Various Levels of Prospective Involvement with The Antioch Initiative
The following is an abridged summary of various opportunities for engagement and partnership between the Westside church of Christ in Searcy, Arkansas and the Antioch Initiative overseen by the elders of Elmore church of Christ in Elmore, Alabama. Any item(s) herein broached may offer venues for future exploration and further discussion. Further, these opportunities are, essentially, the same prospects extended to any and all faithful congregations of the Lord’s church who are preaching the gospel of grace and who are obedient to the great commission mandate of Jesus Christ. Hence, these proposals and options are not reserved for the Westside congregation, but extended to all congregations.
Prayer. God is on mission and we are commanded to join Him. We are inspired and motivated by the fact that the Westside eldership of Searcy, Arkansas (both individually and collectively) has been engaged in Christ’s great commission for decades, yet, we, the leaders of the Antioch Initiative, humbly invite the eldership and congregation of Westside to prayerfully consider joining us in beseeching our Father to bring about a church-planting movement that will sweep the United States. This movement shall be and is founded upon Christ’s orders to disciple apprentices of Jesus who will be baptized into Christ as repentant believers, added to Christ’s eternal church-kingdom, and who will be taught to observe all things whatsoever Jesus has commanded. (Our view is that discipleship leads to conversions; conversions lead to church-plants; church-plants lead to continuing discipleship and germinal churches.) Join us in praying that those newly won disciples will become germinal children of God possessing the spiritual DNA of Jesus to reproduce themselves for the balance of their lives. Beg God that the disciples of those fully matured apprentices will, in turn, reproduce themselves again and again from generation to generation until the final trumpet. We urge the Westside elders and congregation to pray with us that germinal congregations of the Lord’s church be birthed all over the nation that will become self-led, self-financed, and self-propagating bodies of saints. Pray that these church-plants will, eventually, be shepherded by their own indigenous leaderships who will be raised up by God as a result of their own prayer lives, spiritual growth, walk with God, and sacrifices who will lead the ongoing planting of germinal churches that will, in turn, plant churches until Jesus’ return without our permission and assistance. We urge the Westside elders and congregation to join us in praying that the gospel of grace be preached to our nation employing the non-paternalistic methodology of the Apostle Paul targeting souls—not the buying of land and the constructing of buildings. (Whatever the autonomous church-plants elect to do in those regards will be their own personal business and should be underwritten by their own respective sacrifices and planning. We are convinced the evidence is overwhelming that such a non-paternalistic approach gives rise to indigenous leadership and conforms to the methodology of the Apostle Paul.) Finally, join us in a continuing unwavering faith acknowledging and trusting that the reigning Lord Jesus (who has all power in heaven and on earth) will bless our fervent efforts in discharging His orders as we act on his specific instructions and according to His will. Pray and join hands with us, our Westside brethren, to Take Our Nation Back by Taking Jesus to the Nation.
Option #1—Priority. Westside elders are being called upon to use their treasure-house of mission connections through Harding University and otherwise to recruit, oversee, and finance (in a significant way) a biblically sound evangelist, specifically, for Wyoming County PA (pop. 28,000), and for expanding evangelistic outreach into Bradford County (pop. 63,000), Susquehanna County (pop. 53,000), and Sullivan County (pop. 6,000) Pennsylvania with a congregation based in Tunkhannock, PA (county seat of Wyoming County). This evangelist can work in concert with evangelist Arthur Barry (his overseeing elders, Kittanning, PA) who serves in Sayre, PA at the Valley Cities’ congregation in Bradford County which was launched 10/19/14.
Other Levels of Prospective Participation and Involvement.
Option #2—Multiple Church-Planting. Westside elders and congregation are urged to consider accepting the challenge to select a region of the United States and to initiate a multiple church-planting vision in some fashion similar to the Elmore church’s efforts in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Although Westside would certainly not be dependent on Elmore’s Antioch Initiative, we would be joyful and honored to collude and work side-by-side with her in spiritual comradeship in church-planting in other states of the U.S. coming along side her with our network of experienced and gifted church-planters to whatever degree needed and requested. (See Partner tab on AICOC.ORG). The Antioch Initiative has no power over any other eldership, but welcomes the prospect of partnerships with all who are determined to carry out the great commission mandate of Jesus our Lord. The growing core leadership of the Antioch Initiative envisions multiple church-planting efforts being simultaneously ignited over the nation initiated by visionary elderships from faithful congregations of the Lord’s church. We acknowledge Westside elders as being long-term leaders on the cutting edge of missions over numbers of decades and, yet, submit that the Antioch Initiative is proposing a partnership in a multiple church-planting movement among churches of Christ that is not an idea, but an exciting and present reality underway! (We are prepared to dialogue with the mission committee and/or elders of Westside to demonstrate that said movement is underway by the blessing of God.)
Option #3—Boots on the Ground.
Short-Range Boots. Westside might consider joining the Antioch Initiative (overseen by elders of Elmore congregation in Elmore, AL) in campaigning in Tunkhannock, PA (Wyoming County) in the summer of 2016 leading to the launching and building up of a new congregation. (This will represent the only congregation of the church of Christ in Wyoming County PA.) Such participation would bring Westside members into fraternal partnership with brethren from Alabama, Tennessee, Alaska, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and, potentially, other states who will be coming and going into Tunkhannock during the entire summer of 2016 to door-knock, conduct a VBS, follow up on World Bible School contacts, and participate in worship with the newly launched Tunkhannock church of Christ in Tunkhannock, PA.
Long Range Boots. Westside eldership and congregation are invited to join any and/or all Antioch Initiative church planting efforts with short-term workers in the field to perpetuate the ongoing church plantings in various parts of the United States.
Option #4—Longer Term Middle-Reliever. The Antioch Initiative is seeking an evangelist who might rotate into newly established church-plants for a year to a year-and-a-half to evangelize the region and edify the new church plants while permanent evangelists are located for those new church plants. Dr. Dave Laton or Prattville, Alabama is committed to go in for one-month service in each new church plant.
Option #5—Fellowship in Giving.
Supporting an Evangelist. Should the Westside eldership not elect to oversee the evangelist in Tunkhannock, PA, they are urged to prayerfully consider working in concert with the future evangelist’s sponsoring eldership to participate in his financial support. If Westside will have funding available for the coming fiscal year, the Antioch Initiative would urge them to reserve said funding as part of the support package for the evangelist who is being sought for the new church plant. Westside’s participation in the support of any evangelist or work would be contingent on their interview and interaction with said candidate and work.
Supporting the Ongoing of the Antioch Initiative. Core leaders of the Antioch Initiative seek to raise the awareness in our brotherhood regarding the need for church planting in the U.S.; seek the recruitment of elderships who might want to multiple church-plant in some region of the U.S. or assume leadership in an un-evangelized area of the U.S.; initiate efforts to systematically church-plant in the U.S.; recruit evangelists; and, assist in the raising of financial support of evangelist moving to newly planted churches. Such efforts require administrative and travel expenses. (This is illustrated by the trip made to Searcy this weekend.) Jimmy Davis is providing a full financial disclosure to the Westside Mission Committee today, April 17, 2016.
May we close by expressing deepest appreciation to the mission committee and eldership of the Westside congregation for every prayerful consideration of our proposals and overtures. We stand ready to dialogue or attempt to answer any questions that may arise now or into the future. May God bless Westside and all our brotherhood to act on all elements of Jesus’ great commission mandate in submission to Jesus’ Lordship and in harmony with the love God has for a lost world.