Baptist Youth Fellowship
BAPTIST YOUTH FELLOWSHIP
(THALAI KRISTIAN PAWL)
One of the greatest gifts of God showered upon the Baptist Church of Mizoram through the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) was the beginning of Thalai Kristian Pawl (TKP) or Christian Youth Fellowship, from which was Youth Ministry originated. After the Churches were firmly established throughout Mizoram, the BMS Missionaries and the Church leaders soon felt the need for the establishment of TKP, so that youth of those times would serve the Lord in ways that are more meaningful.
From the year 1936 to 1950, special services for youths were organised in different parts of Mizoram. At The BCM Headquarters, Serkawn, Rev R.F. Tucker took up the leadership role and used to organize such services at his own Quarters. Such gatherings created the need for a well-organised system of Youth Ministry and therefore discussed it in their committee meetings. On the 16th July 1951, BMS Missionaries and other Church leaders had had a committee meeting and the meeting resolved to establish a Youth Ministry at Serkawn. The members who attended the meeting include :-
1) Rev F.J. Raper
2) Rev H.W. Carter
3) Miss E.M. Chapman
4) Miss E.M. Oliver
5) Rev Challiana
6) Rev H.S. Luaia
7) Rev Chuautera
8) Mr. Lalmama
9) Mr. C. Saizawna
10) Mr. Laikunga
To implement the resolution of the meeting, on 30th July 1951, at 7:00 in the evening, many youths gathered together and formed the Youth Ministry called THALAI KRISTIAN PAWL (TKP) and the name TKP was first proposed by Mrs. F.J. Raper, one of the BMS Missionaries. The meeting elected the first leaders of TKP who were as follows:-
President : Mr. Lungruala
Vice President : Mr. Vanlalkunga
General Secretary : Mr. K. Lalliana
Treasurer : Mr. T. Ropianga
Senior Advisers : 1) Rev H.S. Luaia
2) Mr. C. Saizawna
3) Mr. Lalmama
4) Mrs. F.J. Raper
Executive Committee Members:
1) Miss Rothuami
2) Mr. Lalsawma
3) Mr. Thanghnuna
4) Mr. Hrangthanga
5) Mr. Remkunga
Since the establishment of TKP, the Youth Ministry in Mizoram has been developing immensely till date. Moreover, TKP is now one of the most useful instruments of the Churches in Mizoram.
Growth and Development:
The establishment of TKP in 1951 was recognised in 1952 by the Presbytery (now called the Assembly). It also allowed for the existence of a Pastorate level TKP. The Constitution/Rules of TKP, which was already accepted by a committee meeting of Serkawn Church leaders, were also accepted by it. In this constitution was included a proper organisational set up of TKP. There are three levels, interlinked with one another:
1) Unit TKP – Unit or local level
2) Bial TKP – Pastorate level
3) Mizoram TKP – Covering the whole of Mizoram
Youth Ministry was established with clear-cut aims and objectives. The main reasons for its existence were-
1) To help the youths to become good Christians.
2) To train the youths to work for Christ and the Church.
3) To encourage and guide the youths to be useful for the society.
4) To help them participate in the extension of God’s kingdom.
The Youth Ministry also has a pledge –
FOR CHRIST AND THE CHURCH…
With full faith in my strength, Jesus Christ.
I shall have fellowship with God everyday.
I shall always participate in our Church worship services and all its activities.
I shall work for the welfare of the society and for the strengthening of its unity,
I shall earnestly try to bring others to Christ.
AT THE UNIT AND PASTORATE LEVELS
TKP was established to be the arm and foot of the Church. Its main activity is to do what the Church instructs it to do. Besides this, at the Unit and Pastorate levels, they make plans and projects and they are involved in various activities like -
1) Mission and Evangelism: - This is a very important ministry. Many units and Pastorates give financial support to missionaries. Youth groups and choirs visit mission fields to have work-camps. Moreover, besides personal evangelism, they organise salvation and revival campings and crusades.
At the pastorate level, they organise a conference every year, with worship service, fellowship and committee meeting.
As the BMS mission is attaining its centenary, Youth Ministry is also attaining its Golden Jubilee. Besides the Unit and Pastorate levels, youth ministry is also operating at the Mizoram level. This is called Mizoram TKP or MTKP. Its main activities for the last 50 years are –
Every year, budget is made and the need for more finance for ministry is increasing annually, let us see the rate and growth its income.
1960 - Rs 1,141.77
1970 - Rs 28,881.88
1980 - Rs 1, 29,082.77
1990 - Rs 3, 21,016.47
2001 - Rs 7, 48,495.00
In order to control the income of the MTKP, Budget ceiling is made by the BCM Hqrs. Because of this, its income is limited. With this money, MTKP is involved in various activities.
2. Mission and Evangelism:-
Since its inception, MTKP has been with zealous mission spirit, so, many Units and Pastorates give financial support to Missionaries and MTKP deposit certain amount to the BCM Headquarters for Missionary support, which also increases year by year.
In 1970 - Rs 15,500.00 were given to BCM Hqrs.
1980 - Rs 30,000.00
1990 - Rs 75,000.00
2001 - Rs 1, 00,000.00
In its first conference i.e. from 21-12 Oct 1955, the Youth Ministry resolved to sent out Missionaries. In order to inculcate Missionary spirit in the minds of the youths, special Missionary Day (i.e. on 26th September) has been observed every year since 1959.
MTKP level Conference was used to be organised every year, in which various programmes for spiritual growth were made, and various resolutions were passed for its activities. Besides an enjoyable fellowship, conference created unity among the youths. They were also motivated to step out for God’s ministry. In 1988 conference, more than 100 youths committed their lives to become missionaries.
As the year went by, the number of delegates increased and so were the cost of the conference. Therefore, since 1986, the conference has been organised bi-ennially. The last conference was held in 2001, February which was attended by more than 15000 members.
Since Mizos are lovers of music, many programmes have been organised for its promotion. Conductors’ Training, Music conference, Musical meet, Choir leaders training and Choir competitions are often organised. Music committee is also established. Besides, various unit and pastorate level choirs, MTKP level choir called “MTKP Choir” has been established since 1970. From 1983, this Choir became Standing Choir. From 1990, it was called “BCM Choir”. Its ministry extends beyond Mizoram, to other Indian States and even abroad, they also have ministry through radios and television. Since BCM Hqrs has formed ”BCM Choir” from 1990, MTKP Choir ceased to exist.
The 1958 Conference resolved to extend the Youth Ministry through literature. However, due to various problems, it could not do so. But in 1968 a book was published and for this Rs 1,000/- was set aside for its expenditure. The 1978 Conference resolved to publish a magazine and so the first ever MTKP magazine called “Thalai Thian” come into being on 14th July 1978, in which 600 copies were made.
From 1980 June, it has been published monthly and in 1981, the name was changed to ‘Thalai Entu’. From 2000, it was printed in an offset press and 5200 copies are now printed. Through this magazine, MTKP is extending its ministry within and outside Mizoram and all the BCM Missionaries are sent free of cost.
6. Bible Study:-
From 1961, a special book has been prepared to increase the Biblical knowledge of the youths and the first book of this kind was I Peter. Till today, 18 of such books are studied by them. Examinations are conducted at the end of the year. Sometimes, Correspondence Bible Studies have always been conducted.
7. Leadership Training etc:-
As the saying goes ‘Good leaders train good leaders’ leadership trainings and seminars have often been conducted. Previously, such trainings were organised at the Mizoram level, some of them were:-
1) Leaders’ Seminar held at Serkawn, from Oct 27-30, 1971.
2) Joint Leadership Training – Held at Chanmari, Lunglei for youth and women departments, from June 14-20, 1974.
3) Leadership Training: At Serkawn from 30th August – 4th Sept 1978.
4) Joint Leadership Training Camp: From June 6-11, 1979 at Govt College, Lunglei for youth and women departments.
Such trainings and seminars were attended by selected members throughout Mizoram. Resource persons were invited to impart training on various subjects and besides these, practical trainings were also given.
As the days went by, such trainings and seminars are very difficult to organise due to increase in members and their dispersal throughout Mizoram. Today, MTKP leaders go out to have the same at the Unit and pastorate levels. They have been most beneficial for the spiritual growth of the youth.
MTKP has been slowly participating in the activities of fellow believers elsewhere in India, Asia and other countries. Due to shortage of fund, only very few delegates could be sent in such conferences held abroad. MTKP sent delegates in the following Conferences held abroad:-
1) Asian Baptist Youth Leadership Training Conference, 24-30, 1986 Singapore. Sent one delegate.
2) 3rd Asian Baptist Congress, Jan 1988, Sydney, Australia. Sent one delegate
3) 11th Baptist Youth World Congress, 14-18, August 1988 Glasgow Scotland. Sent 3 delegates.
4) 16th Baptist World Congress, 14-18, August 1990, Seoul, S.Korea. Sent one delegate.
5) 4th Asian Baptist Federation Congress, 17-22, July 1992 Singapore. Sent one delegate.
6) 10th Asian Baptist Youth Conference & 18th Baptist World Congress, 5-9, January, 2000 Melbourne, Australia. Sent one delegate.
7) For the 14th Baptist Youth World Conference 16-20, July 2003, Hong Kong, 3 delegates were selected.
Such fellowships with fellow believers outside Mizoram have contributed to the unity and development of the youths throughout the world.
MTKP has been involving in activities for remembrance of one and other important events like:-
1) MTKP House: - MTKP house was constructed for the celebration and remembrance of TKP Silver Jubilee, at the BCM Headquarters, Serkawn. Total Expenditure was Rs 72,971.86. It was inaugurated by the then General Secretary of BCM, Rev Dr. C.L. Hminga on 22nd Dec. 1983. It was an L-shaped, 36 feet long and 21 feet broad. After completion of the construction work, it was handed over to the BCM property committee.
2) Mizoram TKP Hoarding - A hoarding, ‘Jesus Christ, Rules’ was made which was put up at the side of Lunglei District Sports Committee (LDSC) Ground No-I. Its length was 41.1/2 feet and 6.1/2 feet. It was decorated with the colour of TKP Flag (with white in the middle and blue at the top and bottom). The expenditure for making this hoarding was Rs 11,225. Till today, numerous players and spectators read this writing.
3) Gospel Centenary memorial Cross:- In order to remember the Mizoram Gospel Centenary (1894-1994), MTKP constructed a memorial cross, near Bazar Pastor Quarters, Lunglei, which is 4 feet broad, 2 feet thick and 24 feet high. At the bottom is a beautiful step and a centenary emblem is inscribed on it. Expenditure for the construction was Rs 56,120.00. It was inaugurated by the then General Secretary, Rev Raltawnga on 21st Feb. 1994.
4) Golden Jubilee House: For remembrance and celebration of TKP Golden Jubilee (30, July 2001), a Golden Jubilee House, was constructed at Serkawn. Its length was 36 feet and its breadth 24 feet. Expenditure for construction was Rs 3, 50,000.00 and it was completed within 42 days. It was inaugurated by our General Secretary Rev Dr. K. Thanzauva. This house was also handed over to the BCM property department.
1) TKP Day: The birth date of TKP i.e. 30 July 1951 is observed every year throughout Mizoram. Headquarters set the programmes for all Units to follow in which programmes like worship service, fellowship and social works are incorporated.
2) Blood Donation: - Units and Pastorates TKP often organise Voluntary Blood Donation at Hospitals. MTKP also organised four combined Units or Mass Voluntary Blood Donation. In 2001 at Aizawl, TKP secured the ever-highest position in numbers, to donate blood at a p> Declaration of Themes for the Year: To combat the social evils, MTKP has often declared themes for the whole year. E.g. In one year, teachings on marriage, may be given throughout the year and in another year, campaigns on drugs, etc. The year 2002 is also declared as the year for fighting against drugs abuse. This is done through joint efforts of TKP, Govt and Non-governmental organisations.
4) Games and Sports: - To promote youths in games and sports activities, various units and pastorates often organise the same. In 2001 at the MTKP level, a volleyball competition for men and women was organised at Serkawn, in which many units participated. Competitions on Essay Writing, composition of Songs and Singing Competition have also been organised. Music festival and Quiz competition were also organised for the celebration of TKP Golden Jubilee.
5) Full time Secretary/Organiser:- Since 1977, Youth Ministry has been having a full time Secretary selected by the BCM Pastoral Committee from among the Pastors for a term of three years. Other office bearers, except the President are elected in the youth conference. The President is also selected by the BCM General Committee (now called central committee). The Secretary works in the BCM Hqrs Office. From 2001, the name Secretary was changed to Organiser. Besides the above activities, MTKP often organise a whole night prayer gathering for missionaries at the unit level. Prayer chain for the state of Mizoram has also often been organised. In the year 2000, processions were organised in different places of Mizoram, for promotion of peace and security in the world. Posters and placards were carried; mass prayer and speeches were also made at the Streets. God has undoubtedly recognised the establishment of TKP by the BMS Missionaries and the Church Leaders.
Though all the activities of the youth ministry cannot be enunciated here, it is an undisputed fact that this ministry has glorified God in many ways and has helped immensely in the extension of the kingdom of God. Praise the Lord for it. As the days passed by, no doubt this ministry has still lots of rooms for improvement. It has to adjust its ministry to the ever-changing context of the youths in Mizoram. More campaigns against drugs, environmental awareness campaigns, preservation of existing culture and its necessary modifications, more ministries through mass media need to be made. Lastly, we, the youths of Mizoram would like to give our heartiest Thanks to God as well as all the BMS Missionaries for helping us to reap the fruits of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.