Greater Antioch strives to be an inclusive family of believers committed to reaching, repairing and restoring God's people through real and relevant ministries.
Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Historical Highlights
Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church (GAMBC) began as a restart ministry (separating from The Third Missionary Baptist Church, Davenport Iowa). Our first worship service was held on the first Sunday in August 1980 in an old armory building on the west end of Davenport. The church began with about 30 members under the pastoral ship of the Late Reverend John C. Collins, who was our first pastor and the founder of GAMBC.
Our fellowship consisted of many of us gathering together all day. We worked on making that old armory building into offices for staff, a sanctuary where we could worship God, a used clothing store, a automobile repair shop, a weatherization program, and a community theater, just to name a few. We worked hard on fixing up the building …sometimes staying as late as 11 –12 PM. We were a close-knitted group who would share our joys and sorrows, who praised and worshipped God…and would often dine together.
In June of 1983, Antioch moved to Rock Island, Illinois where a core group of 25 grew quickly in numbers bringing many " Souls to Christ". This was a time of tremendous blessings for the Antioch Family, which brought about an affirmation that God was still leading and guiding this church.
In November of 1984, Pastor Collins was called to lead the flock at the Gaines Street Baptist Church, located in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In February of 1985, Rev. Lance Chaney, Associate Minister of the Mount Zion Baptist Church, East Moline IL was called to be the next pastor.
Under his leadership and with God's unfailing favor upon us, the ministry staff, and the congregation continue to grow. God continued to bless Antioch financially, numerically, and above all spiritually.
In November of 1987, Anthoni McElrath, a young man who grew up in the Antioch Church Family was called to preach at the age of 12. He became Antioch's first Associate Minister. He is now the beloved and proud pastor of the Mt Zion Baptist Church, of Oberlin, Ohio.
By 1988 the church was paid for and we began to burst at the seams. Every Sunday, chairs had to be placed in the aisles to accommodate the congregation.
By 1990, Antioch seriously began to search for a new church home as we were well over the building's capacity. The majority of the Antioch Family moved to our new church located on 24th Street, in Rock Island, Illinois.
In 1997, we again outgrew the church home on 24th Street. From there, and we moved to our current location at 929 14th Street, in Rock Island Illinois. Pastor Chaney was still the Shepherd of our flock. Our theme was "Building The Kingdom". The Antioch Village Ministry grew out this move, along with many other new ministries, which provided support for the congregation and the Antioch Village, i.e. the Executive Board (made up of auxiliary and department heads), The Quad-City Wide Church Softball League, Ways and Means (a beautification committee), The "Hoop In The Hood" 3-on3 Basketball Tournament and Double Dutch Contest. A Place For Us Ministry, which was formed to help Bi-Racial families to develop and grow in the worship services.
In July of 2002, Pastor Chaney was called to lead the flock at St John's Missionary Baptist Church, Boynton Beach, Florida. During the interim, we were blessed to have Reverend Tony Hardin, one of our associate ministers to fill in until a new pastor was called.
In October of 2002, Minister Jarrod Scott Parker, Associate Minister of the Second Baptist Church Rock Island, Illinois was called to lead the Antioch congregation. Pastor Parker followed a rich heritage of Baptist preachers and teachers who possessed a strong unwavering faith in God.
Under Pastor Parker's leadership, a new mission statement was implemented, "Worshipping, Teaching, Empowering, and Serving. God continued to grow the ministry in amazing ways. The membership roles leaped forward with over 100 new members during that first year.
Many new outreach ministries were started, the Hope House Literacy Training Program, now called the Vision of Restoration, Sunday Morning Prayers for the Lost, Friday Night Worship, A Greeter Ministry, The Brotherhood Mentoring/Basketball Program, and a Event's Planning Committee, just to name a few.
In February 2006, "A Radio Broadcast" hour (live on KALA 88.5) and a "Television Ministry" were started. Both of these outreach ministries provided gospel music, the sermon for the morning worship services, and other commemorative services.
A new six-week Leadership and Deacons Instituted was employed. A Youth Sunday began with Antioch's youth completely in charge. A Witnessing Outreach Ministry, and a Building and Grounds Team were implemented.
The Tithing Income and Offerings increased by 30 percent, and Antioch was blessed to pay off the final mortgage under his leadership and guidance.
Though out the church several renovations were made and are still being made. New carpet was laid in the sanctuary and overflow area. A Health Unit and First Aid Room, and new handicapped accessible men and women's restroom facility has been constructed on the main level, adjacent to the sanctuary. The JC Collins Fellowship Hall and the lower level were upgraded with new ceramic floor title. A new security system was installed and a new P.A. System was purchased.
We are known as a community church and we operate one of the largest drug recovery groups in the State of Illinois. Our new Ministry Statement under Pastor Parker is "Reaching, Repairing, and Restoring God's People Through Real and Relevant ministry.
On August 8, 2010 Antioch climaxed our five –day, 30- year Church Anniversary. It was a celebration that had a strong family reunion feel to it. The Theme for this occasion was "Family Reunion - A Homecoming Week ". The Antioch Family gathered as one from near and far for this special celebration. Our Special guests were many of the Pastor's who have come out of Antioch, "sons of Antioch" such as; Rev. I.T. Thigpen, Pastor of Rehobath Baptist Church Columbia SC; Rev, John Holmes Pastor of United in Christ Baptist Church, Oklahoma City OK; Antioch's first son, Rev. Anthoni McElrath Pastor of Mt Zion Missionary Baptist Church Oberlin, OH; Rev. Lance Chaney, our former Pastor and now Pastor of St John Missionary Baptist Church, Boynton Beach, Florida and the son of our founder, Rev. Marlon Collins, Pastor of Olivet Missionary Baptist Church Rock Island IL These preachers have gone on to lead wonderful ministries all over the country, but they imparted both an inspirational and educational message for the congregation during the week.. To God is the glory!
Thirty years are upon us and God has continued to grow the GAMBC ministry in amazing ways. Antioch's membership is approximately 600 active members, with 30 active ministries and 21 full-and part-time staff.
In September 2010, Rev. Jarrod Parker, our Shepherd for the last 8 years, announced his resignation. The Greater Antioch Baptist Church family was saddened by his decision to resign as our Pastor.
Currently the church is without a senior pastor. The Deacon Board under the leadership of Deacon JB Floyd is handling the daily administrative functions for the church. Under the direction of Rev. Elmer Shannon, the Sunday Worship Services and the weekly Bible Study activities are conducted by the Ministerial staff. The church has elected a Pastoral Search Committee, consisting of 11 members, who have begun the process of searching for our new pastor.
Our current pastor, The Reverend Norwert Hills Jr. was elected as the Senior Pastor for Greater Antioch in October 2011. He represents the 3rd generation of preachers in his family. Pastor Hills was anointed and licensed to preach the gospel at the age of 16. Before coming to Greater Antioch, Pastor Hills was the former pastor of the Rehoboth Baptist Church in Valley, Alabama. Antioch’s Under -Shepherd is passionate about proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, making the Word of God relevant in the lives of the believers and building the Kingdom of God in his new congregation and community. Rev. Hills is married to First Lady Twyla Canady Hills. The Hills are blessed five children and two grandchildren.