Harrison Mungai Macharia is Managing Editor of Conversation Magazine and Team Leader of iServe Africa, an indigenous Christian leadership development programme. We asked him how it has been juggling family responsibilities, theological studies, founding and leading iServe Africa and pioneering a new magazine.
How have the last eight years of iServe Africa been?
The journey of iServe Africa has for me been thrilling; full of surprises and unexpected grace. We really started out with nothing, unsure that we would see a ‘future’, uncertain of where resources would come from but confident that the same Lord has always provided for his people and given us even His own Son, would be more than able to prosper his work. We have held on to that Matthew 28:19-20 promise that as we go about Christ’s mission of disciple-making he will be powerfully working right there with us, and surely the Lord has been faithful to honour his word. The Lord has been very gracious to us to see us through and we have nothing more to say but ‘Thank you Lord’. That the Lord entrusted in our hands 31 apprentices and a staff of 7 is beyond anything we envisaged only a few years ago. To see that we have cleared long outstanding pension obligations and closed the year without a deficit for the first time is nothing short of the miraculous.
How do you see the future?
Clearly, iServe is small and indeed young as far as organizations go. It is still the day of small beginnings for the need and potential is great. We have barely scratched the surface as far as working out the Lord’s vision for this ministry is concerned. Thousands of keen Christian graduates leave Kenyan universities each year without the opportunity to test the waters of gospel ministry. Thousands of churches are yet to catch a vision for faithful Bible teaching, servant leadership and training up the next generation of gospel workers.
So what keeps you going?
The support and encouragement of our partners. We have been greatly encouraged by many individuals and churches that have prayed for us and some that have given to this ministry very generously in finances and time. Those prayers and investment have undoubtedly made a huge difference. We thank God very much for testimonies like this one:
“I have grown tremendously spiritually; I am not the same person since I came to iServe. Through the different trainings, Bible Study sessions in MTC and at the placement, my understanding of the Gospel ministry has completely changed. I have seen salvation in a new light other than what has been preached to me before. Understanding that it’s all Christ’s work and choice that by my own I could not choose Him, has changed my perspective of God and attitude towards people in reaching out.”
What challenges do you see ahead?
The Kenyan ministry scene is quite dynamic with all sorts of landmines to navigate through. This is especially so for para church organizations that have to work twice as hard as local churches in order to fulfill their mission. The media scandals of the past year involving so-called gospel ministries continue to cast aspersions on the viability of emergent Christian organizations and their motives. Credibility is a big issue in the culture at the moment and the local constituency of missional givers is quite narrow. However, amazingly, the Lord has prompted quite a few to stand with ministries such as iServe Africa.
What can we be particularly praying for in the coming year?
And yet the journey ahead is still very long. The ministry apprentices are our core concern. There is a high-school leavers programme due to start next year. Conversation Magazine is just starting to take off. We have a Training Centre to build. And as far as that is concerned, we really only have an empty plot in our hands. We have been able to fence it, connect water and electricity, bring in a container for storage and build a latrine and caretaker’s hut but no more than that. Where will the £300,000 required to bring the centre into reality come from? Perhaps the answer to that is what Ezekiel said to the Lord – “Only you, Sovereign Lord, knows.” What we have though is faith in the Almighty God, that he will bring our way people and organizations to help us in that journey. Our need for a centre is clearly evident and that is proving truer with every passing day. The last few months have shown us that our current rented facility simply cannot host the number of apprentices that the Lord has sent our way. So please pray for many new partners to come on board to invest the little they have to take iServe towards stability and sustainability.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Clearly, the far we have come is through the efforts of many. A very special thank you to our Kenyan and UK board members for ongoing oversight, to our very hard working staff team who really do the nuts and bolts of iServe Africa, to our apprentices who hold our flag high in their apprenticeships, to our placement leaders for being our hands on the ground and to all our partners who are indeed the wind in our sails.
On 4th June a small team from Emmanuel Wimbledon are doing the Blenheim Triathlon – Graham & Lucy Smith, Pip Fox, and (Pst.) Robin and Ursula Weekes. They are hoping to raise money for the iServe Africa Training Centre Project. Please do consider sponsoring Team Emmanuel. You can sponsor online securely through Stewardship Give.Net or in Kenya via M-Pesa Paybill 939400 (account: ‘TCP run’).
And another interview with Harrison: