The River Brings Life
In 2010, a group of friends from Community of Faith Christian Fellowship church in Brighton, MA, were sitting around a table dreaming together. They dreamed about what it would be like to have a church in the heart of Waltham that experienced God’s transformation by being revived in God, refreshed in community, and released in purpose. That dream has become a reality. Over 200 people now worship with The River through Sunday morning worship services, mid-week Faith Groups, baptisms, and more. However, The River’s story ultimately began long before this, in 1987, when a new movement was being birthed.
A Movement is Born
In 1987, in Waco, TX, Jimmy and Laura Seibert, along with Mark and Susan Buckner, began asking God to “dream His dreams through them.” As God did this, they began dreaming about what life could be like if the local church had a vision that was both local and global. What ensued was a 9-month discipleship-training program that trained and then sent short-term teams around the world, who then saw sparks of revival ignited everywhere they went. Churches were established overseas as the discipleship training school, as well as the college ministry, in Waco continued to experience revival.
A Vision Emerges
As God continued to move in powerful ways throughout the 1990’s, He began to speak that He was establishing a community of people who were to be centered around this vision: “We are a people with a passion for Jesus and His purposes in the Earth.” Jimmy and Laura believed that the church truly could change the world if the values of the Kingdom of God were lived out around the world. Matthew 24:14 and Isaiah 54:2-3 became the passages of Scripture that would drive the mission of the discipleship training school, college ministry, and future churches that would be established.
Boston Inspires A Team
By the early 1990’s, Antioch Ministries International (AMI) was established as an international missions organization based on the church in Antioch in Acts 11 and 13. By 1995, AMI had started churches in Russia, Mongolia, and Uzbekistan, but none in the United States. Sean and Laura Richmond then felt called to plant a church in the U.S., in Boston, MA. With its rich diversity and a uniquely large percentage of college students and young adults, Boston proved to be just the right location for AMI to send out its first domestic church plant.
Our Parent Church Begins
Sean and Laura Richmond, their family, and a team of five others moved to the Boston area in 1998 to be a diverse people, full of faith in God, compassionately reaching the world around them. They not only wanted to plant a church, Community of Faith Christian Fellowship (CFCF), but to establish an entire church-planting movement, Antioch New England ("ANE"). That early vision has become a reality.
There are now churches in Brighton, MA (Antioch Brighton), Beverly, MA (Antioch Beverly), Waltham, MA (Antioch Waltham) and Chandler, AZ (Antioch Greater Phoenix Area). ANE currently has missionaries in North and Northwest Africa, Germany, India and Indonesia.
A River Begins to Flow in Waltham
In September 2010, The River began holding weekly celebration services at the Embassy Cinemas, right next to the Charles River. It has been The River’s hope that by the power of God, just as the Charles River has been a source of life, refreshment, recreation, commerce and industry to the town of Waltham, the church would also be a source of these blessings and many more.
The Current Gains Strength
In September 2011, The River celebrated its one-year anniversary as a church community and held its first baptisms in the Charles River. Throughout the first year and a half, God was moving, transforming lives, and building a strong community of about 100 people. In April 2012, The River moved into its current location at 17 Spruce Street, known to many long-time Waltham residents as “The Old Moose Lodge.” Since moving into the current building, The River has continuously been revived in God, refreshed in community, and released in purpose in powerful ways. This is only the beginning of all that God wants to do through this community of people who are trying to follow Jesus with all that they have.
The River DEEPens
In January 2015, The River embarked on a two year journey of faith called DEEP. DEEP’s main objectives are to birth a time-sensitive vision, form a leadership community, establish a common language of discipleship, create a welcoming home, and resource God’s vision with His resources. Many “Riverites” courageously committed to give $450,000 in order to see DEEP’s life-changing mission fulfilled. As 2016 gets under way, The River will include the entire congregation in a process of discerning and birthing a time-sensitive vision for The River’s next season.
Pastor Sean's Update on "The Deep"
Testimonies from "The Deep"
In March 2017, both CFCF and The River officially changed their names to Antioch Community Church in order to clarify purpose, strengthen unity and establish a stronger connection to our sending movement of churches, the Antioch International Movement of Churches (AMI). Our name changes serve to affirm our belonging in this greater community of churches, while also affirming that the picture of Antioch as seen in Acts 11 and Acts 13 is part of our DNA as a movement of churches.