For clergy, seminarians, and lay leaders.
Wisconsin Ministers Council
ABC Wisconsin is grateful to be strong partners with the Wisconsin American Baptist Ministers Council. While the region staff seeks to support our ministers in various ways, the Ministers Council is an organization for the ministers, led by the ministers. Furthermore, the Wisconsin chapter is connected to chapters throughout our denomination. When ministers encourage one another toward collegiality, competence, and centeredness, the individual ministers are strengthened, as is the collective Body of Christ. The region office commends to all ministers to learn more about the Ministers Council and consider how you would be involved — and then act! Churches would do well to also support their professional ministerial staff by encouraging them to be connected to a life-giving and accountable circle of colleagues like the Ministers Council by allotting work time for them to attend such gatherings and for paying for their membership dues through an “Accountable Reimbursement Plan.”
Trainings for Clergy & Lay Leaders
Scholarships from the Blumer Fund can be used for these courses and more. More information on the Blumer fund can be found further down the page.
Lombard Mennonite Peace Center
Lombard Mennonite Peace Center has a variety of webinars and single-day Zoom classes on conflict transformation, pastor-church relations, leadership skills, and more.
More information can be found here.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies Center for Continuous Learning
ABHMS with MinistrElife hosts a variety of courses on Hybrid Church, Financial Literacy, and Strategic Planning, and more.
More information can be found here.
Central Seminary ReShaping Church series from Thriving Congregations
ReShaping Church is a guided process for capturing and integrating the innovation and adaptation resulting from disruptive life experiences, transforming churches into greater expressions of the body of Christ.
More information can be found here. Registration for the next series begins June 2022.
Clergy and Seminarian Grants/Scholarships
2024 Blumer Clergy and Seminarian Grants/Scholarship – Information Page – Click HERE
2024 Blumer Clergy and Seminarian Grants/Scholarship – Application – Click HERE
Melvin J. Battle Scholarship application from Calvary Baptist Church – Click HERE
Information about a scholarship program from Church Mutual – Click HERE
Louisville Institute Research/Study Grants
Four grant programs support religious and theological scholarship among three strategic constituencies: pastors, academics, and researchers for the broader church.
Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program:
“…open to Christian congregations whose pastors are serious about parish ministry and who can envision this program as a means of renewing the pastor’s commitment to the congregation and to ordained ministry. The program is designed for those congregations and pastors who have a strong relationship with one another, a high degree of mutual trust and support, and are eager to see their relationship strengthened, renewed and continued.”
ABHMS Grants for Ministerial Leaders
ABHMS offers additional grants for individuals serving in American Baptist Churches. Clergy, lay leaders, and individuals are encouraged to apply for our grants to enhance their skills for ministry through related conferences and events. More information can be found here. These grants can be used for any of the above continuing education opportunities.
For a full list of all scholarship and continuing education grants through ABHMS, click here.
Madison Learning Community
The Madison Learning Community (MLC) is an initiative of University of Dubuque Theological Seminary offering seminary-level courses to Madison-area pastors, church leaders, and others eager to deepen ministry skills and join a diverse community committed to the local Church.
The first course on preaching begins on January 24th and will be facilitated by our own Rev. Dr. Marcus Allen along with the Rev. Dr. Jessica Patchett. For more information, contact Lief Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-469-2261. A poster for this event can be found here, and Madison Seminary’s website can be found here.
Salzmann Library, St. Francis, WI
Through CENTRAL Wisconsin’s seminary site partnership with Salzmann Library, we strongly encourage seminarians, faculty members, and ABC ministers and church leaders to utilize the excellent resources available at Salzmann Library, located on the campus of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in St. Francis, WI. Not only can you benefit from the collections at Salzmann for theological studies, sermon preparation, christian education, and ministry resourcing, you can also benefit from the resources available throughout the SWITCH consortium of eight academic libraries throughout greater Milwaukee area.
To learn more about Salzmann Library, including becoming a patron, click HERE.
The second course offered by the Leadership Training Academy will be “Hebrew Scriptures,” taught by Rev. Dr. May May Latt, pastor of Milwaukee Myanmar Christian Church.
Saturdays 8:30-12:30: March 2, 16, & April 6
Hybrid: Both in person at First Baptist West Allis (1576 S. 78th St., West Allis) and on Zoom
Cost: $100 (for members of ABC Wisconsin churches – non-ABC/WI = $125)
Hebrew Scriptures – An opportunity to study the Old Testament in greater depth. We’ll look at WHAT makes up the Hebrew Scriptures (Jesus’ scriptures) including helpful categories of literature. We’ll also contemplate many WHY questions to try to understand the text of the Hebrew people. And we’ll discuss HOW to read and interpret the text respectfully and honestly as Christians. This class is aimed at laity and lay leaders who want to learn a little more about the Old Testament text. All are welcome to join this class that will be taught by Hebrew Scriptures scholar Rev. Dr. May May Latt.
Instructor – This course will be taught by Rev. Dr. May May Latt. Pastor May May is pastor of Milwaukee Myanmar Christian Church. She also works for ATLA, a research database specializing in religion and theology. Her scholarly focus has been the Hebrew Prophets, especially Isaiah.
Apply to the Leadership Training Academy and enroll now. APPLY
“Worship Design & Leadership”
The first course of the Leadership Training Academy will be “Worship Design & Leadership,” taught by Mary Schecher.
Meeting Saturdays 8:30-12:30 = January 13, 27 & February 10
Hybrid: Both in person at First Baptist West Allis (1576 S. 78th St., West Allis) and on Zoom
Worship Design & Leadership – A perfect opportunity to understand better the structure and purpose of worship. We’ll examine WHAT worship is, WHY we do what we do, and HOW to organize worship in a way that blesses people and glorifies God. This class is aimed at lay leaders and lay pastors who may have a role in leading worship. We want to provide you with the resources to help make worship planning and leadership life-giving not only for the congregation but also for you, the leaders.
The course will follow the general template of WHAT – WHY – HOW.
WHAT? What is worship? What are we doing when we worship? Take a step back and ask the basic question of what is happening when we worship. The course will begin with a clear examination of worship.
WHY? Why do we worship? Why do we do certain things and not others? We’ll get further into worship, examining the reasoning behind the various elements of worship.
HOW? How do we carry out the basic action of worship? How do we structure our worship services and our worship plan for the year? Receive practical tips for helping plan and lead worship.
Instructor – Dr. Mary Schecher, BM, MM, MLIS, DWS. Mary is the Director of Music Ministry at First Baptist Church-West Allis. She earned a Doctorate in Worship Studies. Her background includes time serving in churches of various denominations, providing a broad exposure to different worship traditions and styles. She has presented workshops and trainings for professional organizations and has served as a worship leader for American Baptist gatherings at the state and national level. She is presently teaching at Central Baptist Seminary in the areas of creativity and worship leadership.
HEALTHY BOUNDARIES TRAINING
Thursday, May 16 (9 am-5 pm)
Saturday, May 18 (9 am - 5pm)
Location: Progressive Baptist Church - 8324 W Keefe Ave., Milwaukee.
Hybrid option will be available. Lunch will be provided.
Healthy boundaries are a gift. They are helpful guidelines that give shape to our relationships. Life-enriching relationships, whether with our spouse, family, friends, colleagues, or parishioners, require healthy boundaries.
This workshop explores the meaning and practice of healthy boundaries in the context of ministry. It will also identify the signs, dangers, and preventions of boundary violations.
Topics will include: Power and Vulnerability, Dating, Friendships, Dual Relationships, Gifts, The Pulpit, Transference, Hugging and Touch, Intimacy, Personal and Professional Health (Self-Care, Red Flags), and Social Media
The workshop fee of $50 covers the cost of the program, workbook, and lunch.
The workshop leader will be Rev. Dr. Mary Miller, executive minister of TABCOM (The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts) since 2015. She holds a Doctor of Ministry from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Mary has taught and consulted in the area of church conflict. She is certified by FaithTrust Institute to provide training in Clergy Ethics and Boundaries, which she teaches regularly. She brings a wealth of experience, having served two long-term pastorates and more than a decade in region ministry.
In her free time, Mary enjoys travel, photography, swimming, and scuba diving. She “collects” US National Parks and visits at least one each year. Mary has two adult children.
Please register by May 6.
The Teaching Pastors Forum was first established in 2019 as a partnership between ABC of Wisconsin and Central Seminary. Though the seminary site is now closed, ABC of Wisconsin is again offering the Forum. TPF is an opportunity for a pastor or minister in the region to share her/his passion project in dialogue with colleagues in ministry. Participants share a simple lunch, followed by a presentation and the opportunity for extended conversation. This year we will be attempting a “hybrid” format for the Teaching Pastors Forum.
The Region is blessed to have pastors and ministers with a wide variety of helpful gifts and interests. Below you’ll find descriptions of our upcoming offerings. Please register at least 1 week prior.
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 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.
LOCATION: Progressive Baptist Church – 8324 W. Keefe Ave., Milwaukee
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
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