Strengthening National Alliances and the Local Church in Kenya
1. Introduction and Background This project is set in the context of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK), the umbrella body for all evangelical churches and organizations. Currently membership of the Alliance is estimated at 48,000 congregations nationwide and about forty (40) para-church organizations. This number is at least a third of the total national population estimated at forty (40) million people. Evangelical churches in Kenya occupy the lower end of the economic scale with majority of the members living below the poverty live on less that 1.25$ per day. With this vast number of members faced by poverty on a daily basis, the focus of EAK is directed towards empowering the members to respond to their daily needs as well as advocacy to political leadership of the day in pursuit of the God given mandate to raise a prophetic voice on behalf of the voiceless citizenry. The Alliance was set up in 1975 and grew to a major force on the national landscape. However there were management challenges that saw the alliance unable to operate and closed its doors. Almost a decade later, senior bishops came together and sought the assistance of Tearfund UK to rejuvenate the sleeping giant. In 2002 a new organization was born at a memorable event, a new board was elected and given the mandate to steer the great ship – EAK. With determination and eagerness these men set out to do just that. A full-time General Secretary was appointed in 2006 with a blueprint for the next five years, 2006 – 2010. The organization was set for an upward growth pattern. From the obscurity of a little known organization, EAK has been able to rise to a seat on the national table on matters of national concern. The Board then took a back seat and concentrated on growing their respective denominations, leaving a gap in terms of policy level management. Despite the raised national profile, EAK was not able to set up operational structures through which the communities and local churches would interact and give input. Hence EAK has remained an ivory tower organization, sadly disconnected from the members. Kenya is a secular state boasting of having an over 80% Christian population. Despite this, the expected effect has not been felt. This can be attributed to a silent church, silenced by the political class which has “bought out” some of the evangelical Christian leaders to gain their support. All is not lost; the church is awakening to her role as the evangelical churches engage the government in advocacy for pro-poor policy formulation and implementation. This is not without challenges, the most evident being lack of adequate information, capacity to react in a timely manner and rally members for development. Majority are still grappling with “why should the church be involved
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Posted : 2012-04-15 04:47:34 GMT
Author/Authors : Sophie Nyokabi
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