Some Thoughts After Kenya

It’s been three weeks since my return to the States; having been in Kenya the last half of August. I had been invited to teach at a pastor’s conference in the northwest part of Kenya. About fifty pastors from mostly rural Kenya attended. The conference theme was: “On Being a Pastor”. What a joy it was to meet, converse, and train pastors who want to be faithful to their calling. Most of the men had little to no training. As it was put to me, in Kenya, “a young man comes to Christ and six months later he is planting and pastoring a church.” I hope that is an exaggeration. It was clear, however, that most of these men had precious little training. And what I soon discovered, is that though they pastored churches many miles from one another, they shared a common mentor. The mentor who trained them was American Christian television—mostly the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). The “health/wealth” theology broadcasted from here had found “itching ears” there. I was saddened and grieved to listen to men who wanted a “church like that”; thinking that the theology they heard and the extravagance portrayed was what they were to pursue. When promises of health are given to a nation ravaged by malaria, typhoid fever, AIDS, and so on—it finds receptive ears. When promises of wealth are given to a nation poor and destitute; it finds receptive ears, too. How tragic that a theology in America that feeds our materialism has also found a home in Africa that feeds their poverty. At the pastor’s conference, we wanted our Kenyan brethren to know that there is better model to emulate then the one they see portrayed on television. We left Kenya with the hope that they heard a different model; asking them to look more to the Scriptures and less to the ones on TV who seem to champion success more then faithfulness.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
September 24, 2010

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