A.R.T OF SURVIVAL AND PRE-HIGH IMPACT CHURCH CAPACITY BUILDING REPORT
In March 2020, the COVID 19 pandemic was declared in Kenya and what followed was a prolonged closure of the country affecting all sectors of the society including public worship; schools and education; transport sectors; hospitality and casual labor employment; and work across board was affected and those with non-essential work had to engage virtually and from home. This was the global trend in responding to the pandemic as prescribed by WHO. Churches were closed and most EAK pastors had it rough since they had not prepared for such an eventuality. Most churches that functioned in rented facilities closed completely and some did not open even after the restrictions were lifted. Many church members relocated due to loss of jobs and livelihoods meaning that church members permanently shifted or did not even have ability to support the church. Psychosocial distress was at its peak with many families experiencing hard times and yet, the pastor could not support either because of resource limitations or/and perhaps going through the same distress also. EAK with her partners including Christ is the Answer Ministries had to give relief to over 5000 pastors for three months. Beyond this intervention, it was quickly appreciated that a long term and sustainable intervention was needed to build capacity of the pastor to deal with the challenge of COVID 19 and any other crises that might arise in future. This is how the A.R.T of Survival pastors’ training was born. A program that commenced in November 2021.
The Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK) in partnership with Living on the Edge (LOTE) embarked on the implementation of the High Impact Church Programme in two phases. Phase 1 was implemented between November and December 2021 while Phase 2 was implemented between January and February 2022. The program targeted to equip mostly clergy and key individuals nominated by EAK leadership and their churches as trainers for other pastors. The training was facilitated in/for 43 counties, reaching 972 wards in Kenya. The number of delegates reached in the whole circuit was 2487. These delegates were taken through tools developed by Pastor Chip Ingram that may be under distress following COVID-19 pandemic and that seek to address the spiritual growth needs for Christians. It is anticipated that those who were trained will become agents of change by training others at family, church, community, ward and county level.
The AOS and High Impact Church Programme falls under Holistic Spiritual Formation and Community transformation thematic areas of EAK in her 2021- 2026 Strategic Plan, whose theme is “…. Transforming Kenya County by County.” Phase 1 started with planning and training key EAK Church Leaders and Master trainers from 46 counties. Training was also conducted in Nairobi and the neighboring counties with the hope of extending this training to other counties by February 2022. The objective of the training was to equip the church ministers and workers for resilience against the effects of COVID-19 and strengthen the character of Kenyan Christians by engendering true spirituality in crises. The specific objectives for the training included:
I. Training for (COVID 19) resilience based on A.R.T for Survival, Real God, and True Spirituality
II. Mobilizing a critical mass across the evangelical Church in Kenya to championdiscipleship in difficult times
III. Contributing to leadership development for the church to meet the community needs.
IV. Stirring Christians and Churches to commit to the Great Commission
V. Strengthening networks among participants for effective utilization of resources incommunity transformation
The following activities were undertaken towards these objectives.
I. Facilitate printing and dissemination of 100,000 A.R.T of Survival booklets across the evangelical clergy in Kenya
II. Training 47 County and one master trainers (by Dave Holden) who will ensure that thisprogram reaches the grassroots
III. Training 2487 Ward based clergy (by Dave Holden) in 23 training centers in charge offacilitating trainings in their wards
IV. Phase 3 Training of a target of 50 pastors in each of targeted 1350 wards (total of 67500)pastors by those (1350) trained by Dave Holden and Master trainers. This is the next phase of training.
V. Preaching series on the A.R.T of Survival in a minimum of 40,000 congregations andseveral small groups within EAK member churches. Through this, we hope reach a minimum of three million Christians across the country with the messages derived fromthe ART of Survival, Real God and True Spirituality.
VI. Institutional Support which will enable the EAK team and the lead facilitators to travel insafety noting that the cost of travel during and after the trainings can be sustainable through procuring a vehicle for EAK.
2.0 AOS AND PRE-HIGH IMPACT CHURCH
The training programme for all venues covered the same topics and time with minor variations due to language challenges necessitating translation from English language to Swahili. The topics covered in all the venues are summarized in the table below:
Arrival and registration
Tea and Snacks
Opening Prayer, Introductions
& Opening Remarks
The Art of Survival /High Impact Church
Rev. Dave Holden/ Rev. Patrick Kuchio
High Impact Church
Rev. Dave Holden
Way Forward and Closing Remarks
Dr. Nelson Makanda
Lunch & Departure
The roll out of the program was in two phases, Phase 1 provided a base by having master trainers from 46 counties and Key Church Fathers attend and have an opportunity to understand the objective which was necessary for guaranteed success of the program. This was immediately followed by Phase 2 which was a nationwide campaign. EAK was able to reach 2487 trainers in total. This number consisted of: 1888 Pastors, 312 Bishops, 96 Church leaders and 56 Church members. The whole circuit was climaxed by a retreat for the Key church leaders from EAK membership who were able to reflect on their role in promoting true spirituality from church to national level then global.
The AOS training was an opportunity for EAK to reach her members with a message of hope. The initial plan was to reach 1350 pastors in phase 1 and 2 but this was surpassed by God’s grace after EAK re-strategized the approach and opted to invite three Pastors per ward instead of the initial one per ward. The change to 3 trainees per ward was to safeguard against situations where the whole ward is left when incase the trainer pastor is transferred, or may lack adequate pre-requisite capacity to be a trainer. EAK is yet to extend this training to Samburu, Isiolo, Mandera and Wajir Counties due to the challenge of adverse road distances and volatile security situation. Also, it might be necessary to repeat Nakuru, Garissa, Machakos, and Embu Counties where the performance was poor.
Analysis of Data
The dynamic context in which the church is operating makes it necessary to have a clear understanding on demographics and how different aspects affect ministry. From the above analysis, a total of 2098 men out of 2487 participated in the training, translating to 84% men with 389 women or 16% participating.
From the summary of the training and data collected, the participation of men was higher than that of women at 84.4% and 15.6% respectively. This supports the perception that we have more men than females in active church leadership even though more women attend church than men in Kenya. This will inform EAK in programming to respond to the need to raise more women leaders for effective ministry. This participation is summarized by the chart below.
Figure 1: Showing the summary of participation by Gender
2.2.2 The membership composition of congregations represented in the training
In an effort to inform EAK programming for responding to the members’ needs, participants were requested to give an indication of the number of their members who are children, youth and adults. The total number of all congregants under phase 2 trainees is about 425,681 members. From the summary it is evident that the Adult population in the churches that were represented in the training is the highest at 44.5%: while Children follow at 33.7% with Youth at 21.8%.
It is important for the Church to take note of this representation and process what needs to be done to respond to the needs of both youth and children who account for a total of 55.5% only as compared to adults at 44.5% respectively. This is not reflective of the Kenyan demographics where both youth and children make over 70% of the population. There is a skewed representation in favour of adults in Evangelical churches in Kenya. Over 15% of youth and children are absent from church. This is significant. This is as represented in the chart below
Figure 2: Showing the membership composition of the congregations representated
The information on the number of children, youth and adults per different training site is also presented below to appreciate that county dynamics are different and may require different strategies to minister to all the members effectively. This is represented in bar charts below and will inform EAK’s and other interested parties programming for transforming EAK County by County.
The comparison of number of Children, youth and Adults Per training center
Figure 3: showing the congregation membership distribution interms of Childreb,youth and adults per training center.
A combination of both children and youth in these counties show their numbers are higher hence the need to embrace programmes which respond to their needs for a sustainable church in Kenya. Note that each training center except Voi, Turkana, West Pokot, Trans Nzioa hosted more than one county.
The comparison of Youth + Children against adults’ graph.
Figure 4: Shows the comparison of youth and children agaist adults
2.2.3 The age distribution of the Pastors trained.
From the Pastors’ age analysis, we had representation of pastors within the age range of 36-50 years as the highest at 42%, followed by those over 60 years at 24%, followed by age bracket 51-60 years at 23%, then 25-35 years at 10% and finally below 25 years at 1% respectively. Even though the findings reveal that the youth population in the churches is about 22%, the pastors within this age group are only 11%. This finding should guide the engagement of young Pastors for relevant youth ministry in the Church. This will speak to the relevance of church to the young people of Kenya. It is, however, worthwhile to note that 53% of Pastors in the Churches represented in the training are below 50 years and 89% are above 35 years of age. The Pastors trained during these two phases who were over 60 years accounted for 24% and this information will once again go a long way in informing EAK programming to her members’ needs. In other words, in another 15 years, we shall have more than 24% of pastors retired (it may be worse if we consider the impact of life expectancy in Kenya).
Pastors’ Age Distribution Table
Table 3: Shows the age distibution of the participants
The age distribution of the trainees by age is presented by the Pie Chart below:
Figure 5: showing the age distribution of participants trained
Figure 7: Stack chart for the age distribution in each training centers
2.2.4 Education level
For effective Ministry it is important to have a leader who is able to study and deliver appropriate messages to different categories of their members. Therefore, it is necessary to have the necessary skills and education. Whereas this exercise was meant for training on Art of Survival and pre-high impact church mobilization, EAK was able to establish the education level of most of the trainees. From a sample of 1562 out of 2487, the summary of Education level is as follow
Figure 8: summary of education level of the partcipants
2.2.5 Designation of Trainees
Most of the trainees were Pastors and stood a better chance of reaching their members with Art of Survival and other programmes geared towards holistic spiritual formation and community transformation. The Pastors accounted for 79.5% while Bishops accounted for 13/2% which translates to 92.7%. This is a strength for EAK in programme implementation as Pastors and Bishops have the potential of influencing their followership due to the trust and respect they command. 2317 out of 2487 trainees indicated their designation as summarized in the next pie chart.
Designation of Participants
Figure 9: Shows the designation of partcipants
2.2.6 Participants with Theological Training
From a sample of 328 out of 2487 trainees, it is commendable to note that 84.4% had some theological training. This data is skewed considering that more than 85% of pastors in Africa/ globally lack theological education. The sample was carefully selected so as to facilitate training of other pastors hence this behavioral requirement. However, it might be necessary to interrogate the quality of prior training received by these pastor trainers. Some of these might have declared certificates of attendance of seminars and revival meetings as theological training
Figure 10: Shows the percentage of partcipants who have gone through theological training
2.2.7 Rating of the AOS training
This data was summarized from a sample of 328 out of 2487 trainees, 97.8% rated the training as good.
Figure 11: Shows the participants rating of the training
3.0 MOBILIZATION REPORT
The program had initially targeted one clergy from each of the target 1360 out of 1450 wards in Kenya. This implied 100% turn up would be 1360 clergy from 1360 wards would have been trained at the end of the program. This was a target for 44 counties excluding the northern counties due to insecurity and presence of the church.
A review of the ward dynamics necessitated EAK to review the representatives from the wards from 1 to 3 per ward to strengthen the joint effort. The total number of the trainees was 2487 out of the targeted 4080 or 61% of what EAK had planned for. A total of 972 wards out of 1360 wards were represented, translating to 71.5%.
3.1 General Challenges during mobilization
I. Distance, Terrain challenges: A good number of people had to travel for more than two hundred kilometers to attend the EAK Living on the Edge trainings (Samburu, Marsabit, Lamu, Tana River, Isiolo, Garissa). Some counties have harsh terrain that took participants longer hours even days to get to the training venues. Some counties like Laikipia have constituency separated by another county.
II. Weather: Other areas were too hot like Turkana and West Pokot, and it rained heavily inBomet and Migori
III. Affordability of fare: Some participants traveled to the venue with one-way fare andcould not manage to travel back to their homes without transport reimbursement
IV. Weak County structures: This made coordination and a unified approach in somecounties difficult.
V. Time/scheduling limitations: Highly ambitious plan leading to pressure and fatigue evenon the trainer and the team (Back to back approach)
VI. Dependence syndrome in some counties due to high influx of NGO and relief support
VII. Venue: One or two venues were not ideal for the training but nonetheless they were theones available and the best as per the County planners. One location (Kakamega) had tobe changed at the last minute.
VIII. Funding: inadequate funding made it difficult for EAK to host more pastors because ofthe need to provide for meals, accommodation and travel reimbursements.
3.2 General Contribution by EAK
Hosting: Overall Coordination and organization
Venues: Church and meeting facilities
Participants transport: Many paid for their own transport to get to the venue
Co-ordination: Co-ordination aspect at the County level that entailed meeting cost andtransport
Consultation and planning: Consultation and planning meetings at the grassroots level
Informed by the report above, it is recommended that:
1. Increase in funding: Having been through COVID 19 season many Pastors were affectednegatively. This warranted need for facilitation to and from the training venue. This hadimpact on attendance as many pastors were not able to attend this life transformingprogram due to lack of transport facilitation. An increase in resources to be able to trainand reach more Pastors is necessary.
2. The church should review the age of those involved in ministry for succession planningand create more opportunities for young Pastors.
3. The Church to strengthen the youth and children ministry, through budgetary allocationand personnel for effective ministry.
4. Proper research should be instituted with this sample data to ascertain on the number ofclergy trained, since most of the trainings that pastors reported to have attended are likelyto likely to be informal, with many attending seminars and revival meetings where theywere issued certificates.
5. Evangelicals should review the issue of gender mainstreaming in ministry placement.
6. Training should be done for the counties that were not reached such as: Samburu, Wajir,Mandera, Isiolo; and counties that were not effective due to poor mobilization such as:Nakuru, Garissa, Embu, Machakos.
This training was a great asset for ministers who attended and by extension o the congregants they serve. There was commitment by the trainees to train other pastors and also share their testimonies with their congregation. Below are links to some of the testimonies by the trainees.
EAK will use the data on gender, age and education level to enhance the existing programmes for effective delivery of the vision, mission and objectives. Specific action points will include encouraging the involvement of women and youth in the programming.
EAK is grateful to God for His providence which made it possible to s roll out the circuit successfully for His own glory. Special appreciation goes to Living on the Edge and Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM) for providing monetary and human resources which made it possible to accomplish what seemed impossible in a short span of time. It was through the efforts of CITAM and Friends of EAK that the Alliance was able to minister to ministers through Bariki Mchungaji Initiative which came as a God given intervention in the hour of need during the COVID period.
The enormous support by the church leaders who supported the Art of Survival implementation across the nation by identifying and nominating suitable participants was a great contribution to the success of the two phases for which EAK leadership is truly grateful. It is indeed a blessing that all the trainings were conducted within the facilities of EAK membership which reflects the members’ commitment to avail the resources at their disposal for God’s work.
5.1 Facebook links to the testimonies from the trainees
5.2 Photos taken during the training sessions.
Photo 1: Group photo of the master trainers
Photo 2: During the county master trainers training at CORAT Africa
Photo 3: Group discussions during a training session