Where is Your Focus?

Where is your focus in life? In your church? For several months now we have been talking about this matter as an Association of churches. We have determined that this statement encapsulates our focus: “Stone Mountain Baptist Association of Churches starts and strengthens churches in  partnership to ignite a spiritual awakening.” There are several key components to this statement:

  • We are partners: We are better together as churches work in partnership to fulfill the Great Commission starting in our Jerusalem.
  • We are an Association of Churches: We aren’t a separate entity. We exist because of the church and our focus is to serve you.
  • We start churches: When churches partner together then we can send others out to unreached people groups and underserved communities of lostness.
  • We strengthen churches: As we partner together, we strengthen one another and we continue to build the Body of Christ
  • Our outcome is Spiritual Awakening: An awakening takes place when God sovereignly pours out his Spirit and it impacts a culture.

I am continuing to share this statement and unpack its meaning so we can gain understanding and your feedback. Please send me your thoughts!


Would You Treat Me as a Visitor or Guest?

 On Jul 21, 2019 10:32 pm Walking down the sidewalk of a non-specific city, I noticed a woman about a half block ahead of me. She raised up from rummaging through a trash can on the sidewalk. Her appearance was not like everyone else on the sidewalks that day. Her hair dirty and oily, her clothing tattered, wrinkled and unclean, everything about her appearance was alien to her surroundings. The reception of the people around her? To ignore, avoid, and avert getting close to her.

Sitting in a restaurant enjoying lunch while on a road trip, I noticed a homeless man, dressed much like the woman in the earlier scenario, enter the restaurant. He walked straight up to the counter, said something (that I could not hear) to the young man preparing sandwiches. In less than a minute the man was handed a wrapped sandwich from behind the counter. He nodded and I believe said thanks and exited the restaurant with his head down. It turns out the restaurant has a policy of feeding the homeless one sandwich a day, if they come in orderly without troubling the customers inside or outside the restaurant.   The main difference in these two scenarios is one is expected, the other is considered a nuisance. We often go out of our way to avoid those not like us, men and women that we do not expect to interact with or meet. The woman on the sidewalk just happened to show up as we were walking that way. We were not expecting her and did not desire to spend time with her. The restaurant on the other hand expected and prepared for the homeless. The difference is one is a visitor, one is a guest.   Let’s turn this to the church (or other organization). In your church do you have visitors or guests? There is a difference. The difference is how you treat them. A guest is someone you are expecting. You prepare for them and you want them to stay. A visitor is someone who shows up unexpectedly and you hope they do not stay.   A personal example: Let’s say you invite me to your home for a meal. Before I arrive, you spend time cleaning, cooking and preparing for me. You are expecting me to be your guest. You anticipate my arrival and expect me to stay a while.   On the other hand, if you do not invite me, yet I show up on your doorstep one evening and announce, “I’m here for supper.” You are not expecting me. You are likely hoping that I am joking and not planning to stay. In this scenario, I am a visitor.   In your church are newcomers treated as guests or visitors? Are you genuinely planning for their arrival and want them to stay even if they do not look, dress, smell, or talk like you? What can you do to make every newcomer feel like a welcomed guest?   George Yates is an Organizational Health Strategist and coach, assisting churches, organizations, and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more by visiting www.soncare.net   Your Association of Churches is equipped to help you with training for Greeters and Ushers, call us today!


Holy Land Trip

Cathy and I would like to invite you to join us as we visit the Holy Land! I will be leading a 10-Day Tour to Israel beginning November 1-10, 2020.
This is a trip that will impact your life, result in a new spiritual awakening and awareness, and leave you with memories like no other excursion you have ever experienced. We will be visiting exciting sites such as the Mt. of Beatitudes, Old City Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Masada and the Dead Sea, along with many other wonderful locations.
Sail in a boat on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus and his disciples traveled, visit the tomb where Lazarus came forth, explore the tunnels under the Temple Mount, visit the pool of Siloam where Christ healed the blind man, walk on the Mt. of Olives and in The Garden of Gethsemane, and so much more!
For additional information or questions, you may contact me anytime at 770-289-3489 mobile or via email at lcheek814@gmail.com. We look forward to you joining us on this incredible trip of a lifetime.
To view the itinerary, for our tour


Cheeks’ Challenge-July 2019 Newsletter

Henry Blackaby author of the bestselling book, Experiencing God, stated, “Find out what God is doing and join him!”
Just the other day I was at breakfast with a group of Newton County Pastors. A discussion ensued about a strategy to reach a new community. Many ideas were discussed such as block parties, door to door, etc.
Chad Caldwell, Pastor at Journey church stated, “We have left something out, prayer!” He then began to tell us that God had impressed upon him to call his church to prayer and suspend Bible study prior to the morning worship service each week. They have been doing this for several weeks and they are asking God to do what only He can do in their lives and the church.
Talk about a God sighting!
God is at work everyday and I am already hearing reports of raindrops of his blessings to our churches even as we are in the middle of strategic planning for our Association of Churches.
I have been sharing the outcome of our process which is, “Stone Mountain Baptist Association of Churches starts and strengthens churches to ignite spiritual awakening.”
Join me in praying that God will ignite spiritual awakening among our churches! 


A Gift That Keeps On Giving!

What kind of gift can you give that keeps on giving even way beyond your lifetime? In our Association of Churches, we have many dear saints that are departing this earth for their eternal reward that have lived a missional lifestyle. Perhaps you may be encouraged by this story to follow this example and donate in honor or memory of someone you love to our New Work Foundation. 
Ralph Lewis Hull, a layman with a heart for missions went home to be with our Lord June 17,2019. As I attended his Celebration of Life service at First Baptist Church Conyers, where he was a member, I was overwhelmed by emotion as I heard about this man’s love for his Lord, family and for missions in the Stone Mountain Baptist Association of Churches and literally around the world.
Lewis, and his wife Helen, labored in the Church and in our mission field. They accompanied our Bold Mission Builders on countless trips through the years. In addition, they were sent as missionaries from the Rockdale Baptist Church to start the Hope Baptist Church back in 1990.   Lewis and Helen also hosted summer missionaries for our Association in their home.
Lewis not only made plans to meet our Lord by receiving Christ as His savior, but he made specific plans for his Celebration of life service. Below is an excerpt of his thoughts about death in his own handwriting!
Lewis’ children have exhibited a missional lifestyle as well. Their daughter Patsy and her family hosted one of the very first Bible studies I led in starting new churches back in the 80’s. Their son, Eddie and his family are active at First Baptist Conyers.
Eddie called me to let me know of his father’s home going and that in lieu of flowers, the family wanted donations to go our New Work Foundation. Over $1,000 dollars has been received by our Foundation because of this family’s thoughtfulness.
Have you or one of your loved ones considered making a gift that keeps on giving? There are numerous options, a memorial or “in honor” gift, life insurance or your will or estate. Contact Bobby Gilstrap, Executive Director of our New Work Foundation to assist you at 770-483-2776 or bgilstrap@NewWorkFoundation.com.
CLICK HERE to make a donation.

Jesus said, “Upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!” (Matt 16:18) Our New Work Foundation continues to help build the Kingdom by “resourcing new churches for healthy beginnings.”


Game Time

We have been “keeping score” and when this vision was adopted, we consisted of 39 churches in two languages. Currently our Association has a membership of 98 churches reaching 25 languages. In addition, we have a network partnership with 54 churches for a total of 152 churches that we currently serve! This number does not count the countless church planters who are out there that we are working with that are in the process of starting new churches. So, What’s Next? I’m glad you asked! We have a Strategic Focus Team that has been meeting for several months to address this question. Our next meeting is Thursday, May 16 from 8 am until noon at the Associational office. You are welcome to join us! While we have much to celebrate, the work is not complete! One Fifth of the population of metro Atlanta lives around our churches. With the booming economic growth of East Metro Atlanta which includes the largest movie studio in the state and a Facebook plant, we must take a look and determine what God wants us to do? Where do we go from here? We are working on a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) that can only be accomplished if God is right in the middle of it all! What we do know is that what we have done in the past won’t be sufficient for the future. Our conversations have moved to continuing to start and strengthen churches with a focus on discipleship that will allow us to raise up leaders in our context that we can deploy to our mission field. Our future is greater than our past! Share with me your thoughts, your input is needed. Call me or email me at lcheek@stonemountianbaptistassociation.org.
SMBA Pastor Gives away his shoes on a Sunday
Ken Magness, Pastor of First Baptist Stone Mountain went home from church on a Sunday morning without his shoes, he had given them away! As we met recently, he told me this intriguing story of how God was working in his life and the Church. A young couple with a baby came in late for worship at First Baptist a Sunday morning in June. At the close of the service the father approached the Pastor and asked him if the church could help him with a pair of dress shoes and pants that were required for the new job, he was starting Monday morning. Pastor Magness replied and said, “Well we have a lady in our church with a burden to begin a ministry to help people  know how to dress and interview for employment, but we just started and we aren’t  ready to help yet.” Upon saying that to the young father the Holy Spirit reminded Pastor Magness of the words of Peter  to the man at the temple gate, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I do have, I give to you….” (Acts 3: 5 HSCB) The Pastor asked the man, “What size shoes do you wear?” He stated, “A size 9”. Pastor Magness responded, “Here, try these dress shoes on, they are a 9 ½.” And he took off his shoes and gave them to the young father. The Pastor turned to a Deacon standing nearby for some money for the dress pants. The deacon gladly responded, and along with a $20.00 bill the Pastor had in his pocket, they supplied the need for dress pants and a shirt. The Pastor asked another member to pray with the young couple and they both received Jesus Christ as their Savior that day! This young couple went home with the Pastor’s shoes, a new change of clothes, and a changed life! Friends, God is at work every day! He wants to use share Jesus with others and give what we have.