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(3rd Position) EBCC DELHI AS A CITY CHURCH: 20 YEARS AND BEYOND

[This article took 3rd position in Tuailai Day 2012 Essay Competition]

Evangelical Baptist Convention Church, Delhi, a member constituent of the congregation of the Evangelical Baptist Convention Churches having its base in Dorcas Hall, Lamka, is an active and growing church functioning as part of the Body of Christ. Ever since its incorporation as an Evangelical Convention Church back in the year 1992 it has been a building block in nurturing the many lives of its members in Christ. It is located in Nasirpur (Dwarka) amidst an atmosphere of non-believers where the Church at every moment faces the challenge of transforming the many lives of the people around through the word of Christ, in its locality. In fact the core purpose of a church, including EBCC Delhi, is basically to make people encounter Christ, besides nurturing the believers and growing in the love of Christ to become fruitful in each one’s place. Being situated in the green, historic and beautiful capital of the country (India) is an added bonus as the Church basically enjoys the comfort and facilities/amenities the city has to offer. The spiritual aspect is an entirely different point here. The Church comprises of its members in Christ, the pastor, deacons etc., all functioning as one in the Holy Spirit. Hence, when we speak of the Church it is inclusive of all those sealed by the Holy Spirit. Speaking of churches, they consist of different denominations but the central theme in all, revolves around Christ Jesus, His salvation, our redemption.

The present state of the Church is an outcome of a gradual transformation all through these years, the 20 years in particular. The incredible growth, in one aspect, is a tribute to the few dedicated leaders of the past along with the members then, because of whose initiatives the system started. The origin of the Zomi fellowship could be officially traced back to the ministerial bungalow of Pu N. Gouzagin during the early 80s. From the days when fellowship started off comprising only a handful of families along with some students, till today where a congregation comprising of around 326 households and 894 members (as per the latest data) come together, the very phase of alteration from humble beginnings, is a remarkable phenomena, at least in the history of the Zomi people. The church today is evidence or a witness to the fact that the Lord God is indeed Almighty!

On July 26, 1992, the first ever committee of six members was formed to handle different portfolios chaired by Pu Damsawmthang. During those days, prayer fellowship (Evangelical Convention Church) was held in the quarter of one of the members. A year later the location was shifted to Free Church in Green Park with a monthly rental of Rs.250. The congregation was officially recognized by the headquarters that same year, after which the first ever census was also conducted. The following year, that is, 1994, witnessed the establishment of departments like the Kristian Tuailai Pawl (KTP) and the Dorcas Department. The Church got its first ever Pastor, Rev. Paukhanmang Guite, in the year 1995. In the year 1996, the Missions Committee Department was established. In the years that followed, the number of households rose and department portfolios were revised which led to the first ordination of the Church and since many other activities followed. Also, around that time gradual talks were in to purchase a plot of land for church construction. Little did they know that they were making history in the course of everything. Just like little drops of water form an ocean, each step taken by the Church, however small and unimportant they appeared to be, were all relevant and, in fact, responsible for what the Church is today.

Speaking of growth, in this context, it means the sum total of the spiritual as well as the physical advancements realized by the church as a whole, during a period of time. The drivers of growth in the physical context could be population of the church, tithes, increase in resources/assets of the church, effective portfolio management, expansion of mission fields, removal of communication barriers within the church to avoid any kind of marginalization etc.

EBCC Delhi has come a long way, nearly two decades in its journey as a city church. The many facts and accounts of the Church all point to the path of its development it came across to stand where it is today. And, no doubt, it is envisaged that in ten or twenty years down the line, it will become a church catering to, and fulfilling the needs of, thousands of believers. EBCC Delhi plays a vital role among other city churches as being the first among others to pave the way and be established as a church in a metropolitan city. This, in a way, makes it a role model for others. The way it matured, overcoming obstacles all through the years makes it inspirational and motivational for other city churches, especially beginners. The very phenomena of it’s transformation within the twenty years is evidence of the fact that EBCC Delhi is truly efficient in the way it coordinates, mobilizes and organizes its responsibilities. The efficiency of the departments and their coordination vis-à-vis other church branches is a notable feat. The efficiencies reflect the spiritual growth of the Church and vice-versa. On the other hand, the Church must not get carried away by materialism. Pride is the downfall of men. It was pride that made the devil a devil. One should take pride in the Church in a positive way and not be misled by its accomplishments. On the contrary, one should be humbled knowing the fact that it is God who called each one to serve Him through Christ and that His Grace alone sustains the Church.

Delhi being the capital centre with ample job opportunities, not to mention the good education infrastructure, hundreds of Zomis flank in every year for a better future which results in higher productivity and affects the church financially. Unimportant as the fact may seem, finance plays an important role in the church and is relevant. It is universal truth that Delhi contributes the maximum funds for EBCC and as we all know money is an inevitable factor for any kind of growth and development. A church needs funds to go on. Considering all these factors, EBCC Delhi will be the financial capital for the headquarters in the years to come. Following the trend of mass migration, thousands of students/youths are expected to accumulate in the future. So it will definitely be a youth centre in the future. Hence, the city would be a probable destination for future Tuailai Khawmpi’s and other important church events. If we continue to march forward in this trend EBCC Delhi will no doubt be a strong pillar not only for the youth but EBC as a whole.

Looking back on the past, where only a handful of households initially gathered for fellowships, today there is a sharp contrast of over 326 households (as per latest data). Following the trend, it is visualized that the numbers of households rise in the future. The census data shows a slight decline in the members from 2009 to 2011, though there is a positive change from 2010 to 2011. It is also envisaged to rise in the future, looking at the trend. There has been a phenomenal increase in tithe over the past four to five years. Today the approximate figure as per the latest data shows an amount of Rs. 4747.8 crores.

The incredible rise in the population of the Church over the years is a contributing factor to what we call ‘church planting’ by EBCC Delhi in Central Delhi in the year 2010. The two Churches are complimentary to each other. It is in fact an indication that the Church is growing. Given the incredibly vast geographical span of the city, which is still expanding, the people are spread across all corners of the city. It would, thus, be a good idea to have more church plantings in the future. Bond is strengthened when frequent meetings and interactions between members happen. When the number of members exceeds a certain limit, the connecting bond between the members is somehow minimized. With church planting, members are divided for good. When the group is small, each one takes notice of the other, people get to know each other better and maximum interaction becomes possible. In this way, each one feels a part of the system and marginalization is minimized. The bond becomes more solid. Also, an added advantage here being that, small or medium congregation could be better nurtured and governed by the pastor. Church planting makes it possible for more people to be involved in church related activities. There are many people who are led astray by the metropolitan lifestyle. Also there are many who could only attend worship services once in a while due to the nature and timings of their jobs. Still there are people who could not attend because of the unusually huge physical distance and the lack of proper commutation. If there could be at least one or two more church plantings with a proper vision, it would serve the purpose better. On the other hand, more church plantings could lead to the possibility of losing the bond between the newly established and the head church because of lack of communication between the members, which in turn could possibly lead to segregation within the church. There could also arise unnecessary conflicts in-between. Though the idea is good, the issue is sensitive so a lot of thought and vision should be applied before implementing anything.

Today, EBCC Delhi is internally divided into a number of area fellowships. Within the area fellowships, responsibilities are further fragmented for better area governance. The entire system is basically taken charge of by the Baptist Youth Fellowship (BYF), EBCC Delhi. Hence, the area fellowships come under the BYF in its hierarchical chain. It is a well-known fact that ‘youth are the backbone of the nation’. Similarly the youth fellowship organization is an inevitable foundation and backbone of the Church. In the context, youth organization and youth department are used interchangeably. The future of a family, a nation, or any organization for that matter depends on the youth therein. If the young spirits actively and passionately immerse in church ordeals, keeping Christ as top priority, then there is no way the church or any organization, for that matter would malfunction. EBCC Delhi’s future is, to a big extent, determined by the youth today as they are the future. To form reliable youth in Christ, prayers, time and energy should be invested on the children who are at the verge of blossoming tomorrow. EBCC Delhi presently has an active children’s department under the guidance and mentorship of spiritually and morally dedicated volunteers or mentors. In the years down the line, the Church is visualized as a strong pillar in the body of Christ to be led by today’s children, who would then be the youth.

Coming back to the youth department, today it is engaged in a notable project namely ‘Project Nehemiah’. Started in the year 2009, the idea is to facilitate the underprivileged children in the interior parts of Zogam to provide education. Each year the department sets a financial target to be achieved. Accordingly, portfolios are distributed for augmentation of the Nehemiah Project to achieve the desired goals. Of the many portfolios handled, the Nehemiah Project would indeed be the best, if not, one of the most remarkable leap in its history. Today the project is gaining momentum. Judging by the efficiency in management of the Project in particular and the department as a whole, in the years to come many more projects of the kind are expected to be initiated. The youth must not lose their focus and enthusiasm for further undertakings. Motivational, spiritual and inspirational talks as well as seminars must be organized from time to time to revitalize the young spirits and keep the organization intact. The youth must remain intact so as not to deviate from the ultimate purpose of serving Christ. Being an organization the group will naturally head where the leaders lead. So, it is imperative that the leaders are deep rooted in Christ.

‘Time’ is an inevitable influence on life. In the context, the influence of time can be felt in the mode of conducting and organizing. One of the facets is that of the mode of worship. By this, I do not mean that the modern ways of worship are spiritually declining nor do I imply that the traditional mode of worship had been spiritually degrading. This is simply to highlight the paradigm shift in the techniques of worship from traditional to what we call modern today. Technology’s impact can be felt in almost every sphere today. There is no denying the fact that the modes of organizing church-related events like seminars, meetings, gatherings, retreats and so on are being affected by technology. With things getting tech-savvy, the added bonus is that events or even worship services are turning spontaneous and that the church is catching up with the pace today, which is good on one side, but one should be careful to not get carried away by materialism. People can get easily sideswiped. Hence, in spheres as such, with reference to the future, it is best to always keep a check on oneself with the Word as there’s a thin line between spiritualism and materialism.

Another facet in the context could be that of the much-awaited Tuailai Day event. Being an annual youth event, it is organized in an enthusiastic and passionate spirit. Apparently, more focus is attributed in trying to make the event as enthralling and fun as possible, which is no doubt a good thing. But again comes the question of spiritualism and materialism. If these kinds of events, however successful they may be, fail to stimulate or rekindle the spiritual life of the people, the youth in particular, then efforts are futile. At the end of the day, what counts is not how flawless the event had fared but rather, how many lives had been touched by Christ through the event organized. By this, I do not in any way discourage or oppose these kinds of events, but that, if the spiritual aspect could be made as enthralling as possible, the youth will serve their purpose better.

Keeping in view the trend, it wouldn’t be wrong to anticipate growth in the church in terms of number, facilities and equipments, portfolio management, larger mission fields, better area governance and so on. It is thus envisaged that in the years down the line, the overall administration and precedence of the Church would have a dramatic alteration for the better. It is to be borne in mind that the courses of development go in line with the Word. In fact when we speak of developments with respect to the church, both the physical as well as the spiritual aspects are complimentary to each other. As mentioned in the Bible, faith without work is dead and work without faith is useless, in this context, work could be likened to the physical aspect and faith to the spiritual aspect. Work must be complimented by faith and faith complimented by work.

The role played by the Church as a whole and by each member in particular, is inevitable to its growth. The very aspect of growth highlights yet another possibility of degradation or stagnancy. The outcome of the Church will be evident through the fruits its members will bear. Each one should be careful not to deviate from the core purpose, that, each one works for the Glory of God. Christ is the solid foundation on which the Church stands. When the foundation is strong and priorities are set right, other things will naturally fall in place, without a doubt. ‘With great achievements come great responsibilities’, so also, EBCC Delhi’s achievements as a city church renders it a great responsibility for the future, to be conquered through leap of faith as it did all through these years.

By:
Mercy Chingthiansiam
Ber Sarai BYF
# 7838543158
B.Com (H) III yr. (Jesus & Mary College)

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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