Our Church History
The founding of the church was by divine revelation and arrangement in the last decade or so of the twentieth century. The House fellowship concept was a relatively new idea in the Nigerian Baptist Convention. Most Baptists had been brought up in the age old tradition of a morning and evening worship service format each usually preceded by an hour programme of Sunday School at 9:00am in the morning and Church Training at 5:00pm in the late afternoon. The idea of not having a formal service in the evening seemed totally “alien”. However, praise the Lord that the church leadership understood and embraced this new move of the Holy Spirit. It purposed to take the church into family homes and setting just as it used to be in the times of the early Church. One of the main objectives of the House fellowship units would be to spiritually empower the family unit and make members more committed through discipleship training programmes. It would also enhance the evangelistic thrust of the church to the various communities where members come from and also strengthen family and communal bonding in its informal setting. The Home fellowship which began as one out of seven other House fellowship cells, was “birthed” by the Mother Church Oritamefa Baptist Church (OBC), Ibadan. In the “History of Oritamefa Baptist Church Ibadan, the church at the cross roads “1957 – 2008” the merger of the House fellowships of both old and New Bodija Estate formed the nucleus of the worshippers during the first worship service of the New church. Members were zoned depending on where they lived in town fellowship cells for the Church Training Programme. Before long, the House fellowship centres began to grow, at times including Christians from other churches who enjoyed the homely and informal atmosphere of the cells. Zonal Deacons were assigned to supervise the centres, each overseeing two or three House fellowships. The New Bodija House fellowship was started on Sunday 4th February 2001.
Genesis of the Church family
The book of Genesis gives an account of the beginning of God’s creation of the world. It recorded how God prepared everything and made them beautiful so that the first family was well catered for. The resources God made were so abundant that there was no lack. In like manner God used the instrumentality of Oritamefa Baptist Church to found and establish New Bodija Baptist Church which later became Bodija Ashi Baptist Church. Without vision the Bible declares, the people perish Hosea 4:6. Prompted by the vision to plant English speaking churches, Rev S. M. Leigh the Senior Pastor of Oritamefa Baptist Church, saw the need to establish a Baptist church in the Bodija Estate area of the city of Ibadan. Shortly before the organization of Agbowo Baptist Church (a daughter church of OBC), the temporary site of the new church was rented at 2 Saka Agbaje Street, Off Are Avenue, New Bodija Estate. The members of the New Bodija House fellowship formed the nucleus of the new church at take-off. The meeting venue was the home of Deacon (Dr.) & Mrs. Dapo Adeniyi at 12B Soun-Ajagunbade Street, New-Bodija, Estate, Ibadan. Among pioneer members were: Deacons Ajagbe and Adeleke Deaconesses Oshobi and Oyefeso, Akin-Sodipos, Bode-Okes, Oluwafemis, Ogungbades, Akingbolas, Okunades, Olaniyis, Akinpelus, Olayodes and the Kukus. Deacon Solomon Adeleke was the first house-fellowship leader assisted by Sister Bolaji Adeniyi. It was one of the house fellowships with incredible spiritual and physical growth that metamorphosed into the New Bodija Baptist Church; the population kept increasing, as new members joined. The children’s section also recorded an increase in attendance as they met at Mrs. Taiwo Oluwafemi’s residence opposite the Adeniyi’s on Soun Ajagungbade Street. As the membership increased it became obvious that the fellowship centre could not continue just as a house-cell. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Rev. S.M. Leigh, spear-headed the search for land in the neighbourhood to build a church for this unit of Oritamefa Baptist Church worshippers. However starting a mission church was one thing, establishing and organizing a new church was another matter altogether as the leadership of Oritamefa Baptist Church discovered. It is therefore noteworthy that the take-off of the new church was with strong opposition from the Landlords/Residents’ Association of Adebajo Street, Kongi area of Ibadan the proposed location of the church’s permanent site. The association moved against the planting of the new church in their area, whilst those of Saka Agbaje Street its temporary site argued that the church will constitute a nuisance in their neighbourhood. All attempts at assurance and reconciliation proved abortive. At that point, in a dramatic adventure and prompted by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, a plot of land was sighted along Ashi Road, Ibadan. After enquiries through Deacon (Prof.) John A. Adedeji of blessed memory, the strategically located site was acquired from Dr Aderonke Kale of the Military Hospital, Ibadan. Notably, in view of the fact that a permanent site could not be acquired at New Bodija Estate, when the name of the church would eventually be given as Bodija Ashi Baptist Church, it reflected the experience that the fledgling church passed through before it was finally planted at its permanent site. Rev. S. M. Leigh will jokingly say in Yoruba “Nigba t’o dija a si” When literally translated to English it means “when the issue became a quarrel we (peacefully) moved away”. The foundation of the church was laid on Sunday 28 September, 2003. In the interim the church continued to hold its worship services at 2 Saka Agbaje Street, New Bodija. Ibadan.
THE CHURCH FAMILY
(A chronicle of FIRSTS from March, 2002 to March, 2003)
The First year of BABC
The consecration service for the take-off of the mission church was held on Saturday 2nd March 2002. The service started at 3:00pm. It was conducted by Rev. S.M. Leigh. The order of service included: a praise and worship session, scripture reading from Psalm 24 and a sermon. Prayer for cleansing and consecration of the land and the future structure that will be built were offered. A victory march then followed. The closing prayer was said. After the service, people in attendance were entertained with light refreshments.
The First Sunday Worship Service
The First Sunday service of New Bodija Baptist Church took place on Sunday, 3rd March 2002. The Sunday School began at 8:45am and was led by Deacon (Prof) ‘Bisi Adebowale, Chairman Board of Deacons, Orita-Mefa Baptist Church, Ibadan. There were sixty (65) people in attendance. At exactly 10:00am, the worship service commenced. It was conducted by Rev. S.M. Leigh assisted by Pastor Remi Awopegba, Deacon Solomon Adeleke, with the support of members of the Missions Committee of the OBC comprising Deacon Toso Oyelere and Brother Kehinde Oluwatise who all officiated at the service. Rev. S. M. Leigh spoke on the necessity for Christians to produce and reproduce. The text was taken from Mark 4:26-42.There were one hundred and thirty four (134) worshippers including eight (8) visitors. The service came to a close at 12:30pm. The worshippers had light refreshments after the service. It is pertinent to also state that the Children’s service commenced on the same day.
The First Wednesday Prayer Meeting Service
The First Wednesday Prayer Meeting took place on 6th March 2002. The service started at 6:00pm and eight (8) people were in attendance. The service was coordinated by Pastor Samson Olawale, who was the first Mission Church Pastor for the new church. The following week, Sunday school was coordinated by Deaconess Adeola Oyefeso and Bro. Kehinde Oluwatise; there were two classes. During the worship service which followed anchored by Deacon Toso Oyelere the message titled, “Come, let us build” taken from Nehemiah 1:1-11 was delivered by Bro. Kehinde Oluwatise. The Prayer meeting later in the week was conducted by Pastor Remi Awopegba. Departmental meetings did not commence until Sunday, 17th March 2002. They were held after the morning Worship Service for the Women’s Missionary (WMU) and the Men’s Missionary Union (MMU).
The First Good Friday Service
The first Good Friday Service was held on 27th March, 2002. The message delivered by Deacon Dapo Adeniyi was titled PRAYING THROUGH TO VICTORY with text taken from John 13:2; Luke 22:37; there were twenty-six (26) people in attendance.
The First Easter Service
This came up on Sunday 31st March, 2002. The Easter service was unique in that it marked the first time the New Bodija Baptist Church Choir robed during church worship service. Among the members that robed were Sis. Mary Olayode, Sis. Toyin Olawale, Bro. Seye Adeyemo and Bro. Yinka Abimbola, from the Mother church. The message for the day was delivered by Pastor Samson Olawale, titled “GOD ON RESCUE MISSION”. The Scripture reading was from Matthew 28:18.
The First House Fellowship
The Month of April had Rev F.K. Oladele in charge while the Olayodes hosted the house-fellowship at their Aretedo Street residence in New Bodija Estate.
The First Mother’s Day Celebration
The church celebrated her first Mothers’ Day on Sunday 12th April, 2002. Deaconess Remi Adedeji delivered the message titled “THE MARK OF A VIRTUOUS WOMAN” from Proverb 31. Among the officiating Ministers were: Pastor F.K. Oladele, Deaconess Remi Adedeji; Mrs. Funmi Ajibade stood in as the official of the Women’s Missionary Union (W.M.U) which presented gifts to the Children’s department during the joint service. They also presented a gift to the first member of the new church to deliver a baby Mrs Kemi Adesina. The service was attended by 46 worshippers including 5 visitors. The Lord continued to add new members to His church and the budding New Bodija-Baptist Church soon began to experience some constraints of space for the increasing membership. The Departmental meetings at the close of Sunday service also highlighted the need for more spacious accommodation. Thank God the Mother Church did not give up on the search for a land to build a befitting sanctuary of the Lord where His people would worship and fellowship together.
The First Launching Service
On Sunday 26th May, 2002, the church held a launching service towards the purchase of a land for the purpose of erecting a permanent structure for worship. The message was delivered by Deacon Solomon Adeleke titled. “Giving God our best”. The response from members was very encouraging. The total amount pledged was N334,100 by the 79 worshippers present for the service. It also motivated the Mother church to intensify the search for a permanent site.
The First Children’s Day of Emphasis
The first children’s day of emphasis was observed on 2nd June 2002. After the Sunday School programme, Deacon Toso Oyelere, Sister Bolaji Adeniyi, Sister Bisi Oyelere and Sister Kumbi Daramola supervised the children who officiated during the service. There were presentations by the children from the Department while Tolu Soetan, Obalolu Adeleke, Ope Ogungbade, Nike Oyelere and Toyosi Laoye all from the Children’s Department officiated.
The First Mid Year Thanksgiving service
This came up on 7th July 2002; there were eighty-one (81) worshippers in attendance. Thanksgiving offering of N14,495 was collected out of a total collection of N66,320.
The First Annual Convention Thanksgiving Service
The First Annual Convention Thanksgiving/harvest Sunday took place on 3rd November 2002. In attendance were 104 members and 4 visitors. It was a joyous celebration and the sum of N21,500 was collected as thanksgiving offering out of a total collection of N49,750 for that day. Members joined others in the Mother Church for the usual anointing service that took place in the evening.
The First Christmas Carols Service
The First special carols service of the church took place on Sunday 22nd December, 2002 during the morning service. In attendance were 125 worshippers among who were 5 visitors. Members attended the Mother Church’s 2002 annual carols service that held in the evening of that day.
The First Evangelism Outreach
The first evangelism outreach of the church took place on Sunday, 15th September 2002. It came up as a film show titled “Megiddo” during the morning worship service. On Saturday, 14th September, 2002, members gathered at 5pm with handbills inviting the public for the film show the following day. 30 adult visitors attended the film show whilst 7 gave their lives to the Lord following the message after the film show. Pastor Remi Awopegba ministered.
The First Monthly Waiting on the Lord
The first monthly waiting on the Lord of the church held on Monday, 5th September to Wednesday, September, 2005. Members gathered together at the church at 6pm daily. It marked the beginning of a worthy spiritual exercise that had held in keeping members spiritually fit for the challenges of living in our decadent environment.