Association – Engaging in Partnerships

This week is the third of four articles on the mission we share as an association which is: to be a network of churches who partner together for the gospel to reach the northland and the nations. We accomplish this by pursuing four objectives: Equipping Leaders, Empowering Churches and third by Engaging Partnerships. The CPBA works with local congregations and their leaders to facilitate opportunities for our churches to work together on ministry and mission projects. The heart of an association is in how it partners together to do common ministry in our regions. Networks such as students ministers accomplish region wide youth events. Our Disaster Relief Team is very active and in bringing help, hope and healing when disasters strike, including in our very own region. We look forward to pursuing partnership with other associations for potential mission trip as well as future international mission opportunities. I am enthused by what the Lord will do through us together as we move ahead in 2021. – Dr. Gary Mathes

Association – Empowering Churches

This week is the second of four articles on the mission we share as an association which is: to be a network of churches who partner together for the gospel to reach the northland and the nations. We accomplish this by pursuing four objectives. First by Equipping Leaders and second by Empowering Churches. The CPBA works with local church leaders and denominational partners to help strengthen established churches and revitalize struggling churches. As an association we are happy to assist churches that desire to grow in their effectiveness in carrying out their mission. Through resources such as consultation, assessments, coaching, mission/vision development processes, conflict mitigation training, and networking with denominational partners, churches can find the kinds and levels of support and encouragement they may need. We value assisting congregations toward health and vibrancy. As we move forward into 2021 let us know how we can be a help and encouragement for you. – Dr. Gary Mathes

Association – Equipping Leaders

As we enter into 2021, it is important and good to revisit what our mission is.  Mission drift is a constant issue every church and organization needs to be aware of and work to avoid.  The mission of our association is to be a network of churches who partner together for the gospel to reach the northland and the nations.  We accomplish this by pursuing four objectives.  For the next four weeks I will write about each one.  The first objective is Equipping Leaders.  The CPBA desires to provide quality leadership development resources and events that can be delivered locally, for pastors, staff and lay leaders that include: coaching, pastoral care for leaders, cohorts that focus on leadership topics and needs, conferences and workshops that provide training in various ministry areas, and opportunities to connect and build relationships that foster partnerships among churches and leaders.  Ultimately, we value and want to help build healthy leaders who lead healthy churches. I look forward to helping us achieve this first of four objectives and as we move forward into 2021. – Dr. Gary Mathes

Sons of Issachar

In 1 Chronicles 12, it reveals how the tribes of Israel were offering their allegiance to David.  As the number of men and their skills were described, the characteristics that marked the tribe of Issachar were: “They understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” (v.32).   As our nation struggles to face the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that, as church leaders, we pray for wisdom so that we too can understand the times and know what the church should do.  Rather than just trying to survive and function in a virtual world, we need to embrace our calling to demonstrate and communicate the gospel to our broken and fearful world.  We have a tremendous opportunity to show the world the grace, mercy, love and power of our great God.  In these dark times, let our gospel shine! – Dr. Gary Mathes

The Power of the Gospel

Recently, at my church, I enjoyed watching several people give testimony of their faith in Jesus through baptism.  As each shared their story it reminded me of what I truly believe – the gospel is still just as powerful as it has ever been and will always remain as such.  When Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Rom. 1:16), he knew where the ability to truly transform a person comes from.  My prayer is that the gospel will not only be unleashed through its proclamation in each of our pulpits, but that it will also be unleashed in our lives and speech each day.  It’s not in our abilities that lives will be changed, but in the gospel message we are privileged to share so that other may believe and be transformed.  – Dr. Gary Mathes

Midwest Leadership Summit

Last week I attended the Midwest Leadership Conference in Springfield, IL with a few of our pastors. Like many conferences you go to, there are a few key statements you take away. One was, “Growing churches dream dreams, stagnant churches solve problems.” It is a good reminder that focus determines direction. What we set our eyes on determines our destination. If it is inward, often it is problems, if it is outward, more than likely it is a vision to fulfill. When Jesus said, “I will build my church,” he had a dream that he calls us to participate in. It was a dream that no problem, even as big as the gates of Hades, would prevent it from being accomplished. So as faithful followers may we focus on His mission, and help accomplish His purpose, trusting that He will equip and enable us to fulfill His will. Let’s keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith! – Dr. Gary Mathes

Throw Out Your Skinny Jeans, But Keep Your Coffee Cup

Recently, I have been reading a lot regarding how churches can reach all generations. It has been my observation that many churches in particular struggling to reach the younger generations.  As a result some churches have attempted to become “cooler’ in their approach hoping it will draw young people to their services, but often times it can come across simply being disingenuous, if not uncomfortable.  The title of an article I came across speaks volumes, “Millennials Don’t Need Hipper Pastors, They Need a Bigger God.”  Simply put, younger people are looking for what is real and authentic and are open to honest dialogue.  They are not drawn to an awkwardly produced version of our faith for the purpose of cultural relevancy. However, they do gravitate towards a faith that is clear, and honestly addresses the candid questions of genuine seekers.  They are drawn to a real faith in a real Jesus.   So, throw out your skinny jeans, but keep your coffee cup, and sit down with and have an authentic gospel conversation with some young folks.  You may be surprised how they will respond.  By the way, they know where the good coffee is.   -Dr. Gary Mathes

Tis The Season

I have to admit that Christmas is one of my most favorite time of the year.  I enjoy the decorations, lights, music, food and the fellowships.  But of course, the most precious part of Christmas is focusing on the reason for the season – the advent of the divine who took on flesh and dwelt among us; the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Indeed, Jesus brings joy to the world because he has fulfilled the eternal plan to redeem his people from their sin.  Thank you CPBA for shining the greatest light in our dark and broken world by sharing the gospel message and reminding our respective communities of the glorious truth of the Christ of Christmas. -Dr. Gary Mathes