March 1, is a very significant date for the Moravian Church. It was on this date in 1457 that this great movement of God (The Unitas Fratrum), came into being. This was not a body looking for power and prominence, but a group of people who were zealous for the purity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for sharing the faith they had personally embraced. The Moravian Church, as it was later called, is the oldest surviving Protestant church – now 556 years old. It is worthwhile to note that the birthing of the church came 42 years after the death of John Hus the initiator of this puritan movement, 60 years be-fore Martin Luther began the Great Reformation in Germany, 131 years before the Church of England (The Anglican Church) separated from the denomination of Rome and 281 years before the conversion of John Wesley which is traced back to the Moravians and particularly Bishop Peter Bohler.
Persecution forced the church underground for about 100 years eventually gaining air in Germany in 1722 on the estate of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. There they constituted themselves and after a Pentecost experience on August 13, 1727, they had a new focus and passion. The new focus and passion caused them to look outward rather than inward to discover the fields that were ripe unto harvest.
The membership of the congregation was divided into groups called choirs. They were grouped according to sex, age and condition. Groups of widowers, widows, married people, single men, single women, older boys, older girls, little boys and little girls. The basic purpose of each group was to disciple its membership into mature Christians and thereby fulfilling the call of God on their lives. It helped to keep each member of the choir accountable and active in the work of the church. It built camaraderie and fellowship and made the church warmer.
With the passage of time the choir system faded, however, some aspects of it still remain with our current system, where an Elder is responsible for a particular district. This system is not as effective as it ought to be, for many Elders do not engage in discipleship of others and at the same time they do not exercise the type of care of those within their charge. This then challenges the leadership of our Church to constant teaching and equipping of our member-ship to disciple the nation.