On 25th January 2011, Kabwata Baptist Church clocked 25 years as an independent local church. I wrote a blog on that occasion stating that we had almost missed the occasion due to the “over forty” syndrome. The church leadership, however, determined that some time in the course of the year, time should be taken to commemorate this important milestone in the church’s life. That occasion finally came this month. We dedicated two Sunday evening services (5th and 12th June) to our Silver Jubilee and ended the commemoration with an afternoon’s event last Saturday, 18th June 2011. It was truly a fitting crescendo.
One of our elders, John Kumwenda, opened the celebration by sharing with us from Exodus 15 about the joy that Moses, Miriam, and the Israelites experienced at God’s great deliverance from Pharaoh’s Egypt. He then exhorted us to also spend the time in God-honouring thanksgiving for his goodness to us especially in the last five years.
On the previous two evening services when we commemorated this event, we had one member (Mmamulatelo Siame) and one deacon (Kasango Kayombo) sharing with us about their experiences in being members of KBC in the last five years. On this final day, we had Alexander Mwilambwe (a teacher with the church school) and Patience Namangala (the pastor’s office assistant) sharing with us their experiences in working at KBC. Alexander talked about how he had learnt to work hard and to see teaching as a ministry to children and not just a means of getting an income. Patience talked about her initial plans to just work at KBC for a few months and move on to greener pastures, but has been so blessed in the period she has worked at KBC that she now wants to remain as long as possible. “These have been the best years of my life,” she said.
|Christ Life--a singing group comprising young men in the church|
Interviews of Leaders
One of our members, Noel Konga, interviewed the elders of the church. Only Pastor Chipita Sibale was missing from the panel, as he had to attend to some family duties. We all introduced our families and ourselves for the sake of our new members. Then there were questions related to how we managed in our busy work schedules, how we ensure spiritual oversight over our families, whether those of us who have married off our daughters observed African cultural norms, etc.
|The elders being interviewed by Noel Konga|
The chairman of the deacons, John Chundu, gave a token of thanks for exceptional hard work to Ivor Chilufya, the deacon in charge of finances. With KBC having over 400 members, about 40 employees, about 15 active outreach ministries, about 20 mission stations, etc., keeping the finances of the church flowing smoothly has been no small task. Hence, at our last members meeting in May, the members expressed appreciation for Ivor’s hard work. The church officers decided to seal this with a commemorative award, which was a Swiss cuckoo clock. Since this was not a common practice, one of the elders, Mwamba Chibuta, gave the biblical rationale for tokens of thanks being given when people are still alive—instead of only praising them when they are dead.
|Mwamba Chibuta cutting the ribbon in front of the Kennedy Ndui Guest House|
A Sermon and Two Final Testimonies
One of our elders, Eric Sinyangwe, read Numbers 19:15ff. I then gave a brief exhortation from Exodus 13:21-22, entitled, “The Privilege of being led by Fire and by Cloud”. My main points were that “the cloud and fire” stood for God’s direction, God’s provisions, and God’s presence with the people of Israel. This was also a great treasure for us as individual Christians and as a church as we “travel” towards heaven.
After the sermon, the meeting watched a PowerPoint presentation on various aspects of the church. Whereas on the previous two occasions, we had presentations on the church’s membership, meetings, and ministries, this time it was on the church’s work of missions, our church officers, staff, and interns, and our inter-church activities. The photos were those taken in the last five years, in line with our emphasis for this event.
|Lichawa Thole: "Leave vernacular church planting to us."|
Adamson Shamfuti, one of the current three pastoral interns at KBC, gave the final testimony. Having spoken about his conversion and call to the ministry, he talked about how he trained for the ministry and came to the Reformed Faith while in training. Finally, he shared about how he came to KBC as an intern and how rewarding he has found working at KBC as an intern. He was most grateful to the church for paying him while he worked as an intern, which enabled him to look after his family.
|The 25th Anniversary Commemoration cake|