About the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin
ABC-WI - Who We Are & What We Do
Who We Are
The American Baptist Churches in Wisconsin is the most diverse Protestant denominational body in Wisconsin. We are currently 58 cooperating churches, consisting of 21 African-American congregations, 4 Hispanic congregations, 7 Asian congregation (1 Chinese, 3 Chin, 2 Karen, and 1 Burmese-speaking multi-ethnic congregation), 1 historically Native American (Ho-Chunk) congregation, 24 Euro-American congregations and 1 multicultural congregation (Euro, Asian, Hispanic, and Karen). Of the 24 Euro-American churches, two are Welcoming and Affirming congregations, and three have non-Euro pastors. We currently have 12 women senior or solo pastors in total currently serving (1 Burmese, 1 Karen, 1 Chinese, 4 African-American, and 5 Euro-American), plus several associate pastors, chaplains, and seminary students who are women.
We are not hierarchical but associational, relating as cooperating churches, individuals and organizations in fellowship. We partner together as a region for mission and service, united in our faith in Jesus Christ. Our Mission and Vision Statements uphold our various diversities as gifts for ministry. In a time of deep division in our country, we are glad to come together as the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin.
While the entire state is included in the region of the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin, currently our churches are in the southern half of the state, if one were to draw a line from La Crosse to Green Bay. The regional office is located in Elm Grove, close in proximity to the greater Milwaukee area, of which almost half of our churches are located. The Executive Minister, Office Administrator and the Associate Regional Minister for Education hold regular office hours. The lower level of the building previously held the Central Baptist Theological Seminary Wisconsin campus and is available for use for regional and church meetings.
Camp Tamarack is located in Waupaca, Wisconsin, on over one hundred acres, with access to Chain O’ Lakes, hiking trails, and beautiful wilderness. Our Outdoor Ministries include camping programs for children and youth, retreats for youth, young adults, and various activities. Clergy retreats are held at Camp Tamarack and the space is available for retreat use by our churches. To learn more about Camp Tamarack and our Outdoor Ministries, visit www.camptamarack.com.
Current Regional Ministry Priorities, Support, and Opportunities
ABCWI has made Next Generation Ministries a priority for the 2023 year, with the theme “God’s Dominion is from Generation to Generation” (Daniel 4:3 KJV) for our Annual Gathering October 13-15, 2023 at Green Lake Conference Center. Along with our Annual Business Meeting, elections for our Board of Managers, worship and fellowship, we will have unique opportunities for youth (ages 13-17) and young adults (ages 18-30) to deepen their faith, pursue higher education possibilities with a College and Seminary fair, and explore their own call to ministry, leadership, teaching, missional work, and more. The whole weekend will have workshops, Bible studies, and panel presentations open for youth, young adults and adults of all ages, and will include continuing education possibilities for lay leaders and clergy, scholarship, grants, and much more. More information and regular updates can be found here.
The region provides a number of opportunities for clergy to connect with each other, learn and grow, and share in faith together:
- The Teaching Pastor’s Forum is a regular opportunity for pastors to share their passion project in dialogue with colleagues on ministry. Current and past offerings are found here. In addition, we provide resources for continuing education for pastors, along with scholarships and grants, regularly on our website here. The Regional Executive Minister also regularly emails updates from other organizations with scholarships and classes for continuing education.
- The Ministers Council (ABC-USA) has regional chapters, and the Wisconsin chapter is in the process of re-starting. Through the Ministers Council there are opportunities for retreats, continuing education, fellowship, prayer, and support. Visit here for more information.
- ABCWI holds monthly Clergy Check-Ins (on Zoom) and quarterly Pastor’s Coffee Hours (in-person at various locations) to provide opportunities for clergy to connect regularly. Clergy Retreats are also opportunities for clergy in small groups to get away at Camp Tamarack or other locations for respite, renewal, fellowship and education. In addition, the Regional Executive Minister shares information and resources on mental health and spiritual support for ministers.
- Lay Ministry is another priority of the region. As many of our churches can no longer afford full-time seminary-trained pastors, the Region is organizing a new lay training program to help grow new leaders into local church ministry. In the meantime, we are also providing training for lay leaders such as our Financial Workshop for Treasurers and Finance Committees (October 2022), Leadership and Board Training Best Practices (February 2023), and Pastor-Congregation Relationships (June 2023). Future trainings on best practices for technology use and other topics will be announced soon.
- The regional staff can provide resources and help with a number of local church concerns, such as coverage under the ABCUSA 501(c)3 status, support through MMBB (Ministers and Missionaries Benefits Board), pastoral compensation guidance, pastoral transition and search committee guidance and materials, interim ministry, congregational transitions, new ministries, and much more.
Regional Involvement and other ABCUSA Partnerships in Wisconsin and Beyond
Currently, ABCWI is a member of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Council of Churches. We support the missions of Project Focal Point in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Christian Center, and Campus Ministries at UW Milwaukee, Madison, and La Crosse.
Other ABCUSA Partnerships in Wisconsin include: Housing Ministries of Wisconsin, Green Lake Conference Center (American Baptist Assembly), Tudor Oaks Retirement Community (American Baptist Homes of the Midwest), and Ottawa University/Wisconsin.
While we no longer have the Wisconsin campus of Central Baptist Theological Seminary on site, we have a continued relationship with Central Seminary and other American Baptist related seminaries and colleges.
We also have a number of institutional and community chaplains and ministers ordained American Baptist and serving in hospitals, assisted living centers, and college/university settings.
The Wisconsin Baptist is a two-page bulletin-sized insert with an article and a few highlights of regional events and news published monthly. The Synergy E-News contains more stories and links about local and national events, regional and denominational news, church stories, and much, much more. Both can be found on our website here. An annual directory of churches, pastors and ministry contacts is published by the regional office and distributed via email as a PDF.
How We Organize Region Ministry
ABC-WI Mission & Vision
ABC of WI is a fellowship of persons, churches and organizations drawn together in the love of God as known in Jesus Christ. We affirm our diversity of culture, gender, and theological perspectives as gifts for ministry. We covenant to share the gospel of Christ, encourage each other in our faith, and share our resources in witness and mission.
Collaboration, Transformation, Integrity, Justice, and Resilience.
To engage with churches, ministers, and ministries in collaborative and transformative work with our local and global communities by modeling integrity, pursuing justice, and fostering resilience while affirming the sacred worth of each person as beloved in Christ and by His church.
Romans 12:4-5 (NRSV-UE)
"For as in one body we have many members and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another."
Diverse members, united in Christ.
About the American Baptist Churches USA
ABC-USA Mission & Focus
American Baptists are a Christ-centered, biblically grounded, ethnically diverse people called to radical personal discipleship in Christ Jesus. Our commitment to Jesus propels us to nurture authentic relationships with one another; build healthy churches; transform our communities, our nations and our world; engage every member in hands-on ministry; and speak the prophetic word in love.
As a people of prayer, purpose, and passion, we are in the forefront of creating a community of faith where people of every race, nationality and culture gather as one in worship, service and work.
The heart of the gospel is God’s redemptive love. In our life together, the world will see the power of forgiveness to overcome alienation, the strength of love to transform hate, the power of grace to break the bonds of guilt, the triumph of hope over despair, and the victory of faith over doubt.
Through the cross of Christ we embrace the world as neighbor. Our vision for mission energizes a multitude of servant ministries of evangelism, discipleship, leadership, new church development, social justice, healing, peacemaking, economic development and education. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we work together in mutual submission, humility, love, and giving that the gospel might be preached and lived in all the world.
American Baptist Churches are missional congregations that nurture devoted disciples of Jesus Christ who live their lives in mission and ministry for the healing of the world through the love of God.
Habakkuk 2:2 (NRSV-UE)
"Write the vision; make it plain."