Christian Church International, Kenya

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Christian Church International (CCI)

Location

Thika, Kenya

Contact Information

Email: cci@mbambu.com Website: www.cci.or.ke

Date Established

1980

Presiding Officer

Bishop Joseph M Kamiri

MWC Affiliated?

No

Number of Congregations

45+

Membership

19,568

Church Origins

Christian Church International (CCI) began in the 1970’s with the leadership of Ibrahim Omondi, Henry Mulandi, and Duncan Mbogo. These men all had connections with Regions Beyond Ministry (RBM), an evangelistic organization that was part of the larger revival movement in East Africa. [1] Mulandi and others started CCI in Thika as a small group of Christians that met in the home of one of their members. [2] With the desire of pursuing theological education, Mulandi, Omondi, and Mbogo, and later others, traveled to the United States and enrolled as students at Rosedale Bible College in Irwin, Ohio. [3] After graduating in the early 1980’s, they returned to CCI in Kenya and the church continued to grow and develop. [4] This group has never identified as Anabaptist, but many of their church leaders have been educated at Rosedale, a college affiliated with the Conservative Mennonite Church. CCI continues to have it’s own formal affiliation with the Conservative Mennonite Church and therefore maintains connections with the larger Anabaptist church.[5]

Anabaptist Identity

Identifying as Anabaptist Christian Church International (CCI) in Thika does not formally identify as Anabaptist. The leaders of the church who were theologically trained at Rosedale Bible College might identify as Anabaptist, but most members would likely be unaware of what it might mean to be called Anabaptist. In fact, church members would probably be more likely to say that CCI identifies as Pentecostal. While the church does not formally belong to any church conference or have any formal relations with the larger Pentecostal church, the characteristics of the Pentecostal church is what many members would most identify with. [6]


CCI is not a member of the World Mennonite Conference, but is somewhat of it’s own entity. A lot of energy was put into the organization and structure of the church early on and this has continued to be a strength of CCI. [7] Although CCI does officially belong to the larger Anabaptist church, is maintains strong connections with the Conservative Mennonite Conference (CMC) from the United States. This relationship has been established and maintained as an “international affiliate” of CMC. [8] As an international affiliate of CMC, CCI has signed a formal agreement stating that they subscribe to the Conservative Mennonite Statement of Theology (1991), that this affiliation is the primary associate of CCI, and that purpose of the affiliation is for mutual enrichment, encouragement, and awareness. [9]


Although CCI may not outwardly identify as Anabaptist, many of the theological teachings in the church come from leaders who were educated at Rosedale Bible College, a college of the Conservative Mennonite Conference. In addition to this exposure to Anabaptist theology, exchanges in the past have brought CCI members to Rosedale to teach and professors from Rosedale have gone to Kenya to teach. [10] So although the only formal connection between CCI and the Anabaptist church is the affiliation with the Conservative Mennonite Conference, there are still personal relationships and the exchange of theology that connects CCI and Anabaptists. [11]

National Executive Council Leaders[12]

  • Presiding Bishop: Bishop Joseph M. Kamiri
  • Vice Chairman: Bishop John Mativo
  • Secretary General: Bishop Duncan Mbogo Wanjigi
  • Treasurer: Rev. Simon Kabocho
  • Vice Treasurer: Bishop Wilson Muchiri
  • Founder and Current Member: Bishop Henry Mulandi

Challenges

Christian Church International has been very successful in terms of growth, church plantings in and outside of Kenya, and overall youth involvement. One of the concerns CCI faces, as well as other churches in this area, during this dramatic growth is the concept of the prosperity gospel. The prosperity gospel is the idea that God wants people to be healthy and wealthy and can help them get there. [13]

Timeline

1976 Henry Mulandi served as the chairman for Regions Beyond Ministries (RBM). RBM conducted camps and worked with high school students, spreading the gospel to the youth. [14]
Late 1970's Henry Mulandi, together with about six others, took part in the Kenya for Jesus Crusades in Thika Town. It was during this time that the group had the idea to start meeting in one group member’s home. These meetings were the very beginning of CCI. [15]
1981 Henry Mulandi graduated from Rosedale Bible College. Ibrahim Omondi and Duncan Mbogo also graduated from Rosedale around this same time. Other Kenyan church leaders would follow their lead and pursue theological education at Rosedale. Mulandi, Omondi, and Mbogo returned to Christian Church International in Thika, Kenya after finishing at Rosedale and continued their work within the church. [16]
1983 CCI experienced rapid growth during this time period and moved locations numerous times. In 1983 they had a major move to the Community Center in Thika where they met until construction on the current church building, which seats several thousand people, was finished. [17]
1980’s to present CCI has continued to experience growth and expansion. With a focus on evangelism, CCI has grown to include about 300 congregations in Kenya. There are also CCI congregations in Uganda, Congo, Rwanda, and the United States. Membership in 2012 was estimated to be 19,568. [18]

Bibliography

References

  1. Showalter.
  2. Mulandi.
  3. Showalter.
  4. Swartz.
  5. Shirk.
  6. Shirk.
  7. Shirk, Mulandi.
  8. Shirk.
  9. "International Affiliates."
  10. Swartz.
  11. Shirk.
  12. "Kenya-Christian Church International."
  13. Shirk.
  14. Mulandi.
  15. Mulandi.
  16. Mulandi, Swartz.
  17. Mulandi.
  18. “Kenya-Christian Church International.”