Blog
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 (bcunningham34@gmail.com), Bill Hounshell (bhounshell23@gmail.com), 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 17, 2020 9:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Over the years, the church has seen many church growth strategies come and go.  I’d read and studied many of them in detail—I even have some of the t-shirts!  I’ve seen some plans succeed and some fail.  I’ve seen some work well for a season (like the bus ministry), only to lose momentum and eventually fade away, at least for most churches.  But I have been, and continue to be, convinced that one of the greatest evangelism/discipleship/ministry tools of all time is the Sunday School and it continues to be at the heart of my ministry strategy as a pastor.  There are several reasons for that conviction.
 
Sunday School gives the ministry to the people.  Many church growth strategies are based on a “come hear me preach” philosophy.  That is, people are saved, discipled and ministered to by the professionals, and the willing, gifted members of the congregation are basically reduced to inviters.  Such a strategy doesn’t line up well with Ephesians 4:11-12 nor the Great Commission.
 
Sunday School is not a new program with built in resistance and hesitance for “buy in.”  Most churches do not need to be convinced that Sunday School is a viable ministry.  We don’t need a consultant to come and convince the people that this will work if they are willing to embrace it as a ministry.  It may need revitalization in some cases, but it doesn’t need to be sold to the people.
 
Sunday School is consistent with the New Testament model for ministry.  Clearly the early church used small groups for ministry.  Before the days of church buildings, meetings were held in homes as church members ministered to one another.  Through the hospitality of the small groups, the Bible was taught, fellowship deepened, ministry took place and people were reached.
 
Sunday School does not rely on people outside the church for its success.  We don’t have to schedule a revivalist to do Sunday School well.  We don’t have to hope someone new will join the church who has the special skills or gifts required.  Our people may need to be mentored and trained, but they have the ability to love people and give of themselves to see people discipled.
 
Sunday School uses the power of God’s Word.  We all know that the Word of God is powerful to transform lives.  Guess what—the Bible is the Sunday School textbook!  The scriptures in the hand of a spirit-filled teacher who really loves people is a powerful tool.
 
Sunday School is a ministry strategy the Holy Spirit can bless.  The Spirit is not grieved by Bible study.  The spirit is not quenched by people loving one another in practical ways.  The Holy Spirit enjoys blessing people in Christian community with one another.
 
Sunday School recognizes the need to minister at various stages of life and levels of learning.  It is difficult for a six-year-old to understand the value of the pre-millennial view of eschatology.  The Bible needs be taught on a six-year-old level to six-year-olds!  The Bible is always relevant, when it is taught well, and good Sunday School ministry is graded appropriately. 
 
This may sound strange, but maybe we need to start challenging the modern church to think inside the box!  Sunday School has a proven track-record for doing the things we say are important to the health and success of the church.  It hasn’t been around as long as the wheel, but maybe we don’t need to re-invent something that does what Sunday School already does.  Maybe we just need a fresh vision for the potential of something we already know and love.
Posted on February 12, 2020 8:00 AM by Ken Slaughter
Categories: Prayer
Will you adopt this New Year’s Resolution?

“Fully Embrace Prayer as a Way of Life.”

Southern Baptists desperately need to grow in prayer. We have a reputation for Bible literacy and mission work, but not so much for prayer. Let’s change that!

This year, will you commit to prayer? Pray regularly and with discipline. Pray alone… Pray Scripture back to God… Pray with your family, a small group, a mid-sized group, with your whole church… and commit to at least one prayer event that will include multiple churches.

As spiritually alive persons, we are created for this. It is essential to our being. We need to pray and others will benefit when we do. God desires that we become praying people and our churches become houses of prayer.

Prayer becomes indispensable to every true disciple of Jesus because: Through prayer we come to know our specific place and assignment in God’s Kingdom. The one who doesn’t pray can’t really be “on mission” because they’re out of communication with HQ. They’re spiritually AWOL!
 
Furthermore, prayer and Scripture are antidotes to the deceptions of the enemy.

God’s perfect design includes specific plans for our lives and our churches. Prayer helps us “see” and “know” what those are. I’m praying that in 2020, CABA churches will become houses of prayer filled with praying people gaining 20/20 spiritual vision.
 
--Ken Slaughter is CABA's Prayer Encourager and pastors Mt. Repose Church, Milfor, Oh.
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
LEADING THROUGH 6 CHANGE REACTIONS GENERATIONALLY
(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 February 4, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
A family friend is third generation Hong Kong Chinese. She is as American as my daughter. Although her race is Chinese-American, I would never have witnessed to her with a Cantonese language JESUS film or encouraged her to join a Chinese church. She was culturally American. She and her family were an active part of our church.

Race and culture are two different things.

Spiritual gifts inventories used by some churches help believers identify potential church involvement. It is often referred to as helping people “assimilate.” But in a conversation with a respected Korean Baptist leader, I learned that “assimilation” is a terrible word to many foreigners living among us. This godly Korean man patiently explained that first-generation immigrants fear losing their ethnic identity. Believers seek to follow Christ and at the same time retain their own culture that doesn’t contradict with the Bible. And those who assimilate are considered on the fringe and lose credibility.

So, how do we respect Leviticus 19:34? “You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God” (HCSB).

Jim Slack, an IMB missiologist–and anthropologist by training–explained it to me that when dominant cultural church groups–whites, Hispanics, blacks, whomever–expect people to become like them to get along in their church. Jim point out that a dominant church culture “seals off” other cultures from coming to Christ. We too often assume that the foreigner among us must give up their identity and take on the culture of our dominant group.

If you’ve seen Star Trek: The Next Generation, you’ll remember the ship’s captain was taken captive by the Borg, a giant floating space colony. “Resistance is futile” was the catch phrase as cultural distinctions were replaced by conformity.

When we as a dominant culture permeate a group of believers, we unconsciously expect everyone to enjoy our experience in the Lord just like we do. And while that may work for worship, disciple-making needs to take place at a different level; a heart-level.

A Muslim immigrant living in Virginia converted to Christianity through the help of the girl that he was dating. She wanted him in her Sunday School class in our predominately Anglo church, but the curriculum they used did not disciple him as a “MBB;” a Muslim Background Believer. He soon left and joined in with other MBBs.

An African-American pastor in Los Angeles told me, “Six Nicaraguan young men attending my church barely understand English. Our church’s worship styles are alien to them.” And to let me know that he really got it, he said, “So, I will begin working with them to start a Nicaraguan church.”

As a learning exercise in Albemarle, North Carolina, I sent out participants to interview “people who are not like them.” The church leader thought everyone was a lily-white Southerner. It surprised him that Buddhist Laotians were encountered at a local laundromat. In Lansing, Michigan, a survey group I was in found thousands of Mexicans in one housing project. In each case, they had become sealed off from Baptist churches because of their deeply-held cultural convictions.

Church is more than one hour and then heading out to the restaurants. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America.” While it may be true, it didn’t get that way and stay that way by accident. A church planting consultant at NAMB once observed that there are few truly multi-cultural SBC churches in America. Again, race is different from culture.

If you desire your church to welcome culturally-diverse people, expect there to be “worldview” distinctions. This requires training church members as missionaries. By adopting a people group to study, they will understand whether to bring them into an existing church or start a new one around cultural realities.

Let’s work hard to understand and show Christ’s love to those different from us.
 
--Mark Snowden, Director of Missional Leadership, Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
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.
 
ITS YOUR CALL:  4 BREAKTHROUGH PRACTICES FOR FINDING YOUR ONE THING IN LIFE
(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)
Barriers:
•    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 January 8, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Evangelism
Not too long ago, the IMB gave each missionary a quota of how many gospel tracts they needed to distribute each month. And by the end of the month, some missionaries in the Americas admitted to getting in their cars and throwing tracts out their window at the people waiting at bus stops.
It was the first drive-by peltings.
 
They carried no accountability other than to get rid of tracts. But were they being held accountable in the things that brought spiritual transformation?
What are you counting in your church? How do you count disciple-making? Tracts given away? Quarterlies distributed? Budget used up? We have trustees, financial committees, and watch closely over the money counters. Could you imagine if they were just counting offering envelopes each week? Silly, right? But is the same umph-with-wisdom being given to disciple-makers? What’s your church’s oversight look like?
 
Pastors occasionally connect with me about disciple-making efforts for their church. It was great talking with a church planter / preacher in another state recently regarding his attempt to preach in hopes that his (so-so) sermons would be enough to disciple his congregation. Working together, I had him contrast his ability to disciple from the pulpit with small group leaders facilitating weekly meetings among 9 to 12 people.
 
The size of the small group determines the need for accountability. When the participants can “hide” in the larger group, then they tend to stop growing in the Lord.
 
Another leader who served as a discipleship strategist in another state called me. He was concerned for some “creeping” backsliding and occasional doctrinal error among some small groups that were developing their own Bible studies. With this leader, the key was to help him train small group leaders to hold their group participants accountable for what they volunteer to do, believe, say, decide, etc.
 
It’s truly all about making disciples. Accountability defines spiritual growth and multiplication. And it is far too often overlooked.
It’s time to hit the brakes and stop driving by real opportunities people are seeking to grow in Christ and multiply themselves in the lives of others.
 
--Mark Snowden is the Director for 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