Our Story

Our Story

Antioch Baptist Church was organized in the 1860s and chartered in the 1870s. It has served the community as a place of worship ever since. The exact date the Church Charter was issued and the names of its charter members are unknown because the document no longer exists.

When the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed in 1854, thousands of settlers were drawn to the new territory and many chose to homestead in Miami County. These pioneers traveled by covered wagon and had limited space for possessions. Their inventory was basic: household items, light tools, clothing and a few books, which always included the family Bible. Families worshipped in their homes. As neighbors became acquainted with each other, they gathered for Sunday services, meeting in different farm homes and sharing the responsibility of worship leader. These early settlers, grounded in their faith, established the Antioch Baptist Church.

Our Roots

A Warranty Deed dated July 1877, documents that one acre of land, located in the southeast corner of the northeast quarter of section 27, owned by Mary E. and Eli Stringer, was sold to the Trustees of the Antioch Church edifice for $25.  The trustees named on the deed were A. W. Kent, J. L. Bibers, G. O. Reece, John Everett and C. Pulley.  Neighbors working together constructed the Antioch Church building.  This white clap-board structure was made of lumber from a grove of oak trees donated by J. L. Bibers. 

The church did not always have a full-time pastor, so when revivals were held it was a huge event. People came from miles around to hear the preaching. There was not enough room inside the building to accommodate the crowd, so many sat in their wagons or buggies parked near the windows to hear God’s Word.

Antioch was a farming community, and the well-being of families depended on successful harvests. Farmers experienced more than a decade of agricultural difficulties beginning in 1874 with a plague of grasshoppers which devoured pastures and crops. This was followed by several years of drought. The grasshopper/drought combination made it impossible for many families to survive financially, so they left their homesteads. The 1882 Minutes of the Miami Baptist Association state, “Antioch—not in a prosperous condition. No Sunday school reported. Preaching one-fourth of the time”.

Ups and Downs

Records authenticate that Rev. Plowman, L. W. Lowther, L. B. Senter and Samuel Ramey pastored the early church. During the 1880s, Antioch grew and prospered. The church, school, cemetery, general store and blacksmith shop met the needs of the people. The Antioch School District, organized in 1862 as a three-month subscription school officially became Antioch School District 11 in 1881. The church and the school became the backbone of the community.

Minutes from the Miami Baptist Association from 1900 to 1944 state that J. C. Powell, J. A. Beltz, Ray Crawford, W. M. Hewlett, and D. C. Spring served as pastors of the church. The same minutes also document that membership had dwindled and that Sunday school and church were held only in the summer when a pastor was available. In 1944, the church closed its doors.

New Beginnings

July 1947
Reopening
Antioch Baptist had been closed for nearly three years when Rev C. E. Clinkenbeard reopened the church in July 1947, pastoring it faithfully for the next three and a half years. Revivals were held featuring evangelists Rev. Billy Heriford, D. E. Johnson and Roger Fredrikson. Church membership continued to increase and more space for Sunday school was needed. Under the leadership of Rev. Delbert Wagoner, church members voted to build a basement and move the church to the new basement. However, after careful calculation, it was decided that building a new cement block church would be a better financial decision. The estimated cost of the new church was $1,500.
July 1947
1951
Growth
In May 1951, the original church building was torn down. Vernon Coleman, with the help of members, laid the block for the new church. Oak lumber from the original church was used as flooring and roof trusses in the new building. During construction, Sunday school and church services were moved to the Antioch Community Hall. In June 1951, a benefit auction for the new church building fund took place on the Antioch School grounds, raising $1,233.90.
1951
1952
Expansion
In 1952, the new Antioch Baptist Church was finished and dedicated. During the cool seasons, the sanctuary was heated by a free standing coal stove in the back of the room, and during the warm months it was cooled by open windows. Outdoor privies accommodated the personal needs of members.
1952
antioch-community-baptist-church-1953
1952-1956
Interim Period
From 1952 to 1966, the church was pastored by college and seminary students. Some who served as pastors during this period were A. D. Oyer, Dale Manos, Harold Moore, Hal Hawkins, James Smith, John Butler, Ray Hill, Carl F. Fetters, Bill Shook and Robert Cameron.
1952-1956
antioch-community-baptist-church-1956
1956
2nd Expansion
In the mid-1950s, BYF (Baptist Youth Fellowship) led by Bob and Alberta McDaniel, was an important activity for teens in the community. One BYF project was hanging an antique church bell from an iron pipe framework. The framework and bell were positioned under the large tree in front of the church. Many a youth was called to Bible study on Sunday evening by the sweet tone of this bell.
1956
1963
2nd Closing
The church had always mirrored change in the community. A decision made in the 1960s by the Kansas Legislature changed Antioch forever. The enactment of the 1963 School Unification Act closed Antioch School District 11 and incorporated it into the Gardner-Edgerton-Antioch School District in Gardner, Kansas. The focus of activities and academic interest was now outside the community. Perhaps as a consequence of this, church attendance dropped so low that the church closed its doors in 1966.
1963
1970
2nd Reopening
On the first Sunday in July 1970, The Antioch Baptist Church reopened its doors with a congregation of five, including Pastor Bill Russell, a student at Mid-America Nazarene University. The church had withstood four years of inactivity. The sanctuary was untouched, but rubbish in the basement suggested an occasional traveler had found solace there. With minor repair, a thorough cleaning and the leadership of Russell, Antioch Baptist Church was alive again. Russell was pastor at Antioch for six months. A second Mid-America Nazarene student, David L. Weltmer, accepted the call and served as pastor until May 1973.
1970
1973-1978
Rebirth
Rev. Edwin MacDowell accepted the position of Pastor on August 1, 1973. Because of his dedication and outreach, membership increased. The church again held revivals. Some of the guest evangelists were Don Davidson, Robert Revile, and Clifford Lewis. By 1976, more space was necessary and the church needed to be renovated. Members approved a $6,000 plan to add a bathroom, nursery and additional storage space. Two years later, in October 1978, the project was completed. All of the work and much of the materials were donated. The $6,000 needed for renovation was contributed by members and friends of the church. A baby grand piano was also purchased at this time. Rev. Edwin MacDowell ministered to the Antioch community for 23 years.
1973-1978
antioch-old church-header
1996 - 2010
Present Day
After Rev. MacDowell's retirement, four men would pastor the church over the next several years. Mr. Darrell Stevens ministered to the Antioch congregation from May 1996 to October 2003, Mark Fisher, Heath Morris and Steve Garrow serving from October 2008 until 2010. When a pastor was not available, students from Calvary Bible College filled the pulpit.
1996 - 2010
2010 - Present
Pastor Jack Smith accepted the position as full time pastor at Antioch Baptist Church in October 2010. The response to Pastor Smith's leadership and outreach programs was membership growth. Two important decisions were made by church members in 2011. The first was to leave the American Baptist Churches of the Central Region Association and become an Independent Baptist Church. The second decision was that members felt it was in the best interest of the church to incorporate. Incorporating the church required a name change from Antioch Baptist Church to Antioch Community Baptist Church because Antioch Baptist Church had already been registered with the state of Kansas and could not legally be used.
2010 - Present
2013 - Present
Present Day Renovations
The congregation continued to grow and more space was needed to accommodate the people. On September 15, 2013 church members voted to enlarge the church. Blueprints were drafted to construct a 2,486 square foot addition onto the west side of the church while retaining the architectural lines of the original church. Estimated cost of project was $347,600. A ground breaking ceremony for the new addition was held on November 8, 2013. Renovation of the original church included updating the electrical wiring, plumbing, a new HVAC, audio-visual system, new pews, carpeting, wall covering, painting and installing handicap accessible facilities. On the main level, the additional square footage provided space for a larger sanctuary with baptismal, pastor's office, and a new bathroom. Expansion of the basement allowed room for a larger kitchen, general activity area, classrooms, and two new bathrooms. Outdoors, the parking area was expanded and outside lighting upgraded. Church members and friends were generous in their financial support of this project, gifting 71% of money needed. The new building expansion was celebrated on Sunday, March 8, 2015 with a church service and baptisms followed by a fellowship dinner. Thanks be to God to whom all glory is due.
2013 - Present