Antioch International Movement of Churches
The Antioch International Movement of Churches is a relational network of evangelical churches founded with a "passion for Jesus and His purposes in the earth." The Antioch Movement, based in Waco, TX, began in the 1980s. The movement primarily focused on church planting and is non-denominational. The movement became well-known after two of its overseas missionaries, Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer, were imprisoned by the Taliban in Afghanistan during the same time period as the 9/11 Attack on the United States of America.
The movement has its root in the college department of Highliand Baptist Church (Waco Texas) in the later 80's. Jimmy Seibert was the college pastor. His "Master's commission" program and "World Mandate Conference" ministries were ongoing while still part of HBC for many years. As the college department grew very large, the movement 'multiply' by virtue of getting their own place and thus separating from HBC. The movement has been establishing churches since 1993, is part of the realization of a vision to see the local church become a center for training and sending workers to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission. The movement began with a desire to see Christianity reproduced in a similar way as described in the Book of Acts.
Missionary Imprisonment and Rescue in Afghanistan
Antioch Community Church responded to the crisis by creating a rotation of 24-hour prayer for Mercer and Curry's release. The crisis attracted the attention of international secular and religious media.
The prayer vigil for Mercer and Curry lasted 104 days. At the news of the missionaries' release, Antioch responded with what was described by the LA Times as a "joyous fest" of prayer and worship. Mercer and Curry co-authored a book about their experience in Afghanistan, titled "Prisoners of Hope."
Antioch Community Church
The Antioch International Movement of Churches and Antioch Ministries International is based at Antioch Community Church in Waco, TX. Antioch Community Church is a non-denominational, evangelical church led by Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert. Antioch has a large ministry presence at Baylor University, as well as live worship albums that have reached number three in the iTunes Christian and Gospel chart.
Antioch is considered unique due to the fact that the church has sent out hundreds of Christian missionaries during its 20-year history. Also notable is Antioch's commitment to simplicity and financial generosity.
Since its inception, Antioch Community Church has constructed several facilities, the most recent of which was completed in May 2016.
Jimmy Seibert is the founder and senior pastor of Antioch Community Church in Waco, TX, and the president of Antioch Ministries International. His story of founding the movement is found in his first book, "The Church Can Change the World," which has been revamped in the book "Passion and Purpose." Jimmy also co-authored "The Three Loves" with Larry Kreider. Jimmy currently lives in Waco, Texas, with his wife Laura. The couple are parents to four children. Jimmy and Laura co-authored the book "Parenting Without Regret."
Beliefs and Practices
Antioch has an official statement of faith available on their website. The organization has its doctrinal roots in the Baptist Tradition and the Charismatic Renewal.
The movement has a distinct focus on the development of small group communities, called Lifegroups. “Antioch engages members in daily Bible study and prayer, carried out individually and in the church's 100-plus small groups that meet during the week in homes and on Sunday mornings. Lifegroups follow a cell ministry model.".
Affiliated US Churches
In 1998, Antioch sent out its first U.S. church planting team to Boston, Massachusetts. The next church was planted in 2001 in Dallas, TX. Since then, churches have been planted across the United States with a vision to see more reproducing churches established internationally. Many of these churches are now planting churches of their own, both in the United States and in other nations.
The network includes more than 30 churches in the United States and more than 100 church plants internationally. A list of affiliated U.S. churches can be found at http://antiochcc.com/missions/church-plants/. Internationally, the movement has over 80 church planting teams working in over 40 countries.
The Antioch International Movement of Churches has several related ministries that perform international aid and crisis response:
- Antioch Ministries International, a “non-profit church-planting organization affiliated with Antioch Community Church”
- Acts of Mercy International, "Acts of Mercy is the relief and development arm of the Antioch International Movement of Churches."
- STARS Mentoring Project
- Restoration Gateway, a church planting and orphanage project located in Uganda
- Haiti Transformed, a ministry committed to partner with the Haitian people to see their region transformed and redeveloped located in Laforeny, Haiti. In 2011, Haiti Transformed constructed over 100 homes in Laferony, over 30 of which were completed through a partnership with the Passion Movement.
- World Mandate, a conference “for anyone who wants to worship God and change the world” World Mandate is a popular conference typically hosted at Baylor University's Ferrell Center (when available, which was not the case in 2016).The event is known for its live worship and popular conference speakers, which have included Francis Chan, Louie Giglio, Christine Caine, Max Lucado, and Jackie Pullinger. The conference began in 1989 with 60 people and now draws thousands of attendees. World Mandate focuses on encouraging young people to pray and engage with international missionary work.
- UnBound is an anti-slavery and anti-trafficking ministry headquartered at Antioch Waco and has local chapters around the world. The organisation specializes in prevention, professional training, and survivor advocacy.
In 2005, after the tsunami in Sri Lanka, Antioch Community Church was accused of proselytization by some Indonesian and United States religious leaders, including Rev. Sarangika Fernando, a local Methodist minister in Indonesia, who witnessed one of the prayer sessions in Sri Lanka and accused Antioch Community Church of acting unethically with traumatized people. Specifically, Antioch workers responding to the crisis shared their Christian beliefs and prayed for Sri Lankans while helping to rebuild homes, and this mixing of gospel-sharing and giving aid was seen by these leaders as exploitative.
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