Today, Saturday, has been a travel day. I moved from Nairobi to Mombasa. Everything has been smooth today and I am set up in a very nice room. Mombasa is a vacation spot on the Kenyan coast. But what I saw surprised me a bit.
Steven Mzungu is with me. Steven organized the just completed Nairobi seminar. He has a burden for the coastal area of Kenya and tomorrow is going to introduce me to pastor Stephen Anyenda. He’s been at Nyali Baptist since 1992. Here is a link to his church’s website, if interested. http://nyalibaptist.org/
During our lunch today, Steven and I talked about the Kenyan church from his perspective. He said it is a transactional relationship between the church-goer and God. I use the term “church-goer” carefully. He had some interesting things to say.
I have been to Kenya more times than I even want to try to count. I’ve been in or through Kenya regularly since 1998 but have never been to Mombasa. Here is how one website describes it:
Mombasa is a city on the coast of Kenya. It is the country’s oldest and second-largest city, after the capital Nairobi, with an estimated population of about 1.2 million people in 2016.
I knew it was a coastal town and a vacation spot. But what I didn’t know was the size and along with the resort area, much of what I saw today resembled what I see throughout Africa. Our trip from the airport to my hotel was a pretty normal looking African city. We didn’t get close enough to the beach to see it. Maybe before I leave Monday, dinner time.
THE KENYAN CHURCH
I asked Steven to describe for me the condition of the Kenyan church. He thought a lot about it and said, “The numbers are growing but the spiritual level is in decline and it is transactional.” “Numbers going up and spirituality level going down?” “Yes!” he asserted. “OK,” I said “I know what a transaction is, how are you using it in this case?” His answer, “People go to church expecting it will result in God giving them something. They sing, they dance, they give, then they expect.”
I told him it sounded like there was no understanding of the fact that God is seeking an intimate, personal relationship with His people. “True,” he said.
Then I asked him, “What percent of the church members could articulate what the gospel is?” I was not too surprised to hear his answer, “About 2%.” “So, there are a lot of people in churches who aren’t even saved,” I continued. Steven answered without hesitation, “Yes!”
He is only 35 and is mature beyond his years. He had a passion for Bible exposition before we met.”
We talked about preaching and the preaching he hears here and some of the preaching I hear back home. He mentioned his frustration when he hears pastors misinterpreting, misusing, misrepresenting, and basically adulterating Scripture and many for their own gain. And to take is a step further, he is used as an interpreter for some of them and must repeat what he knows is not biblical. Can you imagine? As he is interpreting, he is confessing to the Lord for being a part of misrepresenting Him and His Word.
THE ABUSE GOES ON
I’ve heard three true stories I’ll pass on. One you may have heard before. The other two are new to me.
One pastor told his congregation God told him to spray them with Doom, mosquito spray. They submitted and some, evidently, had to receive treatment. The pastor was taken in by authorities and dealt with.
I questioned whether I should even mention these but you need to know how bad it is. A common pursuit is someone pursuing a spiritual “breakthrough” of some kind, believing they are under a curse or being oppressed by some spirit(s).
I’ve mentioned before at our annual dinner that some will tell women that having sexual intercourse with him will provide them with their breakthrough.
Steven told me today that another pastor tells women that allowing him to suck on their breast will provide them with a breakthrough. Someone challenged him biblically but he refused to listen.
What a shame! This is why we do what we do. Thanks for the part you are playing.
I uploaded a few pictures taken around here today.
I’ll write tomorrow about my meeting with Pastor Stephen. Please be praying for that meeting.
By His grace,