Chin Baptist Convention
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|Chin Baptist Convention, Chin State, Myanmar|
|Associations||Myanmar Baptist Convention|
|Congregations||915 churches (2020)|
Chin Baptist Convention, Myanmar was established in 1953 and located in Falam, Chin State, Myanmar. Today, the Chin Baptist Convention is the largest organization in Chin State consisting of 28 associations and is also the second largest member body of the Myanmar Baptist Convention after the Karen Baptist Convention.
Rev. Arthur E. Carson and Laura H. Carson from the American Baptist International Ministries with the support of Karen missionaries arrived in Hakha, Chin Hills on 15 March 1899. After five years, Mr & Mrs Pau Suan and Mr & Mrs. Thuam Hang of Khuasak were converted to Christianity from animism in 1904. Christianity slowly spread through Chin Hills and the Chin Hills Baptist Association was formed in 1907. The Chin Hills Baptist Association comprised Baptists from Falam, Hakha and Tedim subdivision. From the arrival of the Carsons in March 1899 to March 1948 the Chin Baptists were solely under the guidance of the Missionaries stationed at Tedim and Hakha. In March 1948, the Association held a meeting at Satawm village and the Falam, Tedim and Hakha decided to run their own business. Thus, March 1948 was the beginning of Falam Baptist Association, Tedim Baptist Association and Hakha Baptist Association. The three associations run their own affairs until 1952.
The forming of Zomi Baptist Convention
In March 1952, the mission secretary Rev. E. E. Soward paid a survey trip to Chin Hills. Rev. S.T Hau Go was in charge of the Chin Baptists works while the Johnsons of the Hakha and the Nelson of Tedim were on holiday. Revd. E.E Sowards went to Tedim Baptist annual meeting at Laitui village on 14–17 February 1952. Then he went on tour to Falam and Hakha area with Rev. S.T Hau Go. After the survey, he proposed the followings for Baptist in the Chin Hills:
- The Chin Baptist to have one organization,
- To have one Bible School combined with Agricultural School,
- To have one Mission Hospital.
For an organization, the Constitution drafting committee was led by the Rev. S.T Hau Go together with the most senior and revered Pastors Rev. Sang Ling from Hakha, and the second eldest and most respected pastor Rev. Sang Fen. The committee held a meeting at Falam Baptist Church on late October and early November 1952. The meeting decided to form one Baptist organization and the organization was named Zomi Baptist Convention (ZBC) which comprised Falam Baptist Association, Tedim Baptist Association and Hakha Baptist Association. On March 5–7, 1953 Zomi Baptist Convention was officially and universally adopted by the general meeting in Saikah, Thantlang township. The general meeting was attended by 3,000 Chin Christians. The constitution was also approved in 1954 at the general meeting held in Khuasak, Tedim township.
Rev. S.T. Hau Go was the first general secretary of ZBC. He received MA from Madras University in 1946. He was also a 1950 alumnus of Eastern Theological Seminary in Philadelphia with Master of Religious Education (M.R.E). He returned to Chin Hills and played a key role in forming Zomi Baptist Convention, Tedim Baptist Association and Kale Valleys Baptist Association. He later retired as a professor of English Department at Rangoon University.
In accordance with recommendation from Rev. Soward, the Bible school began at Tedim in 1953 under the supervision of Rev. S.T. Hau Go with Saya Lun Cung Nung and others. When Rev. S.T. Hau Go served as ZBC Secretary, the Bible school was moved to Hakha under the supervision of the Johnsons (Rev. Robert Johnson). Then, the school was moved from Hakha to Falam in 1959. The name of the Bible school has been changed throughout history and as of 2013, it was named Chin Christian Institute of Theology. The college was accepted as a member institute of the Association for Theological Education in South East Asia, in 1982. The bible school Bachelor of Theology (B.Th) was accredited by the Association for Theological Education in South East Asia in 1991. The Bible school now offered Agricultural studies in to their course.
The mission hospital never materialized. Although, there was a medical doctor who wanted to come and work in the Chin Hills. The allotment for equipment of $30,000 had to be diverted to other place.
Schism and formation of Zomi Baptist Convention of Myanmar
In 1995, the four Associations namely Tonzang Township Baptist Association (TTBA), Tedim Baptist Association (TBA), Kale Zomi Baptist Association (KZBA), and Tamu Valley Baptist Association (TVBA) walked out from ZBC triennial meetings at Khuasak during 5–9 April 1995 and formed an organization called Zomi Baptist Convention of Myanmar (ZBCM). Out of the four-Associations three of them went on and decided to join Southern Baptist Convention and Tedim Baptist Association alone withdraws from ZBCM and decided to remain in the Myanmar Baptist Convention
Zomi Baptist Convention (ZBC) to Chin Baptist Convention (CBC)
The name of the organization was changed from 'Zomi Baptist Convention' to 'Chin Baptist Convention' with effect from 1 April 2013. The agreement was reached during Zomi Baptist Convention's 21st Triennial Conference held in Kalaymyo of Sagaing Division from 21 to 24 March. During this meeting, the Association namely Kalay Valley Baptist Association (KVBA) walked out again and formed an organization called Kalay Valley Baptist Convention (KVBC). There, the rest of other 25 associations, a unanimous agreement was reached for the new designation of the Chin Baptist organization. The meeting was attended by more than 400 representatives from its 28 associations with special guests from Myanmar Baptist Convention and Kachin Baptist Convention.
Chins for Christ in One Century - CCOC (1983 – 1999)
In the late 1960s there was revival and religious awakening in Chin Hills. The Chin people are started to get interest in evangelism work. In, 1968 the then ZBC leaders formed a gospel team “Chin for Christ” and travel throughout Chin Hills and Lushai Hills. In 1975, the then ZBC-EC set up two funds called Administration Fund and Evangelism and Mission (E&M) Fund. People generously contributed to E&M Fund. The then ZBC then launched an indigenous missionary program, Chins for Christ in One Century (CCOC), aimed at making the entire Chin people become Christians by the end of the twentieth century. The programme actually started in 1983 and funded by ZBC E&M Fund. the organization recruited volunteer missionaries and evangelists from various parts of Chin State to carry out its mission in certain parts of Chin State. The mission came to an end in 1999 after 16 years of starting the mission programme. In March 1999, the Chin people whole-heartedly celebrated Centennial Celebration after the arrival of the first Gospel from the American missionaries that firmly roots in today Chin society. The CCOC's programme recruited 2,333 missionary and managed to convert 25,295 non-Christians and established 60 Churches throughout Chin State. This mission programme spent 73,371,643.10 MM Kyats about $73,371 in today value. 2,333 missionaries were recruited and the following seven missionaries gave their life for this cause. They were:
- Cin Khaw Thawn (24 April 1985),
- Bual Cung (30 November 1985),
- Vung Khan Kham (20 January 1986),
- Ngai Za Siam (24 May 1988),
- Hoih Lam (24 June 1993),
- Niang Lom Kim (5 August 1994) and
- Kap Cin Khai (4 October 1996).
Centennial Mission for Christ – CMC (1999 – 2013)
After its tremendous success in the CCOC mission programme, the organization focused on non- Christian populace in other regions in Burma and it gained some success. Under the Christian administration, the Christianity plays important role in local administration that provides educational opportunities, social and religious movements. The CMC mission came to an end in 2013 and manage to convert 4,260 non-Christians. The mission received 963,274,728 MM Kyats ($960K current value) and spent 934,869,988 MM Kyats ($930K) for this mission. Eight missionaries gave their life during this cause. They were:
- Hram Vung (17 September 2003)
- Maung Saan (16 December 2003)
- Than Than Aye (9 November 2004)
- Rev. Chit Htun (27 August 2006)
- Za Thang (8 May 2009)
- Kyaw Soe (13 September 2010)
- Rev. Do Nang (3 November 2011)
- Win Win Aye (7 August 2012)
Chin Baptist Mission - CBM (2013-2028)
The Chin Baptist Convention has now launched another mission programme called Chin Baptist Mission. Its mission statement is Unity and solidary of the Baptist churches with ecumenical spirit to impact the world for Christ. In CBM programme, Chindwon field, Pakokko field, Yaw field with 6 centres and joint, partnership program will be focused in Paletwa, Kanpetlet, Mindat, Shimintlang and Gangaw areas. Its plan to send 500-1000 missionaries annually. The programme is budgeted as $300,000.
In addition to Myanmar Baptist Convention, the convention is affiliated to Asia Pacific Baptist Federation and Baptist World Alliance and has a fellowship and works with the ecumenical organizations like Myanmar Council of Churches, Christian Conference of Asia, World Council of Churches and World Association for Christian Communication.
Lists of Chin Baptist Convention chairman and general secretaries
|Chairman||Years of service||General secretary (GS)||Years of service|
|Rev. Sang Fen||1953–1957||Rev. S. T Hau Go||1953–1957|
|Rev. Kam Khaw Kai||1957–1962||Rev. Mang Khaw Pau||1957–1962|
|Rev. Kip Vum||1962–1968||Rev. E. Kyon Bil||1962–1968|
|Rev. Kam Khaw Thang||1968–1977||Rev. James Sang Awi||1968–1977|
|Rev. J Tial Dum||1977–1980||Rev. C. Hrang Tin Khum||1977–1983|
|Rev. Kam Khaw Thang||1980–1983||Rev. Dr. Simon Pau Khan En||1983–1986|
|Rev. Dr. Sang Awr||1968–1977||Rev. James Sang Awi||1968–1977|
|Rev. S. Hrang Kap Hnin||1986–1989||Rev. J. Tial Dum||1989–1992|
|Rev. Ngun Awi||1989–1992||Rev. Dr. Chum Awi||1992–1996|
|Rev. Tuang Khan Kap||1992–1998||Rev. Tuang Khan Kap||1996–2001|
|Rev. E Hlawng Piang||1998–2001||Rev. E. Hlawng Piang||2001–2006|
|Rev. M Thawng Kam||2001–2004||Rev. M. Thawng Kam||2007–2010|
|Rev. Sian Za Mung||2004–2010||Rev. D. Ngun Thawng Mang||2010–2016||Rev. Dr.Law Ha Ling||2016-|
Membership trends and associations
In 2013, the Chin Baptist Convention reported 202,991 members in 38,145 households in 893 churches. The current general secretary is Rev. D. Ngun Thawng Mang. The church's motto is Faith, Unity and Witness.
- Siyin, Online Magazine (10 August 2012). "Glimpses of Chin Baptist History". nikonghong.wordpress.com. Zomi Baptist Convention - Centenary Magazine.
- Convention, Chin Baptist. Constitution and Bye Law. Falam, Chin State: ZBC. p. b.
- "Ccit » A Brief History". www.theology-ccit.org. Archived from the original on 2015-01-09.
- Convention, Chin Baptist. Mission History. Falam, Chin State.
- Convention, Chin Baptist. "Chin Baptist Mission". CBM Journal.