The Antioch Baptist Church emerged from the ministry of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in February 1991. Having been a part of the South Omaha community since its modest beginning in 1901, the mother church organized itself as Calvary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. J. W. Wilson of Kansas City, Kansas. Rev. Wilson served as the church’s first pastor. During its near hundred-year history, this congregation received ministerial leadership from several of God’s anointed servants. The distinguished list included the Reverends J. W. Wilson, John Quarrel, O. C. Brown, Thomas A. Taggert, G. W. Mitchell, Joseph H. Jackson, P. J. Sears, C. Q. Hickerson, Murphy C. Williams, J. Andrew Thompson, Curtis A. Brown, Herbert B. Robinson, Charles F. Thomas, James A. Temple, and Reginald D. Terry.
Throughout the years, Bethel continued to influence the lives and businesses of many within the community. The church valiantly withstood the strains of the depression and faithfully endured the shattering shock waves of the civil rights era. When the enemy could not use external persecution to break the spirits of those committed believers, he often would employ internal controversy to discourage the work and witness of the people. God’s hand, however, was at work even in that.
The ministry of Antioch became an independent congregation of Christian believers in early 1991. Thirty members met with Pastor Terry for worship at the South Omaha Neighborhood Association Building on the second Sunday in February, thus initializing a movement toward unity and harmony for the kingdom of God. The Lord opened a clear door of opportunity within seven days through the hearts of the pastor and people of the Golden Hills Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Bellevue, Nebraska. The fellowship demonstrated unusual stability and experienced significant growth for the next eleven months.
Amid renewed commitment to fervent prayer, the Lord’s favor on this rapidly developing ministry was apparent. Many families opened their homes for weekly prayer meetings. Attendance consistently grew each Wednesday, increasing from three to 45 people. Eventually, it was necessary to move into the Granada Apartments Clubhouse in Bellevue, Nebraska to accommodate the increased attendance.
A church school with three classes and 50 students was organized simultaneously with the move to Golden Hills. During this time, new converts and regular baptisms provided fresh inspiration and spiritual energy for the church.
During August 1991, the members defined their mission and focus, and outlined the ministries of the church in specific detail. This exercise literally mapped out the direction in which the church would grow. The Lord blessed the work as the pastor and members concentrated their energies toward purpose and quality ministry. The church obtained the current facility at 2535 S. 42nd St. from Abundant Mercy Properties. On Jan. 19, 1992, the congregation of more than 200 people met for the first time at this location. The church officially organized as a non-profit religious organization operating as Antioch Baptist Church on July 22, 1993. A new charter was written, and every prerequisite of the state of Nebraska was met to make legal and legitimate this new work within Omaha.
New members continued to join the ministry, and baptisms were no strange event in the church’s life. Various ministries, ranging from prayer ministries to investment ministries formed to benefit the membership as well as the community at large. Because the church was located near Offutt Air Force Base and several companies that constantly were influx, the ministry drew people from those outlets. An alternate worship service began in September 1992 to accommodate those desiring to worship at an earlier hour. The second service also helped alleviate a problem with limited parking.
The vision for the ministry, “To glorify God by developing and offering a holistic Christian ministry through creative initiatives designed to empower persons for the effective kingdom service to the glory of God,” remained the focal point from which every activity began. Dr. Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Church seemed to capture the focus and objective Antioch was seeking to pursue. Antioch definitely was heading in a God-ordained direction and on the Master’s mission.
Antioch later incorporated the Evangelism Explosion experience, and 25 people completed the 13-week coursework to become better equipped to carry out the Great Commission that God gave the church (Matthew 28:19). The church also incorporated technology to expand its reach across the country and around the world.
In September 2011, Pastor Terry was called to Springdale Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. A search committee formed to identify a new pastor. The search team consisted of Bro. Edward Medlin, Sis. Sherri McNair, Bro. Walter Kendrick, Sis. Joyce Haskell and Sis. Deidre McKinley. During this time Rev. Dwayne Hawkins, an associate minister of Antioch, agreed to serve as interim pastor. Meanwhile, the search team set a process and methods to follow in obtaining a pastor. The process and methods were presented and approved by the church.
After seven months, Rev. Hawkins’ name was officially presented to the search committee as a candidate for senior pastor. After a strenuous vetting process, the church voted, by secret ballot, on whether to extend the call to Rev. Hawkins as senior pastor. One week later, on Oct. 14th 2012, the church called a special meeting to announce the voting results. The result was unanimous to extend the call to Rev. Hawkins.
On Dec. 16, 2012, Antioch installed Rev. Dwayne A. Hawkins, Sr. as pastor.