Hungary Missions Photo Gallery Opening & Awards Night

2018 Hungary Missions Photo
Opening & Awards Night

A Gallery Opening and Awards Ceremony will be held at the CBA Office in Fairview at 7pm on Tuesday, January 15.
This special gallery exhibit will include featured photographs from the CBA Media Team, and will bring special recognition to the winners of the First Annual CBA Church Network Hungary Missions Amateur Photo Contest.
You are encouraged to attend this memorable event, and invite family members, friends, and church members to see photographs and hear participants share highlights from our mission trip to Hungary. We will also share some basic information about mission opportunities to Hungary in 2019 and beyond. Admission is free.
Gallery Opening & Awards Ceremony
Tuesday, January 15
CBA Church Network
970 S. Hwy 5, Fairview, TX 75069
These photos touched my heart. You can see the love and compassion of Jesus Christ through His witnesses in Hungary as you see these images. ” – Contest Judge

Are You Leaving A Part Out?

John Mark Caton
Pastor, Cottonwood Creek Church

Baseball is my sport. I enjoy every aspect of the game. Hitting, running the bases, goofing off in the dugout… I enjoy it all. I even love the smell of a freshly cut field and the look of a neatly raked diamond. I get excited hearing the crack of the bat and the cheer of the crowd and the screaming third base coach as he waves a runner home. There’s nothing like it.

Some of you who are not baseball fans might not have caught what happened in the description I just gave. Yes, I described one of my favorite things in the world, which is baseball and how much I enjoy it, but did you “catch” what I left out? I left out a very important part of baseball which is playing defense in the field. Baseball isn’t just about hitting the ball and scoring runs. It’s also about playing defense and fielding the ball and keeping the other team from scoring. It’s crazy to think of baseball without the fielding aspect of the game.

Just like it’s crazy to think about baseball without fielding, it is absolutely crazy to think about being missional – Great Commission/Matthew 28:19-20 driven – people and churches without being involved in local missions and local missional partnerships. Remember, the Great Commission has an international, regional (national and state), and local aspect to it. It’s been my experience in ministry to see a church family get really excited about sending a team to the Dominican Republic to help a local pastor meet the physical and spiritual needs of people in that country. It’s also been my experience as a pastor to see a church family get excited about going to a far-off place in our own country to help churches get planted and reach those communities for Christ. However, it has also been my experience as a pastor to see how we can lose our zeal for evangelism and missions in our own neighborhoods and in our own cities. This is the part of the Great Commission that is the easiest to forget and one that plagues us all from time to time. So, what are we do? Simply put, get out in our communities and reach people for Christ and build them up through our church’s ministries. And secondly, get involved in local missional partnerships.

The Bible reminds us of what a successful missional partnership looks like in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. A successful partnership is one built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and the Gospel first and foremost and not on a certain personality, church, or association. Verse 6 also reminds us that a successful partnership involves parties working together to sow the seeds of the Gospel, but it is the Lord that provides the growth and the harvest and is to get the glory for the results. So, if you have 2 parties who agree in Christ as the foundation and on the importance of the Gospel and the Great Commission, then you have the beginnings of a successful missional partnership. So, how do you go about seeking someone locally to partner with in gospel ministry? Easy. We’ve got the CBA Church Network.

The CBA Church Network exists “for the day when every girl, boy, woman, and man within our reach experiences a living witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The way they work to see this day happen is through the networking “… of Great Commission churches and organizations who connect, collaborate, and engage in the work of the Gospel in Collin County and beyond.” So, it’s easy to see that we’ve got a ready and willing partner to do local missions right here in our area. Cottonwood Creek Church has renewed our commitment to partnership with the CBA Church Network. This renewal of commitment is happening specifically in two areas. The first area is with the reThink Student Apologetics Conference.

The CBA Church Network and Cottonwood Creek Church partnered together last year to bring Stand to Reason’s (see reThink Student Apologetics Conference to our area. This conference is a unique conference bringing senior pastors, student pastors, parents, grandparents, middle school and high school students, college students, and even seminary students together to be trained and equipped to defend the faith in a culture that is increasingly becoming more and more non-Christian. The conference is also unique in that it is set up to be used by senior pastors and youth pastors as a “kick start” or as a “booster shot” to their own churches year-round apologetics ministry. Stories have come in how students have been bold witnesses for Christ in lunchrooms, hallways, and even in classrooms based upon the training they received at the conference. Other stories have come in how parents and grandparents have been able to have deep and meaning conversations with their students about the material presented at the conference and how they as a family can be committed to being ready to give a reason for the hope that is within them at every opportunity the Lord gives. This fruitful partnership has been a wonderful addition to Cottonwood Creek’s ongoing apologetics ministry to both adults and students.
The second area Cottonwood Creek Church has renewed our commitment to partnering with the CBA Church Network is through the new church planting ministry called Send North Texas (see You might be familiar with the Send City initiative that quite a few of us participate in that seeks to plant churches in areas of our country that don’t have enough Bible believing evangelical churches to reach the population. Well, that Send City initiative has come to North Texas. Why? The Send North Texas website states, “Today, the population in North Texas (Collin County and Denton County) is 1.8 million with approximately 216-member churches. Government estimates indicate that in 10 years, our population will increase to 3 million people, which means the need to start 344 churches in the next 12 years to ‘hold our own’… that roughly translates to starting 28.6 new churches per year.” We all have been hearing about the recent shift of corporate national headquarters to our area and the jobs they bring and the housing shortage it has caused by people moving in from other parts of the country. And now, we’re experiencing people from other countries coming to this area in increased numbers to work and to raise their families. All of these factors have created a wonderful ministry partnership opportunity here locally for us to band together and reach North Texas for Jesus Christ.

It’s truly an exciting time to be involved in local mission work and local ministry partnerships. The Lord has provided us with opportunities to get into the work of local missions. Cottonwood Creek Church seeks to do its part, as best as we can, to join these efforts. My challenge to every pastor and church leader in this area is this… will you prayerfully and honestly evaluate your church’s missional efforts to see if you’re missing out on a part of the Great Commission? Will you prayerfully and seriously consider researching and joining us in these and other local missions and ministry partnerships with the CBA Church Network? My prayer for you is that you will take on these challenges like we have at Cottonwood Creek and seek to partner with us and the CBA Church Network in these exciting new ministries as we plant and water the seeds of the Gospel while praying and looking to the Lord to give the increase.

Storms of Fear – CBA Ministry in Puerto Rico

Storms of Fear – CBA Ministry in Puerto Rico
By Marc Ira Hooks

A resident of Coamo shares her fears about another storm hitting the island.

Fear followed by panic gripped residents of the hurricane-battered island of Puerto Rico this week as the first named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season swept through Monday. The remnants of Hurricane Beryl, downgraded to a tropical storm before it made landfall on the southeast side of Puerto Rico, brought heavy rains and flash floods. The island is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Maria last year.

“People went into panic mode Thursday and Friday,” said Princeton, Texas, resident Rafael Gutierrez, a native Puerto Rican  attending a family reunion this week on the west side of the island. “Hurricane Maria left a lot more than the physical damage. People here are emotionally scarred.” Before this week’s storm, more than 10,000 homes were still without power as a result of Maria which tore through the island last September. Officials at the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority are now estimating the number of powerless homes is closer to 13,000. Some parts of the island are still without running water.

“What I saw over the weekend is a clear example of the fear and anxiety the people of Puerto Rico are living with,” Gutierrez said. “Since Maria, their lives have changed completely.”

Overlooking the city of Coamo, Puerto Rico. More than nine months after Hurricane Maria, many of the homes are still covered with blue tarps instead of roofs. Many of these houses are uninhabitable.



In May, Gutierrez joined officials from the Collin Baptist Association (CBA) Church Network on a tour of the island. In cooperation with the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board’s SEND Relief program, CBA has partnered with Rahm Baptist Church in Coamo to assist the pastor and the church as they minister to their community.

“When we went to bed, it was Sept. 19, 2017,” pastor Louis A. Rodriguez Molina recalls. “When we woke up on Sept. 20, it was like being back in the 1950s.” The city is located in the south-central region of Puerto Rico, and normally has a population of around 40,000, though many of the city’s residents have since left the island in the hopes of restarting their lives in mainland United States.

Standing on a tower overlooking Coamo, tears welled up in the pastor’s eyes as he inspected the city where he helped plant the church he now shepherds. “There is so much hurt and need in this place,” he said, pointing to the landscape of homes dotted with blue tarps where roofs should be. “But it is not just the physical needs. These people are hurting spiritually and need Jesus.”


In an area of Coamo known as Rio Chiquita (Little River), Rodolfo Colon and his family waited out the storm Monday night hunkered together in a dome-shaped nylon camping tent inside their makeshift home – blue tarps lashed to a hastily constructed frame of lumber. . The family has been living this way, with all their worldly possessions gathered together under the temporary covering, since Hurricane Maria tore the roof off their house. Colon spends weekends and every available opportunity working single-handedly to repair his home. However, his job at a roadside rotisserie chicken stand provides little time, and even less income, for Colon to expedite the repairs.


On the other side of Coamo atop a mountain peak, gusting winds force weather-beaten blue tarps to flap against what is left of Francisco “Tito” Morales’ home. The single father and his small children moved into the newly built house just before the storms. Today, baskets of children’s toys and various tools scatter the floors and counters of the wallless house. A calendar left hanging on the wall marks the date of Hurricane Irma, the first and lesser of hurricanes to strike Puerto Rico last year. Morales now lives with his mother while trying to repair his home. However, progress has been stalled due to finances. Though the house was without electricity for weeks, Morales received a bill from the power company charging him thousands of dollars for electricity he never received. And though the house is currently uninhabitable, the bank still expects payment on the mortgage every month making it nearly impossible for Morales to make headway on repairs.


Back at the church, members regularly distribute canned goods, toiletries, and other supplies to people like Morales and Colon. Pastor Rodriguez explained the name of the church, Rham, is not a Spanish word. Rather, it is from Hebrew and means compassion. Rodriguez believes his church building was spared from Hurricane Maria and the storm this week in order to bring compassion to the people of Coamo.

“People are angry. But they are not angry with God,” pastor Rodriguez said. “Coming through these storms has made them angry with government and agencies, but they are receptive to God. The government will always disappoint the people. But God will not disappoint. He is still there.”


Pastor Louis Rosenthal prays with a church member during a recent visit to Coamo, Puerto Rico.

Louis Rosenthal, Moderator for the Collin Baptist Association and pastor of The McKinney First Baptist Church said seeing the physical and spiritual condition of Puerto Rico firsthand has made a deeper impact than any other during his 12 years of ministry. “No mission need has stirred my heart to serve, pray, give and encourage others to serve, pray, and give like what I have experienced in Puerto Rico,” said Rosenthal. “We are well aware that we cannot help every church, but our desire is to help as many as we can to help bring about hope and share the transformational power of the Gospel.”

In response to further requests from the church in Coamo, Rosenthal is spearheading an effort for CBA churches to provide both physical and spiritual ministry opportunities. Trips to Puerto Rico are being organized for later this year, and donations can be made through the CBA Church Network’s Puerto Rico Hurricane Disaster Fund – Collin Loves Coamo – at For more information, call the CBA Church Network at 972-529-5222 or send an email to

Please click on the video below to hear a special message from Pastor Louis Rosenthal.

Story and photos by Marc Ira Hooks, CBA Church Network Associate Director of Missions and Director of Communication.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An expanded version of this story, plus other features from Puerto Rico will be highlighted in the next edition of The Encourager Magazine.


CBA Earns Baptist Communicators Honors

CBA Earns Baptist Communicators Honors

CBA Church Network earned high honors in the Baptist Communicators Association’s 2018 Wilmer C. Fields Awards Competition. An awards ceremony was held as part of the organization’s annual workshop held last week in Alexandria, Virginia.

First Place awards were presented to CBA Church Network’s Associate Director of Missions/Director of Communication Marc Ira Hooks for his photographic coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area. Hooks’ photographs took top honors in both the News-Single, and News-Series categories. The single photograph was used as the cover photo for the Fall 2017 edition of The Encourager Magazine. A third photograph from the hurricane coverage, a volunteer pressure washing dishes, was awarded Second Place in the Photograph Portrait category.

Hooks’ coverage of the Mums for Harvey project earned Second Place in the News Writing, Single Article Under 750 Words category.

Additionally, the CBA Church Network was recognized in the Social Media-Single Post category for a Facebook post promoting the disaster relief partnership between our churches and the Baptist Church in Coamo, Puerto Rico. The post, entitled Jesus Christ is the Hope of Puerto Rico took Second Place in the category.

The Baptist Communicators Association (BCA) is a professional organization of communicators who serve in editorial, public relations, electronic media, photography, management, marketing and graphic design positions principally within Baptist agencies and institutions. BCA members work together to inspire, inform and educate the more than 250 members across the United States and around the world.

In 2017-2018, Hooks served as the organization’s Communications Vice President. At the conference in Virginia Hooks was elected to be the Program Chair for the 2020 workshop which will be held in New Orleans.



The CBA Church Network is honoring those who have spent a large portion of their lives serving the church, and the Kingdom of God. To do this, we need your nominations.

Cottonwood Creek Hosts reThink Apologetics Conference

More than 1,400 teens strengthen their faith at reThink Apologetics Conference hosted
by Cottonwood Creek Church last weekend.


Cottonwood Creek Church

Over the March 2-3 weekend, the CBA Church Network partnered with Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen to host Stand to Reason’s reThink Student Apologetics Conference.

The conference was a unique opportunity in that while it was geared to middle school, high school, and college students, all people who were “young at heart” were encouraged to attend and bring with them someone who was “young of age”.

Conference speakers included Greg Koukl, Tim Barnett, Christopher Huan, J. Warner Wallace, and Southeastern Seminary Professor Walter Strickland and Southwestern Seminary Professor Travis Dickinson.

Some of the hot topics that were discussed and presented included developing a Christian worldview, a Christian’s response to homosexuality, and an honest discussion of race and grace. Students were encouraged to not be afraid of the attacks the world is making on the Christian faith but to learn and see that faith in God and His ways is not just a blind faith, but a reasonable faith that presents the best arguments based on evidence.
Reports are beginning to trickle in from Cottonwood Creek Church and others regarding students taking their conference notebooks to school and discussing the topics from the conference in the lunchroom with their friends. Stories of students having serious discussions based on faith and the Bible in hallways and classrooms are trickling in as well.

Student and Senior Pastors were also encouraged to take the conference material and use it as a launching point for further apologetics ministry in their churches.

Church leader say the Lord moved in a powerful way  among our students and churches during the reThink Apologetics Conference, and we’re looking forward to hearing more stories about students being bold in their faith and churches having more apologetics ministry training in the days ahead.
More details regarding the dates of the 2019 reThink Conference at Cottonwood Creek Church will be released soon.

It’s time for Bible Drill 2.0!

Bible Drill 2.0 is alive and well in the State of Texas!  The CBA Drill is Sunday, March 25, 2018 at FBC Allen beginning at 1:00 (12:30 for speakers).  Have you heard about the new State Bible Drill Council and the changes for 2018 drills?

  • Each church needs to go online ( by February 20 to declare which state/regional location you will attend and give an approximate estimate of number of children and students you plan to bring.
  • Online registration for Regional events will be done through the website (first come, first served), registration opens March 25 at 11:59 p.m. and closes March 27 at 6:00 p.m.
  • There are 3 Regional drills (Allen, Houston, Midland) State finals for Youth/High School/Speakers will be at DBU
    • First Baptist Allen                         April    6-7
    • Tallowood Baptist Church (Houston area) April    13-14
    • First Baptist Church Midland             April    20-21
  • State Finals for Youth/High School/Speakers
  • Dallas Baptist University April 28
  • Participants will use their own Bibles at Regional and State events.
  • Children will be required to hold their Bibles during the entire drill. During the drills, they will not be allowed to put their Bibles on the floor behind them.
  • Bibles will not be awarded at Regional events for perfect scores, but participants will receive seals. A certificate template will be emailed to each church contact to print for your church’s participants.
  • Trophies will no longer be awarded at Regional/State events. Churches may choose to award trophies or other prizes of their choosing at their home church.   The Ellen Battles Nine Year Award will continue to be awarded at State Competition to those participants who qualify.


Questions about the Association Drill?  Contact Pam Davis at, or 972-841-0139.

Questions about the Regional Drills?  Email



Cottonwood Creek Church hosts ReThink Apologetics Conference

Ideas have consequences. The ideas that you think are true will ultimately play themselves out in the way that you live. Every. Single. Day. We all live at the mercy of our ideas. That’s why the apostle Paul warns us not to be taken captive by the false views of the world (Colossians 2:8).

Sadly, many Christians have been captured by the culture. Their thinking reflects the thinking of the society. Their worldview is no different from that of their unbelieving friends.

Stand to Reason Student Impact exists to provoke a new generation to rethink their worldview, recapture the truth, and then reengage the world for the cause of Christ. That’s why we’re putting on the reTHINK Apologetics Student Conference, designed for junior high, high school and college-aged students. And that’s why you need to be there.

On Friday, doors open at 6:45 pm, and sessions will conclude at approximately 10:45 pm. On Saturday, sessions begin at 9:00 am and will conclude around 5:30 pm. There will be a break on Saturday from noon to 1:25 pm (lunch not provided).

Register now by texting RETHINK to 77978 or going to Special pricing is available for church groups. Contact for the reThink Church Partnership information to obtain the special pricing. Questions? Contact

ReTHINK Apologetics Conference 2017-2018 [HD, 1280×720] from Collin Baptist Association on Vimeo.


Reaching the Unreached in DFW

There’s a kingdom of God convergence happening in Dallas/Ft. Worth. The groundwork has been laid through prayer. His church is becoming unified, as congregations, ministry organizations, and grassroots outreach communities are building relational networks throughout the city. This is a new day, and God is smiling on us.