Thank you to all the Mission Teams who came this summer

I would like to personally thank all the mission teams who came to serve the churches of the Central Baptist Association this summer. We had mission teams come from Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas. Their impact on our churches and their communities have been very evident.

Churches who were served by the mission teams include Three Rivers Fellowship in Lacrosse, Gospel Baptist in Sparta, Midvale Baptist in Madsion, Madison Hmong Baptist Church, Campus Community Church, Heartland Church in Richland Center, River of Life Church in Portage, and Prairie Springs Church in Sun Prairie. The mission teams were involved in numerous forms of ministry including prayer walking, Vacation Bible School, block parties, surveying, servant evangelism projects, construction, and numerous other ministries.

At places like Gospel Baptist and Prairie Springs Church the impact has been evident. New people are investigating the church. Parents have come to the closing events of sports camp and VBS. These are only two of the examples how these teams have had impact.

Campus Community Church is going through a major renovation project. Great progress was made by the teams from North Carolina and Alabama. Pastor Mark Hong has expressed deep appreciation for the volunteer work done by these teams.

With more than 150 people coming to the CBA this year to be on mission, our prayer is that next year even more teams will come. What do mission teams leave in their wake? They have planted the seeds of the gospel, morale is lifted at churches, new people are coming to our churches, and training is done by the teams so our people can do ministry more effectively in the future.

At Prairie Springs Church the very first VBS was conducted by Central Park Baptist of Alabama. As the week was unfolding the leaders of PSC were heard saying, “We can do VBS next year by ourselves. We needed this week to gain confidence.” What a testimony to see how mission teams can help our churches develop leadership for the future!! Thank you to the many scores of people who came this summer to give of your life. Know that your labor in the Lord was not in vain but your investment in the kingdom of God here in Southern Wisconsin is very fruitful!!!

New Web Site for the Central Association in Wisconsin

I want to let you know that as of today we now have a new look web site for the Central Baptist Association. You can still find us at www.cbaow.net. We are grateful to www.churchwebsites.com for helping partner with us in this new look. One feature that we have now is that we can update the information much more easily.

You will find that all of our churches are now listed with all of their current contact information. Also, we will be sharing a lot more details about the upcoming Vision Tour that is set for September 24-26.

When you have a moment be sure to check out our new look at www.cbaow.net. Please share your input with us on what we can add and how we can improve the site.

Survivability Study Released

In the past few weeks the North American Mission Board’s research department has released a survivability study for church plants. There are four factors that surfaced as the top factors. They are:

1. Church Plant Expectations
2. Membership Development
3. Church Planter Peer Group
4. Stewardship Plan

As I have been digesting the news of this report for the past few weeks, I believe these factors contribute to the survivability of all churches. Here in the Central Association, we have seen numerous churches die over the years. Many new churches have been started and both young and old ones die regularly in our association and across our state convention.

I believe we would all be wise to study this report closely and ask the Lord what He wants us do to make changes in our ministry. For a full view of the report, you can go to www.missionalresearch.info. May the Lord increase your knowledge and wisdom as you take the time to digest this report and what it means for your ministry setting.

A Great Message From Acts 16:9-10

Tonight I am at the Church Planting Missionary Forum in Atlanta. We hear a great message from the pastor of First Baptist Jonesboro, GA. His text was on the Macedonian call on Paul’s life.

His sermon was three points:

1. Revelation
2. Mobilization
3. Procalamation

Paul had a vision from God that mobilized him to proclaim the gospel. Maybe I am a really simple guy but I think this message is for all of us. As Christians, we need to have God’s will revealed in our lives so we can be mobilized to spread His Word.

Another verse quoted tonight was Proverbs 29:18 which says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The Hebrew word for vision is to have a revelation from God. We all need to hear from God in our lives. Tonight’s message has really encouraged me to be connected with the Lord.

I encourage all of you reading this blog to get in touch with God to know what God’s vision is for your life and for the people under your leadership. Being in touch with God must happen before we mobilize our resources.

May the Lord reveal His calling on your life as you provide leadership in your family and church.

Importance of Leadership Development

As we start the new year in 2007, what are your plans for developing as a leader? If you do not have an intentional plan, then there is a good chance you are not going to develop. Here in the Central Association in Wisconsin we are working diligently at developing leadership.

We give our pastors books, DVDs, provide training, and share any resources we can that will help develop their leadership capacity. Experience has taught us that pastors hit barriers when it comes to numerical church growth. With all that in mind, what are your plans to grow in 2007 as a leader?

Here are some suggestions:

-Ask other pastors what books they are reading which have been helpful.
-Read blogs on the internet.
-Tap into the wonderful world of podcasts which are free on the internet.
– Make use of your time in the car listening to other pastors’ sermons or leadership material.
-Get in touch with God to ask Him what area of your life you need to work on in 2007.
-Put down some written goals. We know those who put goals in writing are much more likely to be intentional.

These are only some of many suggestions to grow as a person and as a leader in 2007. I believe that we are honoring God when we work as hard as we can to develop to our full potential. May the Lord encourage you to be intentional in growing as a leader in 2007!

Do You Return Phone Calls?

This might seem like a silly question, but do you return phone calls? If so, how long does it take to call someone back. A number of years ago in my Doctor of Ministry seminar, Danny Akin, told us his policy about returning phone calls. Akin, now president of Southeastern Baptist Seminary shared that we need to return every phone call as pastors.

At that time, I thought it was a little too much. But since then I have come to find out that has been valuable advice. Returning calls in a timely manner is a healthy habit to develop. If you can return calls within 24 hours that is best. If not, do it as soon as you can.

Why return calls? It keeps people from getting frustrated with you. To this day, I find there are still pastors who will not return my calls. I pray they change their ways. Why return telemarketer calls if they leave a message? One reason is that if you return a call you can let them know you are not interested and be removed from the list.

If you are returning your calls, I affirm you. If you are a person who does not and you are reading this blog, I strongly encourage you to start. It may seem like a small change but remember that small changes can have great impact.

Being a “Missional” Church

What does it mean to be a misisonal church? There is a lot of talking going around these days about churches being on mission both in their local communities and around the world. I believe one really good answer has come to us in the book written by Ed Stetzer titled, Breaking the Missional Code.

Stetzer makes the point that churches who have broken the missional code have discovered what makes a community tick. These churches are connecting with people in their communities. As I began to think about my own personal experiences, I would like to mention a few churches in my past where I have seen churches break the missional code.

In New Jersey, there is a Presbyterian church in New Providence that provides an event once a month to youth called “Fire Escape.” Fire Escape is essentially a coffee house, a place to dance, and a place for teenagers to socialize. This youth ministry uses Fire Escape as one of the main entry points for teenagers to connect in a socially relevant way.

Another church that I experienced recently is the famous Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas led by Ed Young, Jr. Young seems to connect with people on a regular basis with his creativity talking on relevant subjects. Although the service that I attended did not make a strong connection with me, it was obvious that Young and his entire ministry are connecting with thousands of people in relevant ways.

I could probably go on and on about churches that are connecting in relevant ways so the gospel message of Jesus Christ can be shared. How about you? What churches have you attended in the past or know about that are breaking the missional code?

The missional code is different for every community. It is up to us as Christian leaders to figure out how we can best reach the people of our local communities. Ask the Lord for insight how you can break the missional code in your community. Share Jesus as you meet the needs of people in relevant ways.

Relaunching at Friendship Church in Wisconsin

Over the past few months Friendship Baptist Church in Ft. Atkinson, WI has begun the process of retooling their church. It began back in August when the church agreed to take a Church Health Survey put together by Church Central (www.churchcentral.com). In the following weeks, the survey was completed by the congregation and the results were delivered to the congregation.

On November 5, Robert and Sherry Timmons announced the resignation of Robert as pastor from Friendship. Sicne that time, Clint Calvert and his church health team from the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention (www.mwbc.org) has come in and officially begun the process of transitioning.

The church now has a transition team at work. Team members are made up of three members of the church and three members of the MWBC church health team. I am grateful to be working with this team as we experience a new beginning. Please be in prayer for Friendship Church as they select a new pastor to guide them through the transition.

Please be in prayer for the transition team as they work together to see God’s will accomplished at Fort Atkinson.

Partners Needed for Church Plants in 2007

We have two new churches starting in 2007. One will be planted by Chad Cummings, who is currently the Associate Pastor at First Baptist Winthrop Harbor in Chicago. Chad will be coming to the field starting his official day on February 1, 2007. Please be in prayer for Chad to sell his home and for the start of Three Rivers Fellowship Church in Lacrosse.

The second church will be started by Paul Fries who is coming from Graceville, Florida. Paul is currently serving as the Director of Missions for the Holmes County Baptist Association in Florida. Paul, a native of Richland County, is coming back home to plant a church in Richland Center which he will call Heartland Church.

There are three ways you can be a partner with these two church planters:

1. Prayer – Be in prayer for them ast they move. They both need to sell their homes. Also, be in prayer for them as move and begin to build core groups.

2. People – Bring a misison team for your church or consider volunteering to help them.

3. Provisions – Help contribute to their church plant financially. Both of these men and their families have stepped out in faith God will provide.

If you would like to be a partner in any way please contact me, Mark Millman, in the Central Association office at 608-825-9946 or e-mail me at mark@cbaow.net.

Our Office Has Officially Moved

After a number of weeks of getting settled, our office has officially moved to 2340 Manley Drive, also the the home of Prairie Springs Church. Below is the information how you can contact us:

Central Baptist Associaiton
2340 Manley Drive
Sun Prairie, WI 53590
Phone: 608-825-9946

You can continue to e-mail me at mark@cbaow.net.