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Mission is not Western | Kyama Mugambi [ANVIL vol 34 issue 1]

Mission is not Western: Kenyan perspectives on identity, church planting, social transformation, and bold mission initiatives

Kyama Mugambi
Kyama Mugambi researches New Pentecostal Charismatic churches, at
the Centre for World Christianity in the Africa International University,
Nairobi Kenya. He served as a pastor for 17 years, with several of those as
a church planter. Until 2016 was the director of mission through church
planting initiatives at Mavuno Church, working with teams in 10 countries
mostly in Africa. His current research project is the compilation of a short
history of the Urban Charismatic-Pentecostal church in Kenya.

The nature of the gospel is to permeate every culture. In the words of Andrew Walls this gospel is “infinitely translatable”. [1] As it enters different cultures it “creates a place to feel at home”. [2] This infinite translatability challenges the notion that mission, which is essential to the gospel, could be defined by any one culture. The growth of the gospel around the world in the last hundred years invites us to consider this.  In 1968 Kwesi Dickson and Paul Ellingworth insightfully observed that Africa could only gain selfhood in terms of its expression of Christianity, and be adequate for her mission if she had first, internalized her knowledge of the Lord of the church, and secondly she could express that knowledge of the Lord in clear accents through her own reflection and thinking. [3] Such expression and reflection can be seen in some of the new ways mission is characterized in Africa, as a microcosm of the non-western world. Taking examples from Kenya, I argue that the church worldwide benefits from this broader expression of mission that encompasses non-western elements.

Mission as a concept is difficult to define given the wide variety of perspectives on it throughout history and the large number of unique contexts in which it has been carried out and studied. But it is helpful to map some contours and salient points in the context of this discussion. For this, I find David J. Bosch’s reflections particularly useful. Mission, he said, refers “to Missio Dei, God’s mission,” and missions are “the particular forms, related to specific times, places, or needs of participation in the Missio Dei.” [4] To this end mission is about the dynamic relationship between God, his people and his world. With reference to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, mission is a response to a “sending” by the “sent ones.” Mission is sanctioned by, and missions are carried out in obedient response to biblical witness. To be Christian is to be a “sent one,” a missionary, in an enterprise that progresses outwards from one context, moving beyond it into all the world. Mission is in this way an enactment of the command in Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” All Christian witness is therefore missionary, in so far as it relates to the human condition. Bosch articulated this well, saying that missionary activity is as “coherent, broad and deep as the need and exigencies of human life.” [5]

Mission sees continuity between belief and action, orthodoxy and orthopraxis. As such, mission integrates worship and evangelism with social action that transforms individuals and communities. Vinay Samuel expounds on this transformative nature of mission. When mission is carried out in context, it needs to permeate the very fabric of the community demonstrating the translatability of Christian faith. [6] It does not stop there but continues by engaging the world through its commitment to praxis. This praxis manifests, for example, through commitment to provide freedom and power to those who need it most – the poor. It will also become evident through providing reconciliation and solidarity. [7] Mission builds transformative communities of change. [8] Taken together these highlight the contours we will use in this discussion when we refer to mission, missions and missionaries.

Identity and community in mission

We begin by reflecting on two Kenyan voices from different eras who spoke on mission with authority from their pastoral convictions and who remained committed to engaging these perspectives and their implications for the church. John Gatu, a Presbyterian minister in 1971, famously proposed the voluntary suspension of missionary activity in Africa for five years. [9] His argument was that such a moratorium would enable Africans to learn to rely on themselves and to develop authentic self expression. Gatu made this call at a missionary conference in Wisconsin and repeated it three years later before the third assembly of the All Africa Conference of Churches in Lusaka in May 1974. [10] Gatu challenged the very notion that mission, in perception and practice, was Western. In his view, space should have been availed to allow a redefinition of this concept.

A clean break was necessary in Gatu’s mind, to provide for a rethink about the relationship between the West and the Global South. He said, “The answer to our present problems can only be solved if all missionaries can be withdrawn in order to allow a period of not less than five years for each side to rethink and formulate what is going to be the future relationship.” [11] Thus, the continued presence of foreign missionaries hindered reflection on the issue of missionaries, prevented a reformulation of missions practice and obstructed the development of a new paradigm for missions. [12] In practical terms, for example, Africans could not grow in their leadership and ability to handle ministry with an ongoing presence of foreign missionaries. [13]

Missions activities, as formulated then, were dependent on foreign funds, preventing local missions from developing unique solutions for African problems. In this way, the presence of foreign missionaries was a hindrance to the sustainability of local African missions. [14] On the question of selfhood, Gatu was concerned that the strings attached to foreign resources had implications on the local missions. These strings inadvertently hindered the development of the African church in becoming all God meant it to be. Gatu proposed a hiatus in missionary activity to reflect on responses to these issues which he felt were a threat to the African church. If there is anything Gatu accomplished in his call, it was to highlight the close relationship between selfhood and mission. As the gospel entered the life of the African, the conviction developed to be an active participant in mission from within the context. [15] To give some historical and political context here, Gatu’s call resonated with the continent at the conclusion of the decade of independence. It also came at a time when Christianity grew exponentially on the continent. By the 1980s, the debate had largely subsided, though the pertinent issues that the moratorium proposal raised had not resolved. [16]

The secretary general of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in the 1970s predicted that when the church in Africa was able to discover itself, then we would see renewed expressions that would relate better with the church global. While making a case for the moratorium, the Rev Canon Burgess Carr said,

“Leave us alone for a while, so that we may be able to discover ourselves, and you, in Jesus Christ. When this has happened you will be able to come to Africa and see churches renewed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to a new consciousness of what Christ means to them and their mission to others; Genuinely self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating churches making their full contribution to the whole church in the world; Churches that have found a new freedom to see unity among themselves, and; Churches whose relationships with other churches are based upon equality under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.” [17]

The moratorium did not happen as envisioned by Gatu, but Carr’s thoughts were nevertheless realised. African churches were renewed, empowered and grew tremendously. In the intervening period between 1970 and 2000 the number of Christians in Africa tripled from 115 million to 361 million. [18] Champions of this renewed African church began to emerge.

One of these champions is Oscar Muriu, a Kenyan pastor of the Nairobi Chapel, an evangelical independent church. Speaking to 20,000 young people at a missions conference in Urbana, Muriu raised concerns that resonated with what Gatu raised 30 years before. Muriu, however, proposed a different approach. [19] He argued that Christianity in the non-Western world is fundamentally different and that new paradigms for missionaries must be developed because of this. He suggested that this paradigm for missionary engagement endorsed interdependence, created a new paradigm missionary, and was marked by reciprocity along with respect and humility for other cultures. [20]

In his passionate speech, Muriu drew a model of the relationship between the different parts of the global church. Using the passage from 1 Corinthians 12 about the body of Christ, Muriu crafted a powerful picture of what he saw as the future of global missions. He paraphrased this message thus:  “If the American church should say because I'm not an African I do not belong to the body, it would not for that reason cease to be a part of the body...” [21] Using the passage he proposed that partnerships modelled after the body of Christ as presented in Corinthians would the a new paradigm for global missions. [22]

Muriu further pointed out that the ultimate display of maturity in the body of Christ is interdependence. As such, global missions should be marked by this type of maturity which presupposes the inadequacy of each component part to fulfil its own needs. [23] Each church from each region of the world needs input from the church in other parts of the world. He went on to make a case for reciprocity as an essential component of global missions. He suggested that the old model of missions “from the west to the rest” was outdated and inconsistent with a scriptural understanding of the body of Christ. Missions of the future should be reciprocal. Such missions will facilitate missions from the West into the two-thirds world and facilitate reverse missions back into the West. In this way global missions will not be one-sided but reciprocal. Such reciprocity, he suggested, is the antidote to unhealthy dependence. [24] Muriu was agreeing with Gatu that missions, especially cross-cultural ones are not the preserve of the West.

Muriu also appealed for respect and humility among the different regions of the world. He pointed out that the weaknesses and the failings of the churches from the different parts of the world are not an affront to their dignity. [25] Instead he argued that the parts that were unimpressive could well be the most important. Those parts of the body that are unrefined and are perceived to be undignified should be approached with respect and humility. It is through respect and humility that all parts can then contribute to the well-being of the entire body of Christ. Such respect and humility for all cultures does away with patronisation which is inconsistent with what is required from the body of Christ. [26] Here Muriu was offering an inclusive, ecumenical, proposal of how the mission conversation could be carried out.

Looking into the future, Muriu suggested that Christians from the two-thirds world would have much to offer Christianity globally. This Christianity, for example, provides a new starting point for the development of a theology which gives insight into such issues as liberation from oppression, health, and healing, powerlessness, survival, suffering, and hope. This theology has in the past been dismissed by some Western theologians as shallow. [27] If Gatu’s contribution connected mission with identity, Muriu highlighted the interface between mission and the global Christian community.

Both of these perspectives are essential in framing the conversation on mission in a global context where Christianity is more demographically dominant in the Global South. In many ways, Christianity in Africa is representative of Christianity in the world today. [28] Allan Effa states it in stark terms saying “it is fair to say that the very heart of the Anglican community has been transplanted to Africa.” [29] Taking the example of the Anglican church he says, “the Church of Nigeria’s average church attendance is greater than that of the combined Church of England, Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA), and Anglican Church of Canada.” [30] It therefore follows that going forward, the mission will likely be expressed through the identity of the dominant Christian expressions across the globe. Mission is no longer just Western. We now consider some ways in which mission is not Western, citing some examples from Kenya.

Church planting and missions

Church planting is one important trend that shapes missions today going into the future. In the 1800s, the number of congregations worldwide were estimated to have been 150,000. That number increased to 400,000 at the turn of the century in 1900, eventually growing to 3.4 million congregations by mid-2000. [31] That represents a staggering growth average of over 80 congregations per day over 100 years. It is expected that the number of congregations in the world will rise to the region of 7.5 million in 2025. [32] This would represent a growth rate over the course of 25 years of over 300 congregations a day. Most of this growth is in the non-Western World: in Africa and Latin America. In Kenya for example there were over 6,000 churches awaiting registration in 2007. [33] Comparatively, between 2000 and 2025 it is expected the number of sending mission agencies will grow but at the rate of about one mission agency every five days. [34]

These numbers, while estimates, paint a picture of what missions may look like in the future. We cannot expect that every church planted in Africa over the next 10 years will be a bona fide missionary sending church. Many churches planted will be small and will not be able to marshal the resources necessary to send individuals or teams to other countries. We also cannot peg our evaluation of the effectiveness of missions by the number of foreign mission sending agencies formed each day or year for that matter. In truth, the presence of a missionary agency does not necessarily mean that they are active or effective in any given area of missions. The quality of the personnel and the efficacy of the service a missionary agency provides may not meet the needs of the target communities. [35]

What we can see however, from the exponential growth of church congregation numbers and the slower growth of mission agencies, is that the local church will increasingly become a crucial actor in missions, in a local-church driven missionary era. This echoes much of what we see in the New Testament, and the Book of Acts in particular. If we take seriously what we see in such movements as the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Winners Chapel and other African movements, we conclude that the church in Africa includes many church planting movements. The “church-planting church” will replace the foreign mission sending agency as the primary agent of growth for Christianity, at least in Africa.

In Newer Pentecostal Charismatic Churches (NPCCs) the pneuma-centric commitment to spiritual gifting presupposes that every believer plays an active part in worship, evangelism and discipleship within the community. [36] Bosch outlines this as one of the emerging mission paradigms where mission is “ministry by the whole people of God.” [37] We should expect to see a shift away from mission in Africa as carried out by foreign missionaries a century ago, exemplified by David Livingstone and others, to the current church-oriented approach of mission by such communities as the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) from Nigeria. [38] Take, for instance, Prince and Esther Obasi-Ike, Nigerians who moved into Kenya in 1995. All they had was their sense of call to mission, confirmed by their general overseer, and the contact of a Kenyan who they met at their church in Nigeria. They moved their family into Nairobi, without much by way of resources, and presented themselves to the relatives of their Kenyan contact. They were accommodated on the strength of their contact’s recommendation. Their church plant went on to plant dozens of other churches locally and internationally, often using the same model of relationships and connections from the congregation. The local church became both a missionary sending agency and a church planting hub. The Obasi-Ikes refer to themselves as “pioneer missionaries” sent by the movement’s “visionaries.” The “visionaries” are RCCG’s general overseer and his wife. “Pioneer missionaries” is a term that was once the preserve of missionaries of Western extraction. [39]

Christianity has slowly been gaining recognition as an integral part of African cultural consciousness. Indeed the study of Christianity in Africa is now also the study of an African religion. [40] The PEW forum report on the global size and distribution of Christianity shows that the 10 countries with the highest population of Christians in tropical Africa account for 17 per cent of the Christians in the world. [41] Seven of these countries are at least three-quarters Christian. From an ontological perspective, missions, and in this case church planting, is already becoming an expression of African identity. One part of being African could well be, being a Christian! The world view from which future mission initiatives will take place is inherently African and Christian at the same time. [42]  Increasingly, we will find that African churches are asserting their identity through mission where church planting therefore becomes a way to engage in mission while expressing at least one or more aspects of African-ness.

One church in Berlin is known by a Kenyan name. Mavuno Church Berlin was launched in 2011 as a German-led, German-speaking church for Germans. [43] A German couple, Daniel and Nancy Flechsig, were commissioned to go back to Germany to plant a church under Mavuno Church from Nairobi where they trained and caught the vision. This couple had attended a three-year cross-cultural training exchange programme with an African church. The elder board of the declining 100-year old EFG Lichterfelde church approached the Flechsigs to lead it. The EFG Lichterfelde submitted itself to Mavuno church’s leadership and vision and was re-launched as Mavuno Berlin under the leadership of the Flechsigs. [44] Its mother-church, Mavuno Church in Nairobi, has launched congregations in five countries in Africa. [45] The church has also sent teams to start church planting work in an additional five countries. [46] Mavuno Church Berlin went on to engage in their social context, specifically among refugees during the German refugee crisis of 2015-2016. [47] Non-western mission in Africa grows through planting new churches. In this process, it also becomes an avenue for the expression of an African identity.

Social transformation and political engagement as mission

African theologians like JNK Mugambi in the early 1990s and more recently, Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, pointed to an emerging African Christianity that moves beyond passive piety to social reconstruction. Many emerging churches strive for health and wholeness in society. [48] The pulpit remains their primary communication avenue for these ideals. The theology forged in the mind of the preacher, and informed by their context, is prophetically proclaimed to provoke, stir up and otherwise challenge the status quo. Several large and influential NPCCs have chosen to use their sermons to articulate a cogent theology of personal responsibility for the listener to institute change in their political and social context. [49] In the past, some leaders of mainline denominations in Kenya engaged in provocative and adversarial exchanges with the national leadership in the push for democratic change. [50] Sermons in many African NPCCs are more focussed on urging the individual to act to bring about social transformation. The sermons will hold national authorities accountable; the underlying assumption is the congregation’s greater ability to influence change. Going back to Mavuno church as an example, one of the themes emerging in the sermons is the notion that justice is instituted by individuals within a social system. In his sermon “Restore Justice,” Muriithi Wanjau urged his congregation to, “move away from seeing justice as the government’s or civil society’s responsibility.”  He told them to understand that God holds his people accountable for the practice of justice in our nation, and in God’s eyes, justice in day-to-day dealings is even more important than worship and prayers on Sunday. [51] He taught his congregation that one way to effect this justice is to eradicate poverty, not through handouts but by a commitment to economic empowerment. The answer to eradicating poverty in the Kenyan society, said Muriithi, was “to break people out of poverty into a place where they own their means of production – which is what we call the ‘middle-class.’” [52]

These churches also promote social transformation through an economically and intellectually empowered laity who gather in Christian professional forums. Christians for a Just Society (CFJS), was founded in 1998 by a group of Christians who “believed that there was a role for Christians to play in the political, economic, and social affairs of our country and aimed at sensitising and mobilising Christians to get involved.” [53] Their mission is to “mobilize and equip Christians for political engagement.” Their church leaders programme provides information and resources for leaders in churches to use when vetting and engaging with political leaders. They also run training programmes for practicing Christians for women who are aspiring to political office. [54] CFJS hosts town hall meetings for the middle class to interrogate the visions and objectives of political aspirants. These consultative forums encourage and affirm a consensus approach to political issues.

Social media, electronic media and the internet – the new “Roman roads” of mission

The growth of social media, blogging and other internet-based platforms through ICT development in Africa provides unique new opportunities for churches to carry out mission. The internet for example has been used to broadcast the gospel directly to an audience that would not otherwise attend the church. NPCCs maintain websites where they advertise their churches, often presenting profiles of their leaders. [55] Many of these churches also stream their sermons online as part of their evangelistic efforts. Their pastors have large followings in social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Muriithi Wanjau, the senior pastor of the Mavuno family of churches, has over 10,000 Facebook followers, and over 16,000 Twitter followers. [56]  

Some churches have launched TV and radio stations to reach beyond their Sunday congregations. Christ is the Answer Ministries for example runs Hope FM, which carries music programming, talk shows and sermons from within the church and outside. [57] Other separate entities have launched Christian radio stations to advance an evangelistic agenda through media and the arts. Kubamba Radio is one such entity. [58] Kubamba Radio was started by young leaders such as Moses Kimathi, with a passion for missions in high schools. After over a dozen years of engaging in high school ministry, and leading Bible studies for gospel music artists, they began presenting large concerts to bring together young people for end of year vigils. The group then launched a radio station focussing on music and topical discussions aimed at teenagers and young adults. The radio station is based in Nairobi. Radio hosts come from several NPCCs in the city.

NPCCs also use other means to present their message as they engage with society. David Oginde, the CITAM bishop, maintains a blog known as the Bishop’s Blog. On the blog he offers a commentary on current affairs giving his considered position on key issues. Oginde's articles offer a sober critique with none of the provocation and adversarial language common in activist blogs. The arguments are articulate and forceful and he boldly addresses some of the political issues touching on national scandals [59]. Some laity also use the social media platform for activism. Some of them see it as their Christian calling to engage the powers that be. Njonjo Mue for example is a human rights lawyer with graduate theological training. Mue often uses Facebook as his preferred blogging medium, though his articles can be found on other blogging sites. [60] Mue represents a group of laity that has taken activism to the internet, reaching large audiences on a platform that also allows feedback.

Bold mission initiatives

Mission in non-Western contexts has seen the emergence of bold evangelism initiatives meant to take the gospel beyond what was initially done before. One such initiative is a nonpartisan and interdenominational missionary organisation, Sheepfold, founded and run by an Anglican clergyman, Canon Francis Omondi, in 1988. It sent out its first missionaries in 1989. The ministry works in Eastern Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel among the unreached tribes and people groups where there has been little or no impact by the churches. Aside from evangelism the agency mobilises churches, trains missionaries and develops partnerships and networks for mission. Sheepfold combines evangelism and social work. In their own words, their approach to ministry “is with both hands extended - one hand invites individuals to repentance, faith, and eternal reconciliation with God through Christ Jesus. The other embraces the lost's physical and emotional well-being. This is the hand of social justice, mercy, and compassion which embody the goodness of God's Kingdom on earth. One is not a means to the other but both are equally significant to life in the eternal Kingdom.” [61] Their initiatives include missionary training, education, medical services, agricultural model farming and entrepreneurship.

Much of their work is in the arid areas, among people who have had very little or no contact with Christians and Christian missionary work. Their centre is in an area with a Muslim majority, facing frequent attacks from Al Shabaab, an extremist Islamic group based in neighbouring Somalia. Sheepfold aims to be relevant in a geographical region that faces frequent, highly unpredictable attacks on Christians. Omondi publishes his reflections on a blog about what it means to be a Christian in his particular context, and in Kenya at large. [62] One of the most tragic challenges to their witness was on Maundy Thursday in 2015 when 147, mostly Christian, students were killed in an Al Shabaab attack on Garissa University. A week after this incident Omondi wrote,

Will the pressure of persecution on Christians curtail their witness? It is the will of God that all the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the water cover the sea. In his prayers, Jesus says, ‘Yet not as I will, but as you will.’(Matthew 26:39, 42) He completely trusted God’s plan, and He knew God’s will would be done. Trusting God doesn’t mean that I will always understand suffering or the reason behind it. But I’ve learned that because Jesus trusted God, my life is forever changed. [63]

Omondi writes with authenticity and authority on these matters while living with constant threats on his life and the lives of those he works with. Sheepfold retains its ministry in a hostile context, where its effective witness is acknowledged by Christians and non-Christians alike.

There are other unique missionary initiatives of different kinds. Some of these initiatives involve reverse mission where Africans move into the West, either for work, or as Christian workers. Cyprian Yobera for example is ordained in the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK). Before traveling with his family to be a missionary in the UK in 2002, Yobera was a minister in a large church. He had led an effective ministry among the youth in Kenya for years as the director of Youth for Christ. After moving to the UK as a missionary, Yobera began work with the Eden project in inner city Manchester as a full-time CMS mission partner in this area of need. [64] Steve Maina is another Anglican minister who left Kenya in 2009 as a missionary to New Zealand, where he coordinates missions activities with CMS. These bold initiatives in mission by African missionaries challenge past models and stereotypes of missions, while affirming the catholicity of the global church as a mission-oriented community.


The continued growth of the church in Africa challenges the past notions of mission whose reference point has been the West. The prominence of the church in places outside the West is a boon for global Christianity, as the expression of mission encompasses non-Western elements. As we considered Christianity in Kenya, we saw how Gatu’s moratorium proposal highlighted the relationship between selfhood and mission. The establishment of the gospel in the African Christian developed a conviction that they too could be active participants in mission. Muriu’s perspective of a mature Christianity that features interdependence and reciprocity highlighted the role of mission in promoting the interconnectedness of the church globally.

In Africa, the church has emerged as the primary agent of growth for Christianity as well as the primary sending agency for missionaries. The missionary activity of the church has also become an avenue through which an African Christian identity is expressed both locally and internationally. This Christianity is concerned about praxis as much as it is concerned about orthodoxy. It strives for mission into its society by pushing beyond passive piety into social transformation that aims for health and wholeness for all. The church is also actively seeking new ways to engage in mission. Technological advances such as social media, electronic media and the internet have become opportunities for mission to society. Through different kinds of bold initiatives both locally and internationally African missionaries affirm the catholicity of the church and its historical commitment to missions. In these ways then, in responding to the Great Commission, the African church is demonstrating that mission is no longer just western, it is in fact, not western – it is global. 

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[1] Andrew F. Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith, 1st edition (Maryknoll, NY; Edinburgh: Orbis Bks; T & T Clark, 1996), 25.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Kwesi A Dickson and Paul Ellingworth, eds., Biblical Revelation and African Beliefs. (London: Lutterworth Press, 1968), 9.
[4] For a more in depth discussion see David Jacobus Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis Books, 1991), 9–10.
[5 Ibid., 10.
[6] Vinay Samuel, “Mission as Transformation,” in Mission as Transformation: A Theology of the Whole Gospel, ed. Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden, Reprint edition (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Pub, 2009), 229.
[7] Bosch, Transforming Mission, 229.
[8] Samuel, “Mission as Transformation.”
[9] John Gatu considered himself a Revivalist, a member of the revitalization movement that began among Anglicans, sweeping through the Presbyterians, Methodists among others in the East African region from the 1930’s into the 1970’s. Rev. Dr Gatu would later on become the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA). John G. Gatũ, Joyfully Christian. Truly African. (Nairobi: Acton Publishers, 2006), 163–68; John G. Gatũ, “Jesus Christ the ‘Truthful Mirror’: My Finding Jesus Christ in the Ministry of the East African Revival Movement,” in The East African Revival: History and Legacies, ed. Kevin Ward and Emma Wild-Wood (Kampala, Uganda: Fountain Publishers, 2010), 47–59.
[10] Gatũ, Joyfully Christian. Truly African, 169–76.
[11] Gatũ, Joyfully Christian. Truly African., 167.
[12] Ibid., 166–68.
[13] Gatu cites examples in administration, theological education and medical missions. See Ibid., 172–73.
[14] Ibid., 166–68.
[15] Gatu, points out that unbeknown to him at the time, there were others making the call around the world. On such example was the outspoken Catholic priest Daniel Barrigan, speaking out of Latin America.See John G. Gatũ, Fan into Flame (Moran Publishers and Worldreader, 2017), 130–31.
[16] Mugambi, Christian Theology and Social Reconstruction, 207–8, 213.
[17] Carr, “The Mission of the Moratorium.” [PDF] Published as an occasional bulletin of the Missionary Research Library NY.
[18] Todd Johnson and Peter F. Crossing, “Christianity 2013: Renewalists and Faith and Migration,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 37, no. 1 (2013): 32–33.
[19] Oscar Muriu was raised an Anglican in Nairobi in the 1970s. He became the pastor of Nairobi Chapel, a non-denominational church in 1989. In the course of his leadership, the church grew tremendously from 6 members to several thousand in a decade. During that time the church shifted from the Plymouth Brethren inspired worship expression of its original British founders, to a Charismatic African expression. Oscar Muriu, Urbana Missions Conference 2006: Interdependence Model of Missions, 2006 [Vimeo].
[20] Ibid.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Ibid., 17:17-18:31.
[23] Ibid., 18:30–20:30.
[24] Ibid., 24:13.
[25] Ibid., 26:11–32.
[26] Muriu, Urbana Missions Conference 2006: Interdependence Model of Missions.
[27] Ibid., 5:30–9:09.
[28] Andrew F. Walls, The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History : Studies in the Transmission and Appropriation of Faith (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002), 116–19.
[29] Allan L. Effa, “Releasing the Trigger: The Nigerian Factor in Global Christianity,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 37, no. 4 (2013): 214–18.
[30] Ibid.
[31] Johnson and Crossing, “Christianity 2013: Renewalists and Faith and Migration.”
[32] Todd Johnson, “The Global Demographics of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal,” Symposium: Global Perspectives on Pentecostalism 46, no. 6 (November 2009): 479–83, doi:10.1007/s12115-009-9255-0.
[33] Stephen Makabilia, “NCCK Asks for Vetting of Churches,” The Standard, September 7, 2007.
[34] Johnson and Crossing, “Christianity 2013: Renewalists and Faith and Migration.”
[35] Gatũ, Joyfully Christian. Truly African., 170–73. These were pertinent issues even at the time of Gatu’s moratorium proposal.
[36] NPCCs are a category of the fastest growing church movements in Africa. They are evangelical churches for whom the power and work of the Holy Spirit remains central to their expression. See Allan H. Anderson, African Reformation: African Initiated Christianity in the 21st Century (Trenton, N.J.; London: Africa World ; Turnaround, 2001), 167; Johnson, “The Global Demographics of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal.”
[37] Bosch, Transforming Mission, 368–510.
[38] Prince Obasi-Ike and Esther Obasi-Ike, Purpose and Promise-Driven Life (Nairobi: Mustard Seed Publications, 2012).
[39] “RCCG Pioneer Missionaries - Solution Centre,” accessed August 17, 2017.
[40] Andrew Walls makes this case forcefully in his writing. See Walls, The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History, 117–19.
[41] Pew Research Center, “Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population,” Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, December 2011, 54.
[42] Walls, The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History, 116–35.
[43] Mavuno is Swahili for “Harvest.” The church opted to use the Swahili word instead of the German equivalent, as a way to maintain ties and link its identity to the African church whose vision and mission it subscribes to.
[44] “Mavuno Berlin Launch,” Mavuno Berlin Launch: Facebook Post, accessed January 1, 2016.
[45] These are Nairobi in Kenya, Kampala in Uganda, Lusaka in Zambia, Blantyre in Malawi, and Kigali in Rwanda. See “Mavuno Church Website,” n.d.
[46] These are Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Johannesburg in South Africa, Gaberone in Botswana, Bujumbura in Burundi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
[47] Kyama Mugambi, “The Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Role of the African Church in a Global Conversation,” in ASET 2016 (ASET 2016, Nairobi, Kenya: Africa Society for Evangelical Theology, 2016).
[48] J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, “We Are Here to Heal: Revitalisation Movements as Charismatic Communities in Africa,” in Interpretive Trends in Christian Revitalization for the Early Twenty First Century, ed. J. Steven O’Malley (Lexington, KY: Emeth Press, 2011), 272.
[49] I discuss some of these approaches in more detail in my article. Kyama Mugambi, “Elements of Political Engagement in Emerging Urban Pentecostal Movements in Kenya,” 2017.
[50] John Karanja, Paul Gifford and others discuss the role of such clergy-activists as David Gitari, the outspoken Anglican Archbishop, Anglican Bishop Alexander Muge, and the Presbyterian priest, Timothy Njoya. See Stephen Muoki Joshua and Stephen Asol Kapinde, “‘Pulpit Power’ and the Unrelenting Voice of Archbishop David Gitari in the Democratisation of Kenya, 1986 to 1991,” Historia 61, no. 2 (2016): 79–100, doi:10.17159/2309-8392/2016/v61n2a4; Paul Gifford, Christianity, Politics and Public Life in Kenya (London: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd, 2009); John Karanja, “Evangelical Attitudes toward Democracy in Kenya,” in Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Africa, ed. Terence O. Ranger (Oxford University Press, USA, 2008), 67–94.
[51] Muriithi Wanjau, “Restore Justice,” Blog.Mavuno, February 17, 2013.
[52] Ibid.
[53] “Welcome to Christians For a Just Society (CFJS),” accessed February 21, 2017, [no longer accessible].
[54] Ibid.
[55] “Allan Kiuna The House of Restoration,” accessed November 18, 2016, [no longer accessible]; “RCCG Pioneer Missionaries - Solution Centre”; “Bishop J.B Masinde,” Deliverance Church Umoja, accessed January 6, 2016, [no longer accessible].
[56] Pastor M, “Muriithi Wanjau: While Calling for Justice & Official Response, Let’s Also Verify and Avoid Spreading Fake News.,” Tweet, @muriithiw, (August 12, 2017); “Muriithi Wanjau Facebook,” accessed August 19, 2017.
[57] “Hope FM | Listen and Live,” accessed September 1, 2015.
[58] “Kubamba Krew (K-Krew),” Kubamba Krew (K-Krew), n.d..
[59] David A. Oginde, “Bishop’s Blog – CITAMBlog,” accessed March 18, 2016.
[60] “Njonjo Mue,” accessed February 22, 2017.
[61] “The Sheepfold Ministries,” Faith2Share, n.d.
[62] His blog is called “Waanglicana” Swahili for “the Anglicans” Francis Omondi, Waanglicana, n.d.
[63] Francis Omondi, “Let This Cup Pass….,” Waanglicana, April 6, 2015.
[64] “Veritas :: Rev. Cyprian Yobera,” accessed August 7, 2017; “Out of Africa: A Kenyan Missionary Sets His Sights on Manchester: Cyprian Yobera,” The Independent, August 10, 2008.