Purpose of the Association

What is the purpose of the association in Southern Baptist life? The best answer I have heard comes from Hugh Townsend of the North American Mission Board. Hugh says,”The association exists to serve the churches.” That has been some of the best advice given to me since starting as a Director of Missions back on September 1, 2005.

This year the association in America is celebrating its 300th anniversary. The very first association was located in Philadelphia and was designed to help facilitate fellowship among the pastors. Since that time the role of the association has changed in many different ways.

Our goal as the Central Baptist Association is to serve and equip our churches to fulfill the Great Commission in their local communities. Our mission statement as developed by our pastors reads, “Plant and develop prevailing churches.” By God’s grace that is what we are focused on as an association.

To find out more about our mission statement and our core values you can visit our web site at www.cbaow.net. I thank God for giving our pastors clear vision and focus. May the Lord help us to be a relevant association to our churches and communities.

Block Party Trailer Is Now Available

The Central Baptist Association is glad to announce that we now have a block party trailer! Some people may ask, what in the world do I do with a block party trailer? Over the past few years many followers of Christ have hosted block parties to engage people with the gospel. As the effectiveness of many traditional outreach methods have waned, the idea of having a block party has been growing.

In a discussion our pastors had at the end of the summer we concluded that going door-to-door inviting people to a block party is more effective than surveying. Block parties open up a natural way we can build relationships with people. After attending a number of block parties this summer hosted by CBA churches, I had the opportunity to meet many new people as a complete stranger.

What is in our block party trailer? You can find out everything we have in our trailer by going to our web site at www.cbaow.net and going to the “block party” trailer link. We have everything needed to host a block party including a sno-cone machine, popcorn machine, tables, chairs, tents, etc.

Who comes to a block party? The people most likely to come to a block party are usually families with children. However, people of all ages are welcome and are encouraged to come. This summer I attended a block party in Lacrosse where Three Rivers Church had more than 300 people in attendance. People found out about the block party through newspaper ads, work of mouth, flyers, and just by seeing the signs.

What is the purpose of a block party? The ultimate purpose of a block party is to share Jesus with people. By engaging people in conversation in a relaxed atmosphere where food is being shared and games are being played, there is often a great deal of authentic conversation.

Where should we have a block party? The best place to have a block party is out in the community where people can see you. If your church is on a major road that can often be a good location as well.

How do I rent the trailer from the CBA? You need to go to our web site to find out the procedure. Our goal is to have as many churches use the trailer as possible. If you have any questions, please contact us in the office at amanda@cbaow.net or mark@cbaow.net.

May the Lord use this trailer as a tool to reach many new people for Jesus’ sake.

Annual Meeting is Set for October 13th

This year our theme will be “Living As a Missionary” for the annual meeting. Much like last year we invite you to bring your key leaders from your church. The Church Planting Group of the North American Mission Board will be leading the morning event. John Bailey, who has been leading these workshops around North America the past few months, will be brining his team with him to share how we can be missional in our own contexts.

We will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration and start the workshop time at 9:00 a.m. for the morning session. Lunch will follow and then we will have our afternoon session. Our keynote speaker in the afternoon session this year is Mike Milburn, pastor of First Baptist Burleson. This church has been very supportive of church planting in the CBA and he will be sharing a challenge to be involved in church planting.

Our meeting this year will be held at Prairie Springs Church which is located at 2340 Manley Drive in Sun Prairie. We encourage you to come and bring members who would like to learn how to live as a missionary in their present context. If you would like to confirm your attendance you can e-mail us at the church office at mark@cbaow.net.

Vision Tour Coming September 24-26

A Vision Tour is coming to the Central Baptist Association (CBA) the week of September 24-26. The purpose of the Vision Tour is to invite partners to join us so we have the opportunity to expand our church planting capacity. Right now we have 13 congregations in 17 counties across the region of south central and south west Wisconsin.

More than 40 people from outside the CBA are confirmed to be with us during this time. Pastors, staff members, Directors of Missions, association staff, and potential new church planters make up the people who are coming our way. We are grateful that God is raising up potential laborers for the harvest for us.

During the tour we will be going to five different areas across the CBA. These areas include the northwest part of our association including Lacrosse, the southwest part including our new church plant in Richland Center, the Wisconsin Dells area, Janesville, and Madison. Our goal is to share the stories of how God is at work and our vision for new churches to be planted in the next few years.

All this activity is meant to fulfill the Great Commission and to glorify God. We ask for your prayer support. Please pray for safety for the people coming to the tour. Pray that God would raise up new partners who would be willing to join us for 3-5 year partnerships. Pray for new church planters to hear the call of God on their lives.

We thank you for being part of the Vision Tour whether you are coming or if you are praying for us from afar. May the Lord give us His vision for what He has us to do in the CBA.

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.