Posted on November 9, 2016 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
I have never heard a Christian say, “I love living a stagnated Christian life.”  No one says, “What I really want to do is stay right where I am spiritually.  I don’t want to get any closer to God than I am right now.”  We never say such things with our words, but we often say them with our actions.  The poet, Robert Browning, said, “Why stay we on earth, except to grow?”  2 Peter ends with a simple command to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  We all want to keep growing in the Lord.  Below are some thoughts that can help us.
First, spiritual growth is never by accident.  Spiritual growth comes from God, but it always requires effort on our part.  Growth is based on a decision we all are responsible to make.  God holds us accountable for our own spiritual growth and it requires daily actions to be accomplished.  Our real priorities show up in the routines of our lives and if growth is a priority, there will be evidence of that priority in our daily and weekly schedules.  I may say I want to learn the Bible, but if I do not set aside time to read the Bible regularly, I’m just fooling myself.
Secondly, spiritual growth comes to those who see themselves as life-long learners.  That means that we need a plan for spiritual growth.  Hope is not a strategy for maturity.  We can hope we are closer to Jesus 12 months from now, but without a plan, it is doubtful.  Some folks spend more time planning to grow their tomatoes than they do growing themselves.   
Third, spiritual growth is a by-product of good habits.  We must be willing to pay the price for Spiritual growth in the daily grind of life.  If you see someone who is consistently demonstrating Christian character, it is because they have developed certain habits.  If you know someone who really knows their Bible, it is because they have disciplined themselves to regularly read, study and memorize God’s Word.  We all have habits.  The real question is, are they good habits that lead to maturity? 
With that in mind, let me suggest a few habits we all can develop.
Habit #1. Prayer: If I could get Christians to do only one thing, it would be to spend time daily in the Word and in prayer.  This daily devotional or quiet time, is the most important discipline in the Christian life in my estimation.  God can challenge us and grow us if we are willing to spend time with Him each day in this way.  He can speak things into our lives that no preacher ever could.  Intimacy requires times of isolation.  It is true in marriage and parenting and it is true in our relationship with God.  When Jesus wanted to speak to His Father, He found a place of quiet solitude to spend time with Him—Mark 1:35.  If Jesus needed such a time, I know I do even more.
Habit #2: Serve: Another important habit for a growing Christian is to worship and serve with other believers.  We all know the command of Hebrews 10:25 to not forsake our assembly together with the people of God.  We can worship alone, but God chooses to bless the corporate worship of His people in special ways.  God has designed us to do life together with other believers.  In addition, we are given several “one another” commands in the Bible.  These “one another” commands are done best in the context of small groups working together in a local church setting. 
Habit #3: Witness: A third habit to develop is sharing your faith.  Not only does this give the opportunity for people to be saved, it gives you the opportunity to grow in the Lord.  The longer we are saved, the easier it is to surround ourselves with saved people.  That means we have to be more deliberate about staying in contact with lost people.  If we don’t plan to witness, we may never get around to it!
-- David Frasure
Disciple-making Catalyst
Pastor, FBC So. Lebanon
Posted on October 30, 2016 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Many people underestimate the incredible power of teaching.  When Communism was beginning to spread in the last century there would first be a great military take over.  To assure dominance, the communists would then remove all the teachers and replace them with their own teachers who would be committed to spread their destructive doctrines.  They understood the power of teaching.  Even in our own nation, when a group has a social agenda, they often seek to have influence in the public school system and on the college campus.  They understand the power of teaching to shape society.
The Lord Jesus Christ, when He walked here on earth, also understood the great power of teaching.  He often said, “You have heard it said…, but I tell you….”  He was reshaping the way people thought about God and about life.  Jesus understood the power of teaching.  The Apostles followed His example and also emphasized teaching.  They even went house to house teaching the Word of God.  They knew that teaching God’s Word had great life-changing potential.
Bible teachers are granted a sacred trust.  They are handling two things that are eternal and are of great value to God—people, and the Word of God.  Your local church has entrusted you with a ministry that has the potential to usher people into an eternal-life relationship with the One who created them.  You are entrusted with vital discipleship responsibilities that can impact the work of the church for generations.  Your ministry often determines whether people are still active members in the years ahead.  You are literally handling the things of God!
Handling such things requires that we stay prayed up.  We dare not enter such spiritual battle without prayerfully putting on the whole armor of God.  That is why each of us need to have some dedicated time each day for spending time in God’s special presence.  We need the Lord to guide our thoughts and words as we prepare and teach and minister to His people.  That is why the most important discipline for any teacher is to have a consistent quiet time with God.
Receiving this sacred trust also means we must stay filled up.  Jesus reminded us (John 15:1-5) that without Him we can do nothing of eternal significance.  Paul reminded us (Ephesians 5:18) that we need to be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit.  As we yield ourselves to God’s control and enablement, we can be used in powerful ways.  Without the power of the Spirit working through us, our teaching falls flat and our words are hollow.
Ministering the Word of God also requires that we are studied up.  This is why we encourage teachers to begin their preparation early in the week.  No one is going to be excited about coming to a class where a teacher reads a lesson from a book without any preparation.  Begin by reading the text several times.  Then you can start writing down the bigger thoughts and principles you see in the text.  After you have your main ideas, go to your quarterly or commentaries or other resources.  After you have a good handle on the meaning of the text, find good ways to illustrate the big points with stories, illustrations and activities.  Always find ways to apply the text to life so your learners can understand how relevant God’s Word is to their lives.
Finally, stay “agaped” up.  That is, let God fill your heart full of His agape love for the people you are responsible to serve.  People can be difficult and immature, but the love of God in you can demonstrate patience and kindness and genuine compassion and care—just like Jesus!
David Frasure
CABA Disciple-making Catalyst
Pastor, FBC So. Lebanon, Oh.
Posted on October 1, 2016 2:38 PM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
I saw a church marquee once that said, “Be a Witness to Everyone—Use Words if Necessary.”  We all know that people need to hear the gospel, but the point was clear enough.  Nothing speaks more loudly about our walk with God than the life we lead.  That is certainly true of the ministry of a Sunday School teacher as well.  The lifestyle and example of a Spirit-led Sunday School teacher can make a mighty impact for Christ.
One young man was active in his local church and suddenly stopped coming to Sunday School.  It was pretty predictable that once he dropped out of Sunday School that soon he would stop attending church services as well.  The young man became inactive and soon dropped off of the church’s radar.  A new Sunday School teacher received his name several years later as a prospect.  After a few contacts, the young man explained why he had stopped coming to Sunday School.  Apparently the church had an ugly business meeting one night in which the young man’s Sunday School teacher became a very outspoken opponent to a motion on the floor.  Insults and accusations filled his remarks, causing the young man to lose all respect for his teacher.  The teacher’s example impacted the young man in ways that eventually opened the door for some very destructive behavior.  It all could have been avoided if a church leader had only been a little more mindful of his attitude and word selection.
On the other hand, I was involved in a Sunday School conference several years ago and heard a much different story.  After I spoke on the value and importance of Sunday School a man came up to me to talk with me.  He told of a godly deacon who taught fifth and sixth grade boys in Sunday School.  The teacher taught the boys God’s Word in a class that is one of the most challenging ages to teach.  He spent time with the boys outside of the classroom as well.  He would come to their little league games and sometimes take them to McDonald’s.  He became a mentor to the boys and as they went on into junior high and high school, they remained active in their local church.  The man began to tell me the names of some of the men who were once part of that Sunday School class.  To my surprise, I recognized some of them as pastors I had met or heard about who served the Lord around our state.  Their lives where touched deeply through the ministry of a humble man of God who simply loved them and taught them by word and deed what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
I have grown to believe that the world can be changed through the ministry of a Sunday School teacher.  Your ministry truly has the potential to touch and change lives in a dramatic way.  As we teach through our weekly lessons, as well as our lives led of the Spirit and guided by the Bible, only eternity will reveal the lives that have been transformed.  How pleasing it is to the Lord to use common folks like us to touch lives in an uncommon way.  I can only imagine what it will be like to gather with the family of God in heaven one day and see the impact of your life as you have given it through the ministry of your Sunday School class.  May God raise up many mighty men and women of faith through your ministry as a Bible Teacher.
As we continue through this new Sunday School year, my prayer is that God would use each of you mightily.  I know your example of morality and Christian love will greatly impact lives for Jesus.  Thank you for taking your ministry role seriously.
David Frasure
Disciple-making Catalyst, CABA
Pastor, FBC So. Lebanon
Posted on October 1, 2016 2:25 PM by Josh Carter
Categories: Leadership
May I let you in on a little secret?
As pastors, we often talk a good game, but often do a really poor job of living out what we preach, and even what we know to be true. We want to be courageous leaders, bold examples of faith, powerful witnesses, humble servants, loving husbands and fathers, and so much more that Jesus calls us to as pastors, let alone as followers of Christ.
But there is more. We are often very quick to abandon our own advice, the admonition of Scripture, and the wisdom that God has placed in us. Just think about what you would say to someone who came to you and told you they were struggling in their walk with Christ, their relationship with their family, or their area of service that they know God had called them to. If you are like me, you would very quickly ask about their time with God, but then you would also ask them about their time with the body of Christ. You would want to know who holds them accountable, when do they get to grow in worship and faith with other members of the body?
You would tell them they can’t continue to be poured out and rarely filled up or they will end up burned out, depressed, and feeling estranged from the very people they are trying so diligently to pour out their lives for.
So here is the secret that’s not so secret…. As pastors, we really do need each other. We need community, accountability, prayer, encouragement, and perhaps most important, we need God’s Word spoken into our lives on a regular basis. We need each other. I need you and you need me, too.
In the coming months we are looking to begin to work on what it would look like to have small pockets of pastors meeting together, developing these type of friendships, these relationships which Christ tells us are so key to our lives in him. Over the next few months, I invite you to pray with me about what this might look like in our association and I encourage you to reach out to me with any ideas or if I can serve you in the weeks and months to come.
For the Kingdom,
Dr. Josh Carter
Leadership Catalyst, CABA
Lead Pastor at Clough Pike Baptist Church
Posted on October 1, 2016 9:32 AM by Ken Dillard
Categories: Leadership
Dateline: October, 1959
“Where else could the Greater Cincinnati Association of Baptists witness directly to 18,000 students? At least 200 of these are international students who don’t even know Christ as Savior. We give our money to missions thousands of miles away, while right here, under our noses, the ‘cream of the crop’ comes to learn what they can to take back to their countries. Why don’t we give them Christ to take back with them, which would be more important than any degree they might earn. The fields are white unto harvest at UC.” (Attributed to E.M. Helton)
Dateline: October, 2016
We are still here. Now there are 44,000 students at UC from 110 countries around the world. And thousands more on campuses like Miami University, Xavier University, Cincinnati State, and the list goes on. Fifty-seven years completed and still going strong. Things look different from what E.M. Helton and others could have imagined. The campuses and students are much different than they were in 1959, but the basic need for Jesus Christ as Savior is still what motivates our ministry to students. We do things differently, but we seek the same result: spiritual transformation that begins with salvation and leads to a discipled life that brings honor and glory to our Savior.
Much of this past year has been marked by transition and decision making. The campus is not the only thing that changes. How and where we do our ministry to collegians is also undergoing change.
Tonight you are hearing, possibly for the first time, about the new direction of ministry to college students. There are new partnerships, new strategies, and new expressions of Jesus’ love for students. But what does not change is the goal to see young lives impacted, changed, and made significant within the Kingdom of God.
Significant changes in the funding support for college ministry in Cincinnati from both the North American Mission Board and the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio have motivated us to seek a new way to do ministry with college students. In concerted effort with Mark Snowden, our new Director of Missional Leadership and the Administrative Leadership Team of CABA, we established a focus group to seek alternative methods and ideas. We spent several months talking, traveling, praying, and discovering alternative strategies employed by campuses and associations and states around the SBC.
And what you have is the proposal before our association tonight where we will recommend the establishment of a new and separate non-profit that will directly minister to college students in the greater Cincinnati region. We have been given this coming year to organize, fund, and establish such a new strategy.
This comes with many challenges as well as opportunities. Both, we believe are from the Lord. In believing such, we seek and trust in His hand to guide and instruct all along the way. Your prayers are especially needed as we seek to discern between our knowledge and His instruction.
Such restructuring will increase our involvement with churches across the association. Initially the focus will be with the Bridge Church at Miami University and the H2O Church at the University of Cincinnati. It will also increase the participation with churches doing ministry with college students such as Clough Pike Baptist Church on the campus at UC Clermont. And we will begin to reach out to other churches near campuses or who have a heart for young adults to seek strategic relationships and methods of ministry.
Funding such an endeavor will be an early priority. There is still much to work out. But this will especially change the way we “do business” in college ministry from our historic traditions to more current strategies.
Please listen carefully to tonight’s report from Collegiate Ministry.
Please read carefully the materials supplied for you to carry home to study and pray over.
Please do ask questions, invite conversation, and seek to understand what is happening.
It is a lot to change what has been in place for 57 years. But everything is possible with prayer and fasting and obedience to God. We are still sharing Christ on campus. We are still baptizing new believers into the Kingdom. We are still personally involved with missions and disaster relief. We are still a shared vision with the churches of the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association to reach young adults.
It is recommended that we make such changes. Collegiate Ministry supports this recommendation.
Campus Pastor: Ken Dillard
Volunteer Staff: Aaron Smith and Mike Ross
Posted on October 1, 2016 9:20 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
It may surprise many people to know that lawyers have conferences that they attend regularly to help them with various legal issues and processes. One topic in such a conference amazed me. The conference was entitled, “How to Sue the Church Successfully.” What may also be surprising is that no one seems to want to define what behavior is appropriate and inappropriate. The following is an attempt at putting some of this in perspective and providing some church policies for us to follow.
·   When you hug another person, use the “A Frame” approach. It may sound silly, but that is a hug that basically touches near the shoulders, but avoids contact with the rest of the body. A side to side hug works pretty well too. It conveys love without appearing inappropriate.
·   While we are on the topic of hugging, never require someone to hug you. It sounds innocent to say, “None of you preschoolers get out of this door without a hug.” But such a statement can be misunderstood by a preschooler and anyone else for that matter. Your motive can be pure enough, but the appearance can be evil to many people. Of course if the preschooler initiates the hug, that is fine and in that case be an “equal opportunity hugger.”
·   Avoid saying, “I love you” in any way that could be misinterpreted as romantic in nature. One good way to say it is, “We love you, Ben,” or “I love all of you fifth-graders,” or “Terri and I love you.” (That last one only works if your wife’s name is Terri, by the way.) The same kind of message should be conveyed through letters, emails and text messages.
·   Never allow yourself to be alone with a member of the opposite gender behind a closed door that doesn’t have a window in it—and even with a window, you need to have a very good reason to be alone in the room. Keep a desk or other piece of furniture between you and the other person, as well. Don’t let even the suspicion of evil ruin your reputation and destroy your potential in ministry.
·   Don’t play “tickle games” with children. This is actually a tactic child molesters use to cover up a child’s objections or to lead to other inappropriate touching. If you are a parent or sibling it is one thing to tickle a child, but if you are a nursery worker or a children’s teacher at church, it is not appropriate.
·   Don’t take children to the restroom alone. Simply ask another adult to go in with you, or, if you can do so while protecting the child’s modesty, leave the door ajar.
·   Avoid driving someone home without your spouse or another person in the car. You might be surprised at how difficult this might be to explain others. If you are stuck in such a situation, call someone on the phone while you are driving so you can have them “in the car with you” at least electronically.
·   Don’t usurp the authority of a child’s parents. If you go behind a parent’s back and give a gift to a minor, it can easily be taken as inappropriate. Swearing a minor to keep a secret from his parents is never a good idea. If you cannot say it to the parents, don’t say it to the child. If you do ever see a parent neglect or abuse a child, you are legally obligated to report it to the appropriate authorities.   
Because crimes against minors are so publicized in our society, even the appearance of evil must be avoided in the church. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 states, “Abstain from every appearance of evil.” That is why it is so important for us to have some common sense policies in place when working with children (and even adults) while at church. Just the accusation can cause great damage to our work for Christ, whether it is true or not. Just to clarify, these are not just suggestions! These are policies of our church and we are legally and morally responsible to follow them.
David Frasure
Disciple-making Catalyst, CABA
Pastor, FBC So. Lebanon, Oh.
Posted on October 1, 2016 9:13 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Colin Marshall and Tony Payne in their book, The Trellis and the Vine, pointed to the need for the structure of the church to bear healthy spiritual fruit. They framed this balancing act by describing a vine that grew on a trellis.
If your priority is the trellis, then you’ll trim the vine to grow to fit the trellis (institutional boundaries). Some caretakers become so enamored with the trellis that they fail to tend to the vine. And the vine is what produces the fruit.
Snippets from the vine can be added to additional trellises to spread the fruit-bearing Gospel, mainly by church planting.
So why not just plant new churches and channel all evangelism in that direction? I am fully supportive of rapidly-reproducing church planting.
In the two church plants with which I have been related, less than 5% of their members were newly born-again and baptized. Most members came from other churches; baptisms being primarily from those transferring membership from non-Baptist or mainline Christian denominations using sprinkling.
So if Cincinnati’s 1.5 million lost are to be saved in THIS generation, church-based evangelism carried out through disciple-making is essential, right along with church planting efforts. And I must add that this can also be done through unfunded church multiplication. The good news is that models exist that can be used right away.
Workers in the Harvest is a training method I have used to start new churches on a shoestring. After training 19 church members in Missouri, they started a biker church and a Hispanic church within 90 days. Another church began sending out pairs to witness to form new small groups.
New churches are not your church’s competition. Sinful lifestyles, recreational pursuits, and entertainment makes people too busy for our churches. As David Garrison noted in Church Planting Movements, we must remove barriers within our churches so that when God chooses to begin a CPM, there are as few as possible to restrict growth.
CABA and its churches must tend to both the trellis and the vine, drawing ever closer to Jesus because apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
Survival Rate for Church Planting
Quinton Moss, the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio (SCBO) church planting leader, in September, told our group of state and associational missions leaders that over the past 10 years, 306 SBC churches were started in Ohio and 216 still exist; a 70.6% success rate. In the past five years, 169 churches were planted with 138 still functioning; an 81.7% success rate.
In 2007, NAMB studied nine evangelical agencies and found that 68% succeeded across the U.S. And, of those who did get a church planted, the average attendance after three years was 73 people.
If  new churches average 73 people, then the 1.5 million lost in Cincinnati require 20,548 churches.
NAMB working through the SCBO provides each church planter $900 per month the first year, $700/ mo. 2nd yr, and $500/mo. 3rd year. CABA supports each planter $100/mo. the first three years. Over the three years, each planter receives $26,400 total.
Posted on September 1, 2016 9:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Nobody met me at the Mexico City airport. And from what I could tell, nobody was speaking English. I had to reach deep for every syllable I had learned in a Spanish class just to navigate across town. When I later paid the taxi driver in pesos and walked toward my destination, the sense of accomplishment was incredible. God had kindly immersed me – sink or swim – in an alien culture. And for a 21-year-old at the time, that was a really big deal.
What I remember most about my arrival as a summer volunteer in Mexico was the chatter of unintelligible voices. I love the sound of people speaking other languages and particularly Español. The language has a melodic rhythm that I love to hear. Unlike my Spanish learning labs, nobody was speaking each word dis-tinct-ly and  s-l-o-w-l-y. It was several weeks later until I could pick out words and begin to make sense of the river of sound gushing from Mexicans that I really wanted to understand.
Genesis 11 described people that had one language that started to build a great city and a tower that would reach to the heavens. God confused their language and the act scattered people across the earth. The building project stopped, but was forever labeled, “Babel,” which we associate with unintelligible babbling.
The primary sin of the people of Babel was leaving God out. Rather than having an opportunity to work with God, their apathy and self-reliance blocked them from joining God’s mission in a God-denying world. Today, the Cincinnati Area compares too closely!
More than 2,000 years later, Acts 2 told of 120 followers of Jesus who prayed during the Pentecost festival. When the Holy Spirit came upon them, they spilled out into the streets of Jerusalem telling everyone the mighty works of God. And they did it in the languages of those they encountered.
When contrasting Babel with Pentecost, it’s easy to see what happens when believers pray expectantly. God equips them to be His effective witnesses, even when testifying to His greatness among those with a different language or culture.
God wants an opportunity to work through us, not despite of us. At Babel, the people chose to work together in the most aggressive building project known to mankind … but without God. They missed the opportunity and it brought disunity. At Pentecost, when empowered by God, the believers’ community was transformed as 3,000 repented, believed on Jesus, were baptized, and became disciple-makers.
A missionary was waiting for me at the Mexico City airport, but he was at the wrong airline. Mistakes happen. However, I believe that when we align our lives with God’s mission, He provides a way – even if it’s just to get a guy like me – or you – across town and onto the Lord’s harvest field. Pray for opportunities!
(c) 2016 Mark Snowden
Posted on August 1, 2016 11:14 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Direction
Small changes matter! Back in 1979, Air New Zealand TE109’s flight coordinates were off just two degrees, but that resulted in the airplane crashing into a mountain. A typo in updated software sent the plane 27 miles off course. Clouds obscured the mistake until it was too late.
System dynamics are rarely addressed in churches today. Andy Stanley has said, “The conversation in the hall trumps the vision hanging on the wall. Systems create behaviors.”
What systems carry the highest priorities for CABA churches? The North America Mission Board analyzed 175 Baptist associations and found four keys to effectiveness. Do these sound familiar for your church?
1. Leadership/Vision – this included both leadership within the church as well as the pastor.  An overwhelming number of pastors could not adequately state a vision for their church.
2. Sunday School/small groups/discipleship – basic programming.  The need involved both organization needs as well as training.
3. Outreach/Evangelism – very few pastors could identify an intentional outreach strategy.
4. Community/Family/Social issues – pastors knew issues connected to their community, but generally did not know how to adequately connect with the community.
Small changes are important! And some changes are more important than others. Choose carefully — and prayerfully!
SIDEBAR: Other findings...
  • When it came to church planting, churches recognized the need, but “there generally was a low level of readiness on the part of the churches.”
  • The top 10 giving churches to the Cooperative Program and to the Association usually represented about 75% to 80% of the total giving.  The association needs the smaller churches to do their part.
  • Collaboration among the churches is usually low.  There seems to be an inability or unwillingness for churches to work together.  In addition, pastors tend to be isolated.
  • Pastors understanding the Purpose of the Association was usually rated low. This is an educational challenge.
  • The spiritual vitality of the churches was often low as well as the spiritual vitality within the region.
—provided by Hugh Townsend, former NAMB associational consultant and now DOM in the Atlanta, Ga., area.
(c) 2016, Mark Snowden
Posted on July 1, 2016 11:08 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Disciple-making
A new church planter met several believers who were sent to help him. He asked, "Who can lead someone to Christ?" They all raised their hands. "That's why we're here to help," one said. Then the planter asked, "Who can make disciples of those they lead to faith?" Nobody raised their hands. The planter began his wildly successful plant (now with six satellites in a city the size of Cincinnati) by making disciple-makers from that original core group. It became their DNA.
Wait. Should everyone be a disciple-maker? Yes! Jesus commanded us all to make disciples and He also promised to be with us in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). He also promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower His followers (Acts 1:8). Making disciples is what His followers have continued to do. It's not just up to the paid staff.
Think of disciple-making as healthy church process. It's not just teaching the lesson. When I used to bring people to Jesus I assumed others would disciple them because I had never been taught to be a disciple-maker. Yes, our pastors and teachers help make disciples, but do you know where everyone is in your church is growing spiritually? Or are some people stuck at one level?

Willow Creek, a megachurch in Chicago, raised up spiritual infants to become spiritual children. However, as Bill Hybels noted in Reveal, an expose on their ministry, that’s where discipleship ended. CABA churches must prioritize making disciples. And then keep the discipleship process moving along to help all believers be disciple-makers.
(c) 2016 Mark Snowden