Rocky Mountain High

Posted on July 24, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

What a week! It has been a spiritual high as well as the actual altitude. We are enjoying participating in the international conference of Antioch Ministries International with 750 personnel from around the world and church plants in the U.S. Begun 15 years ago, Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas set out to be a church body that exists to train and send out missionaries. With a membership now of 3,000 they have over 200 missionaries serving in 25 countries and have started 21 churches from Boston to San Diego that are replicating the mission sending ethos.

Winter Park Resort is located at 9,000 feet where the air is thin and the temperature cool. At night the temperature has dipped into the 40s and daytime highs sometime reach 70 degrees. We are feeling sorry for our friends and neighbors sweltering in Mississippi heat. With a relaxed schedule I thought I would keep up my exercise routine, but when I couldn’t get my breath after two sit-ups decided the casual walk to the convention center that left me breathless would have to suffice.

Not only has the comfortable facilities and fantastic scenery seemed like a vacation, the fellowship and spiritual nurture has been refreshing. About 150 of those attending are children of church planters, missionaries and Antioch staff while more than 100 are church volunteers facilitating the program. Every morning has been filled with passionate worship, testimonies and challenging preaching. We have led break-out seminars on marriage and parenting on the mission field, raising third-culture kids, spiritual warfare and consulting on church planting strategies and engaging unreached people groups.

Bobbye was the featured speaker at an afternoon ladies luncheon and has been in constant demand by young wives and mothers. Meals and free time in the evening has been filled with counseling missionary couples and providing consultation with teams from Indonesia, Afghanistan, China, India, Northern Africa and other locations. AMI is focused on sending teams to the unengaged, unreached people groups of the world and are seeing amazing breakthroughs.

The Antioch movement affirms that the potential of fulfilling the Great Commission is contingent on churches recognizing they exist as bodies of believers to carry out God’s mission in the world. It ratifies the principle I have continually advocated–local growth and outreach of a church is contingent on a mission vision and commitment to reach the world.

We are pictured with senior pastor Jimmy Siebert and his wife, Laura, who founded the Antioch movement and, along with a young staff, stir the passion to reach the nations through deliberate discipleship and training. The 21 churches planted around the U.S. are primarily among university communities; they are not only mobilizing missionaries but are intended to reproduce and double every two years. When most churches are neglecting or marginalizing the responsibility to reach a lost world and many mission agencies in decline, it is encouraging to see how God is blessing and moving among AMI.

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