July 18, 2019

Pastoral Care in Kenya

Pastoral Care in Kenya

Pastoral care is an important part on NationsUniversity’s mission. In January 2019 representatives from NationsUniversity participated in a pastoral care conference in Kisumu, Kenya. NationsUniversity asked the participants, all of them church leaders, to complete an informal survey regarding material and spiritual outlooks.

The most surprising result of the survey is that almost 1 in 5 church leaders feel it is acceptable to visit a traditional spiritual leader (or witchdoctor) before visiting a Christian leader and that ancestor worship is permitted by scripture.

This illustrates the need to teach church leaders sound biblical doctrine and truth.

The following conclusions summarize the responses to multiple-choice questions and those providing for written opinions.

  1. Most have a Protestant work ethic and responsibility for their individual contributions.
  2. All are greatly concerned about food security.
  3. Most participants have a biblical worldview of individual property ownership.
  4. All believe that corruption is an impediment to economic growth.
  5. Most understand the dichotomy of ancestral worship and Christian tenets.
  6. There is general excitement to begin the transformation presented by the speakers.
  7. There was particular interest in the potential of technology for improving work and living standards in Kenya’s future.

Societal Ethics

The following questions and statements were included to understand the societal ethics that define the culture and influence participants’ beliefs about the role of government and economic-system preference. Behaviors (the ways things are done) and artifacts (symbols like buildings, uniforms, mission statements) are the smaller and observable elements of culture.

These generate from the much larger and unobservable conscious contracts and norms (the rules and procedures governing social interaction) and implicit assumptions (of the human condition and relationship to the environment) (Cameron, 2011, Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture). An iceberg illustrates the comparative size and importance, as seen in the respondents’ answers to the following.

6. What is the most significant inhibitor to wealth and prosperity in Kenya? Three-quarters of respondents blame corruption as the cancer manipulating man against his fellow man and robbing the country of wealth and prosperity. This answer is supported by eighty percent of respondents who answered similarly to question 19—what is the greatest threat to Kenya’s economic and cultural future?

11. What role does God play in your business plan? Almost everyone gave Him a prominent role. If so, why the tolerance for the implicit assumption of poverty and the societal norm of corruption? How is this dichotomous?

23. I understand that Christianity is the only true religion. Everyone agreed with this statement. However, one-third disagreed with the statement—“ancestral worship is not biblical” (statement 26). And almost 30% disagreed with the statement of question 27—“salvation offer by God cannot be earned through faithful adherence to ancestral traditions or through staying on good terms with the community.” Dichotomy again! Will our “jealous” God tolerate such belief (Exodus 20.5)?

28. Ninety percent of respondents agree with this statement —“God is transcendent (God exists apart from and is not subject to the limitations of the material universe). And 97% with the similar statement of 29: “God knows everything and nothing is hidden from him, including our actions (He is omniscient).” Since He knows our actions and is unlimited, why do Kenyans manipulate their fellowman through corruption, yet believe that Christianity is the only correct belief?

The seeming dichotomy of the social ethic may explain the desire for a greater governmental role in economic affairs. This desire for a “policeman” is the proper role of God and His righteousness. How can the church encourage Jesus-followers to stridency in resisting the corrupt ethic leading to poverty when the culture accepts corruption as normal?

NationsUniversity will continue to work towards better pastoral care and improving the lives of church leaders through education.

Pew Research findings: Kenyans worried about economy and corruption, but optimistic for the future

Here is more about the conference in Kisumu, Water Hyacinth in Kisumu