The Rev. George Amimo envisioned training lay evangelists in the Diocese of Southern Nyanza, Kenya, with new evangelism techniques that respect the culture of the people. He believes that centralized training is necessary because parish priests are unable to make such training a priority. More importantly, he notes, Kenyan Christians have only ever been evangelized with a “colonizing gospel,” which teaches that once you become a Christian you must denounce your identity, culture, and even clan and become a child of God.
Amimo convened 90 participants in August 2023; 75 were evangelists and teachers, 10 were clergy and 5 were facilitating priests. Their days including teaching, small group work, meals and fellowship, and door to door evangelizing in the evenings. The underlying theme of all the training was how to respect and present God’s love to all people regardless of the cultural background, beliefs, tradition, and status in the society.
He was pleased with the turnout and participation. There were logistical challenges, including higher-than-expected turnout. Most significantly, he discovered that his ideas of an enculturated evangelism were challenging to a church with roots in colonialism. He believes it will take time, and more teaching, for the message to be accepted. He believes that an overall evangelism strategy must be adopted by the bishops and clergy, and supported by preaching, identifying those with gifts for evangelism, and more training. He believes that the enculturated model is what Jesus preached and taught. The grant work helped him envision a new direction for the church in Kenya.