In reporting on the impact of the African National Initiatives Consultation in Nairobi early November, Dr Kabachia said, "When the Kenya delegation were confronted by lists of unreached peoples in Kenya, they determined that never again would a Kenyan delegation attend a global consultation to be embarrassed by such lists." He went on to say, "Before the next consultation in the year 2000, every people group in Kenya will be penetrated."
Since GCOWE '97, the Kenya delegation of 80-plus leaders has moved decisively forward to give substance to their declaration. In a series of three one-day seminars, GCOWE delegates have met, discussed, decided and acted to implement an exciting plan to see a church established amongst every people group in Kenya by the year 2000.
At the October seminar delegates endorsed the Steering Committee's choice of name for the initiative - 'Finish the Task 2000'. Dr Kabachia, chairman of the initiative, explains, "'Finish the Task 2000' is not a general statement, but a specific goal." He said, " There is no way that we can ever be sure that we have completed the job of preaching the gospel to everyone. When it seems that everyone has heard, there will always be someone coming to the age of accountability who will not have heard. What we are talking about are people groups who do not have an indigenous church of their own."
In the first seminar, in July, participants adopted a priority list of 22 unreached peoples for action. They choose to affirm research released in 1995 by the Kenya Unreached Peoples Network (KUPNET). The seminar participants went on to accept the challenge to mobilize their own churches and ministries and involve other groups in adopting one or more of the 22 target peoples for prayer and action. By the time of the second seminar in September, all 22 of the groups had been adopted by at least one church or ministry. At this point, a call was made for regular times of prayer and fasting. Other initiatives for the evangelization of adopted groups were also encouraged. In response, the Ladies Home Care Group lead by Judy Mbugua pledged to raise financial support for two missionaries in addition to their Tuesday prayer commitment for their adopted people. The Agape group committed to send ten trained missionaries to the Somali people. The CRISCO Fellowship held a week of special meetings to sensitize its wide network of members to the challenge of the Nubi, their adopted people group. LIFE Ministries deployed Jesus Film teams amongst three large Muslim groups - the Borana, Bajun and Gabbra. LIFE also announced plans to conduct a training conference in December to prepare further teams to reach six other groups on the list of 22. Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL), the Kenyan equivalent of Wycliffe Bible Translators, announced plans to begin translation projects for a number of the projects. These and other commitments were made at or in response in the second post-GCOWE seminar.
In describing the operating style of the Kenya initiative Dr Kabachia explained that, from the outset, the aim has been to encourage wide and active participation by all. He said, "We want 'Finishing the Task 2000' to be idea-friendly and open to all." He went on to explain, "We want everyone to feel this is 'our' thing. Not an 'us' and 'them' thing."
In line with this philosophy of operation, a Steering Committee of 12 senior pastors and ministry leaders was appointed during the first seminar. This is not an Executive Committee. Since its appointment in July, the Steering Committee has been pro-active in addressing four critical needs identified in the first seminar:
True to their GCOWE'97 resolve to never again be confronted by a list of unreached peoples at a global consultation, the Steering Committee has moved to address the four needs.
As delegations from the Steering Committee have gone to the offices of key leaders to explain and invite support for 'Finish the Task 2000' the response has been most encouraging.
Rev Dr Jesse Kamau, the Moderator of the Presbyterian church, agreed that there was a need to come together to reach the unreached peoples of Kenya and shared this anecdote, "You know that when a symphony orchestra has a performance, they don't just come together on the night of the show. The musicians practice together on a regular basis. It is the same with us Christians. We are all going to be together one day, and we might as well practice working together here and now."
Rev Dr Titus Kivunzi of the Africa Inland Church said, "I grew up in an area of Kenya where no one came to preach the Gospel. It is only by God's grace that I heard the message. In fact, there is still no one preaching the Gospel in my home area. So, you are speaking directly to my heart. What you are talking about won't be easy, but I will do whatever I can to help."
Rev Elijah Wanje of the Baptist Convention said, in response, "All our pastors met last week, and the entire discussion was on unreached peoples. Now you show up in my office this week talking about the unreached peoples of Kenya. I believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, and I for one do not want to ignore the Spirit. What is the next step and how can I help bring the Baptist church into the larger movement?"
Rev Dr Stephen Kanyaru M'Impwii of the Methodist Church cautioned the visiting delegation, "This is a movement that all the churches should be involved with. Please do not proceed without talking to all the key church leaders in the city."
'FINISH THE TASK 2000' IS SURELY ON TARGET! If the momentum of the first four months can be maintained, the Kenya delegation will be able to attend and celebrate, without embarrassment, at Celebrate Messiah 2000 in the Holy Land at the end of the millennium.
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