History they say is greater than man whether in circular or spiritual world. This best described the actions of founding fathers and mothers of historical First Baptist Church (FBC), Ahmadu Bello Way Kaduna (The Great Pace Setter) dated back to 1914 when some Baptist traders and artisans began to meet as a cell for spiritual growth in strange land.
Though getting even a plot of land to build a mini church right inside Kaduna town was never an easy task, but then, they never hung their harps, tambourines, bells and voices like the children of Israel did while in such pilgrimage and that perseverance, dedication, commitment and focus through the help of God eventually paid off.
The history of Saint Paul Baptist Church, Kaduna, which later metamorphous into what is now known as FBC Kaduna or simply put, First Church, is very synonymous to that of the Nigerian Baptist Convention as regarding their activities in 1914; the latter was formerly organised while the former was been planted with only few members who shared similar spiritual mind during their sojourn in Kaduna a century ago in an interdenominational worship at the outskirts of Northern part of Kaduna, (now the State capital).
Quoting one of the oldest served Undershepherd of the church, Reverend Emmanuel Akingbala several decades back who said, “the First Baptist Church, Kaduna has got a great heritage – the solid foundation of a missionary church”. The church as the man of God put it was and still prospering premised on promise of God in Zephaniah Chapter 3 verses 17 that says, “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” a promise that has been keeping the church going in God’s kingdom expansions despite its strategic location and opposition.
Now, the First Church has given birth to many daughter churches credited to its age-long passion for mission commission in the face of numerous challenges within and outside her immediate environment.
Sitting atop spiritual goldmine as headquarters of God’s presence in Northern Nigeria, FBC Kaduna has been blessed with several great men and women of integrity, selfless, visionary and highly spirit filled individuals too numerous to mention who are interested in building upon the foundation of the church as regarding soul winning and kingdom expansion as Paul puts it, “For no one can lay any foundation than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ (1st Corinthians 3:11).
There is no how the story of Christianity in Northern Nigeria could complete without inclusion of sacrifices of FBC Kaduna who took the bull by the horn and approached the then colonial masters who had earlier rejected citing of church within Kaduna town. Available records showed that, God has bestowed special wisdom on these founding fathers who were able to convince the colonial masters that the church would improve the economy of the town. This bold step had paved way for other denominations to seek building permit from the whites and today, Kaduna has thousands of churches within its metropolis all to the glory of God.
And then the church began to grow in both spiritual and physical realm. For example between 1964 and 1977, register of baptism disclosed that 689 converts were baptised by Rev Akingbala which was about 52 on the average per annum. That was a good spiritual business there (see Act 3:47).
Since that time, the church has led several to Christ and still counting. This is in addition to the persistent call on the saved to attend in-depth study of the word of God through home fellowship, discipleship class, Church Training Programme (TCP), special prayer meetings and recently, begin the month with Lord among others. These programmes have helped mending troubled homes and individuals’ lifestyle.
As regarding physical growth and development, in 1965 the Adejumobi hall, education building consisting of eight classrooms and a library to take care of Sunday school classes and educational needs of the members and host community were built. There has been tremendous growth in this aspect of the physical growth of His Church.
Talking about formation of Kaduna Baptist Central Association, FBC as one of the Baptist Churches of Northern Nigeria Association I, has been playing a leading role from its humble and divine beginning.
In order to make things orderly right from the inception, the highest body of decision making of the church was known as Board of Deacons. This Board comprised the Undershepherd as Chairman, all the deacons and additional few men chose by the chairman. As at that time, there was never a woman among the Board members.
However in 1992, the name was changed to Church Executive Council (EC) that make up the Pastors, Deacons, departmental heads, all committees boards chairmen and some men and women chosen by the Undershepherd. The EC acts for and on behalf of the church and all decisions are subject to approval or ratification of the Church-in-Conference which holds quarterly.
Since inception, God has used the following Ministers of His to keep the fire burning; Rev I A Adejumo (1925-1943), Rev E O Akingbala (1942-1947 &1951-1981), Pastor S A Adetoye (1947-1948), Rev A A Alade (1977-1978), Rev A O Idowu (1978-1990), Rev (Dr.) D Sholeye, Rev W O Ojo between 1991 and around 2005 and Rev Banjo Ajao (2005 to date)
FBC also had a good number of deacons and deaconesses, church secretaries, financial secretaries, treasurers, heads of various departments and committed members to her credit.
In order not to be over dependent on church services offering, the church came up with investment initiative which gave birth to the First Baptist School which was opened with only six pupils in 1926. Rev and Mrs. I A Adejumobi were the first teachers in the school. Years later, the secondary session of the model school was opened. Both the primary and secondary sessions have graduated several pupils and students with the help of effective and qualitative manpower and boards from time to time.
Also, the church book store, shopping complex, vehicles and other investment property have been helping the church in her great commission work and maintenance of her workers and structures through Christ that strengthens her.
The church in her social life perspective has about 15 societies. This was aimed at ensuring that, members have intimate relationship and look after one another, because the Undershepherd may not know much about every member of the church. This has not by any means stop the visitation of church members by Undershepherd as much as they can.
Truly, First Baptist Church, Ahmadu Bello way, Kaduna has a lot to tell in her 100 years of great commission and just like the biblical acts of apostles, her history cannot be captured in few seconds.
By the year 2018, the church will officially celebrate her 100 years of great exploit provided our Saviour Jesus Christ delays his coming. You can make a plan about this today by committing your resources to God’s business, the only business with greater reward both here on earth and hereafter.
To this end, this piece will not complete without remembering the deceased pastors, deacons, leaders and members for their immense contributions to make the church stand where it is today. May their soul rest in perfect peace until the great day of perfection and may He help the living to count their days unto His wisdom. Amen.
Long live Nigeria Baptist Convention!
Long live First Baptist Church Kaduna.