A Regional Mission Body ● The American Baptist Churches of Ohio (ABC Ohio) is one of 34 American Baptist Regions in the United States. This Region is comprised of approximately 260 congregations, 20% of which are ethnic minority, including African American, Hispanic American, Japanese American, Romanian, and Burmese. ABC Ohio congregations are also diverse in location, size, and ministry focus. Since its establishment in 1826 as the Ohio Baptist Convention, the Region has addressed mission needs both within Ohio and beyond. The Region office is centrally located in Granville, Ohio.
Mission Statement: The American Baptist Churches of Ohio is an expression of the Body of Christ in this world, called to provide a network of resources, support, and fellowship, and to enable member congregations to implement shared ministries in faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our Mission and Vision ● Our ministry mission is to “Rise Up and Build Healthy Congregations that Impact the World for Christ.” Every ministry is designed to strengthen the local church or meet the needs of people beyond the local church context through shared ministries.
The Board ● The Board of Regional Ministries is comprised of twenty people including five officers who are elected by delegates to the ABC/Ohio Annual Gathering in October. The Board of Regional Ministries is responsible for establishing the overall policies and fiscal guidelines for the Region in accordance with its mission statement.
The Staff ● The Executive Minister for ABC Ohio is responsible for implementing the policies of the Region, managing its fiscal resources, overseeing all staff, and serving as representative of the Region. Other members of the team include three Regional Ministers and a Director of Core Services. Staff priorities include congregational development consulting and coaching, providing pastoral care to pastors and their families, offering crisis counseling to pastors and congregations, assisting congregational search committees, offering conflict management advice and care, celebrating key moments with congregations, promoting shared mission, reviewing resources, and providing training.
ARMS ● Associate Regional Ministers are volunteers who provide specialty ministry leadership in key areas of ABC Ohio’s ministries, including pastoral care, youth ministries, and other ministries. ARMS extend the ministry effectiveness of ABC Ohio and support the Regional Ministers in their various ministries.
Committees ● Board members, staff, and other volunteers also carry out ministry through service on various committees and task forces in the Region. Current committees include the Finance Committee, Personnel Committee and the State Advisory Committee on Ordination.
Rise Up and Build is a Region-wide two year process designed to assist individual churches in discerning and implementing God’s vision for ministry within their own context. This process has grown from the ABC/OHIO vision to help churches become healthy, vital, missional congregations. It involves a relationship with the ABC/OHIO Minister of Congregational Development who will covenant to walk along side the pastor and leaders and offer counsel and resources to assist the congregation in this process. Over the course of two years a leadership team, along with the pastor will work together using these building blocks for ministry.
The Inward Journey of Spiritual Formation
The Upward Journey to Discern Vision
The Outward Journey to Implement Vision
- The Inward Journey includes practicing the Spiritual Disciplines, moving from a mission-minded church to a missional church, and understanding the dynamics of change.
- The upward Journey moves a congregation to identifying core values, developing a purpose (mission) and discerning a vision – one that is challenging yet within reach of the congregation.
- The Outward Journey walks through the process of developing and implementing a strategic plan for new ways of ministry as a missional church.
Two quotes from Milfred Minatrea in Shaped by God’s Heart – The Passion and Practices of Missional Churches, one of the texts used in Rise Up and Build.
At its core, it is not the number of activities a church is involved in that defines success, but whether those activities result in accomplishing God’s mission for His church. (from the Introduction p. xvi)
We can break down the difference between a mission-minded church and a missional church as follows:
- The mission-minded church emphasizes sending and supporting; the missional church emphasizes being and doing.
- The mission-minded church is representative; the missional church is participative.
- The mission-minded church perceives mission as one expression of its ministry; the missional church perceives mission as the essence of its existence. (p. 11.)
During the Rise Up and Build process a congregation will covenant with the Region to participate in these congregational development initiatives. The covenant affirms that the congregation is supportive of the process and that the Region staff person will set aside the time to work on a routine basis with the congregation. The covenant also acknowledges that a Leadership Team of 5 to 7 persons be chosen from among people of both position and passion (those who have been elected and those who have a desire to help the church take the next steps in ministry) and that the Region will provide leadership training events particularly for congregations involved in this process. Each quarter the congregational Leadership Team will meet with the team members from other churches involved in this same process in a cluster gathering.
A number of books will be used as texts for study by the Leadership Team and the pastor and will be used as guides in each of the Building Blocks.
This is a process for the congregation and not merely a new program being offered by ABC/OHIO. There is no template that is designed for all churches and in fact, each church will participate in this from their own context with the added value of the exchange of ideas from other congregations in cluster gatherings.
Contact your Regional Minister to explore this opportunity.