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Posted on June 1, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Leadership
In the Book of Job, we find the man Job surrounded by his “friends” during his time of calamity.  Their presence is no doubt a comfort to Job until that fateful moment when they decide to offer him some advice on why he was facing the trials he was experiencing.  As we teach the Word of God, it will not be unusual for people to want to hear our advice or counsel.  Perhaps the following thoughts will be helpful as you consider how God might use you in this way.
 
Before offering counsel, be sure you are the right person to give it.  Jesus had an encounter with a man in Luke 12:13 who wanted Him to settle a family inheritance issue.  Jesus responded with a question, “Who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”  Jesus did not offer to counsel the man or give him advice because there were other people responsible to do so.  As we work with people, we may find that a parent, church official or even a lawyer is the best one to give the counsel needed.  It is human nature to attempt to get people on “our side” of a dispute.  Be careful not to get pulled into a situation where someone wants to use you to referee their fight.
 
It is also good to not offer advice to someone who is not emotionally ready to receive it.  If you are generally a caring, sensitive person, you may be especially tempted to start giving advice when it is not really called for.  Probably the best way to be sure your advice is wanted is to wait for the person to ask you!  Even then, be careful.  If you are walking away from a cemetery where a person has just buried a loved one and they ask, “Why does God allow such pain in the world?” the person is probably not really ready for you to try to answer that question. 
 
I read about a well-known pastor whose wife was in the hospital with cancer.  The hospital chaplain, who was normally very sensitive, I’m sure, recognized the famous pastor.  The chaplain prayed and as he left the room he said, “Well, keep a stiff upper lip.”  The pastor wrote, “I wanted to give him a stiff upper lip!”  The chaplain may have felt intimidated or wasn’t sure what to say to a fellow minister, but his “advice” seemed trite and insensitive.  The prayer for comfort and healing was appreciated, but the advice was not.  The timing of the comment was simply not right.  The pastor was not emotionally ready to receive advice and didn’t ask for it!
 
Another mistake in giving advice is assuming we have all the answers.  Especially when a person is suffering, it is a huge mistake to assume we know the reason why.  I may be able to give a general theological answer as to why there is suffering in the world, but it would be foolish for me to assume I know why a particular person is suffering.  Frankly, the more severe the crisis, the less we really need to say.  Our presence, a listening ear and a sincere prayer is all that is really needed at such a time.  Even if I think I know that a person’s personal sin is directly related to their crisis, it would be best to keep it to myself, even if I am convinced I’m right.  I once witnessed a funeral for a 10-year-old who was killed as he and his cousin were playing with a gun.  The preacher used part of his funeral sermon to shame these grieving parents concerning gun safety!  The advice may have been good in another setting, but that was not the time to be the “answer-man.”
 
As the people in your class seek out counsel, be sure your advice is biblical and consistent with the spirit of Christ.  He understands suffering, conflict and trials like no other.  Our goal in giving counsel is that people would encounter Him as they seek answers to the issues of life from the pages and principles of God’s Word.  Jesus isn’t just the “Answer-Man”—He is the answer!
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and also pastors First Baptist, So. Lebanon, Ohio.
Posted on May 29, 2017 10:00 AM by Josh Carter
Categories: Leadership
One of my favorite new TV shows is Designated Survivor. It’s a West Wing drama where America is attacked during a meeting of both houses of Congress and the one person who was “designated” to miss the meeting is left in charge to rebuild the government and the country as the President of the United States. It’s currently in season two and a good suspense show if you like that sort of thing.
 
In a recent episode the President asks a former Chief of Staff to rejoin his administration. When the former Chief of Staff courteously declines the President says he will not take no for an answer. The former Chief of Staff then replies, “I serve at the pleasure of the President.” It’s a feel good moment in the show. 
 
This reply, though I have heard it before, has now stuck with me for about a week. It seems to have grabbed ahold of my heart and won’t let go. In this time I have asked two main questions, one as a lover of history and the other as a follower of Christ and as a pastor: First, where did this statement originate? Second, what are the implications to serving at the pleasure of one who is so supreme?
 
With a little research and no intention of being political I found that this very phrase is one which has recently been utilized and even come under scrutiny. In February of 2017, Trump Administration White House advisor Kellyann Conway stated on Twitter:
 
“I serve at the pleasure of @Potus. His message is my message. His goals are my goals.” (source)
 
However, the phrase itself actually goes back as far as the 1700’s in American history and if one exchanges the word “President” with “king” or another royal office the phrase can be traced as far back as the Middle Ages. The origin comes from the Latin phrase, durante bene placito regis and would be literally translated “during the pleasure of the king.”  The impetus of the phrase is a declaration of willing subjection. A person who serves at the pleasure of the President is a person who is called and accountable to that calling. He or she serves willingly, loyally, and obediently that the President would find satisfaction in their efforts, their results, and even in their person.
 
The thought that I truly can’t seem to shake, for us who are called by God the Father to such a glorious salvation in Christ the Son and empowered for a clear mission by His Spirit, how much more so do we serve at the pleasure of our King? Is there anything to great that He could ask of us? By no means do I mean to belittle the hardships that you may be facing. The difficulties of ministry are certainly overwhelming at times. The attacks of the evil one may often seem inexhaustible. The burden of balancing life circumstances, family, your own finances, and ministry are enough to make any sane person want to throw their hands up in the air, to waive a white flag, to give up and do something else, anything else.
 
And we would too… but we serve at the pleasure of the King.
 
His name is our name. His salvation is our salvation. His righteousness has been imputed to us who live by faith.
His message, the beautiful Gospel, is our gospel and make even our feet beautiful as we carry it everywhere we go and around the world. His mission is our mission and His calling upon our lives is our joy. It is our joy to do the will of Him who sent His Son and now sends us. It is our joy to bring pleasure to the King.
 
Pastor, Church Leader, Follower of Christ, do not give up. Do not grow weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9). Our God who is big enough to save us from our sin, our shame, and our separation from His presence is most definitely big enough to empower us for the mission to which he has called us.
 
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
 
Dr. Josh Carter is CABA's Leadership Catalyst. He also pastors Clough Pike Baptist Church, Cincinnati, Oh. 
Posted on May 16, 2017 9:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
As a 12-year-old, I remember peering through the chain link fence, watching the high school boys track team practicing.  One event that fascinated me was the high hurdles.  I was amazed that the fastest guy in the sprint was not always the fastest guy on the hurdles—technique and execution was even more important than speed when hurdling.  Managing the hurdles carelessly could easily result in the loss of the race and even personal injury.  I’ve discovered there are hurdles to overcome in growing your Sunday School/Small Group as well. 
 
Here are a few:
 
The spiritual hurdle of prayer and biblical wisdom.  The remedy is easy enough on a personal level, but it is also easily neglected.  We generally do not have a human quiet-time coach, reminding us that we need a steady diet of the Word of God.  It is easy to get out of shape in one’s prayer life due to simple neglect of regular exercise.  The Holy Spirit’s wisdom and power are readily available, but due to our inattention toward spiritual disciplines, we become less attentive to His divine counsel.  Likewise, when a small group neglects to get seriously engaged in the Word and prayer, the enabling power of the Holy Spirit is untapped and the group struggles.
 
The leadership hurdle of clear, compelling vision.  As a church, we have a vision to grow the church through growing, discipling Sunday School classes.  But where does the vision for your class come?  Of course, the Lord gives vision, but He gives that vision through the leader of the class—the Sunday School teacher.  If the teacher does not have vision to reach and disciple people, the class will stagnate and begin to decay.  Imagine what would happen if each of our classes could grow 20% each year.  For most classes, that means enrolling four or five new people a year.  Imagine again, if those new people begin growing and getting serious about worshiping God, growing in spiritual maturity and sharing Jesus with a lost world.  Let’s also imagine groups that are developing apprentices who will become new leaders who can continue to multiply the vision.  That is an exciting finish-line for each of us to focus on in the work of the Lord.
 
The attitude hurdle of an inward focus.  When we lose sight of the harvest we’ve lost the race.  An inward focus is not something we generally develop on purpose.  It is more often an attitude issue that gradually creeps in.  Member care is a vital part of every healthy Sunday School class.  It is good to focus on one another’s needs.  It is good when we carry out the “one-another’s” of the New Testament, just not to the neglect of the Great Commission.  An athlete focuses on eating right, but if she neglects exercise and skill development, she will become a well-fed failure.  A small group is healthy when it cares well for its members, but without becoming deliberate and intentional about ministry and evangelism toward others outside the group, it becomes unhealthy and weak. 
 
Hurdles are part of the race to the finish line.  Hurdles are a part of the course.  Don’t be discouraged that the hurdles are there—they are part of the landscape.  Understanding that will protect us from giving up and excusing a poor performance.  Hurdles are learning opportunities and they help us to know what to plan for as we look to the days ahead.  Dr. Ben Carson said, “Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”
 
David Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon, Oh.
Posted on May 12, 2017 7:09 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
While I was leading a Bible study on spiritual warfare, one woman spoke up and said, “I don’t have to worry about spiritual warfare. I don’t witness, so Satan leaves me alone.”

What blessings this lady was missing in seeing others have a personal relationship with Jesus. To their credit, those who were in the Bible study stifled their shock and expressed their concern.

For the past 15 years, I have had a dozen prayer warriors who have committed to pray for me at least one time every week. They pray every week for my family because the first day of each month, I send out an email to them asking them to pray for Mary Leigh, my wife, and me. I’m detailed and specific. Sometimes I give them the exact date prayer cover is needed. They are partners in God’s mission in my life.

Ask any missionary what they need most and that they will usually say, “Prayer!” Southern Baptist missionaries are always grateful that the Cooperative Program giving from our churches provides their financial support. They don’t have to raise money, but they still have to do “friend-raising.” They raise their own support for volunteers to visit to augment their work and especially for providing prayer cover for them. The same for your associational missionary, too!

A prayer leader at the IMB once said, “Prayer doesn’t get you ready for missions. Prayer IS missions.” I agree. Prayer doesn’t force God to do anything and prayer is not a Santa wish-list. It is a supernatural way of connecting with God and aligning with His will and His purposes.

Involving others–at least one dozen—in what God has called you to do. It blesses you and them, too! How do you mobilize effective prayer? Here are two ideas:

1. Paint a word picture by telling your story. When we say, “Pray for the XX number of Navajo who are lost,” that’s one thing—generic and cold. It’s another to say, “Pray for my wife and I working with Sally. Sally is 14 and being pressured into sex trafficking. Pray that she will hear the good news of Jesus.” It’s specific, urgent, and still warm.

2. And don’t forget that sharing answers to specific prayer requests encourages more praying as the focus increasingly brings glory God. It’s not bragging, but allowing prayer warriors to celebrate with you!
 
Recruit at least a dozen prayer supporters who will engage in spiritual warfare alongside you. And consider joining CABA’s Prayer Team. Email Roger Hauck at karoghauck@gmail.com.
 
This year’s Associational Week of Prayer is scheduled May 14-20. Packets have been mailed to each church. Contact the CABA office to request pew envelopes and prayer guides. We have plenty!
Posted on May 8, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
 
I can still remember my wife giving me a few tips when I was preparing my very first sermon. She said, “Pray much, study hard and don’t use me for a sermon illustration.”  Those were helpful tips and I have generally followed two out of three!  No matter how long you have taught, it doesn’t hurt to get a few friendly teaching tips.  Recently, I was able to spend a few hours with David Apple, a conference leader for LifeWay.  He shared several tips I’d like to develop for you today.
 
There are three basic parts for a good teaching session.  The first is to create interest.  This helps to draw the learners in, so they will participate in the lesson.  This is where we use a catchy story, a meaningful illustration, a fun activity, etc. that will create interest for the pupils and allow them to get engaged in the lesson.  A wise teacher understands that boredom is every teacher’s enemy.  If a learner is bored from the start of the lesson, you will likely never gain her attention.
 
The second part of a lesson is to discover and apply the Word of God.  The word “discover” is key.  We tend to retain and apply what we have discovered, while we tend to be indifferent and forget what we have merely been told.  Jesus was the Master at asking provoking questions to help people discover the truth.  The word “apply” is also vital—the Pharisees knew what the Bible said, but they often missed the life-change and attitude-change that learning the Bible requires. 
 
The third basic part of a teaching session is to bring closure to the lesson.  Here we summarize, fit the lesson into the bigger picture of God’s redemptive plan and challenge the learners to deeper personal study after class.  The closing of the lesson is likely to be the most memorable part of the lesson.  If we are not careful, we can be like the athlete who competes well but stops short of the finish line.  Or, imagine a farmer who does a great job planting and cultivating, but never brings in the harvest.   All three of these basic parts are essential for a strong lesson.
 
There are three basic questions to ask while preparing a Bible lesson.  The first question is “What am I teaching?”  This means understanding the context of the passage you are teaching as well as the content.  It means having a grasp on the word meanings and how these ideas are handled in other parts of the Bible.  This anticipates what the learners may need to understand to better comprehend the passage you are teaching.
 
The second question is, “Who am I teaching?”  What are your students going through, what struggles are they experiencing, where are they in their walk with Christ?  We will often need to adapt our teaching style to the learning level and the receptivity of the pupil.  Children learn well in the context of play.  Teens are going to be responsive to cool technology or more social activities.  Some adults may enjoy a conference-style lecture, while others want more discussion in the class.  All learners are responsive to genuine love and encouragement.
 
The final question is, “How am I teaching?”  Most every teacher needs to learn to use a variety of teaching styles.  Someone has said, “The worst way to teach is the way you teach all the time.”  An illustrated lecture may work well, but maybe not every week.  Following a question and answer approach may be a nice change for your class members.  If you use a discussion approach to your class on a regular basis, it might be good to mix it up with more activity or role-playing.  Mixing up how you teach keeps people curious and every teacher knows that when a student is curious, he is much more teachable.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon, Oh.
Posted on May 1, 2017 7:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: General
Here’s how Baptist associations like CABA receive money: CABA only receives direct funding. We receive no Cooperative Program funds. We recommend 3% undesignated giving by churches to the association. Giving to CABA's Ann Dunn/ Joanne Hopkins Offering each May is similar to gifts to Ray Roberts Offering (SCBO), Annie Armstrong (NAMB), and Lottie Moon (IMB). And the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association greatly appreciates every contribution from our churches!
 
Now is the associational giving season! Every CABA church is invited to conduct a Week of Prayer for Associational Missions. The Ann Dunn / Joanne Hopkins Offering is included in that emphasis. If you observe other state, national, and international missions, then this completes your “Jerusalem” giving above and beyond the tithe and allocations from CABA.
 
The Dunn/Hopkins offering this year has a goal of $4,900. Please help us raise money for (1) libraries for bivocational pastors, (2) 10 kits for Backyard Bible Clubs, and (3) a prayer guide for Cincinnati’s least reached people groups.
Please give your offering to your church who will forward it on to the CABA Office. Praise God for co-operating churches fulfilling the Great Commission!
 
The Dunn/Hopkins Associational Mission Offering goal this year is $4,900. It is seeking to raise special funds for a prayer guide for unreached peoples in Cincinnati, Backyard Bible Club kits, and libraries for bi-vocational pastors in the Cincinnati Area.
 
Give your money to your church so that they can receive a blessing as you give together. But sometimes individuals want to give directly to the association. That's okay, too. Send your check to:
 
CABA
P. O. Box 54885
Cincinnati, OH 45254
 
Praise God! And thank you!
 
Mark Snowden
Director of Missional Leadership
Cincnnati Area Baptist Association
 
Posted on April 24, 2017 10:30 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
It was scandalous.  How could she do such a thing?  Everyone in the room was shocked.  Some were appalled.  Others were disgusted.  Jesus was only days away from the crucifixion, when she came into the room, broke open a bottle of very expensive perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus.  Mary of Bethany was extravagant with her gift. 
It was likely the most valuable thing she owned.  It could have been sold and given to the poor, but now it was “wasted” on Jesus.  Like Mary, we want to glorify and please our Lord, but what does it mean to glorify Him?
 
We seek to glorify God because we love Him.  To love God is to seek His glory.  Mary desired to honor Jesus and give Him her best.  Part of her motivation was simple love for the One who raised her brother Lazarus from the dead.  Loving God is a priority of any disciple.  It is the greatest commandment.  Love for Jesus motivates us to serve as teachers and church leaders.  As we serve and live to glorify God, our best motive is love for Him.  In light of all He has done for us, it only makes sense to give our best for His glory.
 
The effort to glorify God is often born out of a desire to know Him more deeply.  Moses had walked with the Lord many years and seen God do miraculous things, when he asked, “Show me Your glory.”  Moses had seen God’s activity close up and personal.  He saw God defend him and destroy his enemies.  He saw God affirm his life and ministry many times.  He saw the hand of God in ways we can only imagine; yet, he wanted to know God even more intimately.  There is no greater thing for a mortal man than knowing Jesus.  The stronger our walk with God, the greater our capacity to glorify His name.
 
Seeking to glorify God also involves a willingness to suffer and sacrifice for Him.  When Jesus spoke of Peter’s death, He spoke of it as a way in which Peter would glorify God.  This is the same Peter who would later write, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16).  As we suffer mistreatment for the sake of the gospel, Jesus is glorified. 
 
As we lay down our lives in service to others in Jesus’ name, He is glorified.  Not even a selfless cup of water given for His purposes goes unnoticed by the Lord.  In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul speaks of gifts and sacrifices for others as something that glorifies God.  Our work in Sunday School may not be on the same level of a martyr’s death, but it is a way in which God allows us to glorify Him.  As we give our offerings and talents and time to the work of Jesus, He is pleased and honored.
 
Moral purity glorifies God.  As Christians, our bodies are now temples of the Holy Spirit, redeemed by God through the sacrifice of His Son.  In 1 Corinthians 6, we are taught that our sexual purity is a key factor in giving glory to God.  It honors God to save physical intimacy for marriage and to keep the marriage bed undefiled in keeping with our wedding vows to God and one another.  With all the pressure from the world to compromise moral purity, it is easy to forget how important this is to the Lord.  Obviously, it should be important to us as well.
 
Mary of Bethany glorified Jesus with her selfless act of love.  The fragrance of her gift would linger for days on earth, but for eternity in heaven.  As we live and serve to glorify Jesus, we also lay up eternal treasure, and we will hear Him say, “Well done.”
 
David Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon, Oh.
Posted on April 11, 2017 11:12 AM by Josh Carter
Categories: Leadership
Leadership Catalyst CABA Report – April, 2017
Dr. Josh Carter
 
Ronnie Floyd, the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention seems to advocate that our churches don’t necessarily suffer from bad leadership as much as they do from lack of forward leadership. Floyd says that forward leaders are those “who can cast a vision for a better future, inspire you to want to go there, and then lead you to experience it” Sadly, Floyd states, when it comes to the church today, forward leaders are missing in action. If we know this to be true, then what we do next is absolutely critical.
 
As the Leadership Catalyst for our association, my goal is first and foremost to continue to grow as a leader myself. One of my former pastors told me that a pastor can never lead anyone, or any congregation, further than he is himself. I believe forward leaders are growing leaders. And this has been my focus and our focus as an association as we have entered into 2017.
 
One of the ways that we have hoped to foster this growing of leaders has been through our “Why Preach Conference” on April 10-11. This conference brought in noted speakers, including Dr. Ken Weathersby and Dr. Herschael York to discuss and inspire the role of preaching in congregational life. This conference included worship led by a group of worship leaders within the association on Monday and Tuesday, as well as special breakouts for discussion around key pastoral leadership and preaching topics.
 
Another exciting leadership initiative has been to spark and foster new pastor networks through our association. We often say to our church members that we are better together than we are apart but then fail to apply this practice in our own lives. We believe pastors need a place to grow, share ideas, and even failures with one another. The next pastor leadership network meeting will be Tuesday, April 25 at 7:00 pm and will be hosted at Clough Pike Baptist. Dr. Mark Caner, who is president of a business unit for a fortune 500 company in Cincinnati, will be speaking to us about engaging Millennials in the church. Brent Cunningham, pastor of Bridgeway Baptist Church will be leading the pastor’s network on the East Side of Cincinnati and we are looking for other pastors to step-up to start or share about other similar groups around Cincinnati.
 
In addition to focusing on pastoral leadership growth in Cincinnati our association desires to see sparks in leadership in the areas of youth ministry, collegiate ministry, and women’s ministry. Our associational youth ministry leadership team is led by Steve Siekbert, pastor of First Baptist Church Felicity. Our associational collegiate ministry is led by Ken Dillard and our associational women’s ministry is led by Joanne Hopkins. 
 
As we look around our city and our association, what we know is that God is still raising up leaders, in our churches, our youth groups, on our college campuses, and even behind our pulpits. Wherever we are, in our city and in the lifespan of our ministry, whether we are full-time, bi-vocational, church planters, or other, leadership is waiting on us. The question is, are we ready to move forward?
Posted on April 11, 2017 11:04 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Leadership
Have you ever noticed that when Jesus taught, He enjoyed using powerful questions to get His audience to think more deeply?  Jesus never asked questions to get information.  He is the omniscient God in human flesh, after all.  Jesus used questions to influence people and to probe deeper into unexamined areas of the heart.  Jesus used questions to cause people to re-evaluate their lives and to help lead people in the right decision.  While attending a conference recently, I have been challenged with some probing questions related to the work of the church.
 
How is the church to govern itself and make decisions?  Should the church be managed like a business or corporation?  Should we be directed like a school?  Should the church operate on a political system where people try to influence people to endorse their point of view?  Should we make decisions like lawyers who argue their case in court?  Early in my ministry, I actually had a fellow suggest that the church should operate more like the military with a clear chain of command with the pastor as the commander-in-chief.  Frankly, I’ve seen pastors attempt to lead that way to the great peril of the church and their ministry.
 
It seems to me that the Bible teaches and implies a different kind of system than a business or political structure, although some principles may carry over to the church setting.  The Bible emphasizes a church working together like a family.  Some of the highest qualifications for pastoral leadership in the Bible are related to the pastor’s family.  The same is true for deacons. 

When the Apostle Paul gives instructions on how church members should interact and encourage one another he says, “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1-2).  We can learn a lot from business models and various governing structures, but at the end of the day, we are a spiritual family, demonstrating mutual respect and love for one another as we seek the Lord’s will together with a strong desire to please Him.
 
Does the church structure itself for control or for growth?  When we structure for control, we feel safe.  All of our doctrinal “t’s” are crossed and “i’s” are dotted.  Like the farmer, we like our growth to be controlled in nice neat rows.  It makes our jobs easier.  In the church, we like our formulas for what percentage of the budget goes to missions and what percentage goes to ministry.  We like our classrooms to be a certain size and our teacher to pupil ratio to follow a certain formula.  We look at square-footage charts to determine parking lot size and ohm meters to determine how to set the volume on the speakers.  But too much control can stifle growth.
 
Certainly, we need to be on the same page with the fundamental teachings of the Bible.  Of course, we need to plan budgets and have a strategy for building size and classrooms.  The vineyard owner knows he needs to prune some branches and tie up the vines that get too close to the ground.  There needs to be some oversight, but when God blesses and moves in a church, it isn’t one-size-fits-all.  In fact, as we read through the Bible, we seldom see God use a cookie-cutter approach to His work.  He uses one approach to defeat Jericho and another to defeat Ai.  Jesus approached Nicodemus in a different way than He approached the Woman at the Well.  He healed one man with a spoken word and another by putting mud on his eyes.  Church growth is messy at times.  It doesn’t always follow a predictable pattern.  In the Book of Acts, the church had to continually adapt itself to what God was doing.  It is much the same today.
 
David Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon, Oh.
 
Posted on April 10, 2017 8:16 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Direction
Direction Catalyst Report – CABA Semi-Annual Meeting 2017
Mark Snowden, Director of Missional Leadership
 
Mines run in seams. If gold were discovered in your church’s parking lot, it wouldn’t be a single chunk under a couple of parking spaces. It would run beyond your church’s property lines into the community beyond.
 
Andrew Fuller, a British pastor, once said, “There is a gold mine in India, but it seems as deep as the center of the earth. Who will venture to explore it?” A cobbler named William Carey answered Fuller’s godly challenge. In 1793 Carey became the first modern-day missionary. He left the relative comfort of England to take the Good News to India. And so must the Gospel spread beyond our church property lines!
 
April marks one year for me serving as CABA’s Director of Missional Leadership. Over the past year, I have viewed the Cincinnati Area as a godly gold mine! I have loved working with our leaders, attending church gatherings, and getting the sense that the Lord is at work in the lives of God’s people living in the Cincinnati Area.
 
Here are five areas addressed in the “WIGtake: What’s It Going to Take” study that are being worked out across nine counties in southwest Ohio:
1.      The 10 ministry teams were folded into five catalytic, fully cooperating task forces based on Ephesians 4:11: Catalytic Direction, Acts 1:8 Missions (go tell), Evangelism (tell), Leadership, and Disciple-making. The Catalysts now plan, collaborate, share resources, and mobilize those in our Cincinnati Area and outside it. Praise God for Tennessee Baptists engaging in a two-year partnership.
2.     Special attention was given to financial processes to foster trust and generosity. We have changed to a business management model. We are engaging in an associational Week of Prayer scheduled for May 14-20, 2017 that includes prayer guides and raising $4,900 for the Dunn/Hopkins Offering.
3.     Networks of pastors have begun starting with one group. We look forward this to spreading across the association as a way to create and fuel fellowship, leadership, and missions. The Preaching Conference on April 10-11 will be important in networking among pastors.
4.     A very simple church diagnostic tool was developed for CABA churches. It is available online free to churches to use as an evaluation tool. The Biblical Justice Study Group will help shine a light on church responsibilities, too.
5.     Communications has become clear and consistent. We have now have a revised monthly newsletter (CABA Focus), weekly leader briefings, an updated website with TRESS—Trailer Reservation System, improved signage, promotional tools for mission fairs, and an active Facebook page (like CincinnnatiBaptist).
 
Be sure to read the other reports in this Book of Reports. God is clearly at work in our Collegiate Ministry, Block Party Ministry, Disaster Relief, Youth, Prayer, Evangelism, Missions, Disciple-making, Women, Youth, and other ministry opportunities.
 
God is already at work in the gold mines that we call the Cincinnati Area. God wants us to mine those gold seams full of people who are far from the Lord. We must join God in His mission by cooperating to experience great things that bring glory to Him and fill the Great Commission.