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Focus Magazine

Jenna DeWitt
Spring 2009

The Antioch Movement: Local Ministry Encourages

Students to Think Globally
In a packed Ferrell Center at Baylor University, the lights dim and music
blasts from the sound system. Students cheer loudly as their friends and fellow
students perform with all they have in them. The performers have been practicing
for months, preparing for this moment on the court in front of thousands of people
from all over the world. The scene is nothing new to the Ferrell Center, but this is no
game. This is an international missions conference known as World Mandate.

Each year World Mandate is organized by Antioch Ministries International to

showcase the impact its 43 teams of missionaries are making in 24 countries. This
year's conference was held Jan. 23 through 25.

According to students, the conference was more than just an advertisement

or information meeting. World Mandate was an experience like no other. The 20-
year-old conference includes student dance, drama and music teams in addition to
experienced missionaries sharing their testimonies from their work internationally.
According to college pastor Carl Gulley, the speakers come with the purpose of
"motivating students to take up God's heart for the nations of the earth."

Small group leader Jeff Jones, a Katy junior, said "It is awesome to hear the
testimonies from around the world. I recommend everyone to go, even people that
don't go to Antioch. We are all in it together."

Students also have the opportunity to serve in short-term international

ministry work through one-to three-week-long trips to such diverse places as
Uganda, India, Thailand and China. Through the organization's small group ministry
students can prepare to serve others in a foreign country under the leadership of
experienced missionaries.

Serving on the spring break mission trip is usually the first step students can
take to get involved with the organization’s ministries. This year more than 600
college students traveled with their small groups on the annual trip.

For 20 years Antioch college students served in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, but
this year, largely due to rising violence in the city, leaders felt the call for a change in
destination for the first time. This spring’s trip took the students to Edinburg, Texas
for a week of ministering in the border town’s neighborhoods, parks and the
University of Texas Pan American campus.

The trip to “Juarez was a well-oiled machine,” college worship pastor Robert
Fuller said, but this year’s trip was “on all fronts, an amazingly smooth transition.”
Like World Mandate, the teams were divided into dance, drama, music and
evangelism, all comprised of student volunteers. These teams performed, shared
testimonies and prayed for the audience. Students went through tracts —booklets
with the basic steps to becoming a Christian— with anyone they met interested in
knowing more about Christianity. Since the tracts were printed in both Spanish and
English, even students that did not know any Spanish were able to share with
Edinburg residents that only spoke Spanish. The trip’s schedule also included a
church service every morning, break out sessions and a few days of physical work,
usually on a building project for the communities they ministered to.

Though the organization is not certain where next year’s trip will be, Fuller
said, “Overall it was a great experience. We had many people come to the Lord.”
Jones said he was invited to go on the Juarez trip during his sophomore year of high
school by his older sister. He said going to Juarez changed his life and made him
want to go to Baylor, so he could attend the church and get involved in the
organization. He said his experiences have changed his views of his family,
especially his sister who helped establish a new Antioch church in Knoxville Tenn.

"We have a more real relationship. Holistically, our family has become more
outward focused towards taking the commands of Jesus and being faithful and
obedient, displaying them out in our lives," Jones said.

Antioch leaders encourage all students who want to get involved to first join
one of the church's small groups, known as lifegroups. The church also holds a
college service, Dwelling Place, at 7 p.m. every Wednesday night in the church's
auditorium. Through these weekly ministries, the church ensures that students are
spiritually ready no matter what trip the missionaries are preparing for from
Edinburg to the Middle East to Europe.

The overall goal for Antioch Ministries International is to plant churches.

Through the organization's two training schools, missionaries learn how to start
churches like Waco's Antioch. Most students attend with the intention of going to
another site to live. The mission teams stay long enough to stabilize the church's
structure as a true replication of the original Waco church, adapted to the local
needs and culture.

The schools are divided by their long-term goals. Elevate, the discipleship
program, is designed to train those who may not be entering a traditional position
within a church or the mission field as a career but who would like to learn more
about supporting the new churches and being a well-informed Christian in their
everyday lives. Classes last nine months and are held during the day for 18 to 25-
year-old students. Students unable to attend during the day may take night classes
for 11 months.

The missionary training school, 24:14, is based on the verse Matthew 24:14,
which speaks about preaching to all the nations. This school is the second level, a
six-month-long program for those who consider their vocation to be in the
professional mission field or planting churches.

Elevate student and 2008 Baylor graduate Katie Wong served at a church
plant on October's trip to Portland, Ore. The trip was one of four made last fall by
discipleship training school students to aid the long-term missionaries at the new

"People would stop and talk to us for hours. People wanted to dig deep. The
people who stopped would ask us questions and really challenge us, which was good
because they hadn't had that interaction before," Wong said. "A church plant is not
trying to be a revival tent. It's just a seed they are trying to plant that will grow into
a community, a community that will love each other and grow with each other. They
are planting themselves, trying to tell people about Jesus and how to live for him."

According to Gulley, all missionaries, no matter how long they will be gone,
are well prepared and protected for the journey. The organization works to keep
missionaries connected with leaders back home.

"They raise financial support through AMI and then go out under our
covering,” Gulley said. “Before they leave, they put a prayer shield in place - a group
of people that meet weekly to pray for that church plant and nation. They are visited
once every year to 18 months, and come to our conference in Germany for all our
missionaries every other year for personal and team re-envisioning. So even though
the movement continues to swell, we all feel like one big family."

Wong said the missionary groups are "communities you can go to for
anything. It's loving each other and really knowing who the other people are."

According to Wong, challenges can arise while on a trip that are impossible to
foresee, causing strong bonds between missionaries.

"It is like going to war, pretty much, just without the weapons,” Wong said.
“It's a lot of difficulties, just being able to trust the people with your back, so to
speak. There is an everyday joyfulness in the community that I absolutely love."

According to Jones, AMI's purpose is to "train people to find healing, then

equip and send them out to reproduce what they do here."

With more than 700 graduates from its training schools and around 2,000
church members, the Antioch movement only seems to be growing stronger.

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