VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/6/19)—Eleven executive ministers gathered for a group orientation event in Orlando, Florida Jan. 24-26. This was the largest orientation gathering held in the last twenty years. Dr. C. Jeff Woods, Associate General Secretary for Regional Ministries and currently Acting General Secretary, facilitated the event that included team building exercises, storytelling, and group discussion.
Each executive minister was invited to share their call story that led them to the position of executive minister for their respective regions. As each person reflected upon their leadership journey, they shared how God had interacted with them and others to lead them to their particular place of service.
In addition to the sharing of their spiritual journeys, participants were invited to name topics for discussion in advance of the meeting. The meeting also focused upon the twelve most common tasks of the role of an executive minister as surfaced by previous executive ministers. Several who attended the meeting expressed appreciation for the balance of information and interaction. Some of the evaluation comments included, “It was good to get to know our peers who became our friends,” “Being able to surface current issues and challenges was a real plus,” and “I enjoyed being able to form relationships and ask questions among colleagues.”
Participating in the retreat were: Edgardo Caraballo Marín, Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico; Paul Gibson, Great Rivers Region; Andy Quient, American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles, Southwest and Hawaii; Harry Riggs, American Baptist Churches of Connecticut; Michael Sisson, West Virginia Baptist Convention; Gregg Hemmen, American Baptist Churches of the Central Region; Jacquline Saxon, Mid-American Baptist Churches; Sandra Hasenauer, American Baptist Churches of the Rochester/Genesee Region; Miriam Méndez, American Baptist Churches of New Jersey; Mark Click, American Baptist Churches of Ohio; and David Gregg, American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago.
After an executive minister is called to their position, Dr. Woods meets with the newly called person on-site in their region within the first month or two of service to provide an individualized orientation. Then, every couple of years, the executive ministers who have recently been called gather for a group orientation. This was the largest such class of new executive ministers in recent memory.
The work of regional ministries is completely supported by United Mission.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.