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One reason among others that killed the East African revival in the 70s was the thinking that it was a way to break away from the main denominations to start Pentecostal denominations. It was strongly believed that God’s intention was for this revival to sweep the whole of Kenya until every people group in Kenya hear the Gospel, and then spill to the neighboring countries like Somalia, etc. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Esther Ngure

No mission vision

This revival was said to have started in Rwanda, through Uganda but died in Kenya. Many Pentecostal denominations were started where the mainland denominations had existed but the places where the white missionaries had not reached remained unreached while other places were taken over by mere religiosity. On the other hand, the white missionaries did not encourage the East Africans to go as missionaries to the tribes that had not been reached with the Gospel. Even many para-church organizations that came into these regions became caught up into this approach. They focused more on being good citizens instead of going to reach the unreached people tribes. Today, Kenya remains a country where there are still unreached people groups.

East Africa as a region has benefited so much from the early missionaries who brought education, development and also started denominations. It was said that every mission organization that came from the West brought their denominations, and so when the revival came, people got the mentality that they too could start their own denominations. The missionaries built schools and attached them to their denominations; and they rewarded every person who attended school.
The mentality many had became that of gain after attending church or school hence they ended up embracing religion not Christ. Though the Church in this region seems to be blossoming, it remains shallow in the knowledge of Christ. The Church is activity oriented, but with no life.

Dire need of Revival

The work in EHA region which consists of Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Somaliland, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti started in 1999 but remains slow in growth. In spite of having many denominations, we are not deep in the knowledge of Christ who is the owner of the work.
As a region, we have labored and invested among the unreached people groups and in churches for many years but we cannot see tangible fruits. This is because the oil has dried. This shows that there is great need for revival, not revival of denominations but a revival of power that will sweep many into the kingdom. This must start with us missionaries. We have to go beyond just activities but go deeper in the knowledge of Christ who is the owner of the work. We need to come out of our denominational orientations and be both Christ-oriented and Christ centered in life and service.

Esther Ngure, a CAPRO Missionary, writes from Kenya. She may be reached at estherngure@yahoo.com

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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