East Africa and the Horn of Africa Challenged with the Great Commission

By Dr. Stephen Kabachia, Chairman
& Rev. Don Kearby, Coordinator
Finish the Task 2000 National Consultation
May 1998
Nairobi, Kenya

The Finish the Task 2000 (FTT-2000) National Consultation from the 15-19 April in Nairobi, set out to awaken a sleeping giant, the East African Church. Dr. Luis Bush, International Director of AD2000 and Beyond, set the stage by encouraging the over 400 church leaders from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, that Africa is uniquely positioned to become the greatest missions sending force in the world within the next five years. From what we saw and heard the delegates from East Africa and the Horn of Africa took this challenge seriously and a new wave of cooperation in missions was birthed at this Nairobi meeting.

THE KENYAN CHURCH'S RESPONSE

Kenya received its first Christian Missionaries nearly 150 years ago from the Church Missionary Society or CMS in Europe. The perception is that Kenya has been fully evangelized, but there remain 22 people groups that are without an indigenous, self-perpetuating church within their geographical, linguistic or cultural reach. To these 22 groups, the Gospel remains hidden and therefore the Great Commission has not been completed in Kenya.

Kenyan Church leaders were heard saying about the FTT-2000 National Consultation, "This is what we have been waiting for!" "It is time for Kenya to take the Great Commission seriously," exclaimed Rev. George Gichana, "If we had had a meeting like this ten years ago, the task of reaching our Unreached Peoples in Kenya would already be completed." Many of these church leaders have committed their churches to adopt one of the unreached people groups to pray and to research how to involve their church in reaching that group with the Gospel.

The climax of the Consultation came at the Missions Rally at Uhuru Park on the 19th of April where approximately 3000 people dedicated their lives to missions, through praying, giving or going for the unreached of Kenya. Since that Sunday afternoon, our FTT-2000 office has been flooded with phone calls, letters and personal visits from people asking the question, "How can I be involved in this movement?" Truly the Lord of the Harvest is raising up Harvesters from the church in Kenya!

One indication of the commitment of the National Church to a given task is their financial support for that task. The funds donated by Kenyan churches before the Consultation combined with the Registration fees of the participants fully covered the expenses of the Consultation, plus left FTT-2000 with a surplus of funds to continue mobilizing missions. The giving did not end with the consultation, however, as churches and individuals continue to mail in and drop off their contributions toward this movement. One man amazed us with his faith as he placed eight 1-Kenya Shilling coins into an envelope and sent them through the Kenya Postal service to our office. On the outside of the envelope he wrote the word "seed," which encouraged us that God is surely planting a seed for missions in Kenya!

WHAT IS NEXT FOR FTT-2000 IN KENYA?

Every province in Kenya was represented at the National Consultation and leaders from each province sat together on the last day of the meetings to plan strategy for Provincial Initiatives. One common goal in each of the 8 provinces was to sensitize other key leaders in their areas to the task of reaching the unreached people groups of Kenya. Each group felt that Provincial Consultation meetings would be a strong step toward this goal. Three provinces have already scheduled Consultations and the remaining five groups will meet with other leaders in their provinces to decide the best timing for their meeting. Awareness building at the grass roots and work toward practical strategies for reaching the unreached will be the focus of the meetings in each province.

Prayer must remain a central focus for this movement to be sustained. Therefore, monthly Concerts of Prayer for the unreached have been scheduled in churches throughout Nairobi. Nairobi Pentecostal Church will host the first Concert of Prayer on the 17th of May.

The Steering Committee has started planning for an awareness building trip to one or more of the missionaries already working among the unreached. The goal is to encourage these missionaries and at the same time help us to better understand the challenges of bringing the Gospel where it has not gone before.

Finally, the establishment of an Africa Center for Mission in Nairobi has been proposed. The initial idea is to combine research, resource, training, prayer and mobilization as key components of the Center. This Center would provide a strategic coordination and cooperation building function for the missions movement in Kenya, East Africa and beyond.

Please pray with us that the enthusiasm and excitement generated at the FTT-2000 National Consultation in Nairobi will result in the planting of healthy indigenous churches in each of Kenya's 22 unreached people groups by the year 2000!

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