Kenya is a rich and diverse country: rain forest in the west; Mount Kenya (5199m) in the central highlands, desert-like conditions in the northeast and tropical beaches along the eastern coast of the Indian Ocean. Besides its varied geography, there is also a great diversity between urban and rural areas. Nairobi, the capital and largest city, is very cosmopolitan. Other major cities are Mombasa, Nakuru, and Kisumu.
There are dozens of tribes in the country with the more populous ones being the Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kamba, Kalenjin and Maasai people, each with their own language and culture. Kiswahili is the national language and English is the official language. Government schools, colleges and universities are required to teach in English. Many Kenyans speak at least three languages. Kenyans are a very gracious and social people who show great hospitality.
To the glory of God, reach the unreached, equip the Church.
To the glory of God, the vision of SIM Kenya is for the Church in Kenya to be
- multiplying and growing in spiritual maturity particularly among the Cushitic, Swahili, and Asian peoples. Christians are spurring one another on to have a greater understanding and application of God’s Word as they reach out to the unbelievers in their community
- shepherded by gifted and well trained pastors and leaders as Christians show gracious love, advocate justice and give hope to youth and marginalized people in their community
- vigorously engaged in gospel outreach across Kenya and around the globe, equipping and supporting Kenyan missionaries throughout the world
In our desire to be instruments God will use to accomplish His will, SIM Kenya missionaries are primarily aligned with one of four ministry teams. While each person belongs to one of these ministry teams, our desire is that there be much cross-team cooperation.
Team 1: Missionaries working alongside Kenyan churches, partnering with them to augment what they are doing in areas of children, youth, women, Muslim evangelism and discipleship, and HIV & AIDS all join together to form the CHURCH FOCUS MINISTRY TEAM. This team currently includes:
- Children at Risk: networks those working with children who are at a higher risk to succumb to drugs, prostitution and crime, focusing primarily on those children from one of the many slums found in Nairobi. Children at Risk provides networking, conferences and training for those working with children at risk, as well as camps for the children themselves.
- DORCAS: a ministry that empowers in several dimensions pastors’ wives and other women church leaders ministering in the slums of Nairobi and its environs.i. spiritually, to be able to minister alongside their husbands when called upon to do so, ii. socially, to be able to courageously deal with the social challenges they encounter. iii. economically, to be able to help supplement the family income through small-scale businesses. Once these leaders are trained, they use the platform of the church and other social gatherings to pass on to others what they have learned. Dorcas Ministries has also embarked on a mentoring programme that encourages teenage girls in high schools to become positive role models among their peers.
- Life Challenge Africa (LCA): an SIM resource and development service that seeks to promote Muslim evangelism through the provision of seminars and training materials. LCA’s aim is to challenge and enable the African Christian to present the Gospel to Muslims in a sensitive, understandable and informed manner. Staff members work with church groups, individuals and para-church organizations to achieve this aim.
- Sports Friends: seeks to mobilize and train church leaders and church planters how to use sports as both evangelistic and discipleship tools to engage the youth and see/help them grow in Christ. This ministry is geographically focused along the coast, northeastern and northern Kenya.
- HIV & AIDS: a ministry that equips the church to help reduce the HIV infection rate and to minister to those living with HIV & AIDS. Although most people in Kenya know something about HIV their knowledge is often incorrect and their attitudes often result in prevention work being undermined. This team provides updated, accurate information about HIV & AIDS through workshops and seminars in most regions of Kenya to reduce ignorance and fear and also skills training to lessen the impact of the epidemic.
- Youth: According to a recent government census, youth (ages 15-34) constitute 35.39% of total population of Kenya and 78% of the current population is 34 years old and under. Our Youth ministry is a relatively new ministry of SIM Kenya that seeks to equip the church to impact this vulnerable group for Christ. Presently our goal is being fulfilled through discipleship programs and teaching and training in Life Skills. We hope to see this ministry develop as more missionaries with a passion for the youth join the team.
Team 2: SIM Kenya is specifically focusing on pastoral nomads, Borana, Coastal Swahili and Asian populations for evangelism and discipleship. These groups do not currently have sustainable churches. The missionaries involved in this work make up the OUTREACH FOCUS MINISTRY TEAM.
Team 3: The INSTITUTIONAL FOCUS MINISTRY TEAM includes those missionaries working for an institution where SIM is helping, but not directly responsible for setting mission, vision or strategy. These include primary schools, missionary kid (MK) schools, theological schools and hospitals:
- African International University (AIU), formerly Nairobi Evangelical School of Theology, Moffat Bible College and Nairobi International School of Theology; Scott Christian University, formerly Scott Theological Seminary: These institutions provide theological degrees of various levels. By investing in these schools through provision of teachers, SIM brings a mission-focus to the teaching as well as equipping the Church through educating Christians who are potential Church leaders.
- Ark School: this ministry was started by three Kenyans with a passion to reach the Boranas and assisted by missionaries and staff from Life Challenge Africa. The school is located in the Nairobi slum of Kariobangi in the midst of a Borana community. While the school brings good education to primary students that would not otherwise receive an education, even more exciting is the transformation it is effecting within the community. People are coming to Christ. Women are being taught English, Bible and tailoring skills. There is an infectious hope that is spreading.
- AIC Kijabe Hospital: A ministry of the African Inland Church, Kijabe Hospital is known throughout Kenya and beyond for its excellent care. Amazingly, God has made it the hospital of choice for Somalis both in Kenya and Somalia. SIM missionaries are very involved in equipping the Kenyan church for gospel healthcare ministry at Kijabe. Priorities include developing Christian African doctors and healthcare professionals to serve as leaders in their communities, and equipping African believers for cross-cultural ministry in their own setting.
- Rift Valley Academy: One of the world’s largest MK (missionary kid) boarding schools, RVA is full of unreached people – the next generation. SIM missionaries are involved in dorm parenting, teaching and disciplining the ministers of tomorrow.
- Tumaini Counseling Center: Through licensed psychologist and psychiatrists, Tumaini provides counseling services, as well as educational testing for children, to missionaries throughout Eastern Africa
Team 4: Serving all of the above is our SUPPORT FOCUS MINISTRY TEAM. These missionaries, based in Nairobi, are responsible for finances, member care, personnel and team leadership. In addition, SIM Kenya’s SIMPact program for missionaries serving for shorter lengths of time is well known for its focus on mentoring SIMPacters and providing training to the Kenyan ministries with which we serve.
Learn more on the SIM Kenya website here.
SIM’s Partner Church
SIM Kenya works closely with the Africa Inland Church (AIC) as we have for 25 years. The AIC is the largest Protestant denomination in Kenya and, with a major emphasis on evangelism, is growing. SIM also partners with other churches and Christian organizations who are already serving in areas where we minister. Where there are no partners, we seek out like-minded organizations to consider joining us in new work. SIM Kenya pursues and cultivates collaborative partnerships in order to be as effective as possible in outreach and discipleship.
History of Christianity
The first Protestant mission to Kenya was the Church Missionary Society. Its pioneer, John Krapf, arrived in 1844. He remained after the death of his wife and child to establish a work that has grown to become the Anglican Church of Kenya, with more than 1,000,000 adherents. The British Methodists arrived in 1862 and established a work that also continues today. In 1891, the Scottish Presbyterians began work that established the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.Africa Inland Mission (AIM) arrived in 1895 under the direction of the mission’s founder, Peter Cameron Scott. The work began in the coastal city of Mombasa with a party of seven missionaries. Scott and five others died, and the one remaining man returned home. A few years later, a second attempt was made, and an inland station was opened at Nzawi. Out of this labor the Africa Inland Church (AIC) was formed in 1943. Today, the AIC has more than 1,000,000 members.
Much of Kenya is open to the Gospel. The church has complete freedom to evangelize and has experienced rapid growth over the past 20 years. Young people are especially open today. However, there are ethnic groups who have not yet responded to God’s love and forgiveness, and SIM is reaching out to them.
The majority of Kenya’s unreached people groups follow Islam or some form of traditional religion. There are also Hindus of Asian descent. All of these are dispersed geographically throughout Kenya and they vary in their culture and language. Several groups have no written language. There is freedom of religion in Kenya.