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"TAKING THE NATION BACK BY TAKING JESUS TO THE NATION"

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Here you can plot our progress as God blesses us.

Hicks

Attached is a picture of Arthur Barry baptizing our newest sister into Christ in Sayre, PA—Felicity Hicks! Ben Wright (an elder of Arthur’s sponsoring church in Kittanning , PA) called me yesterday overwhelmed with joy and expressing the belief that the church in Sayre (Valley Cities church of Christ) is getting ready to grow greatly. Of no small importance are the facts of: 1)  Kittanning congregations’ partnership with Valley Cities church in financial support coupled with their periodic presence in Sayre to assist with things like door knocking, VBS outreach, and spiritual encouragements; and, 2) Arthur Barry’s faithful follow up of those contacts.

Those who partner in this work with prayers, financial support, and/or personal visits to Sayre are deeply appreciated.

To keep communication flowing, the work in Sayre is supported by a total of $3350 per month. $700 of that $3350 is for the building rental and $2650 of the $3350 per month is for Arthur Barry’s support. If you wonder why Arthur is able to function on $2650 per month, he was willing to bring his Social Security and Medicare Benefits into the equation of his salary. Arthur and Sandy Barry are extraordinary Christians, it seems, prepared for just such a time as this. He is articulate, well-versed in the word of God, a fine pulpit preacher, a zealous soul-winner, a man of wisdom and conviction who has a gentle/soft-spoken demeanor wrapped around an uncompromising stand for truth. When you think of it, only God could have constructed such a man and, then, presented him to us right on His schedule.

The elders of Elmore church of Christ lead the way in the Antioch Initiative assisted by a growing number of partners around the Southern and Eastern parts of the U.S. to plant churches in the Northeast. Representatives from the Elmore church stand ready to come to your congregation for a face-to-face visit with your  eldership, if they would consider partnering with us in this great work expanding the base of outreach to the U.S. More than one congregation has become attracted to this work because of the prospect of working with such a cutting-edge, church-planting effort within practical driving distance of their homes. It is a work in which young people from congregations over the U.S. can come and cut their teeth in mission for Jesus. Further, there are  numerous ways for Christians and congregations to become inv0lved, including prayers, financial support, mission trips, sponsorship of a new church plant, etc.

More later as God blesses…

Don Myers

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15 Passenger Van SCBrethren

I have to report a problem we encountered at Valley Cities church of Christ this Lord's Day. The number of visitors in attendance caused me to have to make three separate shuttle runs to pick people up!

We had 14 visitors altogether. 7 adults, 5 children + 2 newborns

These are problems we welcome but problems that we do need to overcome. I got help for the return journeys and only had to make one shuttle run after worship.

One of the mothers asked to be baptized and I will be visiting with her and her mom tomorrow.

All in all there is so much to be thankful for and all of you who have journeyed to Sayre and knocked doors to invite people to the VBS should know you have been a huge blessing for the saints here. And all of you who have been been here before or who have been involved with supporting us in any way...Thank you!

Stay tuned...

Arthur

 

 

COMMEMT:

Don:

All I can think of to say is "wow".

My brother, may I offer some observations:

1.) The "soil" in the Valley Cities area appears to be fertile indeed. Most congregations in the Northeast would be at a minimum surprised to have so many visitors from the community attend worship after a VBS. 14 visitors would be thought of as very successful even for well established congregations.

2.) Arthur and Sandy are obviously quite effective stewards of the leads that were generated by the VBS. I am not surprised that he would make 3 separate trips to pick up contacts for worship.

3.) The VBS itself was quite successful. Larry Krause has a well established reputation as a "door knocking dynamo". In fact, I personally have never worked with a more effective door knocker than Larry. The Maul family including 2 of their daughters (with children) were also quite effective at reaching out to the community.

4.) Someone from the community remarked that they "had never seen such love in one place". The VBS did have a "magical feel" to it and all 28 people who went up from Kittanning felt it. Evidently members from the community felt it as well.

5.) Tentatively we have at least one family from Kittanning who plan to drive up this weekend to visit Valley Cities. Our members are "on board" with the Valley Cities effort.

In His Service,

Ben

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Fun and Skits

Don:

As we discussed yesterday, I am summarizing some observations that I had during the Vacation Bible School (VBS) at the Valley Cities Church of Christ in Sayre, PA.  I will have some pictures for you by tomorrow sometime but for now I thought I would reflect on some things I thought were significant, as follows:

1.)  One of the most remarkable observations that I had dealt with the amount of preparation that went into setting up the actual VBS itself. Most of the communities making up the Valley Cities area were canvassed (door knocking) prior to the actual event and several contacts were made.  Larry Krause, Steve & Pat Maul along with their daughters Lydia and Debbie and grandchildren spent several days walking the streets of Sayre, Athens and South Waverly.  I know that Arthur and Sandy were participating as well and I believe other members of their extended family took part.

2.)  I personally know of 4 congregations taking part but there may have been more.  Kittanning sent up at least 28 members, Berkely Springs sent up approximately 4-5 members and Camp Hill sent up at least 4-5 as well as members from the Valley Cities congregation.

3.)  Perhaps the most exciting thing I noticed was the number of family units from the community that came to the VBS.  I can think of 6-7 different family units that participated in at least some part of the events of the weekend and many attended Sunday morning services. There are some good contacts within that group and it is the hope of all of us that we might see some fruit from the efforts made to reach out to them.

4.)  Worship was so uplifting on Sunday morning and there were between 50-60 in attendance.  I was unable to get an accurate number because the room used for the assembly was overflowing and people were seated back the hallway, some of the men were standing, etc.  Arthur had a notable sermon on the "accent of heaven" and indeed the members of the Church have a different "accent" than people in the world.

5.)  Clem Rosenberger did a great job conducting the VBS and no less than 3 families made comments how he was "good with the kids".

6.)  The picnic in the park was well planned, the inflatable obstacle course was a "hit", one of the contacts made was a part time magician (Juan Rodriguez) who amazed all of us with his skill set.  The food was good too!!

7.)  All of us left with a feeling that we had experienced a little bit of "heaven on earth" and look forward to future events of this kind.

8.)  Finally I am all the more convinced that we have the right team in the field in Arthur and Sandy.  I knew that prior to the weekend but the effort expended by Arthur and Sandy, the planning involved, and the near flawless execution of events, etc. have only solidified my appreciation for them.

Your brother, Ben (Harvey Wright)

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vbsIt began with the team from Margaret St. in Milton, Florida, carrying out a week of door knocking. Then Larry Krause from Kittanning came for two days last week and returned for all of this week. Each time he came he filled his SUV with VBS paraphernalia. Larry knocked doors relentlessly. On Wednesday Steve and Pat Maul arrived with their daughter Debbie Rosenberger, her two children, Elizabeth and Nathan, and their friend Caroline. They all knocked doors through Friday. By that time we had a substantial contact list and Larry was returning for Bible studies with one or two individuals. More help poured in through Thursday and Friday from Camp Hill, and from Kittanning. By Friday evening we had the inflatable obstacle course running and the puppeteers were rehearsing and just about everyone had been to Johny D’s Ice Cream place at least once.

The brethren from Kittanning took care of just about everything and when Saturday arrived we had almost 60 people in our facility. Even more help arrived from Berkley Springs, W. Va. Clem Rosenberger illustrated the parables with help from various other members who acted out the parables. Clem really kept the children’s attention, leading singing and using visual aids. He was tireless and very effective. We had several families and a good number of children (final count to come later). This morning (Sunday) most of them joined us again and then we had a picnic at the local park.

Over and over again people have come to me to tell me what a wonderful group of people these folks were. I can only echo that sentiment, having witnessed so many selfless individuals who were willing to come and help with the work in Sayre. This was a monumental effort and I truly believe the effort has been very fruitful and will be reporting on the follow up developments shortly.

God is good!

Arthur Barry


Don:

As we discussed yesterday, I am summarizing some observations that I had during the Vacation Bible School (VBS) at the Valley Cities Church of Christ in Sayre, PA.  I will have some pictures for you by tomorrow sometime but for now I thought I would reflect on some things I thought were significant, as follows:

1.)  One of the most remarkable observations that I had dealt with the amount of preparation that went into setting up the actual VBS itself. Most of the communities making up the Valley Cities area were canvassed (door knocking) prior to the actual event and several contacts were made.  Larry Krause, Steve & Pat Maul along with their daughters Lydia and Debbie and grandchildren spent several days walking the streets of Sayre, Athens and South Waverly.  I know that Arthur and Sandy were participating as well and I believe other members of their extended family took part.

2.)  I personally know of 4 congregations taking part but there may have been more.  Kittanning sent up at least 28 members, Berkely Springs sent up approximately 4-5 members and Camp Hill sent up at least 4-5 as well as members from the Valley Cities congregation.

3.)  Perhaps the most exciting thing I noticed was the number of family units from the community that came to the VBS.  I can think of 6-7 different family units that participated in at least some part of the events of the weekend and many attended Sunday morning services. There are some good contacts within that group and it is the hope of all of us that we might see some fruit from the efforts made to reach out to them.

4.)  Worship was so uplifting on Sunday morning and there were between 50-60 in attendance.  I was unable to get an accurate number because the room used for the assembly was overflowing and people were seated back the hallway, some of the men were standing, etc.  Arthur had a notable sermon on the "accent of heaven" and indeed the members of the Church have a different "accent" than people in the world.

5.)  Clem Rosenberger did a great job conducting the VBS and no less than 3 families made comments how he was "good with the kids".

6.)  The picnic in the park was well planned, the inflatable obstacle course was a "hit", one of the contacts made was a part time magician (Juan Rodriguez) who amazed all of us with his skill set.  The food was good too!!

7.)  All of us left with a feeling that we had experienced a little bit of "heaven on earth" and look forward to future events of this kind.

8.)  Finally I am all the more convinced that we have the right team in the field in Arthur and Sandy.  I knew that prior to the weekend but the effort expended by Arthur and Sandy, the planning involved, and the near flawless execution of events, etc. have only solidified my appreciation for them.

Your brother, Ben Wright (one of the elders of Kittanning congregation

 

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Baptism in Sayre PA

Arthur Barry baptized the first convert in
Sayre, PA. May God be praised.

 

 

BACK STORY:

This baptism took place in the Susquehanna River just behind our meeting place. I contacted Ron Moulton during the initial campaign in Sayre, last October, and have been visiting and studying with him since then. He has a teenage son and a good friend who have also been to church with us and have also enjoyed our men's breakfast activity. Ron had been baptized as a Mormon so we took time to make sure he understood that there is a conflict of faith between the Lord's Church and the Mormon Church.

Arthur

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TunkhannockSignCloseKyle Cantrell and Jonathan Jett of the Prattville church of Christ in Prattville, AL presented a report to the Elmore church of Christ this past Sunday night on the June 8 - 15th survey trip to Northeastern Pennsylvania, which led to the selection of Tunkhannock, PA as the site for the second church plant. The Prattville congregation has committed to raise their monthly support from $200 to $400 per month in the second year of their partnership with the Antioch Initiative. This was done under the encouragements of Dave Layton (deacon associated with mission at the Prattville church). Dave has been a true partner.

When Kyle Cantrell spoke to the Elmore church, he kept referring to the efforts of the Antioch Initiative to plant churches in the Northeast as "our" work. This is a prayer come true, brothers and sisters, when other brothers, sisters, and congregations begin to call this work--"our work!" This work is bigger than the Elmore church--much, much bigger! We invite you to become part of the "our work" equation. Let's join prayers, knowledge, expertise, manpower, and funding to work together to make disciples leading to the planting of churches.

We welcome Cliff Lyons (father of Eric Lyons of Apologetics Press) and Mark Davidson (deacon associated with missions at Dalraida congregation in Montgomery) to our readership.

Don Myers

Elmore Church of Christ

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TO:   Partners in PA Church-Planting

This is being sent bathed in prayer.

God has blessed us with a candidate evangelist for the second church plant being planned by the Antioch Initiative in Tunkhannock, PA--the county seat of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. If God blesses us with the launching of this second congregation in Northeastern Pennsylvania, it will represent the only congregation of the church of Christ in Wyoming County. Tunkhannock is, approximately, sixty miles from the first church plant in Sayre, PA (the only congregation of the church of Christ in Bradford County, Pennsylvania). That church launched on October 19, 2014 with brother Arthur Barry of Dryden, NY serving as evangelist.

It is not timely to publish the name of the candidate being interviewed at this time for Tunkhannock until the process is more advanced, but he is experienced, lives in Alabama, his wife is a native of New York, he is drawing full Social Security and Medicare benefits, preaches full-time for a congregation at present, is willing to raise his own support, and suggested he might live in a suitable space (apartment) in the church meeting place in Tunkhannock.

Elements needed for the second church plant will be securing of a faithful and willing evangelist, finding his funding, locating a sponsoring eldership, and moving the evangelist to Tunkhannock. The sponsoring eldership being sought will need to be effusive and proactive in distinguishing themselves as leaders who take the point in the second church plant overseeing the evangelist. Members of the Antioch Initiative will promote and cooperate in every way possible in prayer, campaigning, assisting in raising funds, and other logistics. No outside eldership has authority over another congregation, but the sponsoring eldership will be charged with overseeing the Tunkhannock evangelist. When the sponsoring eldership and Tunkhannock evangelist do their work, this frees the Antioch Initiative to move onto the third church plant in either Susquehanna or Sullivan Counties, Pennsylvania while being supportive (as mentioned above) of the first two church plants. (As has been noted in other communications, the Valley Cities congregation in Sayre are forging ahead with various outreaches and cooperating with several other congregations in various places without checking with core members of the Antioch Initiative. Valley Cities’ church is, incrementally, taking on more and more of their own financial support and targeting Towanda, PA as a place where they want to plant a church! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!)

That's the news and here's the sermon. (Don't read on if you only want the news.)

TheChurchIsPeople 300In this writer's view, the Antioch Initiative is not in the business of purchasing church properties or building church buildings. That is one of the reasons church planting has been so lethargic in our brotherhood. What does it take to have a church-plant? It takes a messenger of the gospel of grace winning one soul to Christ and, well, there you go--the church is born! But, where will they meet? Does that matter? They can meet in the preacher's home, in a fire hall, a room at the library, or a rented facility. The possibilities are endless! Someone might retort, "But the community will not take the church serious if they do not have a building." There are, literally, multiplied thousands of churches of every stripe throughout the U.S. which have buildings and which are not being taken seriously by the communities where they are situated. When a body of people is like the salt of the earth and the light of the world, those seeking God will take them serious. What the newly formed congregation does about a meeting place (beyond possible expenditure for a modest rental at the outset) will be, strictly, the business of the Tunkhannock church of Christ.

Roman law of the first century did not allow mass meetings. Hence, the church of the Lord met in homes for the first three hundred years of existence. It is time to get back to the foundations of what the church is--the called out to assembly. Where the assembly takes place is immaterial. The church is a body of repentant, baptized believers who are blood washed, Holy Spirit indwelt, in pursuit of holiness, worshipping the Lord, loving their lost community, passionately preaching the gospel of grace, and planting other churches from day one of their launching. The church is a body of believers in which every Christian is a missionary--not one professional carrying all the load. The missionary or evangelist must be a leader and an example of mission and a trainer of soul-winners who he mentors, but the job of soul winning belongs to every Christian. First century Christianity has not been restored until we restore a passion for the lost in our own neighborhoods.

This thought is not original, but one author wrote, "If the church where you attend suddenly ceased to exist and closed its doors next week, would the community miss it or grieve its passing?" Or, "would the community even notice the church no longer met in that location?" We need to so serve and love our neighbors and communities to the extent that there would be great grieving over a congregation closing its doors.

More later as God blesses.

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paul the apostle batoni 2John Mark Davidson (deacon associated with Missions at Dalraida congregation in Montgomery, AL) indicated by phone yesterday that he anticipates that the Dalraida leadership will continue supporting the Antioch Initiative to plant churches in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the 2015-16 budgeted year. Presently, Dalraida congregation supports the work $200 per month. The final decision concerning Dalraida's commitment will be formalized in November of this year.

We deeply appreciate all our partners in prayer and funding. It is our prayer that more partners will join these efforts to take the nation back by taking Jesus to the nation.

Potential supporters need to be apprized of our sincerest efforts to employ non-paternalistic Pauline methodology in this multiple church-planting ministry. The aim is for the new church plants to become self-propagating, self-supporting, and self-led. The first church plant in Sayre, PA is a free standing, autonomous body of saints and that body makes it's own decisions, is dreaming of planting a church in Towanda, PA about 30 miles from them, and working toward assuming $700 per month of their $3350 monthly support by January 1, 2016. This is a strong indicator that the Valley Cities' congregation in Sayre (the new church plant) intends to become financially independent from her supporters as soon as possible.

In this missional rhythm, the partners of the Antioch Initiative Team hope to plant germinal, self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-led congregations of the Lord's church. Studies have shown that such a non-paternalistic environment in church plants stimulate indigenous leadership. And, without local leadership, a church is destined to be spiritually dwarfed or dead.

Given those guidelines, we urge all our readers to join our efforts in whatever ways you are able. May God bless us to plant churches that will plant churches that will plant churches until Jesus returns.

Don Myers

Elmore Church of Christ

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CookvilleTNeldersDale Garrett and Sam Masters (blue shirt and front left center, respectively) are two of the six elders from the Sycamore church of Christ in Cookeville, TN). They met with core members of the Antioch Initiative (Jimmy Davis, Stan Taylor, Don Myers, & Kyle Cantrell) in the beautiful home of Kyle and Tiffany Cantrell of Montgomery, AL to discuss efforts to plant churches in Northeastern, PA and beyond. The Cookeville elders were in Montgomery on the campus of Faulkner University for the Annual Inspire Youth meeting with 250 young people in attendance. (The Cookeville elders were the ones who had the vision to begin Inspire eight years ago!)

Kyle and Tiffany Cantrell (members of the Prattville church of Christ in Prattville, AL) are well acquainted with these elders and arranged this meeting in their home where Tiffany served a wonderful dinner with all the trimmings! Having traveled with his family on a survey trip to Northeastern, PA in June of this year, Kyle presented a Power Point presentation and other members of the team fleshed out the details of ongoing efforts to spread the gospel in the Northeast. The Cookeville elders will go home on Thursday and present this work to their fellow elders. All is in God's hands--the only One in whom we place our trust. His will be done.

At present, sufficient funding is flowing into the first church plant (Valley Cities church of Christ in Sayre, PA) for the Elmore elders to consider moving their $1200 monthly funding into the second church plant in Tunkhannock, PA (the county seat of Wyoming County, PA). We offer our sincerest thanks to all those supporting these efforts with prayers, service, and funding. Fundraising is an ongoing effort, but Arthur Barry (evangelist of Valley Cities church in Sayre, PA) offered great encouragement as he indicated that the new church plant in Sayre, PA will seek to take over the $700 rental of their meeting facility by the first of the year. This will reduce the monthly needs for the Valley Cities congregation to $2650 per month with the joyful prospect of that church becoming financially independent, incrementally. When supporters of these new church plants can see each church will be urged to be self-funded, self-propagating, and self-lead, excitement builds and the air clears to see, literally, hundreds of churches planted in years to come.

The goal of the Antioch Initiative is to plant germinal churches, which will (in turn) plant germinal churches which will plant germinal churches until Jesus returns.

For more information, call Jimmy Davis (an elder of Elmore church) at (334) 300-6987 or Don Myers (preacher of Elmore church) at (334) 235-0147. We stand ready to speak to you phone and/or visit you face-to-face when mutually convenient. Since members of the Antioch Initiative core group are growing in several states, it is possible someone nearer you can contact your personally.

To donate one-time or monthly gifts, make your checks payable to Elmore Church of Christ (earmarking the checks--The Antioch Initiative) and mail to P. O. Box 95, Elmore, AL 36025.

Please access aicoc.org for the history concerning and updates of ongoing efforts of the Antioch Initiative.

Let us take the nation back by taking Jesus to the nation.

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God is at work on His mission and it is up to us to join Him (cp. Acts 17). That statement is not original with me, but I've made it mine!

There is so much to tell concerning God's mighty workings in Pennsylvania, but allow me to give you this very encouraging piece of recent news.

Arthur Barry (Evangelist of Valley Cities church plant, Sayre, PA) took the initiative to tell me that he is going to approach the members of the new church plant in Sayre this Sunday (6/28/15) to urge them to take on the $700 per month expense of the rental on their meeting place, or, at least, some portion of the same. That congregation began from day-one to pay their own utility expenses.

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