“This isn’t a want; it’s a need.” That’s what host pastor Stephen Karanga said when he met Austin Kettel and me at the Nairobi airport on November 30. “Reaching and building men is a desperate need here in Kenya.”
Kenyan churches, like many countries, suffer from a lack of men. Congregations generally only have 20% men, and one of our host pastors said that men totaled only 10% of his congregation.
But men, pastors, and church leaders (including women) from 25 churches attended the three conferences in two Nairobi neighborhoods.
We were busy! Our first Friday, Austin and I spoke and listened to youth leaders at Hope Redeemed Church in Kasarani. Saturday and Sunday, we conducted a Men of Valor Conference at Uthiru Assemby Church, and then returned for an MOV Pastors and Church Leaders’ Conference on Wednesday and Thursday. Then from Friday to Sunday, I spoke at a third conference at Redeemed Gospel Church in Boroboro.
Dropped transportation, miscommunication, traffic jams, and a public transportation strike repeatedly interrupted the speaking schedules. Yet, our team provided 16 MOV teaching sessions to laymen, pastors, and church leaders; two sessions for youth ministry leaders; one for youth. We also spoke in four church services and one prison service in the ten days. None of these happened in the planned timing, but all in the Lord’s.
The second conference in Kenya with church leaders included a round-table discussion on why men are important, why men don’t come to church, and what every man wants. This gathering also included a strategy session – where we helped the leaders decide what their churches could do, together and separately, to address real issues in their communities. Then we challenged them to develop an aligning vision for their men, to which they could teach and train their men for battle, and achieve the vision. The men, pastors, and church leaders conveyed intense commitment in these conferences ‒ commitment to rebuild relationships, return to a place of leadership in their homes, reach out to other men, and start ministries to men.