By Allan Chintedza
Capital City Baptist Church (‘CCBC’) has as its central vision to be a ‘high impact Church of Love, expressed through engagement with God, with one another and with the World’. Its mission is that ‘CCBC exists, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to bring people to Jesus Christ and into the fellowship of His family, equipping them for life and ministry in the church and the world to the glory of God the Father’. The church was founded in November 1984 by a group of four families. When it was first established there were only 14 members. Since then, there has been significant growth. In the past ten years alone, the Capital City Baptist Church has seen an increase in committed membership (currently 602, with an increase of 124 in the previous 12 months), engaged attendance and a minimum of 20 new converts being baptised each year. Multiple services have been introduced to meet the increased demand for spiritual growth. In addition, the Church is reaching out to communities within the city, and, to a lesser extent, to those within the rural areas of Lilongwe district.
In 2014, the Church celebrated its 30th Anniversary where the leadership of the church unveiled a new vision, emphasising the need to expand its ministries to meet the expectations of the growing population within Lilongwe. This envisaged that the membership base would continue to grow, thereby further increasing pressure on the capacity of the Church. At the heart of this vision was an emphasis on youth development and infrastructural development to meet these realities. It recognised that the future of the Church itself and of Malawi as a country rests in the hands of its youth. They are a major stakeholder of any growing institution or community. In consequence, a two-pronged approach was adopted in response to the vision: (i) To build a Youth Centre and (ii) To expand the existing church sanctuary building to cater for this growth. Shortly afterwards, a master plan outline design was identified and embraced.
The Youth Centre
The Church has given youth development a priority in its response to this vision, realising quite early on that the youth are a major stakeholder of any growing institution or community. The future of the Church and its effectiveness lies in the hands of the youth of today.
According to the 2008 Population and Housing Census report by the National Statistics Office and subsequent projected population growth trends based on analytical results from the 2008 report, Lilongwe City’s population that was at 674,000 in 2008 was projected to rise to 1.1 million people by 2017. Out of this figure, 43.3% are between 15 to 34 years of age. This steep increase in the population and its demographic change has put tremendous pressure on the resources of Lilongwe City and its service delivery.
In the context of the youth, there is a general lack of adequate resources in Lilongwe City such as learning and sports to meet the increased demand. With the closure of the British Council Library, the National Library Service has been stretched to its limits. Furthermore, since the closure of Kamuzu Institute for Youth and Kawale Youth Center, both of which used to provide comprehensive support and resources to the youth, there is very little left to support youth development. As a result, many young people channel their energies into destructive behaviour such as drug and alcohol abuse, violence and sexual immorality.
It is in response to these challenges that the CCBC decided to build a multifaceted youth centre building that would meet some of the needs of the youth of the city -regardless of their religious background - but within a Christian ethical environment. It would also provide resources to examine the Christian faith, and encourage/support personal commitment to Christ.
Overview of Youth Centre Facilities
The Youth Centre building will offer in-door facilities that will promote personal development to young adults in a conducive and safe, wholesome environment. The following are some of the components of the facility:
The building will have a large multi-purpose Auditorium with a capacity of 700, with backstage and changing rooms and will cater for various activities such as creative arts, music, drama, concerts, gospel singing and guest artists. This facility will give opportunity to identify talent as well as the promotion of social engagement in a controlled environment. The Auditorium will also double as a Sports Centre, offering space for basketball, netball, volleyball and other sporting and recreational activities.
- Intermediate Technology Resource Centre
This will give access to useful and important information on job opportunities, research activity, and creative work using ICT. An in-house Internet café environment will be created, with restricted access to sites with ungodly media.
This will offer latest books and learning materials, withopportunity to provide journals and reference materials for students, scholars and research study. Audio and Video Studio There will be an affordable studio for recordings and audio and video productions to encourage developing young talent.
- Counselling and Prayer Rooms
Facilities will be available to provide spiritual guidance, rehabilitation and ministry to victims of drug and alcohol abuse and other addictions. Space will be available for spiritual counselling and youth ministry growth.
- Arts and Crafts Gallery
The centre will be used to bring out natural gifts and talents in art and handcrafts.
- Conference Resource
The Youth Centre will be available to use for a variety of conferences, but also for more local ministry and planning meetings.
- Tuck shop and kitchen
This will provide quick, easy to access refreshments to the users of the Centre, and to more substantial catering when required.
In addition, there will be offices and meeting rooms on the first floor for pastoral and administration staff of the Church.
Expansion of the Sanctuary: (phase 2)
The second phase of this project is the expansion of the existing Sanctuary to a modern worship centre that seats up to 2,000 people. The current Sanctuary can no longer accommodate the congregational demand, evidenced by the reality that children and the youth have to vacate space in order to create more room for adults. A building designed with a capacity of 250 can no longer cope with the demand.
The vision of the leadership of the church is to bring more and more people to Jesus Christ through outreach and discipleship, providing them with an adequate place of worship and ministry. The growth of CCBC’s ministry, both to the youth and also to adults and their children will, in the the opinion of the leadership, have a significant impact in years to come, not only in the City of Lilongwe, but the country as a whole. Malawi is a God fearing nation, but there is room to bring many more people into a personal relationship with God, recognising the sacrifice of His son Jesus, and the consequences that follow as an active and committed Christian.
Planning for this second phase will now start to be considered. Building will not commence until the Youth Centre is completed and fully paid for, and sufficient commitments are received to significantly cover the budgeted cost of the enlarged sanctuary.