Planting small, Growing big
Colin and Fey Holtum from the UK were in their 60s when they firstKenyaSmallGroups1 went into mission and have lost count of the numbers impacted by their discipleship training programmes in many parts of Kenya. Fey said: “Thousands of people have had the training and there are now more groups than we know of. At least 10 churches have been planted from our small groups. One church started a small group which then became another church, which is just about to plant yet another church. We are hearing life-changing testimonies.”
One of the most heartening is about Felicitas, who is a gifted evangelist in Kakamega near Lake Victoria, but for years kept seeing new believers drift away. Felicitas has a real gift for evangelism. She told Fey: “I can bring five people a month to the Lord. They make a commitment and I take them to the pastor and say: ‘It’s your responsibility to help them grow.’  They might start going to church but, six months later, I’m very fortunate if one of them is still going to church. The pastors just don’t know what to do.”
So the Holtums put her in touch with a pastor who had already received their training about how to develop true disciples. She was so passionate about this that she went back to her church and immediately set up a number of small groups, who meet to read the bible, She photocopied the lessons she’d been given by the pastor and gave them to her cousin, Felix, who was leading another church and a bible school in Kisumu.
Felix was pretty sceptical. He said he’d tried something similar and it hadn’t worked. But she persuaded him to give the Holtum’s material a try. “We met him some time later,” Colin said, “and the first thing he said to us was: ‘You’ve given me a problem! … I don’t have enough chairs in my church! My congregation of 50 is now 150 and I don’t have seats for them all!’”
Felix’s church continued to go from strength to strength. He now leads 18 churches and helps train pastors in discipleship through small groups where new Christians can be discipled effectively and more mature Christians are shown how they can become mission workers within their own culture. Colin said: “The work is far bigger than we can handle. The potential is huge and the stories that we are hearing make such a difference. It’s a very exciting ministry.”
The basis of their small group training is CREED:
C – Complete Collaboration – Everybody takes part so the leader facilitates discussion rather than teaches
R – Relationship – Everyone in the group shares with and supports each other in a confidential setting
E – Every day with God – All members are encouraged to read the bible and pray every day
E – Effective evangelism – Don’t shout the gospel but help people in their spiritual journey
D – Deepening discipleship – All members wanting to grow and be more like Jesus
Please pray:
  • For more workers to expand the small group ministry in Kenya.
  • For the team in Kenya who are operating without Colin and Fey who returned to UK for health reasons.

Tim Allan