Antioch Project

The Antioch Project is an Alabama-West Florida Conference initiative designed to partner with local churches that are currently plateaued, are in decline, or are not sure what should come next. Churches who are invited to participate in the Antioch Project have demonstrated good pastoral leadership, good lay leadership, and potential resources to jump start a new life cycle of ministry fruitfulness. 

The Antioch Project is based on Acts 11:19-30. When a new church springs into existence in Antioch, the church in Jerusalem sends Barnabas to investigate. Barnabas goes and celebrates with the church. After spending some time with them, Barnabas knows that Saul is the best person to help the church, so he helps to create a partnership between them. Saul and Barnabas work with the church for a year, and the church receives new direction for its future.

The Antioch Project is a process that identifies viable congregations that may benefit from a strategic partnership with the church, sends a Barnabas Team to visit with the church and establish recommendations for the future, assigns coaches to the church to fulfill the recommendations of the Barnabas team.

The Antioch Project is comprised of a group of churches each year that have been recommended by the cabinet as meeting these specific criteria, and then are prayerfully selected and invited by the Bishop to participate.  For congregations that sign the Antioch Project covenant, a 2-3 year process is launched that includes:

  • Concentrated new ministry leadership skills training each month for the pastors in the Initiative (80 plus hours total throughout the year, along with accountability for implementation back home at their churches);
  • "Mystery Worshippers" who visit and worship at each Antioch Project Church, and then provide extensive feedback about their experiences;
  • An extensive self-study completed by each church, including history, finances, staffing, organization, ministry activities and demographic setting;
  • three-day on-site weekend (known as the Barnabas Visit), provided by Antioch Project’s Barnabas Team, that culminates in a consultation report with five unique "prescriptions" (recommendations)  or next steps the church needs to take to move from plateau/decline into jump starting new fruitfulness; and
  • If an Antioch Project church votes 70% or better to accept its prescriptions (via an official church conference), the decision is made to go forward to the Saul phase of the Antioch Project.  The Saul Phase is when the pastor leads the implementation of the prescriptions, with the assistance of "prescription coaches" (ministry leaders who already have a successful track record in their own setting with that prescription) to help guide and advise.  The prescription coaches are underwritten by the Alabama-West Florida Conference and continue to guide the pastor and congregation for up to two years.

If you would like your church to be an Antioch Project Church, please contact your District Superintendent.