NEVER AGAIN! -- Report from Kenya

Finish the Task 2000

By Ross Campbell
Dec 4, 1997

NEVER AGAIN!

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:

  1. A research programme to identify and inform the initiative as to unreached people groups;
  2. A training programme to equip Kenyan missionaries for unreached people groups;
  3. A programme to sensitize church leaders to the challenge of unreached peoples; and
  4. A consultation programme.

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.

  1. Research: Recognizing the need for an immediate focus for commitment, the Steering Committee followed up on a 1995 report on the unreached in Kenya. This report, produced by the Kenya Unreached Peoples Network (KUPNET), details the 22 peoples targeted. In the November seminar, the decision was taken to join hands with KUPNET to complete a detailed 'work-among survey' for the 22 groups to identify the current involvement and status of evangelization for each. This survey is to be completed in time for a national consultation planned for April '98.
  2. Training: The need for missionary training is to be addressed. A new missions focus is to be introduced into existing training programmes, and an African Centre for Missions is to be established. The Centre will be a project of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) and scheduled to begin in early 1998.
  3. Sensitization: The Steering Committee are conscious that for 'Finish the Task 2000' to succeed, it would need to be owned by major denominations and ministries. Accordingly, the Committee has given priority to visiting the leaders of major national denominations. The leaders of the 10 largest protestant denominations, together with the General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA), the Coordinator of the Pan- African Christian Women's Alliance (PACWA), and the National Coordinator of the Lausanne Committee are among those visited. Further, the leaders of these 13 key denominations and organizations were invited to form a Council of Reference for 'Finish the Task 2000.'

    What key leaders are saying:

    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.

  4. Consultations: Plans are under way for a national 'Finish the Task 2000' consultation in Nairobi 16 - 19 April, 1998. The Steering Committee plans to visit and meet with regional pastors meetings in each of the provinces of Kenya in order to encourage Regional Consultations as a build up to the National Consultation. Dr Kabachia, in explaining this aspect of the plan, said, "We don't want a repeat of many other Nairobi events which have little impact beyond the capital." In the most recent Steering Committee meeting (November 26th), it was decided to invite provincial leaders to be part of the National Steering Committee. This is a further step to make 'Finish the Task 2000' a true National Initiative and not just a Nairobi initiative.

'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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