Articles

(2nd Position) EBC DELHI AS A CITY CHURCH : 20 YEARS AND BEYOND

[This article took 2nd position in Tuailai Day 2012 Essay Competition]

Jesus came to his disciples and said to them “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you and I am with you always, to the close of the age ” – Matthew 28:19

Twenty years have passed since the commencement of the EBC, the then ECC’s first worship service. The congregation is stronger than ever with more than a thousand members, two full-time pastors, two separate places of worship and one chapel solely owned by the congregation, the first organization to achieve so from Manipur, if not the entire North East. From a human standpoint we cannot overlook the immense progress we have achieved over the years - be it in the form of governance from the Local Deacons Committee to the Baptist Youth, Missions, or the other structures of the congregation, the Avant-Garde musical instruments which produce the ever captivating harmonies or the spacious yet often crowded chapel. The congregation is at its peak and members could not be more thrilled.

However, as a church, EBCC Delhi still faces huge challenges, even more so due to its location. Christians in Delhi constitute a mere 0.9% of the entire population of the city, wherein half of them belong to different sects of the faith. Members have a herculean task at hand in spreading the gospel to the majority of the population. The mistaken notion that a church is a social platform, a place to meet and greet friends and relatives is a big hindrance to its purposes, whereas its primary purpose is to spread the truth of God to the world. For instance, the number of attendees during festive season is much greater than on a regular Sunday.

A challenge lies in the way we reach out to the world and preach the gospel. We, as a congregation, had played our part in the last decade. But with the advance of a new decade, the question that lingers is whether we have done enough. Are we satisfied with the current work of our congregation?

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” – Matt 16: 18

The history of EBCC in Delhi dated back to the early 1990’s. Prior to that, with the increase in the number of immigrant members in the nation’s capital for service or education, members began to realize the need to band together to carry on their spiritual and cultural activities in the new environment. This led to the beginning of Joint worship services, organized in the rented accommodations during weekends, on rotational basis. This form of weekend worship continues till today. By May 1992, talks on formation of a congregation in Delhi for ECC members began and with blessings from above, they elected their first Chairman the following month.

On March 13, 1993, the new congregation began its regular Sunday worship service at Green Park Free Church, New Delhi. Thus, an urban ECC in Delhi came into being.

In 1995, the leaders of the infant church submitted a request to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for allotment of land for construction of a chapel, owing to the growth in the number of its members and the limited availability of chapels for hire. Evidently, God heard the prayers of His people. For, in April 1997 the DDA allotted a plot of land at Plot number 16, Pocket 6, Dwarka Phase-1, New Delhi for building a church.

Right Rev. Karam Masih, Delhi Bishop, Church of North India, performed the ground breaking ceremony at the site in 1998 and construction work was completed in October 2000. The following month, Rev.L.Khamkholun, General Secretary, EBC headquarters dedicated the building for the glory of God. Thus, in less than a decade from the commencement of the congregation to the dedication of the church, the first urban EBCC was born. Indeed God Almighty has been with us through our journey.

However, the success or failure of a Christian church is not determined by worldly possessions, rather in overcoming the challenges that the world throws at it.

The first among the many challenges of the congregation comes in the form of its members. The new church is the place of worship for its members belonging to different parts of Manipur and Mizoram who move to Delhi for education, service or in search of work. Hence, it also serves as a minor cultural centre among its members amidst the majority Hindu population. However, it is important for the church and its members to realize the primary reason for attending this place of worship. Members sustain a peculiar relationship with each other, in that we share the same motive and efforts to glorify God. Although we differ in our abilities and ways of thinking, each of us is as important as the other. As members, we have an obligation to build one another spiritually and bear one another’s burden. Some are weak in faith and need help. All need fellowship and encouragement. Whether we realize it or not, each one of us serves as an example to the other and has the ability to influence one another. In times when members do not agree on certain issues, it is for us as a congregation to acknowledge that mutual care and concern are the secrets of a harmonious church.

One of the most important duties of the church is to minister to its folks. It is a bigger challenge faced by an urban congregation than the ones back in Manipur. It has to cater to hundreds of members from different backgrounds, who may or may not be active in worship services, who live far and near. Any church which disregards the duty to seek its lost members fails in its primary duty. It is also important that a church should acknowledge that there are occasions when one may be providentially hindered from attending the Lord’s house, but most absences, especially the youths’, are backed by excuses rather than by reasons. It is high time we pay utmost priority to members who are spiritually weak. For instance, the recent Sunday school exam had 70 members appearing for it out of the hundreds. Any congregation derives its strength from its members. It is in the interest of God that we seek and help each other as stated in the Holy Scripture “Bear ye one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2)

Another challenge of our congregation lies in reaching out to the world and spreading the gospel among the non-believers. Jesus said “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 6:15). It is our obligation as members of the church to spread the gospel past the threshold of our church, past our members and among our neighbours. In this context, it is a valid point to ponder over what we have achieved over the years to reach and save the lost. Given that it is in no way a small task, when Christianity is an absolute minority in Delhi. However, it is also a mistake to think that we are not bound to take a step in spreading the truth among the non-believers. There are numbers of ways in which we can influence and share our faith, however big or small. An example, among others, is through our day-to-day activities. Only so long as the church and its members practice the truth before the world, can others manifest to the world that the church truly is a pillar and ground of the truth. Keeping in mind that the greatest hindrances to Christianity are neither the drunkards,  the criminals nor the devil himself but the nominal, worldly Christians, let us always remember that “we are the light of the world” (Matt 5:14) and act like one; not as though we are the darkness of it.

With the blessing of the Almighty, EBCC Delhi has played its part in further strengthening our goal of reaching out through the Local Baptist Mission Committee (TBMC) since 1996 with 15 elected members. This in itself expresses our desire to pass the light of the gospel in the dark world. Again a common mistake is the thought that the task or endeavour to reach the lost lies with the Pastor or the Missions Committee only. Jesus said in Mark 5:19 “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee”. Therefore, it is the duty of all, big or small, employed or otherwise, to seek the salvation of the lost and it requires no special skill or training, nor any great oratory skill or wisdom so long as we have faith and the ever longing to reach out. As Paul said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor 5:11)

In these 20 years of our congregation, which began as a humble prayer service in a rented accommodation, we have become one of the biggest North East congregations in Delhi. Praise the Lord Almighty who led us this far! We should never cease to thank the Him for all His blessings. Let us join hands in prayer and glorify His name for all the good He has given us and for the unforeseen blessings He has in store for us. Let us start afresh in magnifying the kingdom of God and not spare a moment. Let us not shy away from our duties as members of the Lord’s church in strengthening one another. Let us apply ourselves to the diligent study of God’s word, with humble supplication for Divine wisdom and grace to know to do what the world demands. In this way only can we, the EBC Delhi, exemplify Christ before the world and be a faithful witness to His grace. Let us take into action the words of the Bible, which tells us to “Let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven” (Matt 5:16).

I would like to end by quoting B.H Caroll on the importance of Christ in our congregation for my fellow EBC members: “A church is under law to Jesus Christ, and never independent of His paramount authority. Mere church authority cannot set aside the authority of our Lord”. If we continue to follow the path of righteousness and the teachings of our Saviour, the future of our congregation looks fruitful. The possibilities are limitless.

By:
Khupminlian Hanghal

Ph no : 8587871039
Veng min: Nanakpura

Church Address

Church Address & Pastor Qtr.:
Plot No 16, Pocket 6
Dwarka Sector 1A
New Delhi - 110 045

Contact Info

Pastor N Tuang Lang - +91-9811343689
Pastor H. Biakson - +91-9711864037
Email: pastor@ebccdelhi.org

Service Time

Personal Counseling: 9:30am - 10:30am
First Service: 11:00am - 1:00pm
Second Service: 2:00pm Onwards

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