Summer Block Party
There is a cry in many people’s hearts for someone to father or mother them. There are many spiritual orphans who have never had the opportunity to be loved into wholeness. Fatherlessness is a curse on a nation, and the result of that curse is wounded people carrying an orphan spirit.
The pain in the lives of spiritual orphans empowers five lies:
• The Rejection Lie – I must protect myself from others
• The Fear Lie – I must hide myself from others
• The Performance Lie – I must prove myself to others
• The Blame Lie – I must defend myself from others
• The Control Lie – I must manage myself and others
Spiritual fathers and mothers are mature fathers and mothers because they are not controlled by these lies, nor do they fall into the trap of modifying the behavior of those who believe these lies. They go for the heart. They know that lies are empowered by pain and that Jesus is the truth to heal the pain and dispel the lies.
Fathers and mothers in the Lord do five things well:
• Spiritual Fathers and Mothers Enable Others to Act – They foster collaboration and build life-giving teams. They actively involve others. They understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and dignity, of faith and vision. They strengthen others by sharing information and providing choice. Their give their own power away, making each person feel capable and powerful.
• Spiritual Mothers and Fathers Inspire a Common Vision – They inspire people to believe they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what their spiritual family can become. Through their passionate appeals and quiet persuasion, they enlist others in the dream. They breathe life into the shared vision and get people to see the exciting future possibilities.
• Fathers and Mothers Challenge the Status Quo – They search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative was to improve their church. They are learners and they encourage others to ask questions and think for themselves. They are always looking for what God wants to teach them. They experiment and take risks. And since risk taking involves mistakes and failure, they accept the inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities. They believe there are no failures, just learning.
• Spiritual Fathers and Mothers Model the Way – They create standards of common values and then set an example for others to follow. They establish values about how members of the community and staff should be treated. Because complex change can overwhelm and stifle action, they celebrate small wins. They unravel or remove bureaucracy, put up signposts for the way forward, and create opportunities for victory. They celebrate failure if people try, and rejoice in little obediences as the way to get to big obediences.
• Spiritual Mothers and Fathers Encourage the Heart – They provide opportunities for healing wounded hearts. They get extraordinary things done in their church or movement by doing lots of hard work based on grace, not performance. They keep hope and determination alive. They honor contributions that individuals make. And because every spiritual family needs to share in the rewards of their efforts, they celebrate accomplishments. They make everyone feel like a hero.
There are seven reflection questions that allow us to assess our level of maturity as spiritual fathers and mothers:
• Does our leadership and discipleship restrict or liberate people?
• Does it lead to conformity or does it promote creativity?
• Does it bring dependence on us or on God?
• Does it produce servility or servanthood?
• Does it build on rules or grace?
• Does it undermine or build a person’s confidence?
• Does it produce fear or faith?
In closing, consider Paul’s message to the Corinthians about being a spiritual father or mother:
“I’m not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. I’m writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God’s Message to you that I became your father. I’m not, you know, asking you to do anything I’m not already doing myself.” 1 Corinthians 4:14-16 The Message
In the NKJV translation of verse 15 it says, “…though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ…”
The Greek word used for instructor is a word used for those who supervise children until they reach adulthood. Paul is saying the Corinthians have had a lot of baby sitters but it’s time for them to grow up, and the key to that is having a spiritual father or mother in their lives.
Spiritual fathers and mothers are not instructors for spiritual babies. They are fathers and mothers in the Lord who know God.
*I am indebted to Larry Kreider for his book, The Cry for Spiritual Mothers and Fathers. I have adapted the five characteristics of spiritual mothers and fathers from the book, The Leadership Challenge, by Posner and Kouzes.
I have written more extensively on spiritual fathering and mothering in my book, The Father Heart of God, and in You See Bones – I See an Army.
Acts of Mercy is the Crisis Relief and Disaster Relief arm of Antioch and Antioch Movement. Acts of Mercy works to mobilize the Church to save lives in times of disaster and to bring sustainable transformation to communities locally and around the world.
Invest in the lives of children at Friday Club with games, fun challenges, tasty snacks, small group discussions and even field trips around the city. We meet every Friday from 4:15 to 6:30 p.m. during the school year. Not only do you get to invest in a child, but you’ll also have an opportunity to connect with the family if you pick up or drop off your student(s).
We believe man, by transgression, fell from the state of righteousness and holiness in which he was first created into total spiritual depravity, a state of death in trespasses and sins in which he is held as a slave of sin and an enemy of God. As such, he is unable to attain divine righteousness by his own efforts but must be redeemed and delivered by the power of the gospel. [Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4]
We believe repentance and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ are an integral part of God’s work of justification of the believer. Through faith in the shed blood of Christ, he or she is justified and made a partaker in the death of Christ. [Romans 5:1, 9]
We believe it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9]
We further believe the emphasis for a continuous walk in grace should be on demonstrating righteousness and purity of heart, believing in the keeping power of God, walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh, living a lifestyle that demonstrates the character, standards and convictions of Jesus Christ and not being conformed to the world. [Jude 24; Romans 8:25; Galatians 5:16-25; Romans 4:1-5; Romans 12:1-2]
We believe repentance is dependent upon the conviction of the Holy Spirit in the lives of sinners and believers and upon their response. The conviction of the Holy Spirit, which often accompanies the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, will result in the revelation of the sinfulness of self, which should lead to godly sorrow. [2 Corinthians 7:10; Psalm 51; Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25; Romans 1:18-32; Matthew 9:12-13]
We believe that in the final judgment, which will accompany the return of Christ, every person will give an account to God of every aspect of this earthly life. Unbelievers will be separated from God for eternity in hell. Believers will experience the final resurrection and live eternally with Christ in the new heavens and the new earth. [1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15]
We believe in one God who has revealed Himself in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. [Romans 1:20]
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all co-eternal and all stand equally superior to time, free from the temporal distinctions of past and future.
We believe in God the Father, Creator of all things visible and invisible. [Colossians 1:15-16]
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, who came into the world to reveal the Father and was the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person. Jesus Christ was the Creator of everything, for by Him all things were made. We further believe that in Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form and that He was very-God and very-Man. [John 1:1-2, 14; 1 Timothy 3:16; Acts 7:37-38]
We believe in Jesus Christ’s pre-existence, incarnation, virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, substitutionary and atoning death, bodily resurrection, bodily ascension into heaven, exaltation, present rule at the right hand of God, coming personal return in power and great glory and everlasting Kingdom and dominion. [Acts 1:11; Acts 3:19-21; Daniel 7:14; Revelation 20:4]
We acknowledge His Lordship—that Jesus Christ is Lord over all things in heaven, on earth and under the earth. [Philippians 2:9-10]
We believe in the Holy Spirit, His present ministry, His indwelling, His empowering, His impartation of gifts for today and His transforming power in the lives of all believers. [1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 1:13-14]
We believe water baptism (by immersion) is an obedient response to the command of Jesus. Baptism is to be performed only upon repentant believers in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. [Matthew 28:18-20]
We hold that the real evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is one’s response to the Word of God, a Christ-like life, showing forth Christ’s character and experiencing and manifesting the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. [John 16:13-14; John 15:26; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11]
We believe God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. [Genesis 1:27-28; Genesis 2:20-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Psalm 139:13-15]
We believe the Church is both universal and local. All believers form the Church, in unity with all believers throughout history; and yet, the church is also local, with believers gathering in committed community and under the authority of Christ. [Ephesians 1:22-23]
Scripture describes the Church as:
This language is intimate and reveals Jesus’ commitment to and care for His people. Furthermore, the Church is God’s instrument for revealing His purpose and the fullness of Jesus on earth for His glory. [Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 1:23]
We believe mentoring relationships can help kids succeed in school and in life, which will be part of transforming their lives, their families and our community’s future.
Antioch started the STARS Mentoring Project in response to the needs among youth in our neighborhood. In this Mentoring Project, we are building strength, resilience and hope in the children of our community through mentoring relationships and academic support.
Many kids in our community are struggling in school, experiencing some degree of poverty or are lacking positive adult role models. These are huge barriers to a child’s success in school and to ending cycles of generational poverty. Studies have shown that not graduating from high school has a huge effect on people’s lives, and 3rd-grade reading ability is one of the main factors that determine whether someone makes it to high school graduation. We invite you to join us and invest in the students of our community.
Our vision is to see a future where every student in Waco, TX, can read and succeed. Statistics show that 3rd graders who read below their grade level are eight times less likely to graduate high school. STARS aims to change the course of a child’s life by raising volunteers to read with two to three students once a week for 30 minutes at their school. This is a big treat for the kids, and we’ve seen many of them catch up to their grade’s reading level. Our goal is to have 1,000 mentors in schools throughout Waco.
End human trafficking. Ignite hope.
Unbound is Antioch’s anti-human trafficking ministry, working to mobilize the Church and activate local communities to fight human trafficking. Since 2012, Unbound Waco has empowered more than 10,000 youth to stay safe, trained thousands of professionals to identify and respond to human trafficking and served more than 340 victims and survivors in our community. Unbound Waco also provides leadership to the Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition.
Engage the Nations exists to bridge the gap between the local church and our long-term teams by mobilizing interns to help fulfill the Great Commission in this generation. We will mobilize teams for 3-month internships that will work with long-term teams to catalyze church planting and disciple-making movements in their regions. Our goal is that each intern will have encounters with Jesus, be equipped as a disciple-maker, be envisioned for the lost and learn how to support the long-term work going on around the world. Our hope is that our summer teams will be able to identify key, fruitful and apostolic locals who, upon the team’s departure at the end of the summer, can be connected with the long-term team for continued investment and discipleship.
Our desire is to empower men and women to know their identity in Christ and help them develop Bible-based tools to live out their life’s purpose in freedom.
Antioch Recovery Ministry exists to help bring holistic transformation to both men and women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction through biblically based recovery groups and discipleship. We provide a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment where men and women come together to work through their recovery journey. We offer an opportunity to be part of a supportive community and learn together through authentic discipleship how to get free from addiction.
Addiction can leave behind a wide range of short- and long-term effects that can be devastating—not just to the individual—but to the community, state and nation. It destroys families, friendships and careers and impacts a person’s overall health. Here is how we integrate discipleship into recovery:
Reaching the nations of the earth
A core part of Antioch’s vision is to see reproducing, disciple-making churches planted in every country around the world. Jesus said in Matthew 28, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” For some, this means responding to the call of God on their lives to go to another nation and be part of God’s redemptive work. If God has called you and you have completed the Antioch Discipleship School, we invite you to apply to the Antioch Church Planting School. The ACPS will train and equip you for overseas work as well as increase your awareness of what God is doing in the earth.
If you aren’t sure if you’re called to the nations but are interested in learning more about it, we would love to talk to you.
We host Sunday services in the local county jail for inmates, both men and women. Services include worship, preaching/teaching and ministry response times. We provide inmates with Bibles and devotionals upon request. Through this ministry, we’re reaching many in our community who are feeling broken and hopeless and bringing Jesus into such tough places. There are many opportunities to be part of this team, including going to the jail, writing inmates and interceding. If you are interested in this ministry, please contact us at email@example.com.
Our mobile food distribution happens twice a month in the Antioch Waco parking lot. Through this ministry, we have the opportunity to provide groceries to hundreds of families in need in our community each month. As cars are loaded with groceries, volunteers offer to pray for those who would like it. This takes place the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month. If you would like to volunteer with this ministry, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through our Sports Ministry, we’re able to engage kids and families in our local community where they’re most comfortable and provide great coaching, mentorship and a model of life following Jesus. We do this by working with local little leagues, running sports camps and taking impact trips. This is a great way to build relationships with families and student athletes in our Waco community. If you’re interested in learning more about Sports Ministry and our available volunteer opportunities, please contact us at email@example.com.
SERVE is an opportunity to spend up to 11 months as part of an international church planting team. Participants get the experience of making disciples, living cross-culturally and working as a team under the leadership of seasoned missionaries. This internship experience helps young people determine whether long-term church planting is right for them. Timeframes and costs for the internships will vary based on location and will be subject to final approval from the Long Term Team who would be hosting. Please note that the SERVE application is in-depth and comes with the requirement of having finished an Antioch Discipleship School.
We believe the Bible is the inspired, authoritative, living, eternally reliable Word of God, equally in all parts, and without error in its original manuscript and our primary and authoritative source of revelation from God, superior to conscience and reason, though not contrary to reason. Therefore, the Bible is our final authority for faith and practice and is necessary for our daily lives as it continually points us toward the person of Jesus. [2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Peter 1:23-25; Hebrews 4:12]