Awaken Outreach Trip

For Mardi Gras break, we sent 80 students from our college ministry along with some of our church staff to Austin, Texas for their Awaken outreach trip. Our students had an incredible time and we are so thankful for all that God did in and through them! Each day there were sessions with passionate worship and time to seek God, as well as teachings on the Father Heart of God, the Holy Spirit, holiness, and making it for the long haul. The students encountered God powerfully as they responded to these teachings. They also had outreaches throughout Austin in various parks, low income neighborhoods, and on UT campus. On the outreaches, students had the opportunity to pray and share the Gospel with people and saw God do some amazing things! All in all, it was an incredible trip. The students are changed and excited to come back to Baton Rouge with fresh faith to see their own college campuses transformed by God. We hope you are encouraged by the photos and testimonies shared below. 

"On the last day of the outreach at UT-Austin, I felt like God placed a word on my heart that I was going to meet a Muslim person that day and share the Gospel with him. I patiently waited throughout the day as we walked around campus and at one point God highlighted a guy sitting by himself. Upon introducing ourselves and beginning conversation, I found out that he was a Muslim man from Pakistan. During our conversation, when I asked if I could pray for him, he initially declined. I felt prompted to not give up on him, so I began to share my testimony and he in turn shared his story, opening up with me about his life. After talking for about an hour, I was getting ready to leave, when he said, 'Wait up, can you pray for me? You have made me feel so loved, and no one has done that for me before.' I was in awe of the faithfulness and love God displayed in me and in that guy's heart. God showed me that even when it doesn't seem like someone is open, He can soften hearts and open doors."

"One of the days, we did an outreach at a middle school. While there, we met a girl who was a refugee from another country, living in a nearby apartment complex. She shared with us that she had extreme leg and back pain, due to one of her legs being shorter than the other. She had been experiencing pain since the age of 10, so much so that she couldn't walk, run, or jump without pain. We prayed for her full healing and when we opened our eyes, her leg had grown to be the exact same size as the other! She jumped, ran around, and we praised Jesus!"

"One of our favorite outreaches was the carnival we did after attending Antioch Austin for church on Sunday. We had pizza, bounce houses, games, popcorn, and candy. A ton of people came out, had fun, and had the opportunity to hear the gospel. After sharing the gospel with everyone gathered, we asked if anyone wanted to give their life to Jesus and multiple kids and parents raised their hands to respond!"

"While we were doing an outreach at a park, I felt God leading me to talk to a young guy who was playing soccer with his brother. I introduced myself and we had some small talk, then I asked him if I could pray for him. He asked for prayer about school and his struggle with anxiety. After we prayed, I asked if he had a relationship with Jesus. He responded that he went to church, and from there I explained to him more about what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus beyond attending church. I shared my testimony and the gospel with him and asked if this was something he desired. He said that he felt overwhelmed by his own sin and didn't think he was strong enough to say no to sin and live a life for God. I explained to him that the love of God empowers us to live for Jesus and that the gospel is about how much Jesus has done for us and how much he loves us. When I asked again if he wanted to follow Jesus, he replied, 'Yes!' We prayed together and he gave his life to Jesus! We then talked more about spending time with God and listening to his voice. When I was leaving, he said "Thank you, I've never felt so happy." 

We love that our college students chose to give up their break in order to bless and serve the city of Austin with the love of Jesus! It has been so powerful to hear and see the work God has and is doing in their hearts because of our time together. Thank you for praying for our trip! Please continue to believe with us that the work God began will continue as we get back to normal life in Baton Rouge. We are believing to see miracles and salvations in our city! 

 

 

Images thanks to Courtney Tate

Health of the House

Each spring, we take time to pause and reflect on what God has done, is doing, and how He wants us to move forward as a church. Overall, the word that God put on the hearts of our staff in the fall still ring true for what we believe God is calling us to in this season: to strengthen church health. This means that we are more focused on moving forward in the right way rather than on moving forward quickly, in other words: direction is more important than speed. We feel called to focus on a few things well as a church, so that our foundation can hold all that God has in store for us. 

One of the illustrations Donny used on Sunday as he addressed this topic, is that our church is a battleship not a cruise ship. Like a battleship, we believe that we are called to function with a clear vision and mission, a purpose moving forward. Those of us onboard aren't evaluating things based on our personal preferences, but instead are concerned with our assignments, making sure we are ready and equipped to serve and fulfill the things we are called to. We want to partner with God to see every member of our church equipped in the way that God is calling us to minister to people in our daily lives. As we seek to become equipped to fulfill what God has called us to, it's important to remember that we are a people of the presence of God. He calls us out to live together, revealing to the whole world who God is and what He is about. The presence of Jesus among us calls us out as a spiritual family to execute God's plan. As we each do our part, we will be able to walk in the fullness that Christ has for us. 

You may remember participating in a church-wide survey in the fall that was aimed at helping us see our strengths and weaknesses as a church so that we can move forward in the purposes of God in a healthy way. We learned from the survey that 80% of people who consider Antioch to be their home church attend Lifegroup on a monthly basis! It's so encouraging to know that most of our church is walking in consistent, Biblical fellowship with each other. If you would like to get involved in a Lifegroup, you can find one that works with your schedule here

The survey also helped us see that we need to grow in clear communication with our church body. One way we are aiming to do this is through a monthly church newsletter which outlines what is happening in church life. If you would like to sign up to receive the newsletter, you can do so here

Additionally, our hope is to grow in the areas of generational and racial diversity. We feel strongly that Antioch is called to be a church for the whole city of Baton Rouge. Not a suburb church for the upper middle class and not an inner city church only for the poor, but a church for the whole city that is multi-generational and multi-racial! 

Overall, we are excited and hopeful as we move forward as a church. We encourage you to join us in believing God and partnering with Him to see His plans and purposes fulfilled in and through us. 

 

 

Church Update: Letter from the Elders and the Board of Advisors

As you may know, Jake and Abigail Griffin have been on Sabbatical for the past four months. This morning at church, we took time to update everyone on some things in regards to the Griffins and our church. We are including this letter from our Elders and Board of Advisors for anyone who may not have been present at the service. 

 

Church family, 

It has been an awesome journey over the last five years watching God build His church, this church in Baton Rouge. Almost four months ago Jake made an announcement at church, and posted a letter online, that he would be taking some time to address some areas in his life through counseling, prayer, and further training.

During that time, it became evident that God’s work in Jake’s life needs more time and we, the Elders and Board of Advisors, believe it is in the best interest of Antioch-Baton Rouge and in the Griffin’s best interest, that they allow God to continue to grow and heal them without the responsibility of leading this church. We are forever grateful to Jake and Abigail as founders of this church, and believe in God’s calling on their lives. While this is the end of a season, we have great hope in what God has for us in the season ahead. We have asked Donny Martin to step in as our new Senior Pastor. After Donny and Bryanna spent time seeking God, we are thankful to say, they have graciously said “Yes” and are hopeful for what God has for all of us as God leads us forward.

Jake and Abigail have also written a statement that they would like for us to read to you all this morning:
Antioch-Baton Rouge, we want every single person at this church to know that we are so thankful for the incredible privilege of not only knowing you but also being your pastors these past few years. As we have seen God do great things, we also had our struggles that have been hurtful to many and that deeply grieves us. I repent for the ways I have led in my own strength, made my own way, and hurt those close to me due to my pride and insecurity. As we have journeyed with our elders and the board of advisors, it became clear that the best thing not just for our family, but the church was that we step aside and allow God to continue to build His beautiful house here in Baton Rouge. We take this step with a heavy, but full heart because we love you so much and because we believe in the dreams that are in each of you. We got in this to see Jesus glorified in and through our lives, and we step away with the same goal. Thanks for loving us through this time, and we put our full trust in Jesus. We believe that Donny and Bryanna, as well as the rest of the staff, are going to do an unbelievable job leading and serving this church. This staff is full of heroes of the faith that we deeply love and trust, and we have full confidence in all of them. We love you.

The Elders and the Board of Advisors want to be clear about two main points:
1. This is not the result of moral failure of any kind. Jake and Abigail are obviously grieving, but their marriage is strong, and they are seeking God together on the next season of their lives. This change is being made because those places that Jake mentioned above have hindered his ability to lead and pastor with grace and effectiveness, and were having an impact on the staff and the church.
2. We are also confident in Donny and Bryanna Martin and the call of God on their lives. We are so thankful that God has been leading us and this church in preparation for things that we had no idea were coming.

Please know that we strongly believe that God has begun a great work in this church and in Jake and Abigail's lives, and the wonderful thing about our loving Father is that He will be faithful to complete it.

In faith,

The Elders and Board of Advisors

 

 

We know that this news may affect people in a variety of ways. We want to encourage you that the best way that we can all respond is to cover Jake, Abigail, and the kids with prayer and be praying for our church and its leadership in this season. Our hope is that we will be people who turn to God in our times of celebration and in times of challenge. We know many of you will have questions regarding what's now and what's next, and we are committed to communicating as clearly and efficiently as possible. Our Elders and Board of Advisors are walking closely with the Griffins to help them discern the next step for their family. We want you to know that our staff is hopeful and committed to the future of our church. Please feel free to reach out to your ministry pastor if you have any questions. 

 

World Mandate 2017

World Mandate was such a powerful weekend! We are forever changed to look more like Jesus and seek after His purposes in the earth. Enjoy a little peek into this amazing weekend.

Did God do something in your life and heart this weekend? We would love to hear about it! Share your World Mandate testimonies here.

Carolynn Seibert Photography - World Mandate 2017 IMG_6978.jpg