Staff Week: “Only God” Could Make That Shot for Multiple Ministries

Written By Lisa Kooiman

Staff Week: “Only God” Could Make That Shot for Multiple Ministries

Fresno, CA – The rallying of CSBC Ministry teams at the March Staff Week meetings had leaders and staff rejoicing for the winning shots God continues to make in their efforts on the California mission field.

A “strategic amoeba defense” has been implemented by CFO and Business Services Team Leader Marc Tempesta to support the goals for 2024 Cooperative Program giving. “We are trying to prime the pump by reintroducing a past practice of sending our churches their 2023 giving statements, to help bring attention to church leadership if their giving strategies are being executed according to their planned giving,” said Tempesta. “I think it’s a powerful tool to provide to our churches,” he continued.

Matt Brower, Marketing Coordinator, and Michael Solorio, Content Developer, members of the CSBC Communications department, presented another 2024 California Mission Offering resource video to the staff, featuring an MMA ministry from Orange County, CA.

The Disaster Relief team has spent the last five weeks in San Diego helping flood victims by completing muck-outs and mold remediation from homes and feedings of over two thousand people, as was reported by Director Kendrick Neal. “We also held a Roundtable Training in Fresno for about twenty-one new volunteers two weeks ago. Having these additional volunteers really helps set the vision for the goals we aim to accomplish in 2024. The CSBCDR will have a presence at the Northpointe Church Missions Fair event, March 10th.” said Neal. “Only God is making all of these opportunities possible,” he concluded.

Members of the Missions Initiative Team are no ball hogs. Francis Chung, Missions Team Leader, shared details of the Feeding Those Who Feed Us ministry’s accomplishments since their last report in February. Additionally, Chung reported:

  • Completing agreement with IMB’s Mobilization Team to extend more resources into California.
  • Progress in collaboration efforts with Chinese Baptist Fellowship and IMB to plant Cantonese Baptist Churches in the UK.
  • Working with various churches such as New Vision and Acts 2 Network to work with nearby migrant centers.
  • Creating a better understanding of the missionary task by working with IMB and Gateway to shoot modules and establish mission pipelines.

Chung, too, reiterated, ‘Only God could be making these things possible.”

Church Matters team members shared praise reports for events and connections they have been working to establish. Church Music Workshop North was held on February 24th, Roger Byrd shared. “There were 260 attendees from about 40 different churches in attendance at the event. They also honored Roger Jones, who has been donating two guitars a year for the past 20 years to these special workshops, at the event.”

Cathie Smith, who oversees Women’s Ministry, recently celebrated the connections established with Korean and African American women’s groups. She noted a significant change in approaching these groups by asking the question, “How can we come alongside and support our diverse brothers and sisters?” Smith also encouraged women who would like to attend the Minister’s Wives Retreat to complete their registration. Scholarships have been made available to help with the cost.

Jason Robertson, Church Matters Team Leader, echoed the praises of how the CSBC leaders and staff continue to bless our churches and the ‘vertical jumps’ the team regularly makes to meet the needs of our churches.

Jason Blankenship, Evangelism Team Leader, pivoted his standard report to reflect on his eighth year in denominational ministry and wanted to note spiritual drifts that may occur in the daily grind of kingdom work. Blankenship reminded the team, “Our relationships are our roads. We need good roads. The program or work should never become more important than the people. Our churches are the wonderous bride of Christ.”

Jimmie Davidson presented the Send California monthly report, highlighting that church planting residencies have partnered with the evangelism workshops to make even more resources available. Davidson also shared that the Send Network North Bay Sending Lab was held at Castlewood Baptist Church at the end of February. Over 20 North Bay Area church pastors and leaders attended and developed their vision to be sending churches. “We want California to hear the Good News of the Lord,” Davidson resounded.

Executive Director Ramirez asked Church Planting Specialist Veronica Morales to share with the team the benefits suite she has been working on recently for CSBC Church planters.

“This has been a collaborative effort with the Church Matters team, in helping these church planters get their EIN number, a CSBC ID, help the overall process of the church plants to be formally recognized by the state, incorporated, and apply for membership into the convention.” 

Ramirez pinpointed upcoming events the staff should prepare for.

  • SBC Executive Committee, President and CEO Nominee Jeff Iorg will be voted on in a special committee meeting in Dallas, TX, – March 21.
  • California State DOM Fellowship meeting – March 25-26
  • Committee on Convention Operations meeting – March 8

Ramirez made a point to emphasize the importance of listening and asked the team to pray for all the crucial upcoming events happening in the month of March. “It is so important to have good leadership, and many, if not all, see Dr. Iorg as a unifying presence to the circumstances that have occurred in the past,” said Ramirez.

“I have spoken with CSBC President Slade about building alliances with our California ethnic groups in preparation for the Committee on Convention Operations to incorporate the idea of celebrating our diverse church family into the theme for the Annual Meeting.”

Ramirez’s final words to the leaders and staff, “Put your eyes back on the Lord, and watch God show up!”

About the Author

Lisa Kooiman
Executive Assistant, Office of Communications, CSBC

Lisa Kooiman serves as the executive assistant in the Office of Communications for the California Southern Baptist Convention. She is a graduate of California State University, Fresno. Lisa and her husband, Ruben, are enjoying the season of parenthood with their preschool daughter, Everly. They attend the Old Town Campus of Clovis Hills Community Church, the very church (under different leadership and name) where Lisa made a profession of faith and was baptized as a young girl.

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