At the 2013 CCPN Nairobi Roundtable there was the sense of a great movement of God for new church plants throughout Kenya, East Africa and the whole African continent. We spoke of an initiative to encourage planting of 500 new churches in the next decade among the 54 countries, about 2,000 languages, 3,000 tribes and 1.2-billion individuals. This week we held the 2014 CCPN Roundtable themed on equipping and it was good to hear from church planters, mentors and church planting coaches that new churches are being established and progress is being made towards reaching the goal.
The main sessions were themed on equipping, with a side session to minister to and help equip church planter wives wand those that minister to them. I taught a very practical session titled “Equipping Mentors and Church Planters,” and Pastor Murigi Kariuki from Calvary Chapel Githurai presented a very thought provoking session titled, “Equipping the Next Generation.”
Maybe the most hard hitting message was the final session from Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyandege from Calvary Chapel Lakeside in Kisumu. Using Acts 13:1-3 as his main text, Stephen spoke directly to senior pastors about continuing the equipping of church planters and their families after they have left to begin the work. He connected the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the sending church to identify and support the church planter and then examples of his being helped in the plant at Kisumu for years after he and his family began. Stephen included the need for mentor pastors to visit and actively take part in the new church, especially in helping the new pastors develop vision for their next steps. He then gave examples of how he and the church in Kisumu provides support to men and their families sent to establish churches in Kilgoris, Mbale and Kisii.
During a chai break we took time for church planters to give three-minute testimonies regarding the work they are called to. There was applause to hear of God’s work of establishing churches in remote villages as well as plans to plant in urban centers. Several people from outside the Calvary Chapel Movement were surprised to hear of the fellowship and support mentors receive from their sending church.
From the eastern edge of this immense continent it is overwhelming to consider the vast stretches of unreached peoples. It can be discouraging to consider the inroads Islam and cults are making in this land. Yet the 2014 CCPN Nairobi Roundtable provided great encouragement and needed momentum. Since 2013 fledgling churches in Kisii, Mataara, and Kagame have come up. We’ve heard testimony of works in progress in places as diverse as Thika, Kilgoris and Mbale. Pastors stood up and were glad to say they believe God is calling them to send planters to numerous areas in 2015. Those numbers are still far from the 500 we spoke of in 2013, but we know great works are going on in Uganda, South Africa, DRC and South Sudan. I rejoice in significant progress and the benchmark the CCPN Roundtable provides to see this.
Ed Compean is a church planting coach based in Nairobi with his wife Kelli. You can read their blog or follow him on Twitter @Ed_Compean.