Neopolis | east africa
The face of the church’s global mission is changing. Our world is more urban and more connected than ever before, making this a time for Christians to engage in trusting, thoughtful partnership. Ease of travel and communication makes direct pastor-to-pastor and church-to-church partnership not only possible but desirable. Additionally, God has always spread the gospel through local churches and church-planting, so we are energized to see the way he is raising up church-planters around the world.
The Neopolis Network exists to come alongside experienced pastors, church-planters and churches to help plant new churches, strengthen and renew existing churches, and to encourage and equip pastors and leaders—all in order to influence our world for Christ. We envision a chain of mutually enriching church partnerships that reaches around the globe.
In the city of Nairobi, with a population growing towards 4.5M, there is a massive need for the multiplication of gospel-driven churches that are led by faithful teachers of God’s Word. One estimate says that we need 1,000 new churches in Nairobi alone during the next generation in order to reach just 10% of the population.
In the summer of 2017 Neopolis leaders were introduced to Dr. John Jusu and his services were secured to serve as the Training and Leadership Coordinator for Neopolis East Africa. He will be responsible for training additional church planters who will plant more churches in Nairobi and other cities in East Africa. In addition to serving as a consultant to a major publisher in the United States, Dr. Jusu is engaged in Christian higher education in Nairobi. We are grateful for his experience and our partnership with him. In January 2018, Jon Dennis and Tommy Lee traveled to Nairobi and interviewed 11 church planters identified by Dr. John Jusu. Five church planters were chosen:
1. Harrison Mungai
2. Andy Matoke
3. David Mutiso
4. Dalmas Nzai
5. Paul Ogalo (currently the lead pastor of HTC | Mathare)
So far, the group has convened three times, in April, May, and June. At their first meeting, they collaboratively formed the following vision for the cohort: “a healthy gospel centered church within easy access of every person in each urban settlement in Kenya for the disciplining of the nations.”
Dr. Jusu’s training will involve the course manual, small group meetings and sessions with a mentor. The goal of the training is to provide training in context—that is, cohort members will learn church planting by doing church planting. This is a hands-on strategy of Action-Reflection-Action.
By God’s grace, these five individuals will have planted churches by the time the course is finished, learning as they go.
Additionally, through our partnership with Crossway, we are working to provide biblical resources to Kenyan and South African pastors through our local ministry partners. It would be difficult to overstate the need for gospel-resources in East Africa. Finding biblical resources to grow healthy churches in Nairobi is virtually impossible. While there are church planting ‘powerhouse’ churches in Nairobi, most have a pragmatic or prosperity gospel paradigm. T.D. Jakes and Joel Osteen materials are easy to find. The need for sound biblical resources is great.
To start meeting this need, we are putting together 1,000 Pastor Starter Kits with five books and a study Bible—each of which were suggested by Kenyan partner Charles Karuri. The resources will be produced and distributed in country, with permission from Crossway Publishers. This summer, we are beginning the process to distribute 15,000 ESV Global Study Bibles.
We believe that there will be synergy between the church planting cohort and the resource distribution, in that the resource distribution will not only put needed resources in the hands of pastors (a worthy end in and of itself), but will also make a large number of pastors aware of Neopolis and the church-planting cohort run by Dr. John Jusu. By God’s grace, we hope to see the resources serve to drive interest in church planting.
interview with andy matoke
Can you share a bit about yourself?
My name is Andy Matoke: I am 35yrs old. I was born in Nyahururu in the central Province, Kenya. I am married to Lillian Wanjiru and we have just been blessed with a baby girl. I am outgoing, love to see things happen and love to think in order. I am passionate about the gospel ministry which is the main reason I went to Bible College. I work as the Bookstore manager in ACTS Bookstore situated in Africa International University (AIU).
Can you share your faith story?
I was not born in a Christian family. My family moved to Nanyuki from Nyahururu and it was during this time, that I happen to attend a church that was near our new home that I heard the gospel. I met the Lord in 1994. But it was not until I joined college in Nairobi and attended a youth camp that I got serious about my faith.
How did you decide that you wanted to go to pastoral ministry?
I was convicted by a passage in Matthew 9 which tells us that the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. Being in the IT field, I knew where I wanted to go. But I sensed a calling to go into pastoral ministry. My focus changed and I knew I needed theological training and solid biblical training. “If God’s word is what changes people, what I needed was God’s word”.
I joined Central Africa Baptist College and Seminary (CABC) to study Theology. By the time I graduated, I knew I wanted to be involved in preaching and teaching. Working in IT, helped me to be more organized, to trouble shoot, and understand the importance of teamwork. It was in this field that I also learned to ask questions. I now have graduated and have a Masters in Biblical Studies (MABS).
What made you consider church planting?
Being part of Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC) and seeing how church had become more serious with so many congregants, I realized that we needed more churches like this. I was in the visitors’ ministry at EBC and most of the visitors kept saying they hadn’t heard of such profound preaching. The visitors wished that there were more churches near them like EBC where they could attend. It was during this time I started considering planting healthy churches.
Can you share a bit about the area in Nairobi that you want to church plant?
In January 2018, together with a friend in EBC, we planted a church in Karen, Redeemer Church. We did a survey, and we found out that a church plant might be needed in Karen. I had Ngong area in my mind too which is also in need of a church. I am more of a community person, that is, where I can do door to door ministry and have a more close relationship with my neighbors as I share Christ. Karen is very private and members from this community are not too open to the community. It is mainly flooded with the international community and so has been a bit of a challenge. In the future I would love to plant a church in Ngong, in Kajiado County which is very close to the Nairobi County.
What is one lesson that God is revealing in your life right now about your own personal journey with him.
We were just blessed with a baby girl this week on Monday 30th April 2018. We named her Mishella, which mean “who is like God.” The Lord is teaching me that we as human being have little control. But in the business of life, I need to be careful not to forget who he is. He is the one in control. I am continually in awe of who he is and His Sovereignty.