BRIEF HISTORY OF THE APOSTOLIC FAITH CHURCH, KENYA
Apostolic Faith Church is a Pentecostal Church, which began in early years of 20th Century. It is currently spread in most parts of the world, with branches in all continents. It is established on biblical teachings of true repentance, justification, sanctification, baptism in the Holy Spirit and other doctrines as taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles.
Apostolic Faith Church has its roots in the great church revival that started in Los Angeles in United States. An interdenominational group of sanctified believers, who were very hungry for more of God, were praying for the Holy Ghost – in 1906.
On April 9th 1906, in a street called Bonnie Braie, in Los Angeles, the power came. Like the one hundred and twenty in the upper room (Acts 2:1-4), they powerfully spoke in tongues. People thronged from all over – USA and the entire world. Their number increased and the place could no longer contain them, so they relocated to 312 Azusa Street.
The founder, Pastor William Joseph Seymour (Blackman who was half blind) would pray for five hours everyday for 21/2 years with great hunger for God. This hunger was too much until he was forced to increase his prayer time from five hours to seven hours, a day. When revival broke, people would enter the sanctuary, get healed at the door. Others would get saved, sanctified and filled with fire of the Holy Spirit, just at door entrance – and would pray for hours. Love was great and unity was extraordinary. It was a great vibration and explosion that shook cities and states.
Rev (Mrs) Florence Crowford (1st overseer – Apostolic Faith Church, Portland Oregon) and Rev. John G. Lake (who took Revival fire to South Africa – where he formed Apostolic Faith Mission in 1908) were part of great prayer people and pillars in Azusa Street Revival.
Azusa street movement became the second major Pentecostal outpouring since the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
In around 1957, a Pastor from South Africa, Pastor Charles Nielsen worked in Kenya and planted a Church in Ngong (currently Apostolic Faith Church, Ngong Assembly – in Ngong Town). It is also confirmed that an assembly of believers (that is, Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa) used to gather somewhere near NSSF building (on the land currently occupied by the Integrity House in Nairobi city), and White settlers farms in Eldoret Town had a branch near Eldoret (near North Rift – towards Western Kenya).
In 1961 – 1962, the South Africans left Kenya. This might have been caused by political stand of the Kenyan politicians: stopping diplomatic or economic ties with the nation of South Africa (Apartheid Problem). This threatened mission endeavors by Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, in Kenya. According to “Kenya Churches Handbook”, Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa was registered in 1957 and dissolved in 1961, in Kenya.
Apostolic Faith – Report: Kenya
Churches Handbook 1498 – 1973 (extract)
“In 1950s a member of the Presbyterian Church in Kikuyu, at Kikuyu, after his conversion and subsequent association with Local Revival Fellowship, asked his minister for re-baptism as a believer. This was refused, and he was baptized by a white missionary of the Apostolic Faith Mission. Later, he experienced baptism of the Holy Spirit, and finding that this was not acceptable within the Revival Fellowship, he commenced the church called Apostolic Faith of Africa which was registered in 1963. The missionary left Kenya in 1961”. This referred to Willie Kago – first overseer – “Apostolic Faith of Africa”.
- David B. Barret (editor), KENYA CHURCHES HANDBOOK 1498 – 1973, Kisumu, Kenya: Evangelical
- Publishing House: 1973 (PP 131).
Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (formerly of P.O. Box 253 Eldoret). “A mission from South Africa formerly at work on the farms of Eldoret Highlands, but which left the country soon after independence”.
“A missionary body from Republic of South Africa, registered in 1957, later disbanded about 1963, and whose registration was cancelled in 1967”.
“Apostolic Faith of Africa: General Overseer: Mr. Willie Ng’ang’a Kago HQ. Thogoto Village, P.O. Box 13 Kikuyu. A Kikuyu Schism in 1959 from P.C.E.A. also known as “witikio wa Atumwo” (Faith of Apostles) and nicknamed Wamathina (church of sorrows) congregation have spread westwards from Kikuyu country to Baringo, West Pokot,Kitale, Kericho, into Uganda”.
- David B. Barret (editor), KENYA CHURCHES HANDBOOK 1498 – 1973, Kisumu, Kenya: Evangelical
- Publishing House: 1973 (PP 233).
Our church was then registered in Kenya on 4th February, 1963 by the name of Apostolic Faith of Africa. Thogoto Assembly, in Kikuyu which was started in 1958was the main branch, with semi-autonomous status.
Rev. Ford who is believed to have had links with Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, preached in Thogoto, where he had pitched a tent near Thogoto Primary School. They differed with Rev. Willie Kago (the pioneer Overseer). Rev Kago left and started Apostolic Faith of Africa in his residence in the rural part of Thogoto (Thogoto is about 35Kms east of Nairobi City). Later, Rev. Ford left Thogoto, and the two churches merged and strengthened Apostolic Faith of Africa.
The church under the first overseer, Rev Willie Kago, reached out mainly to rural areas but with powerful anointing and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
In 4th September 1975, Apostolic Faith of Africa was registered in the new name of Apostolic Faith Church. It is alleged that Rev. Willie Kago had a splitter group (away from Apostolic Faith Church) called “Apostolic Faith Original”, the name the group used and was registered.
On 6th July 1975, National elections were conducted at Magina, Kiambu District with total delegates of 470 voters, drawn from Kenya and Uganda. Rev. Musa Njuguna was elected the new General Overseer. The name of the Church was changed from “Apostolic Faith of Africa” to “The Apostolic Faith Church”.
The Church Constitution had not been updated since 1963. Thorough revision and amendment to the constitution was found to be absolutely necessary, in view of the amendments to the societies act (1964 and 1968) – application for approval was done in 29th July 1975. New constitution was approved on 4th September 1975 with elaborate details in the articles: objectives, membership, duties of the office bearers, committee and duties etc.
The new name “The Apostolic Faith Church” was gazetted on 5th September 1975 as change of the name from “Apostolic Faith of Africa” to “The Apostolic Faith Church”.
Rev. Musa Njuguna was elected and confirmed as the new General Overseer in 1975. He stayed on up to 1987, when he handed over to Rev David Ng’ang’a Mungai. During the tenure of Rev Musa, the Church expanded powerfully and administrative structures were established (and strengthened) nationally.
Rev. Musa, retained ties with brethren in Apostolic Faith Mission in South Africa and other parts. Main parts of our constitution are derived from the constitution of Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa. We enjoyed visits of missions’ director Pastor Gschewend (of South Africa) which culminated in his key visit in 1978.
Majority of our Pastors had to undergo effective ministerial training. This has increased steadily. The Church upholds the foundation of holiness, prayer, baptism of the Holy Spirit, true unity of Saints and active obedience to the will of God.
Church administration was initially based on districts under District Overseers. Later, we changed into Regions under Regional Overseers.
In 1980’s – the Church had 6 main Regions:
- Central (Nairobi City surrounding Counties)
- Eastern (Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, Meru Counties etc).
- Nyandarua (Nyandarua, Laikipia Counties).
- Nakuru (Nakuru County, Central Rift Valley etc).
- Western (Busia, Kisumu, Kisii, Homabay, Migori, Siaya, Kakamega Counties etc).
- Rift Valley (Transzoia, Uasin Gishu, Pokot, Lodwar Counties).
In 2004, we increased the Regions from 6 to 15: Central, Nairobi, Nyandarua, Naivasha, Nakuru, Menengai, Nyanza, Western, North Rift A, North Rift B, Transzoia, Uasin Gishu, Laikipia, Eastern, Aberdare. Each Region is under Regional Overseer with Regional Board (Officials and Regional workers council).
We anticipate to form more Regions with Mombasa (Coastal areas) culminating into a Region. Another area is Machakos, Kitui, Makueni counties. Our Constitution encourages Regional focus of development.
Rev Willie Kago: 1958 – 1975
Bishop Musa Njuguna: 1975 – 1987
Bishop David Ng’ang’a Mungai: 1987 – 2005
Bishop Abraham Kamau Gitu: 2006 – 2010
Bishop Peter Gatimu Ndung’u: 2010 to date
We are a key member of Apostolic Faith Mission International, an umbrella body for all National Churches of Apostolic Faith Mission in the world.
Headquarters are in South Africa.
Apostolic Faith Church, Kenya is now again under strong hunger for God. It is real, especially in youth, young prayerful pastors, and visionary overseers. The Church has undergone metamorphosis (changes) where General workers council (all pastors) meet and agree on any constitutional amendment or administrative issues. Apostolic Faith Church is one of the key churches, that have retained the Pentecostal taste of the early church (fellowship, ministry of prayers, hunger for God, holiness, and baptism in the Holy Spirit, Apostolic practices and doctrines, focus on heaven as our destiny ….). We contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints: (Jude 3).
The wind is blowing again! Our minds agree with God in this mighty move. As expressed by our church logo “without cross, there is no glory” i.e. carry your cross, to attain the crown of glory” (Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23).
THE WIND IS BLOWING AGAIN!