Antioch Baptist Church was founded on June 29, 1872, at the request of several Missionary Baptist men and women. On Sunday, June 30, 1872, the first worship service was held by Elders John O. Kelly, Abraham Crosby, John A. F. McKinney and Uriah Roberts. From the beginning, the church was characterized by a simple following of Scripture. Church discipline was a regular practice and it was commonplace to see lost sheep restored to the fold and unrepentant goats removed from membership and called to repentance. The church practiced foot washing as a sign of humility and service. There would be frequent calls for a greater commitment to prayer and a renewal of the membership covenant. Antioch was characterized by simple, child-like faith, and by God’s grace, that faith has been sustained for over 140 years.
Throughout the years there have been many physical changes. The first building was a 30′ by 30′ log structure. As the church grew, they eventually built a new facility in 1887. The current building was constructed in 1950 with the Fellowship Hall’s completion in 1975. The Educational Building was erected in 1997. During these years, the church saw the formation of the choir, the beginning of the library, hymnals, an organ and many other improvements.
The church grew and changed spiritually over the years. As with all churches, there were times of falling away and times of renewal. As with most churches in America, the changes that took place were slow and largely unnoticed. The command of our Savior, to seek the sheep that go astray, began to be neglected. The idea of a meaningful membership covenant began to fade. Family worship and discipleship started to be neglected. Prayer meetings became less important. The observance of the Lord’s Day began to slowly change. The roles of men and women in the life of the church began to be morphed and the lines blurred. The office of elder slowly faded and the office of deacon changed. Scripture began to dull and tradition took its place. These changes took place over many decades, simply by neglect.
This is not to say that all was in vain. During this time many people still came to faith in Christ. The church still grew and many lives were changed. The church still impacted the community for Christ. Many of our current members have fought for God’s truths for many, many years and have sustained our church, by God’s grace. God has been faithful to us even when we have been unfaithful to Him. God has always seen fit to work at Antioch, in spite of our failures.
Currently, our church is seeking to return to the “old paths” (Jeremiah 6:16) of God’s Word. We are seeking to examine everything we do in light of Scripture. We desire to see vain traditions removed and the solid traditions of our founding fathers in the faith (God’s Word) established. We desire to see the goods things of God that have always been present in our church continue until our Lord’s return. By God’s grace, we are seeing the Lord’s Day restored to its place of honor. We are seeing family worship renewed. We are seeing meaningful, regenerate membership restored. In short, God is moving in our midst in answer to our fervent prayers and we look forward to see what He has in store for His church here at Antioch.