to happen.”

Don’t be afraid to conduct a study of your community. CABA, through a license with the SCBO, can provide MissionInsight demographics of your church’s community. Take the clue from Georgia Baptists. They did a study among churches that showed those with evangelism plans dramatically increased baptisms. The community stat report is provided by CABA at no cost to your church. The need for planning is also why CABA offers Facility Assessments and Mystery Guests.

No Place Left training includes an opening session on Vision. Vision includes Brutal Facts and Urgency. If you’re looking toward revitalization for your church, then look at reality and wake your folks to the growing army of lostness! Those far from Jesus are coming after Christians in the Cincinnati Area through legislation, busyness, eroding biblical values, and ungodly entertainment options. Hold up the vision God gives you and get moving in faith.

Resources are available from CABA in many forms like MissionInsight and also include coaching from Brad Cunningham (, Bill Hounshell (, and the GC3 Summit Pastor’s Conference, April 20, at Clough Pike Baptist. The theme this year is “reVITALize!”
--Mark Snowden serves as Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on February 10, 2020 8:00 AM by Chris Workman
Categories: Leadership
Midwest Leadership Summit Notes provided by Chris Workman, pastor, Harrison Ave. Baptist Church, Harrison, Oh.
Leading Your Church
Dr. Doug Munton
FBC O’Fallon, IL
Midwest Leadership Summit 2020
Springfield, IL
“What you do will come from who you are.”-Munton

What A Ministry Leader Needs to Be
1.    A growing follower of Jesus.
2.    A committed servant to others.
3.    A lover of God and people.
4.    A determined pursuer of God’s will.
5.    A godly example to others.
6.    A person of deep faith in God’s power.
7.    A faithful communicator of truth.
8.    An overcomer of past mistakes and failures. (We are broken healers)
9.    An encourager of ministry partners.
10.    A passionate “go-getter”
11.    A learning student of effective ministry.
12.    A person able to overcome discouragement.
What A Ministry Leader Needs to Do
1.    Vocalize the vision.
2.    Lead healthy change.
3.    Model the expectations.
4.    Make difficult decisions.
5.    Enlist and de-enlist.
6.    Connect with staff, volunteers and guests.
7.    Prioritize the priorities.
8.    Calm the turbulent and stir up the complacent.
9.    Define the win.
10.    Organize for effectiveness.
11.    Go after people for God’s glory.
12.    Communicate effectively.

January 28, 2020
Posted on February 6, 2020 8:00 AM by Admin
Categories: Leadership
(Hayden Shaw, based on his book Generational IQ)
Note:  his model that describes the various categories of change reactions is a good one.  Will need to get it out of the book.
     o    Ex.  Preservation (more security), progressive (up for any change), light-eaters (no change is any good)

•    Ask: “I wonder what they would prefer that is different from what we do” vs. “what’s wrong with them.”
•    Music runs deep into the brain.  Don’t underestimate the impact of the change here.
•    It’s not the change, it is the wave that follows.
     o    My change needs may be different than yours (per the model).
     o    Problem:  when the leader has no sympathy for those who find a change emotionally taxing.
     o    You must shepherd them through the change, not just preach at them.  Listen, listen, listen.
     o    Find ways to honor the past.
•    Your options:  find a safe place for them to go or kick them out (sacrifice them for the greater “good”)
     o    For those who are feeling left out or disenfranchised, they need to know they are safe.
•    Some see change as the enemy – it can be a gift.
•    Celebrate the change long afterwards, and keep listening.
•    Churches run on vision, businesses run on profit/cash.  It is easy to deflate the dreams at church.
•    Need to accelerate shepherding vs. preaching them through the change.
•    Can’t solve all emotional responses, but you can burp them like a baby (i.e., hold, soothe, listen, etc.)
Notes from Allen Suit attend breakout at Midwest Leadership Summit 2020. Allen chairs CABA's ALT and is a member of Mt. Carmel Baptist in Kenwood.
Posted on January 29, 2020 8:00 AM by Will Mancini
Categories: Leadership
Midwest Leadership Summit breakout notes provided by Allen Suit, member, Mt. Carmel Baptist, Kenwood, and CABA ALT Chairman.
(Will Mancini, based upon his book “Younique”)
•    Pushes for knowing and naming your specific calling and assignment.  We exist to honor God and help others by: ________ (2 words).  His detailed model and process in the book drives to this.
•    Four imperatives:
Courage to know yourself (understanding why we do what we do)
•    Expectations of others:  what others want me to be.
•    Imitation of success:  be like my hero.
•    Captivation of money:  what others pay me to be.
•    Preoccupation of life:  what the times make me be.  (don’t slow down and reflect)
Projection of self:  what do I need to add to the Jesus within me.
Experience to grow:
Evaluated experience is useful
•    Ask the right people the right questions.
•    What am I great at?
•    Good experiences tell us about our strengths.
•    Bad experiences tell us about our convictions.
•    Breakthrough or breakdown experiences.
Value to show:
Change your role description by 10% each year to show value
3 reference points in showing more value
•    Must support the mission/vision of organization
•    Help your boss solve problems and make them look good
•    How will you add new value
Risk to go:
    Fear of leaving a good place may lead to success at the wrong thing.
    Ships are safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships are made for.
    Fear may never go away, but increasing your courage can be greater than your fear, allowing you to move.
Posted on January 21, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Doug Sibcy has led Impact Church to take some bold steps away from a brick-and-mortar building. Doug is married to Diane, who is CABA’s Trailer Ministry Coordinator.

“In 2009, Diane and I decided to leave a successful career to start Impact Church in Lebanon,” Doug said. The church officially launched in 2011 and they’ve averaged more than 140 in AM Worship through Fall 2019.

In 2012, they rented what used to be a Nazarene Church.

“About a year ago,” Doug said, “God began to speak to Diane and me about a more simplistic, minimalistic approach to ministry. We became convicted that we knew so many people at Impact Church, but barely knew our neighbors.”

Impact was spending $137,000 a year on their building, utilities, cleaning, support staff, and other things. Doug and Diane became convinced that God was leading them to begin a new work based in homes. “All of this with the sole purpose of sharing the gospel,” Doug said. “We knew this is what God wanted for us.”

Doug communicated this vision to Impact’s leadership and eventually to the church. “Our vision was more than just groups meeting in homes,” Doug said. “We envisioned small groups meeting in homes, other locations in the community, gathering monthly for group worship, and hosting one Go Week each month.”

While the Elders embraced it unanimously and the church approved it, Impact’s attendance has declined. They now have a solid core of 75 people. “We had 87 in our first monthly worship gathering, 59 in small groups that week, and we are projecting an increase in small group gatherings,” Doug said.

Because of this new direction, Doug says that Impact’s budget for 2020 will be more intentional towards missions, outreach, evangelism, and community.

Look for Impact Church to re-launch as G3 Community Church. Diane plans to continue leading CABA’s Block Party Trailer Ministry.
“There is a scriptural basis for this type of gathering,” Doug said, “and we feel called to follow God and the prompting he has given us.”

Doug asked prayer for families and staff that left to find another church home. Pray for Doug and Diane as they have taken on new jobs until the church grows and can support them again. And pray for those who remain, moving forward with this new mission.
--Mark Snowden serves as Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on November 19, 2019 7:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
What if your church was known as a leadership factory? Is it possible to “grow your own” leaders?
In CABA Pastor's Survey conducted in September 2019, the #1 Training need identified was Leadership Skills. Here's where to start:
The idea is to start with just one leader working with three followers of Jesus in your church. This can be done with one, but be careful in this day and age of accusations and improper behavior.
Step aside from your usual routine. Fast and pray about producing leaders on a consistent basis. What leaders does your church need? Small group leaders? Youth workers? An outreach leader?
Pray for God to show you someone with leadership skills. This usually means starting with someone who is good with people. One church in North Carolina did away with all of their know-it-all cold-fish Sunday School teachers and shut down Sunday School over the summer. The church staff identified nine highly-relational members. They recruited them as new teachers and spend six weeks one summer getting them ready to lead small groups. Three months into their successful transition, they had to add three additional small groups leaders because so many of their church members wanted to participate. And, as before, the church staff trained them over a six-week period.  I knew about this church because they found Bible stories the easiest to learn and reproduce in a highly-relational small group. This case study is written up in Truth That Sticks.
You can coach one or more Apprentices into ways that they can wisely invest in a leader in the making. Carve out at least two hours per week for training following a pattern called M.A.W.L.:
Model -- the leader exhibits knowledge, skills, and character -- the time is short -- the idea is to pray out and raise up an Apprentice ideally who has been in the group awhile
Assists -- asks the "apprentice" to do whatever he sees the leader doing. If it's leading a Bible study, then they do parts, then the whole. Coach along the way. 
Watches -- the apprentice takes the lead and gets coached separately by the leader for feedback, correction, and tweaks. This stage is sometimes called a “Silent Partner.”
Leaves -- not permanently, but can easily receive delegated tasks and initiate opportunities. In this scenario, they “leave” to develop more leaders.
I worked with the late Avery Willis to develop an 8-part leadership development process based on Jesus’ process for making disciples. I have to sell it as a part of Snowden Ministries Int'l, but it's titled "Multiplying Disciples: Making Disciples like Jesus did." I kept "leadership" out of the title on purpose. You want to start with new disciples and not old dogs who will never learn new tricks. If you'd like to review the Bible study, please contact me at I have had pastors use the 8-week study over two months -- one lesson at a time in "Teachers and Officers" Meetings. Others have stepped aside for two months to get the process going with an Apprentice.
The saying from Curtis Sergeant, a missiologist and friend, is true, “If you wait until you need leaders to train leaders, then it's already too late.” Get started cranking out leaders to the glory of God!
--Mark Snowden is CABA's director of missional leadership
Posted on October 29, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Why should you belong to CABA this year? 
Keep in mind that CABA is not an organization, but it IS our churches. Just as a church is the people and not building, a Baptist association is not a true network or parachurch organization. It is the churches. We exist because your church wants us to exist -- and supports it so that happens!
CABA praises God for these services for pastors to impact lostness:
:: Monthly meetings in seven regions, led by Conveners
:: Fellowships -- quarterly
Church coaching – large and small churches:
:: Church Coaches -- one for >100 and one for <100 in AM Worship
:: Special Workshops for Pastors
:: Facilities assessment
:: Mystery guest
:: Biblical Counseling – free counseling from three certified counselors
:: Free Logo Service
:: Bi-vocational Night School
Church Planting:
:: New church planting coach available to all CABA pastors
:: No Place Left – evangelism, small group, and church planting training
:: Glocal Missions Partnerships – what happens here, happens there
:: Disaster Relief Mudout Unit – the hardest job and most appreciated!
:: Trailer Ministry – dozens of salvations and spiritual conversations
:: Tennessee Baptist missions partnership
:: Coordinating with NAMB Send Network and Pipeline
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