The work in Kenya is growing. In both in its spread and depth. This is due to concerted efforts to grow the number of trained-trainers for the programme, and, importantly, in relationship with key theological colleges. A new partnership is with Bishop Hannington Institute of Theology and Development (BHI) and BUILD Partners caught up with Ben Kibara after the recent, initial training of first year students there.
Ben, why Mombasa as a centre for training?
Mombasa is a very strategic centre for BUILD training. BHI is based there and exists to train individuals for ministry in the East African Church. Its mission statement is, “Equipping and empowering the people of God for transformative leadership”. The college is led by the Rev. Martin Olando as Principal, who has been a close friend over the years. And the main target dioceses of the college include Mombasa, Malindi, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Kitui, Kajiado and Garissa. These dioceses cover the eastern and coastal region of Kenya, a new region of the Anglican Church of Kenya for BUILD.
What are the plans for the training there?
The plan is to equip all first years, both at certificate and diploma level. The training program is implemented through a one week intensive every semester. That means all new students will have an opportunity to go through four intensives, covering the first four modules of BUILD. This not only builds a strong biblical foundation for their theological learning (BHI is deliberately putting the intensives at the beginning of each semester), it helps in their formation for their future ministry, and it equips them to pass on BUILD learning to others.
You have trained so many different groups, what struck you most about this cohort?
The Mombasa cohort is very unique and has a huge potential for identifying and developing faithful leaders who can train others in the region. We had 6 female and 19 male participants. The diocesan representation was as follows: Mombasa (8), Kitui (7), Taita Taveta (3), Makueni (2), Machakos (1), Malindi (1), Nambale (1), Maseno North (1), Kisii (1). Thirteen of the 26 were between the ages 22 – 25; seven between 26 – 30; and only five participants were older than 30. The age range gives a good indication of the potential of this cohort to train more leaders from their dioceses for many years ahead, and that they are representative of a young, growing population. The participants went right ahead and identified potential leaders they are intending to train back in their churches.
What were the outcomes of this initial training?
The main outcome was the induction and orientation of the new students beginning of their life in a theological college. The training provided a solid biblical foundation by emphasising the importance of keeping the bible central in ministry, together with the need to correctly understand, explain and apply the gospel. The training also addressed the challenge of the lack of faithful leaders who can train others, and the call to persevere with gospel ministry despite the enormous challenges they face.
Participants went through Pastoral Epistles and, remarkably, for the first time the majority of them completed a single reading of a book of the bible and had the opportunity to encounter individual passages from those books in depth, which was an eye-opener for them. (The other students in the college wondered why they hadn’t been given an opportunity to go through such a programme!) The Principal assured all the new students that the program will take place every semester so that they can be thoroughly equipped as workers who correctly handle the word of truth.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
There is are huge benefits in BUILD partnering with theological colleges. We are able to challenge students to keep scriptures and its gospel central in their ministry. And a college is an excellent ground to get committed trainers who will be able to then train others.
Thanks Ben. Integrating different patterns of training has always been an essential part of BUILD’s vision and it is wonderful to see that becoming a reality, and such a productive one.