SHAHIDIHUB RESEARCH POLL RELEASE ON “THE STATE OF THE CHURCH IN KENYA AFTER PHASED REOPENING”

We are glad to release to you the poll results of the recent research titled, “The State of the Church in Kenya after the Phased Reopening of Churches.” The survey is a follow-up study of what had been done in May/June 2020.

We are most grateful for the invaluable feedback from those who participated. We are also grateful to those who willingly circulated the survey link to church leaders within their circles.

It is hoped that the data will in a big way contribute to the understanding of the body of Christ in Kenya. We hope that you will find this summary report below helpful.

[If you would like to write something based on the polls or want to share your experience on the Church and Covid-19, you are welcome to submit a 500-word article for consideration by our editorial team. We will be glad to feature your article on this platform (as a Guest Contributor) 

Find the download below.

SHAHIDIHUB RESEARCH POLL REPORT ON CHRISTMAS, NEW YEAR 2020, AND AND COVID-19, KENYA

The year 2020 has been unique on many fronts because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic situation has led to massive disruption in every area of life and society.

Churches have not been spared either; within this year alone, churches were closed, and new regulations on public gathering and reopening of churches were introduced as a containment measure against the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to these changes, major church traditions, practices, ordinances, and events in the Christian calendar have had to be reimagined in light of the new realities.

This survey REPORT by ShahidiHub Research & Consulting (under ShahidiHub Africa Ltd) sought to find out the opinions of Christians in Kenya on this year’s Christmas celebrations (Covid Christmas), and their views on the New Year 2021. The online poll which lasted for less than ten days was open to Christians from all Church denominations, in Kenya. The findings as presented in the DOWNLOAD below highlight critical views and trends on these two aspects

A Checklist for the Phased Reopening of Churches in Kenya

On 6th July 2020, the president announced a phased reopening of worship places in Kenya. This comes about 100 days since a ban on religious meetings was first issued as a containment measure against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is worth noting that reopening of places of worship is coming at a time the infections curve is on a steady upward trajectory, with no signs of flattening.

As a follow-up to the presidential directive, the Interfaith Council formed to come up with procedures for reopening places of worship announced that churches can now put in place requisite measures and resume in-person Worship Services, from 14th July 2020. How prepared are churches to meet the recommended health guidelines? (Refer to Qn. 14 of the recent polls by ShahidiHub Research & Consulting).

For now, here is a checklist of basic measures that church leaders should put in before they reopen their worship areas:

Where to Begin:

  • Constitute a COVID-19 response team (Health committee), that will monitor/oversee the adherence to the health procedures.
  • Train your Ushers/Volunteer teams on these health measures and recommendations.

Ensure:

  • The physical distance of 1.5metres is observed throughout the Worship Service (You may want to encourage families to sit together). A visible label on seating arrangements.
  • Social distance during singing.
  • The maximum number of congregants does not exceed 100.
  • Children under 13 years of age, and persons above 58 years of age are not allowed to attend the in person-worship services (For now, use other strategies to reach out to them).
  • The duration for every worship service must not exceed 1 hour. (You may want to enlist lay leaders to help in various church ministries including preaching in the multiple worship services).
  • All congregants to properly wear masks throughout the worship service.
  • Have a local Covid-19 hotline number, to report any case of emergency.

Invest: Guidelines with Financial Implications

  • Thermo-guns for body temperature checks (those with 38 degree Celsius are not to be allowed in).
  • Protective gears (PPE’s) for those checking temperatures at entry points.
  • Provide alcohol-based sanitizers/ disinfectant at the entry points.
  • Increased handwashing stations, with soap and running water.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection (or fumigation) of the church building and hallways
  • Invest in additional microphones- or ensure that all shared microphones are sanitized before being handed over to another person.
  • Face masks to donate (to some members who may not afford…)

Reconsiderations:

  • How Offering is collected- think of other options like Mpesa
  • Rethink how Baptism/ Holy Communion are done (disinfect hands…)
  • Introduce more worship services (but first find out if members will be comfortable with the suggested schedules)

Things to Discourage/Avoid

  • Handshaking. Giving high five… or customary ‘greet your neighbor…’
  • Socialization in church premises after a worship service.

Now that churches have been given the green light to self-regulate and resume in-person gathering from 19th July, church leaders should approach this matter with seriousness and with a sense of accountability. The church a life-giving community, hence leaders should strictly adhere to these measures for the church to continue to be a source of life, faith, love, and grace to God’s people.

Exploring the Use of Whatsapp Cast Model to Reach Out to Children in Your Church

The recent poll results by ShahidiHub Africa showed that 64% of pastors/church leaders think that children of ages 0-11 years have not been given adequate attention through online and offline platforms during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

As a Sunday school teacher, this is worrisome because during this age bracket (0-11) children are open to learn about God, Bible, faith, and about the gospel.

While this can be attributed to the fact that children have no access to online platforms, children ministries can respond by using inexpensive mediums of sending gospel messages to children, through their parents. I propose the use of the WhatsApp cast model and SMS. Teachers can prepare and share gospel messages to parents and children’s caregivers and share it with their children.

WhatsApp cast is a recorded audio, word and visual illustrated files shared to users on WhatsApp platform and short messenger service (SMS). These services are easily accessible and inexpensive to use. It further allows teachers to send a word or audio file directly to their contacts. Each contact receives a personal message.

How to Start Whatsapp Cast

Know your audience in this case children ages 0-11 years– Segment children according to age and determine the content of your message that is age appropriate. Prepare age appropriate scripture verse activities that are simple, practical and fun. You can consider theme lessons for teaching a series of Bible lessons e.g. lesson series on God’s attributes or ten Commandments etc.

Organize your content– Make a list of what your cast will be about. This is important to keep you on track and help you avoid duplicating your topics.

Record and share your content– You have two options: record directly on WhatsApp or record the audio separately and then upload to WhatsApp.

Build your audience– Send the WhatsApp Cast, first to those in your contacts and then encourage the recipients to share the message with individuals in their contacts. Invite feedback to help you improve your content.  

Pray for the outpouring of the Spirit to guide you to choose your topics and execute the plan.

Given the widespread use of the Whatsapp, this alternative can greatly help churches reach out to the children at their homes. The Whatsapp feature is easy-to-use, accessible, and affordable to many, even during this period.

“…children ministries can respond by using inexpensive mediums of sending gospel messages to children. I propose the use of the WhatsApp cast model and SMS. Teachers can prepare and share gospel messages to parents and children’s caregivers and share it with their children.”

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR:

Mercy K. Maina, M. A. Biblical Studies;

Part Time Lecturer: Kabarak University, Teaching Bible Courses. Service: Sunday School Teacher CITAM Karen;; Interest: Bridging Teaching Skill Gaps among  Sunday School Teachers

SHAHIDIHUB RESEARCH POLL RELEASE: The State of the Church in Kenya during the COVID-19 Pandemic

PhotoCredits: Unsplash

As ShahidiHub Research & Consulting, we are glad to release to you the poll results summary, which was also shared on 24th June 2020 to the respondents, and to Media outlets in Kenya. We are glad that we were able to feature voices of 429 pastors/Church Leaders from over 33 Counties in Kenya and from 161 Church Denominations in Kenya. The survey results release (“The State of Church in Kenya During the Covid-19 Pandemic) comes about 100 days after the closure of places of worship as a containment measure against the spread of Covid-19.

We hope that the results will continue to enrich the conversations on doing ministry during these unusual moments and on the best way forward for the church in Kenya.

The Round One of the survey is now complete, soon we will launch the Round Two of the Survey. 

If you would like to write something based on the polls or want to share your experience on the Church and Covid-19, you are welcome to submit a 500-word article for consideration by our editorial team. We will be glad to feature your article (as a Guest Contributor) on this platform.

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ShahidiHub Research Team.

It is Not Yet Madaraka for Kenya: ‘Let My People Go…’

Kenyan flag

Fifty-seven years ago, Kenyans first celebrated their hard-won independence from British rule. Certainly, this never came easy. It came at a great price. Many freedom fighters lost their lives, their all; and some lived to tell of the tortured, imprisonments, and injustices inflicted against them and their families. Madaraka Day is a time to pause and remember their exemplary sacrifices, their fighting spirit for a free and united Kenya, and their heroic courage. It happens that many of them never made to our history books.

The dawn of an independent Kenya must have been an ecstatic experience. Kenyans, at the time of independence, must have been thrilled to realize that the oppressive colonial rule had finally come to an end. They cried tears of joy in disbelieve; knowing that the new dawn was coming with future possibilities and promise. Indeed, it was a sundown for the colonial rule, but a sunrise for indigenous rule.

The optimism and aspirations of the generations of Kenyans at independence were articulated in the national anthem. The pioneering Kenyans at independence anticipated a nation that would be characterized by blessings and plenty. They envisioned a nation that upholds the ideals of justice, peace, unity, and liberty. They idealized these values as the foundation of a prosperous Kenya. They recognized that realization of this dream will take concerted efforts, each Kenyan involved. Presumably, each time they sang and prayed the words of the national anthem they challenged themselves to arise and build the envisioned Kenya as one people. They envisioned a brighter future against the backdrop of illiteracy, widespread poverty, and a small economy.

From the national anthem, the generation of Kenya at independence KNEW the meaning of the colors of the Kenyan flag. They knew what we have forgotten. They knew what they formerly fought for. They knew what the new Kenya should look like. They knew what they should expect from the Kenyan-ruled governments. They simply had a vision and a clear knowledge of the path for their future.

From the national anthem, the generation of Kenya at independence KNEW the meaning of the colors of the Kenyan flag. They knew what we have forgotten. They knew what they formerly fought for. They knew what the new Kenya should look like. They knew what they should expect from the Kenyan-ruled governments. They simply had a vision and a clear knowledge of the path for their future.

The Great Let Down

Sadly, the joy of independence was short-lived as people realized that the new African leaders were no different from the colonizers. As a result, the people felt a sense of betrayal; their hopes were crushed. The enemy was no longer “them.” Rather, the new, hard-to-deal-with enemy became one of “us.” After the white colonizers exited, the black colonizers took over and continued the colonization. The people who were entrusted leadership position became less and less interested in furthering the vision of the ‘Kenyan kingdom;’ instead, they became passionate in establishing and flourishing their own kingdoms of self, power, and wealth. During the ensuing years, politics of vengeance, deception, hatred, and exclusion became a new norm. Apparently, this has continued, even into our times, to characterize the political landscape in Kenya. Greed, injustices, corruption, violence, and tribalism became normalized in land allotment and distribution, occupation of public offices, distribution of public resources, and so forth. As a result, the divide between the poor and the rich has continued to increase.

As Kenyans Mark Fifty-Seven years of Independence

Fifty-seven years later, admittedly, the post-independent Kenya has made some strides in different sectors of economy. However, Kenya largely continues to struggle to remain true to her dream. The fight against theft of public resources is not yet won; the politics of betrayal, deception and exclusion continues unchallenged. So, where is the problem?

Approximately 3000 years ago, the biblical Moses was called to deliver the people of Israel from the then oppressive Egyptian regimes. The nature of his liberation was all-encompassing; his liberation call “Let my people Go” was spiritual, social, economic, and political. He was to liberate the people to be free to worship, free to rule themselves, free to work to build their own economy, and free to be a people with a distinct identity, purpose and destiny. Moses, as a skilled architect, laid a moral foundation as the pillar for the social, economic and political prosperity of the nation. The moral compass, founded on the God-given Law, became the constitution and basis of reference for leaders occupying any public office. It became the basis of social justice. Moses’ successor Joshua, as a faithful leader and steward, transitioned the nation to their Promised land and fairly allotted the Promised land to the people. As a faithful leader, he never (ab)used the leadership position to amass wealth. Rather, he used it as a trust, and tool for service. In my opinion, one of the main problems that Kenya has faced since independence, can be identified as failed leadership. The elected leaders have always failed to be faithful to the trust given to them. The type of the leaders “we” elect make it hard for Kenya to realize her dream.

Fifty-seven years later after official independence, the truth remains that the Kenyan people, like citizens in many other African states, still need to be liberated from the bondage of heavy taxation, hopelessness, violence, police brutality, tyrannical leadership, plunder of public resources and from the suffering of the people. Other than doing our part in the building of the nation, we can only HOPE that someday God will raise a Moses and a Joshua for our country, to deliver the people and to bring them into a land of abundance; a land where justice, unity, and peace are celebrated.

church and covid-19 survey in kenya: INvitation to pastors and church leaders

Dear Minister of the Gospel and Church Leaders,

We would like to kindly let you know that ShahidiHub Africa is conducting an interdenominational survey that targets pastors and church leaders in Kenya. The survey, that runs from 23rd May-19th June 2020, is titled, “The State of the Church in Kenya During the Covid-19 Pandemic.” This survey seeks to find out how churches (through the leadership of pastors and church leaders) adjusted and continue to cope up with this unfolding pandemic situation, and how the future might look like for many churches. It is expected that the findings of this poll will enable pastors, church leaders and parachurch organizations to lead better amidst the pandemic, understand the current state of the church, and to foster an inter-denominational exchange of information and experience. Theologians might also find the findings useful in their engagement with ecclesial issues.

ShahidiHub Africa kindly invites you to participate in this poll; and, if possible, involve other pastors and church leaders within your network by sharing the link below. Once the survey is concluded, we shall share the data and detailed reports with priority given to those who participated.

The short online survey only takes about 7-10 minutes.

Here is the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CHURCHnCovidinKenya

We appreciate your valuable feedback.

Notice: Change of (Blog) Domain Name

Dear My Blog Followers,

I am glad that you chose to “Follow” this site for inspirations, viewpoints, sermons, and encouragements, etc (despite its imperfections). Some of you have been here for over F-O-U-R Y-E-A-R-S. I really appreciate. I hope you have learned something…

You must have noted the change of the domain name from http://www.prcheboi.wordpress.com  to shahidihub.com The name has only changed but we haven’t. The Swahili” word “Shahidi” means ‘Witness.’ The site will continue to be A HUB of WITNESS.

Currently, we are in the process of revamping this site to make it even BIGGER and BETTER! Due to some ongoing upgrades, the site will have visible changes in the next few weeks. So kindly stay put. If you have already subscribed to this site, note that the changes will not affect your subscription. You will still be receiving the blog posts in your inbox.

Thank You.

The Kind of People Who Inherit God’s Promises 

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PhotoCredit: Supercoloring

Joshua 14:6-15

God has laid out an inheritance before his people but not all will possess that possession. Many are called but few are chosen. What kind of people eventually qualify for God’s inheritance/blessings? This topic will be briefly handled within the context of ancient Israel inheriting the Promised Land; specifically looking at the life of Caleb. It is only Caleb and Joshua who left Egypt and transitioned to the Promised Land, the rest of his generation perished in the wilderness and a new generation had come up. What kinds of people “eat the best of the land” (Isa 1:19). What kind of people do we ought to be, for us to inherit God’s promises?

The kind of people who inherit the blessings of God /people to put on the watch list:

People who Firmly Trust the Word of God (v6)- Caleb remembers the word that the Lord spoke through his servant Moses forty years earlier. For all these years, Caleb hid God’s word in his heart, waiting for its revelation, like Simon patiently waiting for the consolation of Israel (Lk. 2:25).

In his short speech, he repeatedly refers to the word that the Lord spoke. God’s promise for his life was never weakened by age or delay. Caleb longed for its fulfillment. He lived with hope for the great day of fulfillment of the word spoken by the Lord. They that hope/ trust upon the Lord shall have their strength renewed. Caleb treasured God’s word for over 40 years; it God’s word that made him stand out in his generation.

  • People who have Personal Convictions (v7)- Caleb and Joshua had a solid conviction based on God’s word. Caleb speaks of his conviction in this verse. Conviction is a firm believe/strong persuasion; it is the feeling of being sure that what you believe or say is true. Caleb had a strong conviction on God’s promises. He is like Joseph (Gen. 39:9), and Daniel (Dan. 3:17,18), Paul (2 Tim. 1:12) in the Bible. You can only overcome the world, peer pressure and temptations by developing conviction based on the word of God. We need people who believe that they can be patient and get rewarded in the end; people who believe they can build wealth through hard work, and not gambling.
  • People who Wholeheartedly Follow God (v8)- Caleb was committed and consistent. When the ten spies brought reports that “made the hearts of the people melt with fear,” Caleb and Joshua chose to give an encouraging report based on the word of God.
  • Caleb wholly followed God. When the assembly of God’s people feared to walk according to God’s plan, Caleb stood firm. He followed God despite opposition. He endured threats, insults, and prejudices. In fact, he was almost stoned by the people (Num 14:10). It is possible to follow God but not wholeheartedly. King Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord but not wholeheartedly, 2 Chronicles 25:2.

What does to “wholly follow God” mean?

  • Submissive to the will of the Lord. He kept his heart pure.
  • Resting upon the word of God as clear and authoritative in matters of belief and practice.
  • Laying hold of the promises of God as certain.

Caleb followed God with determination. Clearly, that was not easy; especially when the people were complaining against their leaders and the people turning to idolatry in Mt. Sinai.

As a result of wholeheartedly following God, he was rewarded. Hebron, therefore, became an inheritance for Caleb. God rewards his faithful followers and honors those who honor him. He rewards obedience.

People who are courageous and strong- (v10-15)

In verse 2, Caleb demands to be given the inheritance according to the promise. He claims still able to dislodge the Anakites in their large and fortified cities. He is still able to task. He does not request the conquered regions, but a piece of the fight will be alright with him. He requested not the easy deal but the harder one! Today, we need people who know and have the courage to claim their possessions.

Be courageous to hold on to your convictions. Be courageous to swim upstream in the contemporary world. Be courageous to stand by the truth even when you are the minority.

Caleb was a man of courage. It is him who led the opposition against the ten (bad news) reporters. When the people of Israel wanted to pack and go back to Egypt, Caleb and Joshua had a rough time reminding them of God’s promises. Courage is not being insensitive/unaware of pending dangers. It is not the absence of fear, rather a deliberate strength and determination to move forward no matter what.

Caleb braved himself out when others proved to be traitors. This courage sprang from the faith he had in God. God wants Joshua to be strong and courageous to be able to lead the people into the Promised Land, Joshua 1:6. Joshua’s strength and courage came from meditating on the word of God, believing its promises, and obeying its precepts. This was the counsel Moses had given to all the people (Deut.11:1-9).

It is never enough to have convictions in life; it should be coupled with courage.

We need the courage to confess Christ in every place we go, and in every situation we find ourselves. Doing God’s will requires courage.

Courage has been summed up in the following words: “I must obey God’’

Our greatest enemy today is cowardice, life’s battle needs courageous people. Always be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. The kingdom of God as we know shall be taken over by the violent; it is for those who take it by force.

In Conclusion, Ephesians 1, we are instructed that we have an inheritance in God; ensure you are positioned to inherit this promise. The first inheritance is salvation.

Promoting God's Kingdom in Africa through Research, News Perspectives, and Publication