About Churches Helping Churches ABC Nebraska
American Baptist churches in Nebraska are joined together as a Region in a covenant partnership to: encourage, challenge, and empower one another to be transforming Christian communities in the world.
In 1832, Moses and Eliza Merrill embarked on a historic mission, marking the dawn of Protestant missionaries in the Nebraska territory. They laid the foundation in Bellevue, establishing the first mission, pioneering education, and translating portions of the New Testament and Christian hymns for the Native American Otoe and Pawnee communities.
As Nebraska transformed into a U.S. territory in 1853, American Baptist missionaries and pastors ventured westward, planting congregations and forming the first Baptist association in 1858. The Nebraska Baptist State Convention officially emerged in 1867, aligning with the Northern Baptist Convention, now recognized as the American Baptist Churches USA.
While our name has evolved to Churches Helping Churches American Baptist Churches of Nebraska, our mission remains unwavering. For nearly two centuries, since the Merrill’s initial crossing of the Missouri River, we’ve been dedicated to Baptist mission work in Nebraska, across the nation, and globally.
Today, around 70 congregations stand united in mission and ministry, fostering a collective effort to encourage, challenge, and empower one another. Together, we strive to be transformative Christian communities, echoing the spirit of our founders and embracing a legacy of faith that spans generations. Join us as we continue this remarkable journey, shaping the future with the same passion and purpose that ignited our mission nearly 200 years ago.
What Does Churches Helping Churches ABC Nebraska Do?
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Churches Helping Churches ABC Nebraska is a collaborative mission effort uniting all ABC Churches in the region. Our dedicated team, comprising both regional staff and the committed individuals at the Moses Merrill Camp and Conference Center, is commissioned as missionaries to serve and empower churches, pastors, and ministry partners throughout ABC Nebraska. In the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), regional bodies play a crucial role in fostering connection, cooperation, and support among local churches. We accomplish these purposes through:
Fellowship and Connection: ABC NE provides a platform for churches to come together for fellowship, mutual support, and collaboration. This fosters a sense of community among the member congregations. One of the most important was we gather is in our Annual Convention for fellowship and to celebrate our shared mission.
Pastoral Search Process: Guiding churches through the search for pastoral leadership.
Resource Sharing: ABC NE serves as a hub for sharing resources, both human and material. This includes sharing best practices, educational materials, and ministry resources among member churches.
Mission Training and Education: Equipping local congregations for impactful mission endeavors through training events, workshops, and educational programs to equip clergy, church leaders, and members with the skills and knowledge necessary for effective ministry and leadership.
Coordination of Mission and Outreach: ABC NE helps coordinate and support mission and outreach efforts within their geographic area. This could involve collaboration on community service projects, social justice initiatives, and other forms of outreach.
Pastoral Support: ABC NE provides a support network for pastors. This can include mentoring relationships, opportunities for clergy gatherings, and assistance during times of pastoral transition or crisis.
Pulpit Supply: Offering assistance in securing temporary pastoral support.
Conflict Transformation: Providing resources and guidance for conflict resolution.
Grant-Funded Programs: Supporting innovative programs through grant funding.
Mission Giving Management: Expertly managing the receipt and distribution of mission contributions.
ABCUSA Representation: ABC Nebraska serve as a link between local churches and the broader ABCUSA life. Region staff often represent our congregation in national and international gatherings, ensuring that the concerns and perspectives of local Nebraska congregations are considered throughout the ABCUSA.
Pastor-to-Pastor Care: Fostering a network of care and support among pastors.
Continuing Education Events: Hosting multiple events annually for ongoing professional development.
Department of Professional Ministry: A dedicated department providing specialized support and guiding candidates through the ordination process and clergy ethic
How can you support Churches Helping Churches ABC NE?
Churches Helping Churches ABC NE, our mission thrives through diverse avenues of support, empowering individuals and communities to actively contribute to our Christ-focused initiatives. Here’s how you can join us in making a meaningful impact:
Prayerful Partnership: Stand with us in prayer for the success of our mission and ministry endeavors. Lift the dedicated regional staff, leadership team, camp staff, and all the vital work carried out within the region.
Volunteer Engagement: Share your spiritual gifts by volunteering to guide and support other churches on their transformative journeys. Contribute your time and expertise at the Moses Merrill Camp and Conference Center or consider becoming a valuable member of the region’s Leadership Team.
Financial Support: Make a direct impact through financial contributions to Churches Helping Churches ABC NE and the American Baptist Foundation. Explore legacy giving options to leave a lasting impact, and conveniently donate through Tithe.ly to support ABC NE directly.
United Mission Giving: Solidify our collective commitment by contributing 10% mission giving through United Mission. This essential support sustains the shared ministry of ABC NE and ABCUSA, fostering unity in our mission endeavors.
Annual Offering Cycles: Take part in our annual offering cycles, including the America For Christ offering, World Mission offering, One Great Hour of Sharing, and Retired Ministers and Missionaries offering. Each offering plays a crucial role in advancing our shared goals.
Join the 2300 Team: Become a part of the 2300 Team, dedicated to uplifting the Moses Merrill Camp and Conference Center. Your involvement ensures the continued success of this vital hub for growth, learning, and spiritual rejuvenation.
Your support in any of these ways not only strengthens the fabric of Churches Helping Churches ABC NE but also contributes to the broader tapestry of transformative and compassionate ministry. Together, let’s make a lasting difference in the lives we touch and the communities we serve.
United Mission Videos
Mission in 5 Podcast
Meet the ABC NE Staff
REv. Dr. Greg Mamula
Rev. Dr. Greg Mamula is the Executive Minister for the American Baptist Churches of Nebraska and Region Missionary. Greg is a graduate of Williams Baptist College, George W. Truett Baptist Theological Seminary. His doctorate in Jewish Context of the New Testament is from Northern Seminary in Chicago.
Greg is a tea snob, hoodie advocate, baseball aficionado, Omaha softball champion, and a lover of stories. He and his wife of 20-years, Lisa, parent their two teenage children in Bellevue, Nebraska where they participate in the rhythms of life with an amazing community of neighbors.
Rev. Joy Martinez-Marshall
Associate Region Minister
Rev. Joy Martinez-Marshall serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln, NE and as the Associate Region Minister for American Baptist Churches of Nebraska. Joy grew up in The Colony, TX. Now, she calls Nebraska home after moving from Waco, TX where she served as a Student Life Minister. She holds a B.A. in Religion from Baylor University and a M.Div. from George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
Joy loves to cook and knows the value of the perfect game day snack. She and her husband, Austin, are avid sports fans and readers.
REv. Aaron Sprock
Associate Region Minister
He is looking forward to continuing the family legacy of service to the American Baptist Churches that his grandmother Vicki Sprock and Uncle Jerry Sprock have been a part of.
REv. Blake WIlkes
Associate Region Minister
Rev. Blake Wilkes is the pastor of Arthur Baptist Church, the only church in Arthur County Nebraska.
My family and I are blessed to live in Arthur, Nebraska where I have been the Pastor at Arthur Baptist Church for the last six years. My wife of 12 years, Lana, has been my constant partner throughout our different ministry settings from camp and youth ministry in South Dakota and Portland, Oregon, and now here in Arthur.
We have two kids Thea Joy who is 6 and Tobias who is turning 5 this month. Our family enjoys reading, a good adventure, and the outdoors. Especially, hiking, camping with our 2 dogs, taking care of our chickens, fishing, skiing, and snowboarding. I also like a good woodworking project, tinkering with cars, and cooking. Although I found out this year that my wife and I both are allergic to gluten so now I get to learn new ways to cook!
I felt the pull into ministry during my freshmen year of college while attending the University of Sioux Falls and tried to run away from it. but after a year and a humbling of my heart, I answered God’s call and it’s been the best adventure ever since. In over a decade of ministry, I have learned so much along the way and have a heart for camp ministry, youth ministry, marriages, counseling, and discipleship. There is nothing better than getting to come alongside people and help them follow Jesus.
Bev Pacas is the Director of the Moses Merrill Camp and Conference Center. For more about Bev and the incredible work of MMCCC visit: http://campmerrill.com/
Sue Gammel has served as the Office Manager of ABC NE since 2000. She lives with her family in Lincoln, NE.