John Neate shares the story behind the partnership between VCUKI and Vineyard Kenya and what supporting the Church in Kenya looks like today.
Back in 2014, I sat with Noah Gitau, the then National Director of AVC Kenya, in a café somewhere in the leafy Nairobi suburbs. Together we reflected on the partnerships forged between the Vineyard in UK/Ireland and Kenya and our vision for how this could develop in the future.
Two years earlier, the Vineyard churches in Kenya had been launched within the wider Vineyard family – free to make their own decisions, but joined together by common values with other Vineyard movements across the world.
The question now was, what next? Was this the end of partnership-working? Absolutely not, Noah and I agreed that a form of partnership would continue between Kenya and the UK, though, what should it look like? The result of this and many other conversations, was a determination that this new phase of partnership working should be clearly focused not on what VCUKI might want to do, but on AVC Kenya’s own top priorities – with leadership development being key to its future growth. Many of Kenya’s Vineyard churches are led by pastors who are working a couple of other jobs in order to afford to pastor their churches. Infrastructure is stretched and the opportunity for investment in Kenya’s Vineyard leaders was significant.
In 2016, the Joint Leadership Development Programme (the Kenya Partnership) was launched. Since then, an increasing number of leaders from VCUKI and Kenya have been ‘paired’, aiming for three key objectives:
- Investing in the lives of Kenyan Vineyard leaders through cross-cultural friendship and coaching
- Two-way, cross-cultural learning
- Taking the learning and applying it to the development of multicultural church cultures in the UK and Kenya
We are incredibly blessed by God through the deep and enduring cross-cultural friendships that have been formed – friendships which we’re sure will last a lifetime. In April 2023, in Nairobi, we ran a coaching training workshop for Kenya Vineyard leaders – jointly presented by VCUKI and AVC Kenya speakers – providing tools to strengthen leadership development across Kenya. As we move forward, we continue to evolve all that we do, travelling this exciting journey together.
If you’re interested in getting involved in the Kenya Partnership, we’d love to hear from you!