Pastors in Africa are not only theologians, but also teachers, counsellors, spiritual and social development aid workers, doctors, as well as conflict mediators in cases of societal emergencies and problems.
People who preach the word of God and provide comprehensive care for people in society and respect them are urgently needed in Africa.
In a special service, the congregation founded in Soa with the support of the European Baptist Mission was granted independence on 30 November. In autumn 2005 there was only a vision: A congregation at the university in Yaoundé-Soa was founded to bring the Gospel to students. The Cameroon church leadership sent the couple Magloire and Delphine Kadjio to Soa, while the EBM assured support through the renting of suitable rooms and the personal support of the work through its missionaries Dirk and Hanna Pusch in Yaoundé. Since then, the Kadjio family has shown much commitment and invited people to follow Jesus. While only two or three people met for bible study at the beginning, the numbers increased after a move to the centre of town. The first church services could begin.
The small congregation was able to celebrate its first baptism in May 2007. The evangelistic efforts with a youth group from Yaoundé brought new people. The evangelist Kadjio Magloire places great importance on biblical instruction and discipleship training. Besides the bible studies, there is also an event in which the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by the American Baptist pastor Rick Warren is studied.
The great fluctuation in the student city of Soa also has an effect on the foundation of congregations. Some students are only present for a few months per year; others change their subject, give up their studies or find a job. Sometimes people from other congregations appear unexpectedly and want to take up studies in Soa. Consequently, almost two-thirds of the people attending the church service come originally from North Cameroon and the service is often held in two languages, French and Fulfulde.
For the recognition of a congregation, it must have at least 25 registered members, according to the constitution of the Cameroon Baptist Union. After Soa exceeded this level with 34 members and over 60 people attending church services, recognition by the union was applied for. Not only were the church directors invited, but also choirs and representatives of the surrounding congregations and representatives of the European Baptist Mission. The special service itself began with the baptism of four men in the river by the EBM missionary Dirk Pusch after they professed their faith. Afterwards, the participants at the service walked in a procession to the celebratory tribune of Soa, the site of the church service. The church service lasted three hours and the General Secretary of the Cameroon Baptist Union, Pastor Emmanuel Mbenda, held his sermon on the parable of the minas. In the subsequent special collection for the purchase of the property in Soa, roughly 900 euros were received. A good 12,000 euros are necessary to purchase a suitable property for the construction of a community centre and pastor house. Traditionally, the Cameroon congregations receive a name upon independence. For Soa, the name that was selected is “Loyalty.” Particular joy came with the calendar that had a picture and the name of the congregation, which all the participants received at the end of the church service. The distribution of the calendar in Soa is to make the congregation better known there. In the long term, the community in Soa would like to dedicate itself more to the concerns of students. At the planned congregation centre, some student rooms and common rooms have been set up. It is the congregation and the union’s desire to systematically bring the Gospel to students, since in this particular phase of their life they are usually much more open to faith than after they begin their professional life.