Twentieth Anniversary Services Of Kabwata Baptist Church, Zambia
The 20th anniversary thanksgiving celebrations were a great success. Apart from a few administrative hitches, most of which only the organisers would have been aware of, the meetings went “according to plan”. We have received a lot of positive feedback from both the church members and the visitors who were present. To God alone be the glory; great things he has done!
The meetings of thanksgiving celebrations were fairly predictable. From Monday to Friday, the meetings were held in the evenings, while Saturday was in the afternoon and Sunday was from morning to afternoon. Each day had a special theme, e.g. thanksgiving, the Reformed Faith, church-based ministries, missions, etc.
One highlight of the meetings from Tuesday to Saturday was the 15 minutes PowerPoint presentation of the history of KBC. Each evening we took a five-year slice of this history and saw how the Lord had dealt with us as a church. Seeing pictures of “the good old days” brought back a lot of memories especially to those who were there in those days. The narrative, which was basically extracted from the book By Fire And By Cloud, also helped us to realise afresh what the church had gone through over the years. Each day we also had one or two individuals who were there during the five-year period being reviewed testifying concerning those days. One of them said that as he sat in the congregation he just wept, especially as he recalled the struggles of the early days. To see the full auditorium and hear the praises of God just overwhelmed him.
Messages of goodwill, sent from sister churches and friends around the world, were also read out each day. Only two messages were read out per day and so the rest were left to be read by individuals at their own time, since they were published in a supplement. There were messages from Australia, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and from Zambia. At least one message from each region was read out. It was heart-warming to note the bonds of fellowship that KBC has enjoyed with so many churches and individuals over the last twenty years.
Of course, the main meal was the preaching of God’s Word. On Monday, I preached from Psalm 124 simply restating the fact that if the Lord had not been on our side over the last 20 to 25 years, we would have been swallowed alive and the raging waters would have swept us away. However, the Lord had been our helper, the Maker of heaven and earth! The sermons that followed were glorious, to say the least. On Tuesday, Alfred Nyirenda gave a “lecture” on the Reformed Faith which sounded more like a sermon than a lecture. As he recounted the difficult days in the 1970s and the 1980s, as the trickling stream of the Reformed movement in Zambia slowly became a mighty river in the 1990s, he pleaded with the younger generation never to abandon the faith of our fathers. He also proved each of the Five Points of Calvinism from John 10. On Wednesday, Victor Kanyense followed this up with a message on the need for all Christians to participate actively in church-based ministries. From Romans 12, he showed that each Christian was gifted by God and was, therefore, duty bound to use those God-given abilities to build up the body of Christ.
On Thursday, Kennedy Sunkutu preached from Matthew 9, urging us to be like Christ. He saw the harrassed and helpless crowds and did something about it. He not only pleaded for prayer but also sent out workers into the harvest field that were white for harvest. On Friday, Happy Ngoma preached from Acts 2 and showed us how Christian fellowship was such a vital component of New Testament Christianity. From the Greek word “koinonia” he urged us to ensure that the full meaning of that word – which included relationship, communion, and partnership – was fully realised among us.
On Saturday, Choolwe Mwetwa preached about the centrality of the preaching ministry in the church. From Amos 8, he warned us that taking the preaching ministry for granted may cause God to send a famine of the Word to the devastation of the church. Finally, on Sunday, Ronald Kalifungwa preached two sermons from the Psalms. The first, based on Psalm 90, was a plea that we should number our days aright and thus gain a heart of wisdom. The second, based on Psalm 2 called all of us to the throne of the Son of God to worship him and surrender our entire lives to him to be used for his eternal purpose. It was a fitting close to a week of worship!
On Saturday, the events ended with games at the play park that KBC has adopted and is presently developing in the neighbourhood for youth outreach activities. Initially the games were to last 30 minutes but they ended up lasting 2 hours. In all three matches (volleyball, netball and football) the younger team would have beaten the older team, but thanks to the biased refereeing the older team either won or it was a draw.
Sunday, which was the last day of the thanksgiving celebrations, was special. During the morning worship service a “thank offering” was taken, which is to go towards the completion of the ministry centre. After lunch, we had the unveiling of two commemorative plaques on the unfinished ministry centre. The unveiling was done by our guest preacher that day, Ronald Kalifungwa. One plaque read, “This ministry centre was built and furnished by members and friends of Kabwata Baptist Church in gratitude to God for twenty years of his faithfulness (1986-2006)”. The other plaque read, “This ministry centre was dedicated to God on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Kabwata Baptst Church on 25th January 2006.” We trust that this Ebenezer will stand as a witness to God’s faithfulness to his people for many generations to come, long after this generation of members at KBC have gone to their eternal rest.
A quiz on the history of KBC was also conducted, with prizes of books won by those who were able to recall some of the significant points in the church’s history. Two individuals were also given parcels of books for their “achievements”; the first was the longest serving member of KBC, George Samututa, and the other was the longest serving staff member, Solomon Chinambu. Finally, the 20th anniversary cake was cut and all those in attendance got their share of it at the end of the day’s events.
Each day ended with the KBC music ministry presenting a special song related to the theme of that day. Sometimes they also sang a song in the course of the meeting. The team had certainly put in a lot of rehearsal hours, and so the musical presentations were of very high quality. The last song, “Great is thy faithfulness”, left us in the highest heavens with deep and overwhelming emotions of gratitude to God for our precious faith.
We still have a lot of commemorative calendars, book-markers and T-shirts available for sale. So, if you will be passing through the Evergreen Christian Bookstore, please get yourself some of these. The book containing the history of KBC, By Fire And By Cloud, is still available as well, together with the supplement that contains the goodwill messages from sister churches around the world. We encourage you to order a copy of the book (the supplement is free for those who buy the book). A number of you have already made enquiries about this and the bookstore will be getting information to you soon. We also have all the sermons preached during the anniversary celebrations on CD. It is K10,000 (US$3.00) per sermon CD and K80,000 (US$24.00) for the whole set of sermons (on ordinary CD). Those of you with MP3 players may get one MP3 CD containing all eight sermons for K40,000 (US$12.00). Please make your orders through Evergreen Christian Bookstore. These prices do not include packaging and postage. This will be communicated to you once you make an order since postage varies.
We want to thank you for your prayers for this epoch-making event. The Lord was indeed with us. We also want to thank those of you who were able to be with us on this occasion. Each day we had brethren from sister churches with us, some of whom came literally every day for seven days! Some sister churches sent official representatives, with perhaps the brother from Trinity Baptist Church in Livingstone travelling the longest distance. Muvi Studio, one of our TV channels here in Zambia, covered the events on Sunday and aired a 30 minutes news documentary that same evening. Though I missed watching it, I have heard some very good feedback from those who did. Again, we thank God for this. Pray for us as we reflect upon all this and seek to respond biblically to the challenges that were brought to our attention from God’s Word. We must seek to be faithful to our calling in view of the fact that God has been faithful to us. To him alone be the glory forever. Amen!
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