From its humble beginnings in the Shrum School House in the 1920s, Antioch Baptist Church has withstood the tests of time and is celebrating 101 years of worship. The Shrum School House was used for many years as a location for community activities as well as for a church, according to research conducted by church member Kassi Brittain. The information contained in this story was put together by Brittain through the use of old church bulletins, newspaper stories and other church records. An entire committee was formed to organize the anniversary celebration which was held Saturday evening and Sunday.
“The church is growing and what’s nice is that we’ve been growing the younger generation,” one of the committee members Cressey Beal said. “When we first came back, there no children and now we’re looking to add a second nursery because we’ve got so many babies and toddlers. It’s nice to see that generation coming back.”
The Shrum School House was used for preaching, Sunday school, and even revival meetings on an interdenominational basis before Antioch was organized. Two Baptist ministers, Horance Chronister and Claud Abernathy preached and held revivals in the Shrum School House, which was the main cause of enthusiasm being stirred up for Baptist. Rev. Claud Abernathy was the main minister in the organization of Antioch Baptist Church.
The church was organized in the fall of 1920, and the need for a new building arose. The building has it’s beginning mostly in the minds of three men, John P. Martin, C.C. Martin, and C.C. Lum Devine, who were all strong Baptist men. C.C. Martin gave the land which Antioch has made its home for the past century. J.P. Mullen donated the timber for the church, and many people gave both their time and money into making Antioch Baptist Church from a dream into a reality. The church was completed in 1921, and then accepted into the South Fork Baptist Association in 1922, with just 12 charter members. The founding members were Mr. and Mrs. John P. Mullen, Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Martin, Mr. C.C. Lum Devine, Carl Devine, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence L. Mullen, Bessie Mullen Shuford, Mr. Jerry Bolick, Ulyses McDowell Parker and Choyce Martin.
The church continued to grow to 52 members in 1932, so did its grasp on the community. It was during 1934 that the first Baptist Young People Union was organized at Antioch Baptist Church.
In the early 1940s, Antioch put aside the kerosine lamps and began using gasoline powered generators to power Delco lights.
The first addition to Antioch took place in 1946, with several Sunday school rooms being added to take care of the increasing number of members. A small group of ladies met in the home of Mrs. Kenneth Bynum on Oct. 24, 1947 for the purpose of organizing a Women’s Missionary Union, which is still prevalent in the church today.
By 1952 the church had grown to 163 members. In 1950 the church underwent a complete renovation, and a sanctuary was added. In 1953, the training union was formed with 70 members. With the vision of a full program of work, a Pastorium was built in 1956 for the preacher to be able to live in. April 8, 1955, the W.M.U. began mothering the Young Women’s Auxiliary with just six girls present. The Y.W.A. was such a success that the W.M.U. was inspired to organize the Girl’s Auxiliary in 1957. Also in 1955, the Brotherhood of Antioch Baptist Church was organized, and still stands today in our church. From the Brotherhood stemmed the Royal Ambassadors for young men. In 1959, the assembly room was added, the floors were carpeted, and the baptistry was built.
The fellowship building was built in 1965 with the need rising due to the number of church members now reaching 220. In 1969 the church voted to pave the parking lot, install air conditioning, and renovate the parsonage. Members during this time continued to pour their time and devotion into growing the church through their ministries.
Approximately two acres of land was purchased by the church in May 1971 to be able to expand the church. A tennis court and playground were added in April of 1975. By August 1977 the road to the cemetery was paved. With the number of church members still on the rise, Antioch Baptist Church built a new educational building in 1978.
Renovations began on the parsonage and new education building in 1986. In addition to the renovations, in 1986 a brick structure was built to house the church bell and serve as a monument to the twelve charter members of Antioch Baptist church with a plaque engraved with the names of the charter members. After the 1989 hurricane Hugo ripped through Lincolnton, Antioch Baptist church showed God’s love towards the community by opening their well up to the surrounding neighborhoods for fresh water.
Antioch Baptist Church’s outreach began to flourish as the accessibility increased for the ability to serve people outside our local community. Mission trips were taken to places such as Buffalo, N.Y., Savannah Ga., Virginia, Kentucky, Olanchito Honduras, Brazil, and many more. By 1995 there were 260 members in the church.
In the early part of the 2000s the church was renovated again, funded solely on donations, equaling $40,000, from the community. On Sunday nights a discipleship training was started to help better serve in the abroad and local missions that Antioch Baptist Church was involved in. The church worked very closely with missionaries in places such as Honduras.
During the 2010s the church continued to serve their community through supplying missionaries in other countries with resources they needed. In 2015, Nourishing Hands ministry, a food pantry which supplies the local community, was established by Janet Phelan. It’s staffed by church volunteers who serve families that are experiencing financial difficulties such as job loss, fixed income, illness or just in need of a little extra help. The food pantry is sponsored by donations from church members, individuals, fundraisers and the seasonal produce stand. At one time, Antioch had a garden and sold the fresh produce along with baked goods and crafts at a produce stand at the front of the church, which helped fund the food pantry. Antioch Baptist Church still holds yard sales, filled with donations from the church and community, to support this ministry.
In 2019, the fellowship hall was renovated with new flooring and painting. A church library was also added.
Currently Antioch Baptist Church is in the process of renovating the playground and adding a covered picnic shelter.
Pastors of Antioch Baptist Church
1920 -1925 - Rev. Claud A. Abernathy
1926 - Rev A.L. Campbell
1926 - Rev. Harris
1929 - 1930 - Rev. M.P. Rhyne
1932 - 1939 - Rev. H.W. Baucom
1941 -1944- Rev. Hascal Sides
1945 - 1947- Rev. Earnest Sisk
1948 - 1952- Rev. Clyde Reep
1953 - Rev. Roy Overcash
1955 - Rev. Harold Parker
1956 - Rev. W.M. Belcher
1957 – 1961 - Rev. Carl Bowen
1961 – 1964 - Rev. Wray Barrett
1964 - 1967- Rev. Ernest Richards
1968 - 1972- Rev. Grady Parker
1973 - 1985- Rev. Charles Moseley
1985 - 1991- Rev. Floyd M. Loftin
1991 - 1999- Rev. Nicholas B Cheek
1999 - 2008- Rev. Todd Garren
2008 - 2010- Rev. Norman Lutz
2011 - 2013- Rev. George Townsend
2013 - Present- Rev. Jack Calloway