The great commission, to make disciples of all nations, is known and practiced by Christians all over the world. John Brown University’s newest ministry, Antioch has been created to accomplish and embody this mission.
Beginning this year, CAUSE ministries E-Van and Partners in Prayer, combined to create Antioch. The ministry aims to, “Encourage and support disciple-making locally and globally.”
Last year students in the two ministries recognized they would work better together, and the idea of combining the two ministries was born.
While Partners in Prayer focuses on praying for the global church, especially foreign missions, E-VAN focuses on local evangelism. According to Josiah Wadsack, co-leader of Partners in Prayer last semester, it made sense to combine the efforts of both causes.
“Our world gets so excited about helping people physically, and gets passionate about foreign missions,” he said. “But we can forget about helping people right next door with their spiritual life.”
Wadsack explained that local and global outreaches go hand in hand, and one cannot work fully without the other. He also expounded on the name of the ministry, referencing the story in Acts 11 in which Jews fleeing persecution gathered together in Antioch and told the gospel to the Gentiles.
According to the passage, this is the first time these followers of Jesus were called Christians. Because they ministered to both believers and strangers, the name seemed fitting for the new CAUSE ministry.
Antioch seeks to carry out its mission of disciple-making through several different events. The group, led by seven core members, meets Monday evenings to hear from guest speakers and have small group discussions.
On Tuesday nights, Antioch gathers together to pray over local and global churches, peoples and groups. The CAUSE ministry also plans to host a variety of events, seminars and meetings over the course of the school year.
“We’ve had a lot of new people come and get excited about discipleship,” said Kaitlin Vestal, one of Antioch’s leaders.
“I feel like there are a lot of people who are afraid of sharing the Gospel, and we want people to get excited about it, Vestal said.
“Prayer is one of the hardest ministries there is. It isn’t sexy,” Wadsack said, explaining many people’s lack of activism and hesitancy to get involved. “Sure, I can give money to support a cause, but is that how God wants us to get involved?”
Because Antioch is a new ministry on campus, it is still working on finding its footing. Many of the organization’s plans are in the works, and the group’s leaders are still working to see what works best for them.
“It’s hard because it’s new, but it’s also exciting,” said Vestal.
Antioch’s current series of discussions is centered on the idea of disciple making in the context of JBU. According to Wadsack, their goal is to discover what JBU students need to grow as disciples.
“We are still figuring everything out and seeing what discipleship will look like on campus,” Wadsack said. “We don’t have all the answers, but we do know this is the heart of God.”