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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 SnowdenMinistries@gmail.com. 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:
 
Networks:
:: 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
Posted on May 29, 2019 7:00 AM by Brad Cunningham
Categories: Leadership
Ron “Bink” Garbutt was kind to provide this testimonial.

“The facility assessment that was provided for [Georgetown Baptist] church has been a tremendous resource for our church as we seek to become more effective for the Kingdom.

Brad gave us a very detailed and thoughtful report that outlined many things that we, as regular church attendees, may have never thought needed to be changed. This assessment was a catalyst for discussion that was long overdue for a church that has a desire to reach people with the gos-pel. I am very thankful that CABA and Brad Cunning-ham are offering this to the churches in our association. I would highly recommend that church leader-ship participate in this valuable program.”

I’m still taking requests for Facilities Assessments. Just email me at BradCunning-ham34@gmail.com.
 
--Brad Cunningham serves as CABA's Church Coach and is the senior pastor at Liberty Heights Church, Liberty Township.
Posted on April 1, 2019 1:49 PM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
The email said, “Mark, we’d like you to address this topic: ‘Are We Training Our Pastors Wrong?’” Now, there’s a good way to alienate yourself from godly men you have served alongside for several decades! At least I was able to add, “Or How Can We Train Pastors More Effectively?”
 
The article required hours of research. I began to understand that there was a disconnect between pastors and their church members. The Bible created the biggest gap. Biblical ignorance is rampant in our churches. I discovered that pastors often talk about the Bible, but rarely, if ever, tell intact Bible stories. Most Bible narratives only take about three to five minutes to tell, so why not use them? The index of stories listed in the Reese Chronological Bible adds up to 500 to 700 stories, comprising some 75 percent of the Bible.

Before summarizing a Bible story as his text, one pastor in my hearing said, “I don't want to bore you with the details of this Bible story….” Yet this same preacher told a detailed joke and a longish life story that served his purpose.
Church members have been subtly trained by pastors to tolerate the Bible passages being read in order to hear their pastor’s own thoughts he devoted to sermon development. The random verses used in sermons and Bible studies are often abstract to someone without a broad Bible knowledge coupled with proficient reading levels.  

Rather than establish the authority of God’s Word, some pastors unwittingly establish their own authority at the Bible’s expense. Personality cults flourish that generate a consumer mentality among church-goers. The pastor is expected to do most everything, while the church members watch passively from the sidelines. No wonder the Barna Group reports that only 18% of men volunteer in churches and only one in eight men attend weekly Bible study.

Few churches evaluate the quality, but celebrate the quantity of their members. Encouraging small group leaders to not just teach the lesson but make disciples must become a priority. Celebrations must erupt over disciples reproducing the evangelism and discipleship process done with them in the lives of others.

There is a need for deep change. Pastors are usually trained with such high literacy standards that they forget how to communicate with oral-preference learners. And the majority of people in the U.S. and the Cincinnati Area only “hear” this way (Rom. 10:17).

1.    Systemic changes in education mean taking the training to the pastors. Online learning helps some, but I recommend learning on a local level. At least half of Missouri Baptist churches that have pastors are bi-vocational. The Bible Training Centre for Pastors is one curriculum available for a “cohort” to form and study for two years using only $200 worth of study manuals. www.bibletraining.com

2.    Pastors should be teamed up with an accountability coach who can make their worship experiences to be more interactive, communicate in the common language their people use, and humbly lift up God’s Word over their own. Your association’s director of missions is well-connected and can assist pastor-mentoring.

3.    Pastors must know how to develop different expectations of their members, raising the bar for disciple-making by learning how to coach, support, and empower. Why not model church multiplication within the life of the church? No Place Left training is next scheduled for May 31-June 1 at FBC Mt. Healthy, Ohio. Look for it on Eventbrite.

4.    Pastors should value Bible Storying as a reproducible method. A tremendous opportunity exists for Bible colleges, seminaries, and others engaging pastors. Training is increasingly incorporating orality methods. Pastors need to experience it firsthand to see the power of the Holy Spirit at work through the Bible conveyed in oral form. And they will be excited to see church members catching it, then sharing their faith and the Bible with the lost in their own community.

5.    Teaching pastors how to preach needs to change to encompass the oral learning preferences of most people. TruthSticks Training is available as a starting point. At this writing, TruthSticks Training is scheduled 9:00 a.m. to Noon, Saturday, April 27, 2019, at West Union Southern Baptist Church, 107 Rice Drive, West Union, Oh. Register by calling the church office at (937) 544-7276. To schedule TruthSticks Training in your church, contact CABAdirector@gmail.com.
 
Mark Snowden is the Director for Missional Leadership, Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. He is the co-author of Truth That Sticks and also blogs at http://TruthSticks.us.
Posted on March 19, 2019 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Steve Hopkins, the SCBO’s Biblical Teaching and Leadership Group Leader, draws four paradigms using Jesus’ parable of new wineskins. In which church are you?
This gives you an insight on where to start:
  • Old wine/old wineskins: Riveted to the status quo, highly resistant to change
  • New wine / old wineskins: Great ideas are known, but old structures and systems can interfere
  • Old wine / new wineskins: Tradition-bound thinking within new structures
  • New wine / new wineskins: Church members are making disciple-makers as they are uninhibited, empowered to do it non-stop, and celebrated along the way.
“Moving to a culture for making disciple-makers in many traditional, legacy churches, may be tough to implement,” Hopkins said. “Be patient—and brutally honest.”
 
Andy Stanley, an Atlanta pastor, once led a workshop on “system dynamics” at Exponential, an annual conclave for church planting. He said, “The chatter in the hall trumps the vision statement on the wall.” Do people actually trust what’s going on and reinforce it with their behaviors? What impedes or accelerates progress?
 
Change for change’s sake just swaps one set of problems for another. However, when we align with the Holy Spirit’s leadership and do the will of God, then making disciple-makers becomes valuable, desired, and fruitful in a way that exalts the name of Jesus.
 
--Mark Snowden is the director of missional leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on March 18, 2019 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
The Lord must be trying to tell me something. I’ve been reading about change and attended what I thought was a seminar on church revitalization, but it was really about leading lasting change. Many of the same principles were used.
 
John Kotter has the best reputation in the business world for “leading change.” He’s got a great book by that name, too. Kotter has eight steps to change that are widely recognized as successful. If your church or ministry needs change to actively making disciple-makers, consider these steps:
 
  1. Is it urgent yet? Paint a picture for your church or small group that explains why making disciple-makers is so urgent. Step back and be realistic about what is not happening; what you’re missing.
  2. What leaders will implement a churchwide heartcry for evangelizing? Kotter calls this a “guiding coalition” who has the authority – and guts – to do the right thing to make needed changes.
  3. What is your vision for making disciple-makers as active witnesses? Let everyone know the opportunities. It helps to work backwards from a preferred future to identify strategies, resources, and people needed to get going.
  4. How will you communicate your vision? Meet one-on-one and then with groups. Listen. Be bold! Tell stories of change and how it was a blessing.
  5. Who needs to be empowered to act? Typically, the most highly-relational people are best at evangelizing in a warm, welcoming manner.
  6. Are you celebrating “wins” along the way? How is the Lord bringing change? Brag on what God is doing!
  7. What tweaks need to be made to keep on track? Change is good if it keeps moving forward. Learn from mistakes and build upon them. Keep training and raising up leaders who get it.
  8. What structures and systems need to be changed to keep the movement going? Jesus said not to put new wine into old wineskins. Keep making adjustments as needed.

Not all change works. We’re after deep, systemic change that aligns with God’s way and His will.
 
--Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on November 1, 2018 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
David Evans sat across from several Southern Baptist leaders. He pastored for several years and has had success reaching into the next generation age groupings. He is now the evangelism leader for Tennessee Baptists. 
 
Are young adults on your heart? Consider:
 
:: According to the U.S. Census, the 2013 population estimates of our nine counties were comprised of 322,000 people ages 20 to 34; primarily Millennials. This is 16.9% of our 1.78 million population.
 
:: In the book, The Great Evangelical Recession, John Dickerson noted that 3.7 million evangelicals are 18-29 years old. In that age group, 260,000 leave their churches – and their faith – every year; 712 per day.
 
:: LifeWay research has learned that 35% of 18-29 yea rold “prodigals” do return, but some 65% never do.  
 
Evans’s church asked, “Is the church really relevant in my life?” That question inspired the church to look at three important practices that would get after lostness in his community, and particularly Millennials.
 
1. Assimilation process. Their church voted that church leaders could include 13 year-olds. Evans pointed out that by the age 18, most students have left their  churches.
 
2. Causes. Next generation young adults want to be part of something bigger than their life. They want to be personally involved and support projects that help meet need and also bring the gospel into the conversation. Keep casting vision.
 
3. Memories. Young adults with children have one     
window of time each week. The best time to help families make memories might be Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., right after nap time.  Evans added, “Kids aren’t sharing the Gospel because their parents didn’t.”
 
Being a role model is the key.
 
Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on November 1, 2018 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Running backs in football have an amazing knack for finding a hole in the line just wide enough to sprint through. And once they pop through, they begin  running for daylight. CABA has an amazing team and many pastors have begun running for daylight. Over the past year, our association has been led of the Lord to address lostness by making strategic shifts in budget, leadership, and equipping for our pastors.
 
:: Networking is underway in five of our regional zones. Pastors are gathering for fellowship and also topical discussions that shape their ministries.
:: Coaching is underway for more than 20 CABA churches. Some are working on bringing deep change. Others are hosting Mystery Guests or doing Facility Assessments. Scheduling for 2019 is underway.
:: Disaster Relief callouts have done evangelistic mudouts in the Carolinas and Florida.
:: In the first nine months, we set a record for Block Party Trailer reservations with 107 events that were used to initiate 500 Gospel conversations. ? Church planting has 24 CABA pastors supporting 28 church plants across the association.
:: We’ve trained at least 80 church members to initiate Gospel conversations and start new small groups that
could become churches. No Place Left has its fourth training scheduled Nov. 2-3 and three more in the works for 2019. :: Partnership mission Vision Trips to Boston’s church planters have resulted in at least  five partnerships.
 
Praise God that CABA pastors are running for daylight to the glory of God!
 
Mark Snowden is the Director for Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on August 29, 2018 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: General, Leadership
Journalists are notoriously a tough crowd. Some go to prison rather than divulge a source. A few are imprisoned or even shot for being mistaken as spies. They take the heat from important people for holding them accountable. And Christian journalists have no fewer pressures as they work hard to accurately explain how God is at work.
You may not be a journalist, but do you have a message of salvation from God? And how will you share it with those who need to hear it? Personal meet-up? Hand them a tract? Facebook them? Tweet it?
 
“The Lord sent Nathan” is how 2 Samuel 12:1 begins. The prophet, Nathan, told David a story and emotionally involved the King. David was upset that a rich man would take a poor man’s only lamb to feed his guest. Nathan stood and delivered one of the most famous judgments in the Bible, “Thou art the man.” David had caused Bathsheba’s pregnancy and her husband, Uriah’s death. Christian journalists and other thought-leaders have a “prophet” ministry not unlike Nathan’s.
 
When Nathan spoke, David repented and the Lord spared his life. When Christian communicators share their stories, they should expect change.
 
Print-only journalism is dwindling in readership across America. From 2003 to 2011, the Newspaper Association of America reported that advertising for newspapers in print and online dropped by half. Some studies say that print journalism will not stop, but it will rather find its niche like radio has done.
 
Newspapers will never again dominate the secular news industry. The hardened write-or-die reporters constantly face the reality that they need to look beyond the literate word to fully communicate. Journalists – print, electronic, social media – must see readers or viewers as audiences.
 
The Millennial age group (ages 19 to 36) have a far more oral learning preference than any other U.S. age segment. They are a communications force that is personally engaged in embracing what is genuine and foregoing the slick, the formatted, and the scheduled delivery. They thrive on “real.”
 
Christian communicators, especially journalists, can learn a lot from those with an oral worldview. Like Nathan standing before King David, they will tell stories out of their calling from God to their ministry. Will those reporting mojo stories let people who interact with their content (visual or story) draw out biblical truth? Users of smartphone and web-based media want to stay informed. They’re clearly blurring the lines of information and entertainment seeking a brave new world of entertainment.
 
The stuff we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste are gateways to our minds—and ultimately to our hearts.  The more senses that are engaged, the more effective the communicator will become. Brain theorists have noted that “emotions etch memories.” Experiential learning means more than “sitting and getting” whether it be by staring at ink on paper, text on screen, or via some other channel. As many pastors are starting to say, “Don’t turn off your smartphones, but text out to your followers and friends the truths that the Holy Spirit teaches you today!”
 
The bottom line is that church leaders must help believers become truth-tellers who craft their own stories of faith. Will churches empower communication in the hands of those who dare to communicate as God sends them?
What is God calling you to say? And how will you say it?
 
Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
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