Reflections on the Spiritual Culture of Nakuru Happy Church

This newsletter is an introduction to Happy Church Ministries International. (Happy Church) based in Nakuru, Kenya.  Happy Church is a charter member of Kingdom Life Network (KLN) a newly formed ‘network of networks’  with some 300 churches and ministries  in approximately a dozen nations. KLN headquarters are in Lancaster, PA. The ordination of a new bishop is a milestone in the history of Happy Church. This ordination  provides the opportunity to formally introduce  Happy Church to the larger Christian Community.  It also provides the opportunity to reflect on the spiritual culture which Happy Church has created over the 28 years of their pilgrimage.

E. Daniel Martin

1. Happy Church encourages a culture of honor. The people are trained to honor one another and to honor their leaders. At Nakuru Happy Church there is a protocol committee headed by Irene. Irene trains young women how to honor the leaders in the church: to meet the leaders as they enter onto the church grounds; to carry their bags or their Bible; to bring them hot tea or a pleasant drink as they are seated and again after they have just spoken; to provide a place for them to relax and regroup in a private room between services to provide light refreshments after the service and to in all things meet the needs and comfort of the speaker.  At the ordination, the ordained was met as he drove onto the ground by a crowd of people who were singing and dancing in anticipation of his arrival. They then accompanied him to the tent of meeting, singing and  dancing as they went.  All speakers and leaders were given a corsage and “properly seated’ in a place of honor in the service.  In one service at the conference preceding the ordination, I sat back in the congregation. A pastor was distressed that I had not been properly seated in a seat in front of the church facing the congregation.  The Bible says ‘in honor preferring one another’ and show hospitality without resenting it. Happy Church does this in abundance.

2. Happy Church emphasizes pastoral authority. Although Bishop Kamau is careful to emphasize that he does not want to have a hierarchy where there is an elevation  and separation of leaders over those being led, he does feel that the men and women who serve the church should be honored because of their works and words and the anointing that is on them to be servant leaders of the people of God. So these are pastor led churches. However each pastor is under the authority of those over him in the Happy Churches such as overseers and bishops. Bishop Kamau brings himself under the counsel and advice of his fellow bishops and overseers. He is also under the counsel and brotherly address of other leaders in the Kingdom Life Network.

3. Happy Church creates an atmosphere of beauty. In spite of financial challenges, Happy Church maximizes its resources to create beauty. Everyone was in there colorful best at the ordination. The bishop wore a colorful robe. The bishop candidate and his wife were dressed in colorful robes; they knelt on beautiful white lacy cushion to be ordained. Tents and meetings houses are decorated with banners and flowers. There is a lot for the eye. It is as though they are saying, ‘God is so beautiful and we want to remind ourselves in these small ways that He is beautiful’.

4. Happy Church loves to dance. Especially in the worship service there is always movement. Worship and celebration have always been associated with dance in the Happy Church. However now there are presentations were choreographed dances are a special focus. The youth especially delight in these vigorous choreographed dances performed to the exuberent  music of praise and celebration.

5. Happy Church expresses joy and celebration. In spite of financial difficulty; in spite of tribal conflict; in spite of governmental corruption; there is joy in the house of the Lord. The worship services celebrate the goodness of the Lord and His intention to bless and keep His people from all evil. Upon leaving the service one is lifted up with joy for another week.

6. Happy Church values covenantal relationships.  On several occasions I reviewed with the people the relationship I have had with Bishop Kamau and the Happy Church and our committment to one another over the years. I said that my wife,Ruth,  was presently in Belgium visting our son and his wife and our three granddaughters and seeing the tulips of the Netherlands. Of course I would have wanted to be there but  I was here in Kenya because of a covenantal relationship. We are commtited to one another. Relationships cost something; they cost time and energy and finances. American churches as well as Indian and Cambodian Churches now have an official covenantal relationship with Happy Church in that we are all members together in Kingdom Life Network (KLN). Happy Church has modeled faithfulness to relationsips in good tiems and difficult times.

7. Happy Church devotes itself to prayer.  Prayer is founational of Happy Church ministries. Both private and corporate prayer is strongly encouaged. At leaast once a month Nakuru Happy Chruch has an all night prayer meeting.  The meeting  begins at 9:30 pm and does not conclued till  6 am or day light.  Often as many as 200 people attent this prayer meeting.

8. Happy churh is a community of faith. In the midst of overwheliming odds people believe that God is able to meet their needs and the needs around them. They beleive they are called to pursue God for a break through in their finances, there relationships and their physical healing. Worship services are often enlivened by the testimomies of God’s faithfulness.  One woman , the head of the hospitality committee at the Nakuru Happy Church, greately desired to serve the church by providing transportation to people in the chruch as well as visiting speakers. However she had lost her job and had no automobile. In addition she was estranged from her children in spite of her efforts to be reconciled. She began to believe God for a miracle in both these areas. One Sunday morning her son from whom she had been estranged and who knew nothing of her prayer asked the pastor for permission to honor his mother during a Sunday morning service.  The pastor agreed. At the agreed upon time he went to the front of the chruch and called his mother forth to honor her in front of the congregation. He stated that God had spoken to his heart and he wanted to honor his mother and to praise God that they had been reconciled.  At the end of his comments he handed her the keys to a brand new Toyota automobile. She was overwhelmed  by God’s response to her prayers of faith.  Since then she continually rejoices that she is able to serve God’s servants by providing them transportation.

9. Happy Church expects and prays for physical healings.  Prayer for healing is a frequent occurance. And the frequency of  reported healings seems directly related to the frequency of believing prayer for healing.  One pastor developed the symptoms of diabetes. He began to lose his eye sight . In spite of medical interventions his symptoms continued and he found it increasingly difficulty to read. Eyeglasses were not satisfactory. He began to feel depression that in spite of having seen God heal many others in response to his prayers, his prayers for his own healing seemed to go unanswered.  One day he sensed God telling him to prophecy to his body. So he began to prophecy health to his pancreas and to his eyes and to his entire body. For three weeks nothing happened. Then one day his symptoms remitted. He was able to see again. He continues to have good eye sight without the need for reading glasses.  ‘God is so good!’ he proclaims.

10. Happy Church seeks to transform the community and nation with the Gospel lived out in word and deed.  The faith disciplines learned in church are lived out in the market place. One brother associated with the Happy Church founded a college and a retreat center with a Christian emphasis. Students from the college do their internships in ‘Hospitality’ at the retreat center. His vision to transform the community through Christian principles applied in the market place has born fruit in a college that now enrolls 500 students and a conference center that is well known and respected in the community. Happy Church members take their calling in Christ as a higher calling than their ethnic loyalties. Thus they are often able to be peacemakers in a culture ridden with conflict and corruption.

11. Happy church takes the Bible seriously. Biblically based preaching, Bible studies and  Bible conferences and conventions are a part of the spiritual diet of the average  Christian. Biblical principles influence decison making and determine doctrinal beliefs.  They also equip the believer to make discernments regarding false doctrines and teachings.  Presently there are ‘Christian’ pastors in Kenya  teaching that especially anointed brooms purchased from them can be used to sweep the devil out the house and out of their lives. Pastors and believers turn to the Bible to guide them in avoiding such teaching and such practices.

12. Happy Church takes loving relationships seriously.  Bishop Kamau had a significant part of his formal theological training in schools of  an Anabaptist perspective which emphasized Christian discipleship and  and living out the gospel in loving relationships within the body of Christ and within the community at large. Happy Church teaches that love for the brother and the pursuit of peace in all relationships is a central mandate of the Gospel.

13. Happy Church is a Holy Spirit-anointed, Holy Spirit- directed community. Happy Church teaches  that one cannot live out the Gospel without the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is taught as an expected part of the Christian life. Believers are taught to seek the gifts of the spirit. The church moves in and teaches the five-fold ministry with persons functioning as pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets and apostles within the body of Christ.

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