What happens when seed projects infuse the life of a local church? Rev. Meshack Okumu would say that the gospel comes to life in the neighborhood.
In a small way the church of Christ is impacting the community where God has placed her. As we train, we again and again see the church leadership begin to see the vision of God for the church.
One evidence? Seed projects that are “becoming part of the church life.” As believers see how issues are affecting their neighbors, they mobilize to meet these needs in the name of Christ. Rev. Okumu told of one session, in the Githurai Informal settlement of Nairobi, in which the pastor challenged his people to find ways to put to work what they had learned.
The men decided to do the “women’s work” of sweeping and washing the church. They also collected the garbage in front of their church compound in the community and visited with the neighbour of the church. Through this, they were able to build a rapport with the neighbours and one of them came to know the Lord.
Rev. Okumu is a graduate of Charles University Prague of the Czech Republic. After serving with The Sheepfold Ministries and then World Vision International (Kenya), he joined the faculty of Carlile College of Theology in 2004. The school trains and equips evangelists and pastors for wholistic ministry.
Rev. Okumu also works at the Centre for Urban Mission, overseeing a wholistic discipleship training program in the Kibera and Korogocho slums of Nairobi (with a population of over 700,000 people) for local pastors.
In 2003, Rev. Okumu took a group of 12 pastors with him to a Nairoibi training conference he had been encouraged to attend. It turned out to be his first DNA vision conference.
This vision conference impacted me so much. I was heading a programme in World Vision called Christian Impact and one of the struggles I had was on the integration of proclamation and deeds. The vision conference taught me on how to do that and I committed my life during this conference to do just that.
Rev. Okumu points to another story of fruitful ministry reported by Pastor Henry Okwaro.
After completing a Vision Conference in 2006, Pastor Henry began teaching the children in his Nairobi neighborhood how to read and write. Out of these early efforts, a kindergarten was born, which has since become a model of ethnic reconciliation!
Some of the worst post-election violence in early 2008 happened in the area of Pastor Henry’s church. Despite the ethnic violence and related security problems, the kindergarten has enrolled 56 children aged 3-8 years. Children from both ethnic groups in the neighborhood are together in the school, and their joint participation has given their families and the community members a picture of how to live together.
For such vigorous developments in wholistic church ministry, Rev. Meshack praises God. And he is grateful to people God has used in his life, including Dennis Tongoi. Dennis is Executive Director of Church Mission Society Africa and General Secretary of Samaritan Strategy Africa, the Africa affiliate of the Disciple Nations Alliance.
Dennis … did a Training of Trainers for me, then he mentored me and now I have been able to teach together with him in both Kenya and Tanzania. We have a number of trainers in Kenya and through their training the churches are now ministering in more practical ways.
Rev. Meshack and his wife, Rose, have five children from 12 years to three months in age.