Chapter 4 Urban, Progressive Melting Pots

In: Worship, Ritual, and Pentecostal Spirituality-as-Theology
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Martina Björkander
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Urban Kenya is alive with pentecostal-charismatic Christianity of all kinds. Its history of renewal is complex, the born-again community is diverse and dynamic, and the links are strong between churches and groups of this type. Progressive Pentecostals constitute an especially fascinating category with their combination of socio-political engagement and charismatic leaning in an urban, middle-class setting. Mavuno, an independent offshoot from Nairobi Chapel and a youth-oriented, innovative, and strategic player, provides us with an example of a church that utilizes music as wings to carry its members far and wide and connect them with secular society. Woodley, a semi-autonomous assembly within the citam denomination, and a multi-generational, highly structured church growing in classical pentecostal and revivalist soil, presents us with an example of music being utilized to root a church in history and connect them with the larger Christian community. Like most pentecostal-charismatic churches around the globe, both Mavuno and Woodley value worship as a key feature of liturgy and life, and their practice can serve as an entry point into a larger discussion of the role of worship in pentecostal spirituality and theology.

In this chapter, I briefly introduce the historical background of Pentecostalism in urban Kenya, especially focusing on the role of the two case churches and their respective church families within the charismatic community. Thereafter, I introduce Woodley and Mavuno, giving a short general presentation of each, and discuss their demographic and theological profiles. The chapter is followed by the Interlude, a section that complements this general introduction with detailed ethnographic vignettes centring around the practice of worship and praise in each church.

Readers are reminded of the bounded nature of case studies; descriptions and narrations in this book relate primarily to the way things were at the time of my fieldwork and I am well aware that changes can be both swift and profound. This is particularly true of statistics, and I do not claim to know how things are now, although the text is partially written in present tense.

1 Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya

Since independence, religion, and in particular Christianity, has had a special status in Kenyan society. For while the state is secular in the juridical sense, the society is still infused with religion. Kenya combines a “Western ideal of separation between religion and state” with “a de facto assertion of religious—primarily Christian—identity”1 into a complicated whole. Churches are key institutional players in politics, economics, education, health, and many other areas. Christian leaders are visible and well known in public life, and issues relating to religion, spirituality, and faith are often discussed in the media or referenced in popular culture. At the same time, the power of religious leaders is contested, atheism and secularism is on the rise, and global transformations affect institutions and individuals alike. To this picture can be added mobility and fluidity between geographical areas, with people moving from the countryside to the city (and sometimes back again), while retaining close links with family, culture, and church ‘back home’. This affects the way religion is lived and practiced, leading to mobility and fluidity in terms of religious belonging as well. Pentecostalism has thrived particularly well in urban centres, resulting in the vibrant—and at times highly contested—presence of pentecostal-type churches (and their music) on almost every corner of Kenyan cities.2

1.1 Historical Background

In a thoroughly researched historical study of renewal movements in urban Kenya, church historian and scholar of World Christianity, Kyama Mugambi, describes four phases of development and the resulting four types of pentecostal-charismatic churches in the country.3

The first phase was that of the Spirit-Roho churches,4 developing in the first half of the 20th century as a reaction against historic mission churches, which were thought too close to the colonial government and too foreign in terms of structure and ethos. These churches sought to form a Christianity that was more sensitive to the African worldview, more integrated in terms of spirituality, where African leadership could develop freely. They were developed along ethnic and linguistic lines and led by key leaders, often called prophets, who were known for their supernatural gifting. Communities like the Akurinu, the Africa Israel Church Nineveh, and Legio Maria belong to this group. The Spirit-Roho churches became important forerunners of later pentecostal groups in their openness to the Spirit, their adoption of innovative oral liturgy, their leadership structures, and their creative appropriation of Christianity by African culture.5

The second phase, comprising the revivalists and student movements,6 took place within the historic mission churches which, unlike the Spirit-Roho churches, did not develop their own independent structures. Beginning in the 1930s, the East African Revival spread from Rwanda across East Africa, greatly affecting the historic mission churches, to the point where, by “the 1970s the entire Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist national leadership, along with over 90 percent of the clergy, were Revivalists.”7 Among young people, a similar renewal took place within the student movements. Organizations such as focus and Kenya Student Christian Fellowship (kscf) gathered young people in schools and colleges, and became fertile ground for developing spiritual leaders. Within both movements, people gathered around the conversion experience, of which the testimony of being ‘saved’ was a vital component. Coinciding with the turbulent political times that preceded Independence, a surge in formal education, and intense urbanization, these movements offered a new unifying basis for kinship, resulting in communities of ‘saved ones’ that transcended ethnic and linguistic divides.8

In the third phase of renewal, beginning in the 1970s, the Newer Pentecostal Charismatic Churches (npcc) appeared on the scene,9 operating in a post-Independence era of dynamic change at all levels of society. Like many of their contemporaries in other sectors of society, they emphasized self-determination, entrepreneurship, and optimism, and thus offered Christianity as “a potent force in the individual’s circumstances.”10 Examples of churches in this group include Deliverance Church, Redeemed Gospel Church, Jubilee Christian Church, and Jesus is Alive Ministries. Again, charismatic leaders, both men and women, were instrumental in the growth of the renewal, and they formed churches that were independent of missionary control. Interestingly, many of the leaders came out of the student movements, bringing with them the importance of a conversion narrative and the idea of a multi-ethnic and multilingual community of the saved. However, they stressed the miraculous in a much more profound way and added elements of prosperity, physical wellbeing, hope, and victory to their understanding of what salvation entails. These churches became known for their large open-air meetings (crusades), their use of modern technology and media, and their informal approach to liturgy.11

The fourth phase of renewal began as a response to the political and economic turmoil of the 1990s, and the failure of other churches to address that situation in a way that was adequate to the needs of the growing urban, educated middle-class. For while earlier renewal movements had cast salvation in concrete, physical, and holistic terms, they had done so in a narrow, individualistic way and often failed to address social and political problems critically. Many within Kenyan Christianity disapproved of how money was handled in some of the npccs, and sought to correct the malpractices associated with the prosperity gospel. This led to the development of Progressive Pentecostal Churches,12 of which Nairobi Chapel, Christ is the Answer Ministries (citam), and Mavuno Church are all examples. “Going beyond individualist piety,” Mugambi says, this new group of churches “augment their application of the gospel with political awareness and a commitment to social transformation.”13 The Progressive Pentecostals retained some elements from earlier renewal movements: a holistic spirituality with an openness towards the metaphysical, an emphasis on conversion and the born-again community, oral forms of liturgy, and the central role given to the charismatic leader. At the same time they added new elements: transparency in finances, clear structures of governance, innovative systems to develop discipleship and leadership, and joint socio-political engagement. They are as entrepreneurial and creative as their predecessors in appropriating Christianity for African culture, but living and acting in a different time and context, and drawing slightly different conclusions.14

Some of these conclusions have to do with worship practices, which is why Mavuno and Woodley are intriguing cases in the context of this study. As examples of progressive, urban, contemporary, African Pentecostalism, their corporate worship can serve as a vantage point from which to examine the connection between music, spirituality, and theology.

1.2 One Charismatic Community, Two Influential Church Families

According to local pentecostal theologian Gideon Achieng, of the Pan African Christian University, the charismatic Christian community in Nairobi is “basically the same community.”15 Many people move between churches during their lifetimes and attend several churches on a regular basis. This picture is confirmed by social anthropologist Yonatan Gez in his study of religious mobility and religious repertoires in Kenya. He notes a general openness to mobility between Christian denominations and groups, and an especially strong bond between churches of a ‘born-again’ type, that is, churches and groups in which the three later phases of renewal described above more or less overlap.16

There are especially strong links between Mavuno and Woodley and their respective church families. Achieng describes how the Nairobi Baptist Church and Nairobi Pentecostal Church have historically “shared congregations,”17 with people going to the Baptist Church for good teaching and to the Pentecostal Church for good music. Leaders were regularly recruited across congregations18 and top-level leaders shared strong bonds of friendship. This “kindred relationship” at the leadership level “made them behave as if they were basically pastoring the same congregation.”19 Once the Nairobi Chapel appeared on the scene as an offshoot of Nairobi Baptist, a generational move between churches began. The parent generation would be members of Nairobi Baptist, while sending their kids to citam because of their children’s ministry; the children would stay there until they reached university and then move to the Nairobi Chapel group (including Mavuno) as young adults and young families. It remains to be seen if some of them will move back to citam or Nairobi Baptist once they grow older.20 At the time of my fieldwork, several of the leaders I met in Mavuno had grown up in Nairobi Pentecostal Church, or had taken part in citam’s children’s programs, and some still had their families there, even in Woodley. citam, in turn, was pondering the generational exodus and struggling to find a way to deal with it.21

citam, Nairobi Chapel, and Mavuno have all exerted considerable influence within the Christian community in Nairobi that extends far beyond their own congregations. Over the years citam has trained many young leaders who have later gone out to plant their own churches or serve in other denominations. The same goes for Nairobi Chapel; people who trained in their internship program have taken up leadership in churches and organizations alike. Today, Mavuno are well on their way to having an equally big impact through their own internship and discipleship programs.22

The two church families have also had a notable impact on Christian music and media in Kenya. Up until the end of the 20th century, Nairobi Pentecostal Church on Valley Road was “the most famous and the most populous of the Pentecostal and charismatic churches,”23 in Nairobi and therefore had vast influence. As early as the 1970s, npc Valley Road started a popular radio ministry that aired Christian music and gospel messages on national radio for three decades. The ministry grew until it had sixty programs a week in six different languages, which, since many featured services, indirectly formed a model for liturgical and musical practice around Kenya. This ministry later developed into what is now Hope fm, citam’s own radio station with 24-hour broadcasting and a nation-wide reach.24 In the 1980s and 90s, the npc’s eclectic approach to music—incorporating a diversity of styles from choral music and small ensemble numbers to Swahili choruses, contemporary worship, and spontaneous singing in the Spirit—became a role model for other churches. Their Christmas music productions, especially the Singing Christmas Tree, became trendsetters in the country.25

Equally influential, while in a different direction, were changes at Nairobi Chapel in the 1990s. By replacing the organ with drums and electric guitars and the hymnals with an overhead projector they were doing something new in Kenya at the time. Later becoming a staple in charismatic circles, the mixing of hymns and contemporary worship songs was radical and innovative at that point. Even more radical was the Nairobi Chapel’s experimentation with African beats and African dress and the fact that music was led by a band rather than a soloist or a choir.26 Mavuno has maintained this line of innovation, taking the church into the new millennium. From the outset, the church had a vast social media presence, regularly posting on Twitter and Facebook, broadcasting live on Vimeo, sharing photos on Flickr, and communicating via their website and a number of church blogs.27 In terms of musical styles, they have taken experimentation with African rhythms a step further, also including R&B, hip hop, reggae, and soul in their repertoire. They are especially famous for their ‘take-backs’, remixed pop-songs with Christian lyrics, pushing the boundaries for what can be considered church music in the first place. Through a range of initiatives, with the Mavuno Worship Project and the Groove Awards as major contributions, Mavuno has had a significant impact on the Kenyan music industry, mainstream and Christian alike.28

Having briefly described Pentecostalism in urban Kenya, its historical development and the place of the two case churches and their respective church families in the charismatic community, it is time to introduce the two churches more specifically.

2 Introducing Woodley and Mavuno

2.1 citam Woodley

npc Woodley was the first offshoot of the Nairobi Pentecostal Church (npc), located on Valley Road in central Nairobi. This was in 1993, and the new location in the Woodley neighbourhood, a few kilometres west of the city centre, was a strategic one. The npc already owned premises with a school which could be shared with a new church for the benefit of both. At first, open-air meetings were held in a large tent, but later a multipurpose hall was built, in addition to the offices and school buildings already on the grounds. The church began with a congregation of 100–150, of whom most were transfers from Valley Road, but some also came from Nairobi Baptist Church. By 2002 they gathered around 2,000 people,29 and when I did my fieldwork in 2014, the church had a weekly attendance of around 5,000, including children and young people. Formal membership is, however, much smaller.30

In the beginning, the relationship between the Woodley branch and the central church was not clearly defined, but as more ministries and assemblies were added, npc had to develop new structures. This resulted in a name change to Christ Is The Answer Ministries (citam), and a better defined governance structure. citam is now led by a Bishop, a Deacon Board, an Elders council, and a group of Trustees, all elected at the Annual General Meeting of members of the entire church.31 The Elders council, in turn, appoints pastors to each branch and these lead the day-to-day work of each assembly. Both men and women are allowed into pastoral leadership. citam is thus centrally governed—financially, administratively, and spiritually—within a democratic system. Local assemblies/branches are semi-autonomous and led by a Senior Pastor, together with a local advisory board consisting of elders and deacons. In 2013, citam had ten different branches, most in different parts of Nairobi, and several other ministries as well, organizing around 20,000 people in total.32 By 2017 weekly attendance figures were up to 30,000 in 18 local assemblies (including one in the US and one in Namibia).33 Indeed, it could soon be regarded as a denomination.34 citam Woodley is known among the branches for its comparatively youthful membership and vital music department, as well as for its ministry among children, families, and couples.35

citam’s vision is to “impact Kenya and the world at large with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit,”36 popularly put as “Transforming God’s people to transform the world.”37 Their target group is the English-speaking, urban, educated elite: people in leadership positions in the middle and upper classes. Through impacting this group, whom they see as “the opinion shapers” and “decision-makers”38 in society, they seek to impact society at large. In addition, they strive for a cosmopolitan membership, providing a church for the international community of Nairobi. The use of English as their main language mirrors this ambition, as does the deliberate choice of a repertoire from the Anglo-Saxon musical tradition. Sunday services follow the same pattern in all citam churches, as do other ministries like Christian education classes, Sunday school, prayer meetings, and the like.39

The ministry of the church is holistic in the sense of catering for the needs of all generations and all situations in life: “from the cradle to the grave,”40 as one of the leaders expressed it. In terms of doctrine, citam has summarized its faith into ten statements, confessing belief in the Bible as the Word of God, the Godhead as Triune, and Jesus Christ as the Saviour, Healer, and giver of the Holy Spirit, as well as in the baptism, fruits, and ministries of the Spirit.41 They situate themselves as a pentecostal and evangelical church and take their influences from classical Pentecostalism, mainstream Evangelicalism, and Neo-Pentecostalism.42

citam traces its history back to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (paoc), a classical pentecostal denomination with links to the Azusa street revival.43 The mother church, Nairobi Pentecostal Church, began in the 1950s as a small fellowship for Canadian missionaries, and only later developed into a church. Today citam has an entirely national leadership while still cooperating with paoc—in education, for example.44

2.2 Mavuno Church Bellevue

Mavuno Church began as a church plant in 2005 when the non-denominational megachurch, Nairobi Chapel, decided to split into five congregations and relocate along the major roads connecting greater Nairobi with the city centre. Mavuno, which means Harvest, was commissioned to reach the south-eastern side of the city, eventually moving into an abandoned drive-in cinema along Mombasa Road, where they put up a huge all-weather tent for the adult service and some smaller ones for other purposes. At the time of my fieldwork, they were about to move again, this time further south along Mombasa Road to the Athi River. The Mavuno Bellevue campus became the Mavuno Hill City campus.45 When Mavuno Church first started, they had around 400 attendees, adults and children, while in 2013 and 2014 when I visited them, they gathered around 4,000 adults, young people, and children on a Sunday at the Bellevue campus. They had also started several new campuses: five in the Nairobi area and five in other cities (Kampala, Blantyre, Kigali, Lusaka, and Berlin).

The initial group came from Nairobi Chapel, and it was only after the move to Bellevue that the church started to attract larger crowds, especially people in business, marketing, media, and the music industry. Their primary target group is young adults in the growing middle-class section of society: upwardly mobile, university-educated, and English-speaking. Members of this group are regarded as the key influencers of cultural change and therefore able to have a large impact.

Mavuno strives to form a church for “the un-churched, the non-churched, and the de-churched,”46 as one of their leaders expressed it. To reach this goal, they have formed a discipleship tool that they called the Mavuno Marathon,47 whereby people are led to faith and to maturity in faith through a series of classes. These classes are integrated with outreach events, services, life groups, and social initiatives into a total system,48 summarized in the mission statement as “[t]urning ordinary believers into fearless influencers of society”49—their way of stating the Great Commission from Matthew 28.50 Sunday services with music that appeals to the young, with a message that is relevant to their needs, and where they feel at home, are a major part of this vision, along with their values, which are presented in the acronym reap: Relevance, Excellence, Authenticity, and Passion.51

Mavuno church is led by the Senior Pastor and his team of executive pastors, each responsible for an area of the organization.52 Below them is a group of staff members, pastors, and trainees at different levels, organized into teams that in turn manage the work of volunteer leaders. Over time this has developed into a professionalized and complex system of governance.53 At the time of my fieldwork, there were around a hundred staff members, and eight hundred to one thousand actively engaged leaders who constitute the formal membership of the church, which is thus much smaller than actual attendance at Sunday services. At all levels, both men and women take on leadership roles. The church is led in a top-down manner and not according to a democratic formula, although there is also room for bottom-up initiatives.54

Theologically, Mavuno situates themselves as a non-denominational evangelical church, although they have been influenced by a range of Christian traditions: Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, classical pentecostal, and neo-charismatic. They find denominational labels irrelevant, and actively seek to break away from the demarcations that these create. In order to reach the younger generation, they are happy to be seen as different to almost anything else. Their doctrinal statement comes in the form of a communal affirmation often used in services, ‘the Fearless Creed’, which confirms, in an informal way, salvation through Jesus Christ, God’s sovereignty, the Bible as the Word of God, the born-again experience, the church as a place of community and growth, and the Great Commission as a guiding principle in life.55

Nairobi Chapel, the mother church of Mavuno, began in the 1950s as a fellowship for British colonial settler families, following the tradition of the Plymouth Brethren in terms of worship and theology. After independence, membership dropped and in the 1980s the community invited a team from the Nairobi Baptist Church to revitalize and indigenize the church in order to reach out to the young Kenyan population. This led to a total makeover of the congregation and produced what has become a large church planting movement with several church families. Today all the churches in the Nairobi Chapel group, including Mavuno, are self-governed, with national leadership. In 2018, the Association of Nairobi Chapel Churches had become a movement of around 15,000 people.56

2.3 Demographic Profiles and Affiliation

Above, I described Mavuno as a church for young, professional adults, and Woodley as an all-generational church for the elite in society. This is how they presented themselves and were described by interviewees and in literature. Looking more closely at the data from my surveys, however, the picture is both confirmed and slightly revised (Table 1).

According to the survey results, half of the group of people who come to Mavuno’s main service on a Sunday morning are in their twenties, so certainly young adults. But as many as fourteen per cent are actually above the age of forty, and a third of church attendees are in their thirties, and thus heading for middle-age. At Woodley, their self-conception is one of catering for “older folk rather than more younger ones,”57 while in reality, their age profile is comparatively young: sixty-six per cent are between the ages of twenty and forty, and not even ten per cent are above the age of fifty. In both churches there are many more people under the age of twenty, but since they have their own gatherings (Sunday school and youth meeting) they did not take part in the survey.

In terms of education levels, both churches certainly have a large group of educated people. Results from Mavuno are striking: sixty-eight per cent of the respondents held a bachelor’s degree or higher. One can assume that at least some of those who said they did not are students on the way to attaining one. In Woodley, although deliberately targeting the English-speaking elite in society, the profile is more mixed. While forty-four per cent had a bachelor’s degree or higher, about a fifth of the respondents had no college or university degree at all.

Table 1

Age and educational profile, Woodley and Mavuno

Age of respondents

Woodley

Mavuno

Level of education

Woodley

Mavuno

Below 12

0%

1.7%

Incomplete primary school

0.9%

0.7%

13–19

7.0%

2.7%

Primary school

3.9%

1.0%

20–29

35.5%

52.0%

Secondary school

16.1%

6.7%

30–39

30.6%

29.7%

College certificate

11.5%

6.6%

40–49

17.9%

11.0%

College diploma

23.6%

16.7%

50–59

7.6%

3.0%

Bachelor degree

27.3%

44.7%

60 and above

1.5%

0%

Graduate degree

15.2%

21.7%

Doctorate degree

1.5%

2.0%

In terms of gender, the picture is similar for the two churches. Female respondents are in the majority, around sixty per cent in both churches. Another aspect of demography is that of language (Table 2). The question is a tricky one, since most Kenyans speak several languages and selecting their mother tongue is not straightforward. Schools teach in Swahili and English, and at home one or more of the local languages will be utilized. Some respondents commented on this in both questionnaires, as well as in interviews. The numbers should therefore be treated with some caution, although I still find them valuable in terms of overall pattern.

Woodley presents a top-three group of languages: Dhouluo, Ololuyia, and Kikuyu, closely followed by Kalenjin, Kamba, and Kimiiru. This to me points to a fairly large spread of ethnic belonging in the church. Swahili, although frequently used in church, is spoken as a first language by only three per cent. In Mavuno, on the other hand, Kikuyu is the mother tongue of more than a third of respondents, while Dhouluo, Kiswahili, Kamba, and Oluluyia are spoken by around ten per cent each. The ethnic mixture is less varied. Interestingly, English, the church language of both Mavuno and Woodley, is considered the mother tongue by five and three per cent in each church, respectively. However, it is the language of education, and as such it is a natural choice given the demographic to which they seek to cater.

Table 2

Language profile, Woodley and Mavuno

Language (mother tongue)

Woodley

Language (mother tongue)

Mavuno

Dhouluo

20.0%

Kikuyu

34.3%

Ololuyia

18.5%

Dhouluo

11.7%

Kikuyu

15.8%

Kiswahili

9.3%

Kalenjin

10.3%

Kamba

8.0%

Kamba

8.8%

Ololuyia

8.0%

Ekegussi

8.8%

Kalenjin

6.3%

Kimiiru/Kiembu

6.1%

Kimiiru/Kiembu

5.7%

Others

3.6%

English

5.3%

Kiswahili

3.0%

Others

4.7%

English

3.0%

Ekegussi

3.0%

Mijikenda

1.8%

Mijikenda

1.7%

Samburu

.3%

Masaii

1.0%

Masaii

0%

Samburu

1.0%

To sum up, the congregational profile in Woodley is in many ways a mixed bag—varying ages, levels of education, and original languages—while the demographics in Mavuno are much more streamlined: highly educated people between the ages of twenty and forty, and a high proportion of Kikuyu speakers.

The surveys also covered church affiliation and the results show that only about half of the respondents in each church are actual members, the rest are either occasional or regular visitors and no small proportion of them, almost a quarter of respondents in each case, actually belongs to another church (Table 3). Church ‘homelessness’ is also prevalent, for the remaining quarter are occasional or regular visitors with no other church membership.

Table 3

Church affiliation, Woodley and Mavuno

Type of affiliation with church

Woodley

Type of affiliation with church

Mavuno

Occasional visitor, member of other church

9.7%

Occasional visitor, member of other church

6.3%

Occasional visitor, not member of other church

4.8%

Occasional visitor, not member of other church

6.7%

Regular visitor, member of other church

13.3%

Regular visitor, member of other church

16.3%

Regular visitor, not member of other church

21.5%

Regular visitor, not member of other church

14.7%

Member of citam Woodley, involved in ministry

20.6%

Member of Mavuno life-group

28.7%

Member of citam Woodley, not involved in ministry

30.0%

Mavuno associate (volunteer leader)

25.3%

Mavuno staff member

2.0%

If half of the people who visit Mavuno and Woodley on a Sunday morning are visitors, and half are members with different levels of engagement, how stable is their affiliation? For how long have they been coming to church? Table 4 gives a hint of the situation.

Table 4

Time of affiliation with Woodley and Mavuno

Time of affiliation with church

Woodley

Mavuno

Less than 1 year

18.8%

27.3%

1–3 years

25.8%

32.0%

3–5 years

13.9%

21.3%

More than 5 years

37.0%

16.7%

Not affiliated

4.5%

2.7%

It seems the pattern here is that Woodley has a far more stable congregation than Mavuno, with almost forty per cent having been involved for more than five years, compared to a mere sixteen per cent in Mavuno, while those who have been involved for fewer than three years constitute half the latter’s congregation. This should not be surprising given the ‘wow’ factor of a place like Mavuno, which attracts many new people simply by its reputation and the comparatively much longer history and more stable structures of citam. Even in Woodley, however, the group of people that has been involved for fewer than three years is actually larger than the group that has been there more than five, pointing again to high levels of church homelessness and religious mobility in Nairobi.

To sum up, both churches gather together a fairly mobile group of people, with comparatively short affiliation spans and loose ties. The pattern is most prominent in Mavuno, but is certainly there in Woodley as well. This confirms a general pattern of religious mobility and multi-belonging in urban Kenya, as observed by Gez58 and also found among charismatic Christians in other countries.59 Because of this fluidity in religious belonging, and conforming with Ingalls’s use of ‘congregation’ as a concept referring to the practice of congregating,60 —those ‘who congregate’—I refer to all attendees as ‘congregants’ regardless of their actual church affiliation.

Hence, it is a diverse group of people, with different levels of education, different ages, different linguistic profiles, and different levels of affiliation with their respective church, which participates in Sunday worship and together makes up the two congregations. The next section demonstrates that diversity and multi-belonging also applies to theological and denominational profiles.

3 Situating Woodley and Mavuno Theologically

Above, I preliminarily situated both Woodley and Mavuno in the larger pentecostal-charismatic tradition, arguing, with the help of Kyama Mugambi, that they can be categorized as ‘Progressive Pentecostals’, retaining some elements of earlier revitalization movements in East Africa and yet creatively applying the Gospel to a different time and context.61 This ties into the discussions in Chapter 2, where I dwelled upon the difficulty of labelling and defining the tradition, and proposed my own working definition. I also introduced Allan Anderson’s four-fold typology (classical Pentecostals, older Independent or Spirit churches, older church Charismatics, and Neo-Charismatics/Neo-Pentecostals) and highlighted the problems that arise when trying to categorize specific churches, including Mavuno and Woodley. I argued that definitions are neither clear-cut nor static, since churches—and categorizations—change over time. Several different categorizations are possible, especially if both emic and etic perspectives are considered.

In this section I develop this discussion further, looking more closely at the theological orientation of the two churches, including their self-definitions and how some scholars have chosen to label them.

3.1 Pentecostal or Evangelical?

On the surface, Mavuno is a “non-denominational, evangelical church,”62 just as Pastor Munga explained to me in our interview. And there is certainly much that speaks for designating them as evangelical: their Baptist heritage, the emphasis on Scripture, evangelism, and mission, and their insistence on personal faith and discipleship.63 Looking more closely however, there are also many elements that lean towards the pentecostal-charismatic tradition, especially their emphasis on church planting, their embrace of contemporary culture and mass media, and their style of worship, which all connect them with the neo-charismatic group. Scholars have situated them differently. For example, in her in-depth study of Mavuno, Wanjiru M. Gitau argues that the church should be considered an expression of “evangelical revitalization,”64 standing in a long line of revival movements tracing their roots to 18th-century evangelical Christianity. While Kyama Mugambi follows the lead of Miller and Yamamori, who include both the Nairobi Chapel (the mother church of Mavuno) and Nairobi Pentecostal Church (the mother church of Woodley) in their exploration of “Progressive Pentecostalism,”65 whereas Paul Gifford puts the same churches under the umbrella of “Middle class Pentecostalism.”66

In many ways, Mavuno is a mixture of evangelical and pentecostal tendencies. As Pastor Kamau suggests, “We’re a mish-mash of many things [so] there’s no one single box that Mavuno will fit in.”67 He explains that in terms of their practice of prayer and expressions of worship, there are a lot of pentecostal and charismatic elements including vibrant music, public calls for commitment, prophecy, tongues-speaking, and praying for physical healing. On the other hand, the “pulpit theology” is “a mixed bag” of a range of evangelical, contextual, and pentecostal influences, and the same can be said of their ecclesiology and their “pseudo-charismatic”68 approach to leadership (meaning that the top leader is not elected, but serves on the basis of his spiritual charisma). Meanwhile, in terms of the basic “thrust” or “process” of doing theology, “we are very evangelical, you know, the Word is very big among us.”69 It is this emphasis on the Word that guides them to include what are often seen as charismatic or pentecostal elements. Since these elements are present in the biblical story of the early church, they also see fit to include them in their own practice and theology. When probed on the relationship to Pentecostalism, Pastor Munga responds, “I think we go, I would say if it’s biblical we do it … So, laying on hands is biblical, speaking in tongues is biblical, um, we [pause]. So, I mean the things that we see in the Bible we practice. And so, some people say, ‘Wow you’re a pentecostal church,’ or ‘you’re a charismatic church’. I think for us those are just labels.”70

The idea that theological and denominational designations are ‘just labels’ was a common one in Mavuno. They did not want to categorize themselves as a single type and they found Western denominational demarcations rather irrelevant in Africa. “I feel like the distinctions, the walls between denominations, are less concrete here than they are in the West,”71 says Pastor Munga. An Anglican church in Nairobi can be more ‘pentecostal’ in style than a classic pentecostal church in the West. When I asked Pastor Kamau for his reactions to calling Mavuno a neo-pentecostal, or neo-charismatic church, he responded that it is “very irrelevant” and “doesn’t really matter” how I choose to label them, since “the categories just don’t serve the same function” in the “current revitalization movements.”72 Mavuno does not fit the normal categories, and has no intention of doing so. These labels are not part of their self-understanding and they are not something that they teach the congregation or even staff members, since “those categories are sometimes closed doors that really shouldn’t be closed.”73 Then he pauses, and says, “Um, that having been said, if I were to give, if I were to put a category, um, I would probably say, I’d make a big word and say ‘Neo-Charismatic Pentecostal’ as a term.”74

This tendency to minimize the importance of belonging to a ‘pentecostal category’, instead focusing on what is biblical, is rather common in non-denominational churches and among individuals with charismatic practice but without a strong connection to the early 20th-century pentecostal revivals. Miller and Yamamori refer to these Christians as “proto-charismatics”;75 they belong on the pentecostal-charismatic spectrum, although they typically “do not have roots in traditional Pentecostalism,” and “may not even identify themselves as charismatics.”76 They are “completely uninterested in defining labels” and simply attempt “to follow the example of Jesus and the model of the early Christian church, which they see as being filled with manifestation of the Spirit.”77 From an outsider’s perspective, it is clear that they share much of their theology and spirituality with the pentecostal-charismatic tradition, although, from an emic perspective, they are disinterested in the connection.

Pastors in citam Woodley on the other hand, have no problem labelling themselves or their church ‘pentecostal’; it is part of their core identity and something they value highly. The history, statements of faith, and ecclesial affiliations of citam make such a labelling unproblematic and self-evident from both an emic and etic perspective, as Justus Mugambi effectively points out in his description of the history of citam.78 Even though the current name of the church, Christ is the Answer Ministries, does not make any direct reference to Pentecostalism, the former name, the Nairobi Pentecostal Church, is still often used in local idiom, signalling their theological belonging.

The connection to classical Pentecostalism does not, however, rule out other concurrent labels and theological self-categorizations; they may indeed live side by side. When asked to explain the theology of citam, Pastor Nyaga answers in the following manner: “We are a pentecostal church. We believe in sound doctrine. We are evangelical. Um, we do believe in the Scripture.”79 To him, and many Pentecostals with him, this is not a contradiction in terms; they are at the same time both pentecostal and evangelical. As with Munga above, what matters is that it is ‘biblical’.80 To ensure that pastors preach sound doctrine, they must undergo theological training and there is a continuing “accountability in terms of doctrine.”81 Half-jokingly Pastor Nyaga adds, “[O]f course with the elders and deacons in place they check me as a pastor. If I’m preaching heresy then I’m called, ‘Pastor, what is that you say?’ [chuckles].”82 He sees the “prosperity gospel” as especially problematic, and says that some of the “charismatic teachings” are “really quite hyped.”83 Therefore, they have “checks and balances in place”84 to guarantee that whatever is preached from the pulpit is sound and biblical.

Curious to see how he understands the term ‘pentecostal’, I asked him for an explanation:
I:You, you said ‘pentecostal’—what makes you distinctly pentecostal in terms of theology?
Nyaga:In terms of theology we believe in the Holy Spirit—of course, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Pentecostal means that then we, uh, we acknowledge the place of the Holy Spirit in our lives and we preach about the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. And so that’s part of our doctrine, yes. I do know there are churches that while they acknowledge the Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity, but the experience of speaking in other tongues is usually a strange phenomenon [chuckles]. Yes.85

What makes the church ‘pentecostal’ is their ‘acknowledgement of the place of the Holy Spirit’, especially ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues’. This is classic pentecostal theology with roots in the early 20th-century pentecostal revivals.86 We may note how careful he is to say that they believe in ‘God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit’, to make sure no one understands them as so called ‘Oneness Pentecostals’.87 His explanation of citam theology reflects their statements of faith, and similar responses were also given by other pastors within citam.88

The roots in the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, together with an insistence on Spirit baptism, spiritual gifts, and spiritual fruit,89 thus put citam firmly in the category referred to by scholars as classical Pentecostals. At the same time, things are not as clear-cut as they may seem. Along with other classical Pentecostals, they endorse the evangelical emphasis90 on the Bible as the Word of God, an insistence on mission and evangelism, and a strong emphasis on the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just like Mavuno and many others in the evangelical tradition, they urge people to become born again, and practice believer’s baptism (by immersion).91 All of this makes them ‘evangelical’ in some sense. Just like Mavuno, they also have a touch of Neo-Pentecostalism through their urban membership, their mega-church organization, and church planting strategies.92

Yet there are also important differences in theology between Mavuno and Woodley, as local pentecostal theologian, Gideon Achieng, explains:

But in matters, um, of theology … Mavuno sees themselves more as Evangelicals, you know, in the technical sense, while Woodley sees themselves as Pentecostals, okay. And I think sometimes the question comes in whether does this mean that if you’re a Pentecostal, you’re not an Evangelical, you know? Particularly if you think of evangelical meaning that, you know, you believe in the Word of God as the standard of faith and belief. citam does believe that, but the thing is that, um, they more lean to Pentecostalism and pentecostal faith, okay? And it’s on that basis that they interpret their Scripture.93

To me, this sums it up pretty well; if the evangelical tradition and the pentecostal-charismatic tradition are seen as two concurrent, yet related, streams within Christianity, each with its respective theological tendencies and emphases,94 then Mavuno leans more towards the former and citam more towards the latter. To some extent it is a matter of choice, and it would be quite possible to underline the differences between them and simply describe Mavuno as a non-denominational, evangelical church and Woodley as a classic pentecostal church in the holiness tradition. Yet it is also very possible to do as I do in this study, following Kyama Mugambi, and underline their similarities by labelling them both Progressive Pentecostals, albeit with slightly different leanings. The point is that the categorizations are very hard to uphold in an East African context where almost every church has been affected by charismatic revivals at some point95—Mavuno pastors are right in this respect—and yet it is important to situate the churches theologically for analytic purposes. While aware that Mavuno and Woodley share many traits with the evangelical tradition, I am primarily interested in the way worship in Mavuno and Woodley mirror tendencies within the pentecostal-charismatic tradition, and have therefore used that as my main theological lens throughout the study.

3.2 Cultural, Theological, and Liturgical Melting Pots

Above I have described Mavuno and Woodley as mixtures of evangelical and pentecostal tendencies: one more evangelical, the other more pentecostal. To complicate matters further, the theological influences do not stop with these two categories. Since leaders and congregants live in a city that offers a plethora of churches of all possible kinds, there is a constant cross-fertilization of ideas and influences. In urban Kenya “religion tends to be lived in ways that significantly overflow the confines of a single, straightforward church membership,”96 making exposure to many different church groups, and therefore theologies, a normal state of affairs. It is part of a larger picture in a country of social, cultural, and linguistic diversity, colonial heritage, and high levels of affiliation to Christian groups.

For most Kenyans, and Africans more broadly, diversity and intersectionality are self-evident parts of life. Ethnomusicologist Jean Kidula describes this when she retells her own story of growing up in Goibei village, “a place of mixed heritage, diverse ethnicity, and plural nationalities.”97 In the village she is exposed not only to indigenous religion, but also to a whole range of Christian denominations, including their belief systems and musical repertoires. Commenting on the situation she says that they had “relatively stable cultural and linguistic roots and a great tolerance for different church groups.”98 In fact, “Christianity, much more than education, became, and may still be, the most integrative factor and space in the village.”99 The reason for this is that “the varieties of Christianity enable individuals, families, clans, and social groups to cohere by becoming affiliated with one or the other by choice rather than force.”100 The fact that there were various groups within a single religion offered room for “distinctiveness and community,” as well as “conformity and preference.”101 Music is a key factor in this regard, since it can be “adopted, appropriated, transformed, and produced in multifarious ways.”102 The “texts, tunes, and functions” are “fixed and mutable ad infinitum.”103 In a similar manner, songs in Mavuno and Woodley are adopted from different musical and denominational traditions, and are sometimes transformed and appropriated in the most creative ways.

In Nairobi, it is a natural thing to live in several cultural and denominational worlds at the same time; indeed, the demographic surveys of the two churches point to this diversity of Christian backgrounds (Table 5). A large proportion of both Woodley and Mavuno worshippers have their background in pentecostal churches, yet they do not constitute the majority in either church. In Mavuno, people with Anglican and Catholic backgrounds together make up roughly half the congregation, while in Woodley they form an equally big group as the Pentecostals, around forty per cent each. Interestingly, evangelical churches that are not also pentecostal constitute a comparatively small group in both churches, around ten per cent. Yet almost as many people have a religious background that does not fit any of my a priori categories. I assume that several of them might belong to so-called Roho (Spirit) churches (or aics, African Independent/Instituted/Initiated Churches),104 a category that I did not think of adding specifically. At any rate, the statistics clearly show the denominationally diverse background of church-goers in both churches. I say ‘denominationally’ diverse, rather than ‘religiously’ diverse, because the numbers also reveal an almost entire lack of people with a family affiliation within Islam, Hinduism or African Traditional Religions, or with no religious affiliation at all. Mavuno has slightly more people with these backgrounds, but still it is a very small minority.

Table 5

The family’s main religious affiliation during childhood

Religious group

Woodley

Religious group

Mavuno

Pentecostal

41.5%

Pentecostal

31.3%

Anglican

19.7%

Catholic

23.3%

Catholic

19.1%

Anglican

21.0%

Evangelical (Non-Pentecostal)

10.0%

Evangelical (Non-Pentecostal)

9.0%

Others

7.3%

Others

6.3%

Lutheran

1.5%

African traditional

3.0%

African traditional

0.3%

Lutheran

2.3%

No religion

0.3%

No religion

2.3%

Muslim

0.3%

Muslim

1.0%

Hindu

0

Hindu

0.3%

This pattern of denominational diversity was confirmed in interviews with church leaders. Most interviewees had a history of multiple belonging in terms of Christian affiliation. One may have grown up in an Anglican home, gone to a Presbyterian school and later been affiliated with a non-denominational church; another may have grown up as a child of pentecostal missionaries within the country, transferred to a Baptist denomination, later to end up with a charismatic church. Pastor Rose is a case in point. When I asked her about the religious affiliation of her family, she answered the following way:
Rose:Uh, very evangelical. I’m raised an Anglican.
I:Okay.
R: But again, very interesting. Baptized a Lutheran.
I: Uh huh. Okay [chuckles].
R: And did catechism in Presbyterian, did my confirmation in Anglican and married a Pentecostal.
I: Ai. So [tails off].
R: [chuckles] And went to Catholic schools. … So literally the whole spectrum of the Christian, yeah. Interesting mix.105

We may note how she initially responds that her upbringing was ‘very evangelical’ and then says she was raised ‘an Anglican’. Evangelical seems to equate with Anglican in her mind. But then she goes on to mention her affiliation with several other Protestant denominations, as well as the Roman Catholic Church and pentecostal churches. Later in the interview she adds that she has also worked in a neo-charismatic church for some time. This ‘interesting mix’ of the ‘whole spectrum’ of Christian groups is a common one in Nairobi. There is a sense in which everyone’s personal background is a ‘mish-mash of many things’ (as Kamau said above about Mavuno), something that Yonatan Gez has confirmed in his studies on religious mobility and religious repertoires in urban Kenya.106 This can be assumed to affect the theology and religious practice. To some extent, churches become denominational melting pots, wherein leaders and congregants navigate a constant stream of theological currents together. Some, like citam, choose to distinguish themselves clearly, and others, like Mavuno, are less interested in doctrinal labels; whichever road is taken, there is no way to escape the constant influx of ideas and influences. When, in the following discussion, I map out the worship practices of Mavuno and Woodley in relation to larger discussions of pentecostal spirituality-as-theology, I do so well aware, and acknowledging the fact, that these churches are in many ways theological and liturgical melting pots.

Having presented and contextualized Mavuno and Woodley in terms of East African history of revival, denominational, and theological affiliation, as well as demographic profiles, it is time to present their worship practices in more detail. This is best done in a narrative format where the whole audio-visual-kinetic-emotional landscape (the ‘ritual field’) of worship can be felt, heard, and imagined. Therefore, the next section consists of two detailed ethnographic vignettes based on observation notes from specific services and written with the goal of evoking all the senses while remaining as accurate and close to what I experienced as possible.107

1

Gez, Traditional Churches, Born Again Christianity, and Pentecostalism: Religious Mobility and Religious Repertoires in Urban Kenya, 104.

2

Gez, 89–152; Gifford, Christianity, Politics and Public Life in Kenya; Parsitau, ‘“Then Sings My Soul”: Gospel Music as Popular Culture in the Spiritual Lives of Kenyan Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians’.

3

Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya. At the time of my fieldwork Mugambi was one of the Executive Pastors at Mavuno. For a general introduction to Kenyan church history, see David B. Barrett, Kenya Churches Handbook: The Development of Kenyan Christianity, 1498–1973 (Kisumu, Kenya: Evangel Publ. House, 1973). For African Church history, see Baur, 2000 Years of Christianity in Africa: An African History; Isichei, A History of Christianity in Africa: From Antiquity to the Present; and Kalu, African Christianity: An African Story.

4

What in the East African context are called Spirit-Roho churches, are often referred to as Zionist or Aladura churches in other parts of Africa, or put under the general label African Independent/Initiated/Indigenous Churches (aic). See, e.g., discussions in Kalu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction, 65–83; Philomena Njeri Mwaura, ‘African Instituted Churches in East Africa’, Studies in World Christianity 10, no. 2 (2004): 160–84.

5

Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 23–54.

6

These movements are often referred to as the Balokole or Tukutendereza, see discussion in Kalu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction, 15–17, 94–98.

7

Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 60–61.

8

Mugambi, 55–87.

9

What Mugambi calls Newer Pentecostal Charismatic Churches are normally referred to as neo-pentecostal or neo-charismatic churches in other literature. See discussion in Chapter 2, as well as for example Anderson, ‘Varieties, Taxonomies, and Definitions’.

10

Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 19.

11

Mugambi, 89–130.

12

Mugambi borrows this expression from Miller and Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement, 1–67. To them Progressive Pentecostalism is one of several orientations within global Pentecostalism and can be found in all types of pentecostal-charismatic groups (Classical, Neo-Pentecostal, Charismatic within historic churches, Independent, etc.), whereas to Mugambi they are a sub-group within the npcc/Neo-Pentecostal type; Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 133, 146.

13

Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 133.

14

Mugambi, 131–59.

15

Interview Gideon Achieng 2014-03-14.

16

Gez, Traditional Churches, Born Again Christianity, and Pentecostalism: Religious Mobility and Religious Repertoires in Urban Kenya, 153–93. Compare Sophie Bremner, ‘Transforming Futures? Being Pentecostal in Kampala, Uganda’ (Thesis, University of East Anglia, 2013); Moberg, Piety, Intimacy and Mobility: A Case Study of Charismatic Christianity in Present-Day Stockholm.

17

Interview Gideon Achieng 2014-03-14.

18

This dynamism and fluidity in leadership is also described by Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 247–48.

19

Interview Gideon Achieng 2014-03-14.

20

Interview Gideon Achieng 2014-03-14.

21

Interview Gideon Achieng 2014-03-14; Interview Pastor Rose 2014-01-31.

22

Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 161–221, 253–85; Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective, 26–29, 89–106. Interview Gideon Achieng 2014-03-14.

23

Kidula, ‘Singing the Lord’s Song in the Spirit and with Understanding: The Practice of Nairobi Pentecostal Church’, 144.

24

Mugambi, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness, The Amazing Story of Christ Is the Answer Ministries, 80–83, 152–54.

25

Kidula, ‘Singing the Lord’s Song in the Spirit and with Understanding: The Practice of Nairobi Pentecostal Church’, 144–45; Mugambi, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness, The Amazing Story of Christ Is the Answer Ministries, 85.

26

Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective, 24; Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 271–72.

27

Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective, 71–72.

28

Gitau, 119–29.

29

Mugambi, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness, The Amazing Story of Christ Is the Answer Ministries, 116–19.

30

Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

31

Mugambi, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness, The Amazing Story of Christ Is the Answer Ministries, 146–51; Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 223–51.

32

Interview Pastor Omondi 2013-01-14, Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

33

Christ Is the Answer Ministries, citam, official website, http://www.citam.org (accessed 2017-01-12).

34

citam does not understand itself as a denomination, but one of the pastors says that they are heading in that direction (Interview Pastor Omondi 2013-01-14).

35

Mugambi, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness, The Amazing Story of Christ Is the Answer Ministries, 116–19. Interview Pastor Rose 2014-01-31.

36

Mugambi, 207. See also Christ Is the Answer Ministries, citam, official website, http://www.citam.org (accessed 2017-01-12).

37

Fieldnotes 2013-12-29; Fieldnotes 2014-01-12.

38

Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

39

Interview Pastor Omondi 2013-01-14; Interview Pastor Rose 2014-01-31; Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21. Compare with discussion in Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 142–49, 191–94, 238–40.

40

Interview Pastor Omondi 2013-01-14.

41

Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 205–6.

42

Mugambi, 149–55, 223–28, 250–51. See further discussion below and in Chapter 2.

43

Synan, The Century of the Holy Spirit: 100 Years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal. How God Used a Handful of Christians to Spark a Worldwide Movement., 75.

44

Interview Pastor Omondi 2013-01-14; Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21. For a full depiction of the history of citam, see Mugambi, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness, The Amazing Story of Christ Is the Answer Ministries; compare Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 223–51.

45

A full depiction of the Mavuno church and its journey is found in Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective. See also Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 148–50, 174–86, 217–18.

46

Informal conversation with Mavuno pastor, Fieldnotes 2013-12-22.

47

The Mavuno Marathon was later renamed the ‘T-Loop’, shorthand for ‘Mavuno Transformation Loop’, see: Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 184–85.

48

Mugambi, 174–85; Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective, 66–88. Interview Pastor Munga 2013-01-24.

49

Mavuno Church official website, https://www.mavunochurch.org/our-mission-4 (accessed 2020-12-09). See also Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 148–49.

50

Interview Pastor Kamau 2014-02-11; compare Matthew 28:19–20, niv: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.

51

https://www.mavunochurch.org/our-valules (accessed 2023-10-13).

52

https://www.mavunochurch.org/executive-pastors-team (accessed 2020-12-09).

53

Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective, 84, 103–6.

54

Interview Pastor Kamau 2014-02-11.

55

Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective, 86–87; Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 148–55, 174–85. See further discussion on theology below and in Chapter 2.

56

Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective, 17–19, 30. Interview Pastor Kamau 2014-02-11.

57

Interview Pastor Rose 2014-01-31.

58

Gez, Traditional Churches, Born Again Christianity, and Pentecostalism: Religious Mobility and Religious Repertoires in Urban Kenya.

59

For example Uganda and Sweden: Bremner, ‘Transforming Futures? Being Pentecostal in Kampala, Uganda’; Moberg, Piety, Intimacy and Mobility: A Case Study of Charismatic Christianity in Present-Day Stockholm.

60

Ingalls, Singing the Congregation: How Contemporary Worship Music Forms Evangelical Community, 16–23.

61

Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya.

62

Interview Pastor Munga 2013-01-24.

63

See, for example, discussion in Stanley J. Grenz and Roger E. Olson, 20th-Century Theology: God & the World in a Transitional Age (Downers Grove, IL.: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 286–309, and; Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), 917–19, 1148–51.

64

Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective, 113. The expression ‘evangelical revitalization’ is borrowed from Mark Shaw (2010).

65

Miller and Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement, 30, 7–8, 71–72, 90–91, 114–15.

66

Gifford, Christianity, Politics and Public Life in Kenya, 109–16.

67

Interview Pastor Kamau 2014-02-11.

68

Interview Pastor Kamau 2014-02-11.

69

Interview Pastor Kamau 2014-02-11.

70

Interview Pastor Munga 2013-01-24.

71

Interview Pastor Munga 2013-01-24.

72

Interview Pastor Kamau 2014-02-11.

73

Interview Pastor Kamau 2014-02-11.

74

Interview Pastor Kamau 2014-02-11.

75

Miller and Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement, 28.

76

Miller and Yamamori, 28.

77

Miller and Yamamori, 28.

78

Mugambi, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness, The Amazing Story of Christ Is the Answer Ministries.

79

Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

80

Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

81

Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

82

Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

83

Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

84

Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

85

Interview Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

86

Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity, 25–38, 187–205; Anderson, ‘Varieties, Taxonomies, and Definitions’; Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, ‘Pneumatologies in Systematic Theology’, in Studying Global Pentecostalism : Theories and Methods, ed. Michael Bergunder et al. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), 223–44.

87

See discussion in Chapter 2, and Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity, 45–47.

88

Interview Pastor Omondi 2013-01-14; Pastor Rose 2013-01-20; compare Mugambi, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness, The Amazing Story of Christ Is the Answer Ministries, 205–6.

89

Mugambi, 1–57, 205–6.

90

Mugambi, 205–6. Compare the so called ‘Evangelical Distinctives’: conversionism, biblicism, crucicentrism, and activism, identified by David W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (Routledge, 1989), 1–19.

91

Interview Pastor Omondi 2013-01-14; Pastor Nyaga 2014-03-21.

92

Mugambi, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness, The Amazing Story of Christ Is the Answer Ministries, 133–80, 205–7.

93

Interview Gideon Achieng 2014-03-14.

94

Jacobsen, The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There, 38–61. Historically and theologically there are strong links between Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism, while also important differences.

95

Kalu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction, 23–24, 94–98; Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya. Compare discussion in Bremner, ‘Transforming Futures? Being Pentecostal in Kampala, Uganda’, 71–75; Mwaura, ‘African Instituted Churches in East Africa’.

96

Gez, Traditional Churches, Born Again Christianity, and Pentecostalism: Religious Mobility and Religious Repertoires in Urban Kenya, 9.

97

Kidula, Music in Kenyan Christianity: Logooli Religious Song, 5.

98

Kidula, 7.

99

Kidula, 9.

100

Kidula, 9. Education, on the other hand, was perceived as being imposed upon people by authorities (colonial and national).

101

Kidula, 9.

102

Kidula, 9.

103

Kidula, 9.

104

Mwaura, ‘African Instituted Churches in East Africa’; compare discussion in Kalu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction, 63–83.

105

Interview Pastor Rose 2013-01-20.

106

Gez, Traditional Churches, Born Again Christianity, and Pentecostalism: Religious Mobility and Religious Repertoires in Urban Kenya.

107

Compare discussion in Grimes, The Craft of Ritual Studies, 62–67.

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