Antioch Partnership

The Antioch Partnership is a collaborative experience offered by the Alabama-West Florida Conference for those churches seeking to take the next steps toward being the church God is calling them to be.  The Conference will actively partner with the church in order to begin new seasons of fruitfulness. Churches who are invited to participate in the Antioch Partnership have demonstrated good pastoral leadership, good lay leadership, and potential resources to jump start a new life cycle of ministry fruitfulness. 

The Antioch Partnership 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 Partnership identifies 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 and guides to the church to fulfill the recommendations of the Barnabas team.

The Antioch Partnership 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 Partnership covenant, a 2-3 year journey begins 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);
  • "Guest Worshippers" who visit and worship at each Antioch Partnership 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 Partnership’s Barnabas Team, that culminates in a discovery report with five unique "recommendations"   or next steps the church needs to take to move into jump starting new fruitfulness.
  • If an Antioch Partnership church votes 70% or better to accept its recommendations (via an official church conference), the decision is made to go forward to the Saul phase of the Antioch Partnership.  The Saul Phase is when the pastor leads the implementation of the recommendations, with the assistance of "guides" (ministry leaders who already have a successful track record in their own setting with that recommendation) to help guide and advise.  The guides 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 Partnership Church, please contact your District Superintendent.