Posted on : Monday June 11, 2012

By Sharon Mager , BCM/D Correspondent

COLUMBIA, Md.­—The Antioch Initiative began in 2010 as a vehicle to train men as church leaders, particularly in the black community, with the emphasis on church planting. That vision evolved. Director James Dixon said they found a much more diverse group of leaders came forward wanting to be trained—including Africans, Bolivians and Anglos. Women are also participating.

The first group of students registered for classes to develop leadership skills. Twenty-nine received certificates and are serving in support ministries in their churches. This year’s students, a diverse group, are also concentrating on leadership development. Four are church planters.

An exciting addition to the general classes is a church planting center with 13 potential planters participating in the studies.

Dixon has developed a curriculum that focuses on prayer, family life and self-assessment in addition to the basics of being Southern Baptist, such as the Baptist Faith and Message and the benefits of the Cooperative Program.

“We take them through the whole process of church planting…the whole nine yards,” Dixon said.

The Antioch Initiative provides a foundation in evangelism, discipleship, biblical studies and pastoral ministry as well as practical instruction on church planting.

Classes are particularly designed for those who have not attended or completed Bible college or seminary training but feel God leading them to start churches or who desire more education to become better lay leaders in their churches.

For more information, contact James Dixon,