Over the past few decades, Africa and most of the developing world has been experiencing dramatic Christian growth. However, the encouraging trend of increased Christian profession does not necessarily equate to spiritual maturity. We have largely celebrated numbers at the expense of Christianity maturity. As a result, the prosperity gospel, which is irresponsible, promotes idolatry, and is contrary to scripture, finds fertile ground.
Research by East African Institute found that 50% of those interviewed believe that it doesn’t matter how you make money as long as you do not end up in jail. 30% believe that corruption is profitable and they would readily take or give a bribe. Sadly, only 40% strongly believe in the importance of paying taxes. Alarmingly, these low-integrity values were greatly contradictory to the high levels of faith-values that 85% professed to have. From these statistics we see a need that is great and a task that is huge - to teach that our private Christian faith must be lived publicly as well.
iServe Africa works with young people to bring a message of hope that teaches Jesus’ lordship over all, the knowledge of which the devil has taken away from us. In addition to the apprenticeship programme which iServe already runs, in January 2017 we launched a discipleship programme for high-school leavers. The programme has four objectives:
Young people, who are the largest proportion of people attending church today, are excited about the gospel. But a closer look at the teaching offered in most of the churches shows that many are skewed towards a the prosperity gospel: the idea that financial blessing and physical well-being is always the will of God for his people. As a result many have ended up believing in God for the wrong reasons. The TranformD programme will strive to walk alongside young people teaching and modelling the true gospel of Christ.
We believe that for credible discipleship and Christian maturity there is a need for a close relationship between teacher and student. During the programme there is a daily sharing of scripture, teaching, prayers and devotion as well as meals and duties shared together.
Over the last 10 months we have prepared a one-acre piece of land for farming, planting maize and beans to feed those on the programme. Those coming into the programme will be involved in taking care of the farm. The idea is to use a farming model to teach skills that might be helpful later in life, for example, in areas of decision-making, planning and stewardship.
Near the end of the programme there will be a mission trip to rural Kenya to help those on the programme put into practice some of the ministry skills they have learnt. Tribes in northern Kenya are very remote. Many people have never heard the gospel and resources are scarce. This will prove to be as challenging as it is memorable for our young people, who are more used to city life.
As young people participate in our TransformD discipleship programme our aim is that the certainty of God’s future announced in the gospel will shape the way Kenya’s young Christians live, cultivating, as the Apostle Paul put it, ‘faith and love that spring from the hope stored up in heaven.’ (Colossians 1:5).
Written by Gerald Mwangi
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