It’s just over a year now since Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the Diocese of Butere, Kenya, and we were delighted to be invited to return to help facilitate a further two training conferences this year. Once again the conferences were packed out, with 225 leaders attending the first and 216 attending the second.
Team leader Revd Ben Beecroft reports:
“The Diocese has for 2 years prior to introducing RinJ already taught on the importance of small groups and has up to 1,000 already attending small groups with leaders. Since RinJ was introduced the plan has been to transition these groups to become RinJ groups subject to training at a conference or through a 6 month group attendance.
“There were many testimonies of people coming to faith in Christ through the RinJ groups, returning to faith, deepening of prayer life, increased commitment to church, increased giving and behavioural change, which is all very encouraging. Clear commitment to the conferences was evident, full engagement with the sessions and a spiritual hunger to grow.
“Many were experienced in prayer & responded very well to opportunities to participate in many styles of prayer- individually sitting or standing, kneeling at the front, praying in 3’s, praying together and in silence, coming forwards for team members to pray for them. Healing ministry was modelled and healings were witnessed during the workshops in both weeks. I counted it a great privilege to lead the RinJ team and to minister to this Diocese. I felt we all gave of our best and were able to respond to the promptings of the Spirit as well as to deliver the course material. It was a precious time.”
An insider’s view
Rooted in Jesus is overseen within the diocese by Revd Capt Benjamin Kibara, the Diocesan Executive Secretary for Mission & Ministry Training. There are now 271 established groups across the diocese, and a further 154 will start as a result of the recent conferences. Benjamin writes:
“The impact has already been felt in many ways. We have seen the Lord using the Rooted in Jesus groups to bring hope and transformation. This resource is indeed a gift from God. In the course of the year, many people came to know the Lord through the RinJ groups. Broken relationships in families were restored. There was increased commitment and engagement from RinJ members in church activities. Giving in churches has gone up tremendously in parishes that have engaged actively in the groups. Many gave testimonies of healing that occurred, especially during the conference prayer ministry time. I was encouraged by the way 110 high school boys have demonstrated maturity in schools due to their learning from RinJ groups.”
The proof of the pudding – Jesus changes lives
Many of those who have led Rooted in Jesus groups over the last year gave their testimonies to Benjamin at the conferences. Here’s what some of them said about their own lives:
I learned to lead and share God’s Word with my small group, something I had not done before.
I have known Christ deeper as I lead the group, especially through the memory verses
My life has changed by knowing who Jesus is and by being rooted in him
After the prayer lesson, I have seen God answering my prayers
I have been able to repent and experience God’s forgiveness
Much energy has been pumped into my spiritual life
My life has completely changed due to breakthrough in my prayer life
The group has made me strong spiritually and has empowered me to pass many temptations through prayer
I am now involved in the preaching program of my church
My husband has turned to Christ and is now a committed Christian
This what they said about their groups:
The fellowship, sharing and love among the group members has grown deeply
Group member’s lives have changed. They are humble, kind and loving to each other
My group members have been filled with the Holy Spirit
Some members were drunkards but now their lives have changed completely
The members have become more prayerful, not only in the group but also privately.
Members have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal saviour
I have witnessed transformation especially with two men who were drug addicts and now they have surrendered their lives to Christ
Members are now committed to regularly coming to church
And about their churches:
The church has become very active with members who have a desire to pray, fellowship and study the Bible
There is peace and love in church due to the Rooted in Jesus groups
The number of people in church has increased
The giving in church has increased
There is demonstration of gifts of the Holy Spirit in the church
Lay readers that were lapsed have come back to church and are now actively engaged in service.
Not lost in translation
Rooted in Jesus is translated into the major local languages in each place, so that group members may develop their faith in their own mother tongue. In Butere Rooted in Jesus is used in Swahili, Luhya and English.
The long term aims of Rooted in Jesus are:
1. Changed lives, changed churches, changed communities
2. Ordinary lay Christians equipped for ministry as disciples of Jesus
3. Key people raised and trained for future leadership within the Church
4. Political and social stability through the growth of informed and committed Christian
Last year Bishop Timothy Wambunya observed that those attending the conferences “seem to have embraced or understood this Rooted in Jesus training, and they seem more determined to go forward and share it with other people, which we haven’t seen before in any of the other courses that we have done – and we have done many other courses! This Rooted in Jesus seems to be the one that has finally helped us turn that corner.” A year on, his assessment has proved correct. Due to the growth of the groups, the six archdeacons have been asked to act as coordinators for the programme in their areas, and Bishop Timothy and Benjamin hope to introduce Rooted in Jesus Junior to the diocese next year. They ask for our prayers.
How you can help
We are currently running a major appeal to help us continue to support Rooted in Jesus in places like Butere where it is already in use, and to enable us to introduce it to places where we have been invited to go for the first time. If you would like to help us do this please visit our Appeal page, or make a donation here:
Posted by Alison Morgan 14th September 2018