Great Bowls of Fire!

It’s time to dig out your pots, pans, and secret recipes! CBA Church Network is hosting the First Annual “Great Bowls of Fire” Chili Cook-off!

The event will be held on Thursday, February 1 at the Network offices in Fairview. Setup for those competing will begin at 11:30, and judging will begin at noon, with lunch being served immediately after.

All proceeds will go to support the CBA Church Network’s hurricane relief efforts in Coamo, Puerto Rico. A $25 donation is requested for those who will compete, and a $10 donation is requested for those who will be eating lunch.

Following the judging a chili lunch will be served where you will be able to taste all of the entries, and have a bowl of your favorites with all the fixins’ provided by the CBA Church Network.

This event is not just for Network pastors and staff, but for our ministry partners, the entire church, family, and friends.


Leftover chili will be sent to GraceBridge Food Bank in Celina. You can find out more about their ministries by visiting their website:

Click here for more information about CBA Church Network’s partnership in Puerto Rico.
To partner with Pastor Rodriguez and donate to Hurricane Relief efforts in Coamo, click the link below.

Donate to Hurricane Relief in Coamo, Puerto Rico.



Partnership in Puerto Rico provides hurricane relief

Like a prizefighter reeling from a deadly blow, the island territory of Puerto Rico still suffers from the effects of Hurricane Maria which ripped through the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans this fall. Many homes were destroyed, and even though it has been more than 90 days since the storm, many of the homes which remain do not have electricity or running water.

Sporting a t-shirt from his church in Coamo, Puerto Rico which reads “Jesus Christ is the hope of Puerto Rico,” Pastor Louis Rodriguez visits with leaders of the CBA Church Network in December.

“When we went to bed, it was September 19, 2017,” said Louis Rodriguez, pastor of the Baptist church in Coamo.  “When we woke up on September 20, it was like being in the 1950s.” The city is located in the south-central region of Puerto Rico, and normally has a population of around 40,000. In conjunction with the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) SEND Relief program, CBA Network churches are partnering directly with Pastor Rodriguez, who also serves as president of the Puerto Rican Baptist Convention.

Unbeknownst to those at NAMB organizing the Association-to-Church partnerships, Rodriguez has a direct connection to Collin County by way of a son who teaches school in the Allen school district, and close friends from Puerto Rico in Princeton. Rodriguez and his family visited with CBA Church Network leaders in December to share their needs and solidify the partnership between his church and the CBA Church Network.

Since the storm, an estimated 300,000 people have left the island, leaving its wake a tremendous impact on the economy and local workforce. Pastor Rodriguez said both power and water to the church building has been restored, and church members are continuing to minister to the community of Coamo by distributing toiletries, water, food, and other supplies to those in need. However, his own home has not fared as well. Though water service has been restored, the wind, heavy rains, and flooding from the hurricane caused structural damage to the house, and caused his septic system to collapse on itself.

Pastor Rodriguez is optimistic in the face of a rebuilding effort which experts say could take up to 20 years due to the extensive damage to the island’s infrastructure. “People are angry. But they are not angry with God,” Pastor Rodriguez said. “Coming through this storm has made them receptive to God, but angry with government and agencies. The government will always disappoint the people. But God will not disappoint. He is still there.”

While hurricane relief continues daily in many forms, Pastor Rodriguez said the greatest need in Coamo is funding. He explained that many of the people left in that area are skilled laborers and are capable of performing the needed repairs. However, funding for supplies and wages for these workers is preventing the work from being completed. The CBA Church Network hopes to raise $15,000 explicitly designated for hurricane relief in the city of Coamo.

“Puerto Rico is called ‘The Island of the Lamb,’ which refers to Christ, said Pastor Rodriguez. “But the people there have turned their backs on God. We are reaching out to people. We want to recapture the Island of the Lamb.”

To partner with Pastor Rodriguez and donate to Hurricane Relief efforts in Coamo, click the link below.

Donate to Hurricane Relief in Coamo, Puerto Rico.



Meet Pastor Luis Rodriguez

Meet Pastor Luis Rodriguez
Tuesday, December 12
10am – 11:30am

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) has asked Southern Baptist Associations around the country to adopt and form church-to-church partnerships with churches in Puerto Rico who were devastated by Hurricane Maria this fall. The CBA Church Network has been assigned Iglesia Bautista Raham de Coamo church in Coamo, a city of roughly 40,000 people.
Pastor Rodriguez serves as lead pastor for the church, and as the President of the Baptist Convention of Puerto Rico. The city still does not have running water, and there are numerous opportunities to minister to both physical and spiritual needs through partnerships with this church.
On Tuesday, Pastor Luis will be at the CBA Church Network offices to share how our churches can help the people of Coamo as we minister together in this disaster-ravaged area.
Please plan to join us to see how our network churches can connect, collaborate, and engage with Iglesia Bautista Raham de Coamo and be living witnesses of the Gospel to the people of Coamo, Puerto Rico.
Tuesday, December 12
10am – 11:30am
 970 S Hwy 5, Fairview, TX 75069

CBA Hosts Church Safety & Security Seminar

Due to the overwhelming response to this event, the location has been changed to the Chapel of First Baptist Church of McKinney – 1615 W Louisiana St, McKinney, TX 75069

Following recent events in Sutherland Springs, the CBA Church Network, in cooperation with the Collin County Sheriff’s Department, will host a Church Safety & Security Seminar later this month.

“The specter of someone entering our churches determined to commit mass murder, once unthinkable, must now be considered,” said CBA Church Network Executive Director Vince Smith.  Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner will brief church leaders on how to react to an active shooter situation, and other scenarios churches may now face. He will also address questions related to best practices, legalities of safety teams and similar issues.

All church staff, leaders, and lay-leaders are invited to the seminar, which will be held at First Baptist Church of McKinney in the Chapel on Thursday, November 30. A light lunch begins at 11:30 am. The 90-minute presentation will begin at noon. Please go to to RSVP for this free event.

“We are all understandably anxious,” said Smith. “We want our church leaders to be able to respond to questions and concerns about safety from their congregations by saying church leaders have met with the Sheriff, and local law enforcement representatives, and are implementing their recommendations.

CBA Church Network Mission Partnership in Hungary

Dear CBA Church Network and others:

Surely, all of us have had one of those life-impacting experiences that gives us new focus. I had one of those in 2016 when I was asked to lead a team from a CBA church on an evangelistic mission trip to Hungary.

While there, our host church made great plans to reach out to their friends, neighbors and others in their city. The response to our outreach was good and the churches in Hungary have done a great job of follow-up.

It is my prayer that many of our CBA churches will enlist a team to go with me/us. A team consists more or less of 4 to 8 people from one or more churches. Of course, a church can have more than one team. We would love to see our pastors as team leaders, though it is not a requirement.

I am praying that God will call at least 12 to 15 churches to partner together as living witnesses of the Gospel in Hungary. If more churches want to go, I believe the Hungarians can add to the number of their churches hosting a team. The spirit is moving in Hungary. You have probably heard about the awakening there.

You are invited to join me in responding to this wonderful “Macedonian call.” Click Here to find out more!

Vince Smith
Executive Director
CBA Church Network

Annual Christmas Lunch – The Night Before Christmas

Around the world, many missionaries and their families do not have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in the same way they would if they were in their home country. As a result, many develop special traditions of their own as they celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve.

The Night Before Christmas is the theme for the 2017 CBA Church Network Christmas Luncheon. The annual event will be held from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Monday, December 4 in the Atrium of Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen.

The program was written by CBA staff member Marc Ira Hooks while serving overseas in Eastern Europe, where Christmas is a minor holiday and is celebrated in January following the Eastern Orthodox calendar.

Hooks remembers their first Christmas overseas, where his family was awakened not by the sound of carols, or by ringing Christmas bells, but by jackhammers and noises of the workers at the construction site outside their window – December 25 was just an ordinary workday in Russia.

The audience participation-based program begins with a celebration of Advent, and the ligting of candles. Following a catered lunch by Hutchins BBQ in McKinney, participants will help tell the story of Jesus’ birth as they construct a large Nativity.

Music will be provided by Jud Kossum of Gateway Baptist Church in Wylie. An offering benefiting the CBA Disaster Relief fund will be taken, followed by a drawing for door prizes.

You can make your reservations for you and your church staff by visiting:

CBA Email Addresses Have Changed

As Collin Baptist Association transitions to CBA Church Network, please take a few minutes to update your address book for email.

For general information, send email to

Our Staff Addresses:

Other CBA Church Network Addresses:


Living Witnesses: Caring and Hope

October 15, 6pm, at First Baptist Church Allen Collin Baptist Association calls all our churches to meet in worship for A Night of Caring and Hope. We state our shared vision this way: “We live for the day when every girl, boy, woman and man within our reach experiences a living witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Gospel literally means “Good News.” Our world is full of bad news—I hope you will come hear how God works through people to bring Good News through his church.
It is a fact bad news abounds. The last two months have seen unprecedented natural disasters in our own backyard. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria pounded Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, flooding homes, destroying business and claiming over 300 lives. The Mexico City earthquake shattered homes and buildings, also claiming over 300 lives.

Human inflicted horrors also abound. The worst mass-murder in Plano history occurred just last month– 9 young adults, including the murderer, killed. Today, as this article is written, our nation experienced the worst mass murder in our history in Las Vegas. An insane man massacred over 50 people putting even more horrific carnage scenes in front of our eyes. The amount of pain, suffering, and horror inflicted on so many people, in so many places, in such a brief time span is staggering.
Against this backdrop of horror and pain, we see God quietly loving and caring for people through his church, through His people. God’s people served many thousands of meals, prayed with thousands of people, removed countless tons of storm and flood debris and cleaned thousands of homes. God’s people are literally giving their blood in response to the Las Vegas massacre plea for plasma to treat the 100s of wounded. Our own CBA churches and people have been part of this response (come hear the details October 15).

The last few months profoundly highlight death, destruction and lostness. God calls and commands every follower of Jesus to be a living witness to a lost and dying world. What does being a living witness look like in the face of such death and destruction? Consider God’s servant Job.

When told of the loss of his children and wealth, Job fell on the ground and worshiped God.
20 Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, 21 saying: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything. Job 1:20–22 (CSB)

When Job was afflicted with infectious sores all over his body and his wife told him to blame and curse God and die, Job continued to worship.
9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 “You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:9–10 (CSB)

The temptation to curse God and to blame God for all the ills of the world is strong. Job never did. Job did not blame God despite his own wife’s urging. When Job’s friends came to comfort him, they too wanted to determine why these horrific things occurred. Not being as personally impacted, instead of blaming God they blamed Job. Job’s wife blamed God, Job’s friends blamed Job. Job wondered why he was even born.

They were all wrong. They answered the wrong question. We tend to begin with, “Why did this happen?” which quickly moves to “Whose fault is this?” question. We want to assign blame. The right and more constructive question is, “How do we respond to this evil darkness?” Witness, works and worship are much better responses than asking answerless questions. Only God can answer “why” and only God can assign blame. God asks you and me to be living witnesses to the Good News. Living witnesses that pray for God’s kingdom to come (Matt 6:9-15), care for those in need–“clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned” (Matt 25:31-46), share the truth of Jesus–“proclaim the Good News to the poor!” (Luke 4:18)

Over the past five years CBA focused on becoming a network of churches that connect, collaborate, and engage with one another in being a living witness (prayer-care-share) where we live (households) and work (marketplace) to all people (people groups) everywhere within our reach. This past year’s work advanced this strategy significantly. Our network’s response to Hurricane Harvey (stories will be shared October 15 at A Night of Caring and Hope) by collecting goods, sending volunteers, and connecting with other organizations (SEND Relief, Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief and local churches) mobilized 100s of people and untold thousands of dollars. One team from a CBA Asian-Indian church started a Bible study for Asian-Indians in Beaumont that is the beginning of a new church there!

Regional examples of our connect, collaborate, and engage strategy include church starts (8 receiving funding, 4 new this year, all include multiple partner organizations/churches) and the launch of with Unite Greater Dallas (a specialized search engine and referral system for free and reduced cost services). In the area of evangelism and discipleship, CBA connected churches with Revive Texas and No Place Left ministries. Churches involved in these efforts saw their members engaged in direct evangelism that led to baptisms and discipleship. Church members that had never shared their faith with words discovered people do want to hear about Jesus! These efforts and many other examples are chronicled in The Encourager Magazine ( Give it a read and see what God is doing!

It is exciting to see God move in our churches! It is exciting to see girls, boys, women and men experience a living witness to Jesus Christ. Our network of churches is working! Thank you for the privilege of serving the CBA Church Network.

Living for the day…

Kingdom Perspective



The Lord’s prayer is the first “real” prayer I memorized as a child as it is for most of us who grew up in church. Certainly, I learned “Now I lay me down to sleep” and “God is great, God is good” first, but the Lord’s Prayer is the first prayer from the Bible. Praying it has brought me great comfort over the years. In times of grief, fear and stress I discover myself saying the words in my head without realizing I started. Knowing God is in heaven and is in control when all that surrounds me is out of control brings great comfort and peace.

I just completed five years as your associational missionary. As I reflect on the shift from local church pastor to associational missionary, it is somewhat ironic that the greatest lesson I have learned is embedded in this prayer—one I have known since I was 3 or 4 years old. That lesson is one of emphasis — the emphasis is on the kingdom of God.

We all know this command–“seek ye first the kingdom of God.” It is in the same chapter as the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:33). As a local church pastor, I certainly understood that the work of the church is kingdom work. What I did not understand, however, is what that work looks like when viewed as a whole.

What I did not, and could not, understand from that position is how the work of the kingdom is interconnected. I had to leave the seat of pastor and move to the seat of area missionary to see more clearly how and why God has so many different expressions of church. I can see more clearly how the Holy Spirit is in control and moving across our region. I see how God puts flesh on our living witness in this region from church to church in ways I could not see from the perspective of one church.

This is a lesson only learned with a change in perspective. I lived in South Dakota for six years. It is known as the “Rushmore State” and one of the sayings is “Great Faces, Great Places” because of Mt. Rushmore. Mt. Rushmore is one of those experiences that the postcards cannot capture. To truly understand and experience what was chiseled out of rock by men hanging in leather straps, one must see it in person.

When one is driving on the road behind Mt. Rushmore you cannot see its true grandeur. One sees the stone and the trees and you know it is called Mt. Rushmore, but from that perspective, you only see a beautiful mountain—big deal. It is not until you come around to the monument side of the mountain that the picture become clear and you see the “Big Deal!”

The kingdom of God is a “Big Deal!” I thought I had kingdom perspective as a local church pastor and I did, but it was a limited perspective. I have a different perspective now because God moved me to a different role in the kingdom. In this role, I can see how big, great and good the kingdom truly is. I can better appreciate what “seek ye first the kingdom” means. I more clearly understand what I am asking God when I pray “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done” and “For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.” We are indeed praying for God to bring His kingdom into every nook and cranny of Collin County and beyond. We live for the day when every girl, boy, woman and man experiences a living witness to the Kingdom of God—the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thank you for calling me to serve the church from my missionary seat. The view from this side of the kingdom is incredible! Let us keep praying together for His Kingdom to come and for his will to be done with confidence for His is “the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

NOTE: This version of the Lord’s Prayer is the “Catholic Children’s Version.” I am not exactly sure why it is the version I was taught growing up in Baptist churches, but nevertheless it is the one I learned. The textually correct prayer is found in both Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.