God moves in mysterious and marvelous ways. He uses His own perfect plan to reach the lost.
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain . . ." (John 15:16 KJV)
That Bible verse underpins the existence of Bahrain Christian Fellowship (BCF).
BCF had its humble beginning in June of 1984 with the united effort of some pioneering members who took the initiative of forming a small Bible study group. They committed themselves to meet regularly on Thursdays for prayer, Bible study and sharing. Their main goal was to bring themselves closer to God. Gradually, the group grew and became known then as the Bahrain Fellowship. With new hopes and visions from the Lord, they have continually visited various camps where Filipinos worked and claimed victory by winning souls for Christ.
On July 26, 1984, Don Whitley, the Gideon International (Bahrain) president, met with the group to give away copies of the Bible. A close relationship was formed with him who later on became the pioneering leader. On Sept. 27, 1984, he embarked on a study series on the Book of Revelation at the Juffair Trinity Chapel, taking an evangelistic approach. Even before the study touched on its second series, the Lord paved a way for the group to visit a Filipino labor camp, which enthusiastically expressed its desire to attend the study series. These laborers formed the first 47 souls, who accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
As the group grew in number, leaders emerged, consisting mostly of those who formed the core of the pioneer members. Their regular gatherings soon began to develop a more formal structure: Planning sessions were held, as the new leaders determine their course and hammered out their visions. Baptismal services were also held on Friday afternoons at Brown and Root pool by Rev. Anwar Khan, the pastor of the Urdu congregation of National Evangelical Church (NEC).
When the seventh of the study series wound up, a total of 78 souls had made a personal commitment in Jesus Christ.
Even more souls were added when the Lord opened the doors to a bigger camp of 1,500 Filipino workers at Ballast Nedam. On Oct. 3, 1984, the study series was also introduced to the group. The result: 200 souls accepted Jesus Christ. The group was actively evangelizing, using the 'Romans Road' in sharing the gospel. Later on, the Bahrain Foam factory group in Sitra was added to the work.
With the increasing number of camps requiring visitations, regular worship services were deemed imperative to cater to the spiritual needs of the people. The group became known as the Bahrain Fellowship.
The Lord has provided the fellowship in all aspects.
The Place. From a small chapel in Ghufool, where the first service was held in 1985, the Lord moved the group to the Holy Trinity Chapel the same year. The chapel has been the fellowship's home in the ensuing four years. In 1989, the fellowship shifted to different locations: to Majlis, then to Al Salam Auditorium, and back to Majlis. From 1990, God had provided the fellowship access to a much bigger sanctuary of the NEC.
The Leadership. The Lord sent spiritually mature men to the fellowship. From its inception, the Bahrain Fellowship has been run by a 10-member council of elders. In 1990, the leadership setup was changed: the Council of Elders became the Congregational Committee, which essentially introduced lay members governing the body. The name of the fellowship was also changed, becoming known as Bahrain Christian Fellowship (BCF). In 1991, BCF became affiliated with the NEC. In 2006, the governing body is known as Church Board pursuant to the regulation of the Common Council of NEC.
The need for a full-time pastor was felt as the church membership grew. A Pastoral Search Committee was created, and Rev. Alfredo K. Cudiamat became BCF's first full-time pastor in May 1995. Under his leadership, and with the help of the associate pastors, church leaders and various ministry heads, BCF keeps its steady growth pace. The membership was sub-divided into seven areas, with each area headed by an area pastor. Area pastors are charged with looking after the spiritual and physical needs of their constituents. In January 1999, the leadership envisions it as a purpose-driven church, fulfilling the Great Commandments and the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ. As of Aug. 22, 2007, BCF has six associate pastors, 26 elders, 25 deacons and 27 deaconesses.
The Workers. BCF is a "talent-rich and spiritually gifted church," and that is not an overstatement. God has provided it with pastors, preachers, teachers, musicians and workers, who made themselves available not only for service but also for training others. A wide range of training activities is available to anyone who desires to be equipped for Christian service.
The Members. God has blessed the church with members, who have a passion for soul-winning. BCF members regularly invite their friends and relatives to church services for evangelism or discipleship purposes. Personal and community evangelism are also observed by many of our members. From a group of 40-plus faithful members at its early years, BCF now has a membership base of 350-plus Christians ' a steady upward climb even though the turnover of membership is quite high, since church members are composed of expatriates whose stay in Bahrain depend on a host of factors.
The Bible Study. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17 KJV). BCF sets its heart on that verse. As of January 2012, BCF has 10 Bible study centers, held throughout Bahrain including two church base Bible Studies, up from four in 1985. The Lord has been sending and training teachers, who carry His Word to many homes. At present, the church has 26 accredited Bible study teachers aside from the area pastors. The church is connected with Theological Education by Extension (TEE) Bahrain using SEAN curriculum and is authorized and recognized as a Seminary Education by Extension (SEE) Center of Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary (PBTS).
The Finance and Properties. A significant number of the BCF members practice tithing, giving back to God the 10th portion of their income. BCF members recognize giving as part of their worship. By God's grace, BCF has been able to acquire properties, including six brand-new, 16-seater vans, Toyota Hilux pick-up, Honda Innova, photocopier, two units of P4 laptop, desktop computers with printer, and two units of overhead projectors.
The Groupings. BCF has grown to a church of all ages. Groups are formed to minister to different age levels. Groups include: Kids, Youth, K4J (Singles) and c2u (married ones). After 27 years, BCF still stands on the vision given by God to its pioneers: to reach the lost with the gospel and bring them into fellowship in God's family and nurture them as they set out to fulfill the Great Commission.