Batak Christian Community Church

(Gereja Punguan Kristen Batak, GPKB)

The Batak Christian Community Church was originally started by the former Batak people who had moved to Jakarta from the Batak land in North Sumatra at the beginning of the 20th century. They were not satisfied with the use of Malay and Dutch languages in church services, so they organized themselves to become a community worshipping, singing and praying in their original Batak language. The church was officially founded in 1927 under the name Batak Christian Community and became the Batak Christian Community Church in 1975. The GPKB's headquarters are in Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia), where the majority of people are Muslims. It is a strategic place from where a wide network can be built to develop and empower the GPKB's ministry in church and society. The doctrinal basis of the GPKB is derived from Martin Luther's Small Catechism, and its forms of worship and other practices are in keeping with the Lutheran legacy.

Today the church has branched out to North Sumatra and has six districts of ministry. Since the general synod in 2002 it has a new spirit and vision of its mission, which is to participate more actively in the building of the kingdom of God. A new constitution and a new structure have been adopted, in order to improve the programmes of the church in the future. Three departments are responsible for Marturia, Koinonia and Diakonia. In this way the GPKB seeks to express the three aspects of the fundamental calling of the church and build an active and intensive ministry. It will continue to improve its mission to the Maya-maya people who have transmigrated to the Kubu area and who are keen to hear the gospel message. It also wants to reach the Batak Christian people who live in close-knit communities in the cities and do not have the opportunity to gather for worship in the church because they are poor and feel ashamed to join the others. Many of them also are facing difficulties in relation to Islam. In present-day Indonesia people are generally struggling with social problems due to the multidimensional crisis affecting the country: economic, political, legal, moral and cultural. In this context the GPKB faces the problems of human rights, environment, gender, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, poverty, and interreligious conflict. Dealing with these problems is the challenge to the church at the present time. The GPKB maintains a particular relationship with the Lutheran Church of Australia.