GBC features in BWA connect for this Week under Member Bodies in Action
The Ghana Baptist Convention (GBC) is experiencing rapid church growth. In 2005, it reported 1,000 congregations and 75,000 members. Today it has more than 2,000 churches and close to 500,000 baptized believers. This is the result of an aggressive mission program undertaken by Ghanaian Baptists.
Over the past few years, GBC established five mission fields in different parts of the country with full time missionaries whose main focus is church planting. In the past year, this has resulted in 27 churches planted in Nzema in the west in the direction of Ivory Coast, 52 in Sefwi in the mid region, 40 in Navrongo going toward Burkina Faso, 16 in the Volta region going toward Togo, and several dozens in Yendi in the northeast.
“In our own policy and practice we have a preaching point, a preaching station and a church,” explained Ernest Adu-Gyamfi , GBC Executive President. The aim is to establish a preaching point that would, eventually, develop into a Baptist Church, duly designated as such.
There is concerted outreach to college and university students, with Baptist campus ministries at tertiary institutions across the West African country. Initiatives include appointing university chaplains on some campuses for these students. There’s “a youth coordinator who coordinates all the work of our student campus ministry,” Rev. Adu-Gyamfi pointed out.
A major GBC project is SHOP, the Students Holiday Outreach Program, which has been running for some 20 years. “Every summer we bring all the Baptist students together,” said Rev. Adu-Gyamfi. The students typically spend two weeks in the mission field during their break from school. In one year, they had upwards of 600 students involved in SHOP.
The Association of Baptist Business Executives (ABBEX) has provided money for the students to go on mission trips over the 20-year period. “This year we brought together 380 students,” declared Rev. Adu-Gyamfi, who is a longstanding member of the Baptist Business Executive group. Eighty of the students went to Yendi in the north.
“For two weeks they do dawn broadcasts in the morning, house to house evangelism, film shows in the evening. They help revive churches within those areas. They do all kinds of things,” Rev. Adu-Gyamfi said.
SHOP participants are often sent to targeted areas where there is no Baptist church. A number of churches were established as a result. “That helps us to duplicate churches very, very fast,” the Ghana Baptist leader said. “Within the two-week program we deploy about 400 students. By the time they come back we can have a minimum of about 10 churches established across the country.”
The Ghana Baptist executives lend their support to the new churches. “The businessmen have a commitment that any church that is planted they will provide the basic things they need,” Rev. Adu-Gyamfi informed the BWA. This includes not just furnishings and equipment, but helping to support a pastor for the new church for one year.
Movements and changes
Rev. Dr. Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, President, Ghana Baptist Convention (GBC) and a Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance, elected President of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship (AABF), succeeding Michael Okwakol of Uganda.