Teaching Pastors Forum #1 — Tuesday – February 14, 2023

12:00 pm at Greater Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee.

“The Influence of Hindu Nationalism in the U.S.: Lessons for Christians”

SPEAKER: Rev. Chakravarthy Zadda, Ph.D. has served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Waukesha since 2017. He currently serves on the Board of Managers for ABC of Wisconsin, provides leadership for Asian Churches at the national level as the moderator/administration coordinator for the Alliance of Asian American Baptist Churches, and is part of American Baptist Churches USA’s Emerging Theologians Task Force. Rev. Zadda received his PhD in World Christianity and Missions from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 2015. He served as the Associate Regional Minister of American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago. Rev. Zadda also worked six years for the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago as the Director for International Student Affairs Office. He has lectured in the area of missiology at both Baptist and Lutheran seminaries in United States and in India. His research interests include missiology, history of evangelical & ecumenical movements, world religions and interfaith witnessing, modern history of India.

Before he moved to United States in 2005, served his home church, Stanton Memorial Baptist Church as its Associate Pastor. Along with his ministry with the local Church, he was actively involved in the denominational life of Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches (STBC), mission church of ABC-USA. He has provided leadership both at regional and national levels for the Church in India. Rev.Zadda served The National Council of Churches of India (NCCI) on the Dalit and Adivasi Commission, actively advocating for their rights.

TOPIC: Pastor Zadda spoke about the troubling movement of Hindu nationalism and the support offered in some parts of the United States. This topic opens up important questions of religious freedom as well as Christian nationalism. The discussion informed our understanding of the experience of brothers and sisters in India and how religion is used for nefarious purposes in the United States.

LOCATION: Greater Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church – 2479 N. Sherman Blvd., Milwaukee, WI


Teaching Pastors Forum #2 — Thursday – March 2, 2023

12:00 pm at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee.

“Paul and Barnabus: Clergy, Colleagues, and Conflict”

SPEAKER: A native of Milwaukee, Dr. Williams just celebrated 40 years of ministerial experience and 30 years of pastoral and teaching ministry. He served as senior pastor of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Dorchester, MA from 1992-1996 and as interim pastor at the Beecher Memorial UCC church, New Orleans, LA from 2000-03. He has also served as a supply preacher for several churches in the New Orleans area. In his pursuit of higher education Dr. Williams received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Comparative Religion in 1986, a Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) in 1988 and a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) in 1990, both from Harvard Divinity School. He completed in 1997 a Doctor of Theology degree (Th.D.) also from Harvard Divinity School. Formerly an Associate Professor in the Department of Classical Studies and Director of the Religious Studies Program at Tulane University, New Orleans, he has also served as an Adjunct Professor in theology at Marquette University and at the Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Shawnee, KS) at its Wisconsin site. He currently teaches at UW-Milwaukee in the Comparative Literature department and in the Religious Studies program. He has published several books.

Dr. Williams has been pastor of Community Baptist Church of Greater Milwaukee since January of 2009.

TOPIC: Pastor Williams again shared his stellar biblical scholarship, drawing on the story of Paul and Barnabus for lessons in ministry. A careful reading of Paul’s story reveals common experiences in the pursuit of ministry, particularly in working together with fellow ministers.

LOCATION: New Hope Missionary Baptist Church – 2433 W. Roosevelt Dr., Milwaukee, WI


Teaching Pastors Forum #3 — Tuesday – April 18, 2023

12:00 pm at the ABC/WI Region Office in Elm Grove.

“Spiritual Resources to Sustain Ministry”

SPEAKER: Rev. Karen Gygax-Rodriguez (aka “Pastor Karen”) is pastor of Federated Church in Green Lake, Wisconsin, having been called to that position in 1996. Raised in the First Baptist Church of Waukesha, Karen remembers the power God’s presence warming her soul in the Sunday morning worship, preaching, praying and music. After teaching at a bi-lingual Catholic Middle/High School in Cuernavaca, Morelos Mexico for her first years after college, Karen responded to the call to go seminary. Karen attended Colgate Rochester Divinity School as its first Rauchschenbush Scholar. Throughout her ministry, Karen has embraced continuing education, particularly in the area of spirituality. She has trained with Pete & Jeri Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality; Parker Palmer’s Center for Courage and Renewal and Dr. Ruth Haley Barton’s Transforming Communities (both TC-13 and TC-16).

TOPIC: Pastor Karen presented on “Spiritual Resources to Sustain Ministry.” A guiding question for the session was “How do you listen to your soul to sustain your ministry during challenging times?”

Some items for consideration:

  •  Finding and/or cultivating spiritual resources
  •  Listening to what your soul is saying (and getting permission to do so)
  •  Spiritual resources for longevity in ministry
LOCATION: ABC of Wisconsin Region office, 15330 Watertown Plank Rd., Elm Grove, WI 53122


Teaching Pastors Forum #4 — Wednesday – May 10, 2023

12:00 pm at First Baptist Church of West Allis

“Design Thinking and the Church”

SPEAKER: Rev. Jason Mack has 20 years of pastoral experience as a church planter, a part of the emerging church movement, and an associate at First Baptist, Madison. He is currently pastor at Underwood Memorial Baptist Church in Wauwatosa and will receive a doctorate in Creative Leadership from Central Seminary in the Spring of 23. Rev. Mack wrote his dissertation on applying design thinking tools to church leadership, specifically to the challenges facing small churches in historical buildings that no longer fit their needs.

TOPIC: At this Teaching Pastors Forum, Rev. Jason Mack introduced tools and ideas used by Silicon Valley start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. Sometimes called “Design Thinking” and sometimes called “Human Centered Design,” these tools have solved problems as diverse as navigating a computer screen (the mouse) to keeping premature infants warm in impoverished areas. Recently, a small but growing movement of pastors and church leaders has been wondering how these powerful ideas might be applied to the life of the church. Come be part of that movement. 

Are you wrestling with a particularly troublesome problem in your leadership?

Has your church been stuck in this one area that you just can’t figure out?

LOCATION: First Baptist Church of West Allis, 1576 S. 78th St., West Allis, WI 53214


Teaching Pastors Forum #5 — Tuesday – September 12, 2023

See the recorded session HERE.

“Ministry Ethics: a new Covenant and Code of Ethics from the Ministers Council”

SPEAKER: Rev. Jacki Belile is the Founder and Director of Living Well Ministries, a nationwide spiritual coaching and consulting ministry.  Ordained in 1999, she has served four congregations: Phoenix Community Church, Kalamazoo, MI (Sabbatical Pastor); Grace Baptist Church, Chicago, IL ; South Church, Mt. Prospect, IL (Sabbatical Pastor); and Eden United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL.  Jacki has been a part of the Ministers Council of ABC-USA since seminary days in 1994 and has served on the Metro-Chicago Ministers Council Cabinet since 2013.  She has also served in the Leadership Team for the national Ministers Council Leadership. She is a member of Lake Street Church of Evanston and lives in Chicago with her partner of 30 years. Her “living well” commitments include yoga, gardening, reading and- increasingly – a passion for dialogue encounters across political and religious difference.

TOPIC: The Ministers Council of ABCUSA has gone through a multi-year process in revising the Covenant and Code of Ethics that all ABC pastors are asked to sign. This session gave us the opportunity to consider “Ministry Ethics” from new perspectives and with new tools. Rev. Jacki Belile has been involved with the revision process and has experience in drawing out conversation around ministerial ethics. See the recorded session HERE.

LOCATION: Progressive Baptist Church – 8324 W. Keefe Ave., Milwaukee

Posted in Archive, Ministerial Resourcing.