The Next Big Thing
Innovation for the Gospel in Kenya
Big things are happening in Kenya! In the last decade, Kenya has rapidly become a leader in technology and urbanization for the continent of Africa. Although only 30% of Kenya’s population currently lives in cities, projections show that the urban population will be nearly 50% by 2033, and quadrupled by 2045. (statistics found here and here)
Technology usage and growth corresponds with urbanization. More than 80% of all adults are mobile phone users, and the smartphone market is increasing by leaps and bounds. (statistics found here)
OneHope, an organization that reaches more than 100 million children and youth with the Gospel globally each year, hopes to utilize Kenya’s leadership in technology and innovation. Rob Hoskins, OneHope’s President, noted the need to use new approaches to reaching Kenya’s children and youth.
“Innovation is a must. In order to communicate the Gospel, the African Church has realized that they must utilize progressive communication avenues such as literacy and educational programs, the Internet, radio, and television. They are willing to adapt and craft messages full of truth that contextually resonate with the young people they are trying to reach by packaging it in a relevant and generative way.”
Philip Mungai, OneHope’s Regional Director for East Africa, said, “Churches are growing so fast that we are constantly in need of trained leaders and resources — both administrative and material. There is a great need to step up evangelism, discipleship, and spiritual growth. It would be best if we could provide online opportunities in Kenya–and Nairobi specifically. Evangelization and discipleship are growing more difficult because of the decreased mobility within the city due to traffic jams and in some cases lack of transport.”
The research supports Mungai’s statement. Overall, Kenyan churches surveyed emphasize the need to disciple children and youth and on developing youth leadership. In a country where nearly two-thirds of the population are under that age of 24, that’s a big need. Churches surveyed expressed that training for volunteers and staff is their greatest need, and a lack of resources as the largest obstacle.
The good news is that about seven million children and youth are currently being reached by the Gospel each year through local churches. Of that seven million, 13% are first-time interactions between the church and the youth they are reaching. About 70–80% of the total population identify as Christian. In the last two years, churches reported more growth than decline overall in their children and youth ministries.
Daily, new tools and resources are being created to reach Kenyan children and youth using technology and innovation to share the Gospel. One such tool is the Bible App for Kids, a free app that features major stories of the Bible and takes kids on a journey through the Scripture. You can download the Bible App for Kids on the App Store, Google Play, or Amazon for free!
For more information on the needs, challenges and connection points for sharing the Gospel in Kenya to children and youth, we recommend downloading the full report Kenya: Connecting with the Next Generation.
WellConnected is an initiative of OneHope, and is a gathering place for children and youth ministers to access resources, research, and content to raise up the next generation. It’s a collaborative platform to equip leaders and influencers to effectively reach the kids in their communities. We invite churches and ministers to join one another in coming up with innovative solutions for today’s realities. We are continually learning and growing from each other — sharing knowledge, insight, and best practices.