From the Wisconsin Baptist newsletter – September 2021
John Jones, ABC/WI Interim Regional Executive Minister
So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. Romans 12:5
A lesson that I keep learning over and over again is how much I need other people. Despite western culture’s warped notion of the rugged and independent individual, we who see with the eyes of faith know in our bones that human beings are not meant to live as separate, isolated units. We are connected to and interdependent with one another in ways that scientists are only beginning to comprehend. Our human brains seem to be wired to be in relationship with others. We need each other to be our best selves.
Paul intuitively understood this profound reality. His understanding of faith in Jesus Christ made the notion that we could live out our faith independent of one another ludicrous. To think that I could participate in God’s kingdom apart from my brother and sister in Christ would be as ridiculous as my ear asserting its independence: “I am my own person,” or my foot telling my hand, “I don’t need you” (1 Corinthians 12:15-16).
As the body of Christ, we need each other. Even with all the magnificent diversity within this body, we still need each other to live into God’s kingdom.
I have had the good fortune recently to visit and to worship with a few of our congregations. They have been diverse. They didn’t all look the same. The styles of worship were not uniform. There were even different languages being spoken. Yet in all that marvelous diversity, the unity we know in Christ is an undeniable reality. We all need each other to live out our faith.
That is a fundamental conviction of my faith. We need each other.
And that is a foundational reality for our work as a Region, as the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin. This October 2, that foundational reality finds expression in our 177th Annual Gathering which will take place online again this year. The theme of our Annual Gathering is “Church Together.” Though we will be “gathering” virtually again this year, it is an essential element of our collective faith that we do come together – in all our diversity – as the body of Christ.
So let me invite you to go to our website www.abcofwi.org to check out the offerings for our Annual Gathering. There will be the Annual Meeting, Breakout Sessions, a Lunchtime speaker, afternoon Equipping Sessions, and Closing Worship. All these offerings are meant to provide us with the opportunity to keep learning that truth that we do indeed need each other, so that we can keep living into the reality of “Church Together.”