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March EQUIP Lunch Wrap-Up: Good Fellowship, Good Food, Good focus

Pastor Austin Mathis of Grace Church (Harrison, OH) talks about partnering with NAMB Send Network Cincinnati

The four primary areas of focus which drive the work of the Central Kentucky Network of Baptists is to CONNECT churches in Central Kentucky in partnership for Gospel advancement by seeking to ASSIST churches in their ministry endeavors, SUPPORT churches with resources, encouragement and care, and EQUIP churches through leadership development and networking.

Our monthly EQUIP Leadership Lunch seeks to provide church and ministry leaders with opportunities for fellowship and a time of focusing on the wholistic development of the leader. Whether it be a focus on personal disciplines, soul care, leadership skills, ministry partnership opportunities or just simple times around the table hearing one another and praying for one another, this time is invaluable to the community and culture being formed within the Central Kentucky of Baptists. Simply put... if you're missing this, you're missing out.

This past Tuesday, Pastors and church leaders gathered at Center Point Church in Lexington for a great time of fellowship and some Donato's Pizza. No, we didn't get the Reed Sheppard Hot Honey and Banana Pepper Pizza, but we did get the Rob Dillingham Robaroni Special. If you're not a UK Basketball fan, that probably went completely over your head. But seriously, if you're not keeping up with basketball in March in Kentucky, then what exactly is wrong with you anyway? Don't worry. We still love you in Christ!

Our Special guest for the day was Austin Mathis, who is a church planter (Grace Church) in Hamilton, OH, just outside of Cincinnati. Austin came to talk about the good work NAMB is doing in the area of planting churches in SEND Cities. Austin shared that the ever-changing landscape of church planting presents exciting opportunities to try new things and seek creative solutions in the areas of funding, operations and staffing.

Austin's church has found a way to operate a "Office Sharing" Business out of a "storefront" space in a space which was zoned only for business. Doing it this way has allowed for Grace Church to exist in a location where they otherwise would not have access to worship in as a church alone. Not only has this opened the doors to a stream of revenue for their church, it has presented opportunities for gospel engagement with clients who use their space for business. Grace Church's creative approach to this model has allowed a gospel presence to exist in a place where it otherwise wouldn't.

Austin also championed NAMB's vision for supporting church planting efforts in Cincinnati. According to demographic research, Cincinnati is quickly becoming one of the more unreached areas in the US with only one church for every 20,000 people. So, the creative mindset of making church viable in necessary areas is an important part of seeing this SEND City saturated once again with the hope of Christ.

Another great point raised at the lunch was the fact that, since Lexington is so close geographically to Cincinnati, it opens many doors of opportunity for "hands on" partnerships with church plants through developing teams to help with block party ministries, or filling pulpits or running children ministries for a Sunday, so the planter and his leadership team can have some much needed time off to simply worship. The possibilities are endless when it comes to ways CKNB Churches can help to serve church planting efforts in Cincinnati, not only through financial and prayer support, but also personal involvement.

To learn more about how you or your church could get involved, check out NAMB Send Network Cincinnati, or reach out to our offices at the CKNB to start the conversation. If you'd like to talk with Austin about working directly with Grace Church, reach out at

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