In 2005, Rev. Sam Jato launched Redeemer Baptist Church at Mile 6 in Bamenda. Redeemer Baptist’s commitment to gospel preaching and genuine conversion was hailed as a “new paradigm” in Cameroon. As Sam put it, “Many people think they are Christians because of all the wrong reasons – attending worship service, giving offerings, giving alms, not lying, not cheating, and what have you. My people need to process the gospel correctly so as to be able to distinguish true faith from false faith (James 2:14-26), and this is what the vision offers.”
The church has grown to over 500, with two morning services, an evening service, and numerous shepherding and outreach ministries. Sam’s sermons are broadcast throughout Bamenda. And Redeemer Baptist is getting excited about church planting. Sam and the elders are in the process of mobilizing the church to plant and identifying a church planting candidate to mentor starting as early as 2014.
The NETS Effect
Sam met Paul Maffin while studying at Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary (CBTS). Sam and his wife, Victorine, entered the NETS Residency Program in 2003 with four young children in tow. Prior to that, Sam had earned his BTh at CBTS and his MACE and MEd from Bethel College and Seminary in Minnesota.
NETS has gotten fully behind Redeemer Baptist. We’ve underwritten their building, purchased a parsonage, and coordinated funding through NETS churches and foundations. We’ve actively helped Sam navigate some difficult situations, both via Skype and site visits. In 2005, 55 adults and youth from two NETS flew to Cameroon to help construct a building for the new church. A second mission trip followed in 2012 to improve the facility and service Gospel Baptist Church as well as a Cameroon Baptist Convention church that lost their previous building in a hostile takeover by Muslims.
Though our climate and culture couldn’t be more different, the same principles are working in Cameroon and Vermont. Redeemer Baptist is growing through gospel proclamation.
As the church prepared to launch, Sam wrote:
I thank God for the financial support from Christ Memorial and NETS to enable us to build this gospel-centered church. You have given sacrificially and whole-heartedly, and that has kept the project going at a terrific rate. I also thank you for sending 56 men, women, and high school students to Bamenda. The testimony those brothers and sisters shared during their stay will impact my people greatly to be steadfast in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Your example and verbal testimonies have paved the way for me to communicate the truth that ‘man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever’ (Ps. 73:25, 26; 1 Cor. 10:31).