Recognition of a Pastor


The journey began from Nairobi to Nyeri for Simon Muriithi’s dowry payment party, which went well, except that it turned out to be further away than we had thought. The negotiations went on up to 7.30 in the evening! Nonetheless, we managed to drive to Meru before midnight!

With Charity, Gaitano, Manases Bor and Mrs. Muketha from Nairobi, and the congregation of Miathene Trinity Baptist Church, the service began at 10.30. We sang three hymns, then Paul read Proverbs 3:1-16 before leading in prayer. Afterwards he made the announcements and handed over the service to me.

I began by explaining that the role of TBC Nairobi is that of helping a daughter church to get to her feet, and denied that I was coming as a bishop. I then explained 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. I gave the history of how Mucheru went to Miathene in 2014 and stayed for a year as a member but also labouring in the ministry. Then on 28th August I chaired meeting that discussed the three areas of his life – moral character, domestic and ministerial qualities. But since the meeting lacked the quorum a vote was not taken, therefore the church met again under the chairmanship of Paul on the 13th September and unanimously voted to have Mucheru as their pastor. We were not able to find time to help in his recognition last year and this is why it was put under priority in January this year.

I explained that the matter of his recognition involved 2 things in the presence of God:

  • For Joseph Mucheru to declare his faith and promise to faithfully do the work the Bible demands of an elder, and
  • The congregation promising to do what the Bible requires of them to their pastor.

I asked Mucheru five questions, which he answered in the affirmative:

  1. Do you profess, and believe Jesus Christ to be your own Lord and Saviour?
  2. Do you believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible and authoritative word of God?
  3. Do you receive as true to the Bible the statement of faith in our church confession (constitution)?
  4. Do you promise before God to preach the word, and all the word?
  5. Do you promise to serve this congregation, “not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain, but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being example to the flock”?

Then I asked the church this one question:

Do you promise to receive the teaching, submit to the directions, provide the support, pray for, and obey the pastor you have recognized?  If so, stand to signify the promise.

All those present rose up to show their full support of Mucheru. We thank God that the brother has such obvious support from the church. We pray that the brother will continue to enjoy this support and that he will serve the Lord.

Then Paul Kianji, Joshua Kairithia and myself, laid hands on him in prayer as he knelt down before the congregation. Paul Kianji prayed for him to be a faithful and a spiritual man, and to preach the gospel in and out of season. Joshua prayed for his family that they will listen to him as both the husband, the father and their pastor. Then I prayed for the church to be supportive and to grow both in grace and knowledge and numerally, as the ministry of the elders was experienced. I asked the Lord to multiply the church by replication.

Then I gave Mucheru this charge:

This church needs a godly and spiritual pastor – be that man. Watch over yourself and the flock of God, which the Holy Spirit has made you overseer. Covet no one’s silver or gold. Tend this flock with all patience.

Do not account your life as of any value nor as precious to yourself, if only you may finish the course and the ministry that you received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God, in and out of season. Preach the gospel. May you be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus to endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

I went on preach from 1 Peter 5:1-4. I began by interrogating the passage as follows:

  • Who owns the church? It is God, for the church is called ‘the flock of God’ (v. 2) and the Lord is called the Chief-Shepherd (v. 4)
  • Who are the spiritual leaders (under-shepherds) of a church? It is the Elders (v. 1)
  • What is the work of the elder? It is to shepherd the flock by exercising oversight (v. 2)
  • How are the elders not to shepherd the flock? Unwillingly, for money, domineeringly (vv. 2-3)
  • How are the elders to shepherd the flock? Willingly, as God would have them (according to God’s instructions), eagerly, by being examples to the flock (vv. 2-3)
  • What is the reward of the pastor? It is the unfading crown of glory (v. 4)

I laid out the terms of service for a pastor from Ezekiel 34:3b-4.  I pointed out that the work of the pastor involves:

  1. to feed by teaching all of the word of God
  2. to strengthen the weak
  3. to heal the sick
  4. to bind up the injured
  5. to bring back the straying ones
  6. to seek the lost
  7. to rule them with gentleness

Essentially this work requires not just a watchful eye, but a godly eye and a shepherd spirit. A pastor who will pray for the members and preach the truths of the gospel to them so that they may be built up in the faith to maturity, to the measure and stature of the fullness of Christ so that they are no longer children tossed to and fro by the waves of false teachings.

The church had a prepared lunch, so we ate together. We later on went to Muili to see where they have bought the piece of land. It is right next to a stream and road. They have unnecessarily delayed in getting on with the transfer and demarcation. So on Monday, we all went there, and got the lady who sold the land, and proceeded to the lands office and eventually, had the parcel hived. Meanwhile Charity visited an old family friend who was so delighted to hear that we are church planting close to where she lives and so she promised to start attending the church. She has visited a good number of times TBC Nairobi and loves the emphasis on Bible teaching and hoped that the same will be true in the new church.

I exhorted the elders to work hard for the cause of Christ in the area. I specifically asked Mucheru not to devote himself to doing anything else other than what brought him to Miathene. Recently, he began farming tomatoes in the church compound – this I commended instead of going to the market for three days in a week (which he used to do). I think being in the church compound is a good thing because church members or anyone can come to see him anytime. The compound looked well attended, which is commendable. He also had a young man, a university graduate as his right hand man, called Nicholas Mugambi. He came with us to Nairobi to clear at Kenyatta University for his graduation later in the year. He is not a believer and Manases spent a considerable amount of time with him – we hope much good comes out of it. Being from a Roman Catholic background, he did not understand the difference between a pastor and priest – he thought when a pastor has better seminary education he becomes a priest! I explained the difference and took time to explain to him that Christ is the Priest who is to be trusted for the forgiveness of sin by His gracious sacrifice of Himself. I also explained to him the blasphemy of the mass. He called me later to say that he would like to come to church on Sunday.

Generally the church is doing well and I thank God for Mucheru and the men with him.

Murungi Igweta

1st February 2017

MIATHENE (22/9/13)

For more than a year we have not been able to meet in the church building, as it was taken over by a Pastor who was dismissed. We had to take the case to Court to seek to force him out, but there has been delay after delay. At the beginning of September, on the advice of our lawyer, we sent a security firm to seal the property, so no one was allowed entry for 3 weeks. On 22nd. September we deemed it right to seek to hold the first service in the building, as the dismissed man seemed to have given up. I went there myself and we had an encouraging day with about 40 adults in attendance for the morning service, lunch and afternoon meeting. I preached on Ephesians 2:8-9 to seek to remind them that as a church what we stand for is a salvation which is from God.


We are amazed that so many have remained for all these months just waiting for the church to meet again in its own building. Yes, there is too great an attachment to the building, but it also means that they have not found another church where they have been fed with the word of God in the same way. The next Sunday even more people came. This Sunday, Pastor Murungi is there (Miathene is where he was born and brought up!). I took up Martin Mokoyan, a PTC student of many years ago, to help the 2 Pastors in Miathene to bring stability to the church. Please continue to pray for the witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this place.

2013, No. 1

Dear Brethren

The New Year has started off differently:

  • Rain instead of the usual hot weather with clear blue skies
  • Very busy with a 10 day safari to north Kenya, and teaching PTC students
  • Many visitors to the services


After preaching in our New Year’s Day service on Hebrew 13:8, I left with 2 of our young people for 10 days in north Kenya. Dominic has finished one year of the PTC. Jimmy is a fairly recent church member. We stopped for the night in Miathene (east of Mt. Kenya) with Paul Kianji, with whom I taught when I first came to Kenya in 1968! The church here has been in upheaval since one of the Pastors refused to accept his dismissal . We have been forced to go to court to seek to get him removed. The wheels of justice can go so slowly. I encouraged the other Pastors to re-gather the sheep and seek to meet in another place.


(1) On 2nd. January we drove up to Korr, one of the main centres for Rendille people. I was a bit apprehensive because Patrick Ochieng’, the trained missionary leader, has had to go because of serious failures. But we found the 20 or so faithful members and the 3 evangelist-leaders together.

Joseph Ogom has just a few years’ education, so at least he is literate! Ruygon Nadesol and Godana Dabalen have no formal education. These are the ones leading the church. PRAY they may be faithful, especially in taking the gospel far and wide. Perhaps someone from outside can come to help them for a while until the Lord should be pleased to raise up more qualified leaders.


We were encouraged by the 40 or so adults and young people who gathered for worship on Sunday morning. The place of meeting we call ‘the shade’ is behind Nadesol and Ogom. Further back is the permanent stone building that has stalled because of the problems. We also made some visits outside the town to the goobs that surround. Farakoren is more than 20 kms. west and we went with a young man named Gabriel who has just completed his Secondary Schooling. He is from a Catholic background but professes to be saved. He was in our High School Camp in Nairobi in December. We were able to preach the gospel to around 25 adults under a tree outside the goob. Afterwards as we drank delicious tea in Gabriel’s sister’s hut I asked her what she had learned from the preaching. It was encouraging to hear her say, ‘Everyone has sin and must change’. It was my opportunity to press on her that only the Lord can bring about that change. Before leaving some leaders requested that we bring a church so that there is regular preaching, and that we help them in supporting the Early Childhood Development (ECD) teacher.

This is the Nahgaan goob (village). We are standing outside the hut of Ali Leeba (2nd. left). He professes to be a Christian but hardly ever comes to worship as he stays with his animals in the ‘foor’ = a temporary settlement as they move about looking for pasture for the animals.


Timo Galgatho (1st. left) is inside her hut. She is a widow, baptized upon profession of faith in Christ. Widows do not remarry so can face hardships with children to care for. We asked her about the dried branches at the entrance to the hut which say she has participated in the ‘sooriyo’ tradition. She says she does not participate but the wazee (men leaders) force her. We have suggested that such believers come to the town at such times to be with other Christians.


(2) On 7th. January we drove the 30 kms. south to the Lekuchula goob at the foot of Mt. Bayo. Again I was not sure what I would find as there had been rumours that another church had sought to take over our Primary School. This proved to be quite unfounded as we met with Mario and the 2 faithful ladies here – Ntiito and Nduruba. They told us they meet for worship on Sunday with up to 20 present. One of the things we have to seek to do soon is to help both Ogom and Mario with simple materials to help them in their preaching.

At the Lekuchula goob multitudes of animals – camels, cows, goats and sheep – leave early morning. We go under the tree outside the goob to have our devotions together.


Dominic & Jimmy are with a ‘moran’ (young unmarried men who look after the animals). He slaughtered a goat for us to eat.


(3) On 8th. January we drove another 25 kms. south-east across the now dry Malgis River. Raphael Bulkash is labouring to plant a church among the 4 goobs of Ndikir. We were pleasantly surprised that the Government has built one classroom here as the beginning of a Primary School, has sent a Headteacher, and has listed Trinity Baptist Church as the sponsor! Spiritually Raphael is finding it hard with no positive spiritual response. However, we were so encouraged when we visited more interior Losidan where we also sponsor a Primary School. The village leader is an illiterate man called Lepakio. When we arrived he went from hut to hut waking people up to come and hear the preaching, and even stopped men from playing their favourite board game. On arrival we received the sad news that a lady had died a few days before after giving birth. She was a third wife and it was her first child. This was the occasion to talk about death. Why do we die? How does Jesus Christ save us from death? We also had to pay attention to a boy who had fallen into a fire and had a severely burned back. As we later drank tea with Lepakio I remarked that it is hard for him to follow the message of the gospel for it is a straight and narrow way and demands leaving the old life. His reply was gripping. ‘Did you not see how I sought to bring everyone to hear the Word? That is how much I desire it for myself! I wish I am like Nadesol, although illiterate like me, yet able to tell others the word of God.’ We pray that the Gospel is beginning to take root in a place where there is total spiritual darkness.


Please pray for wisdom and strength, and especially for the Lord to use the following ministries in the first few months of 2013, in addition to the normal weekly ministries.

  1. Pastoral Training Course (PTC) in January & March.
  2. Resumption of Meaty Forum, 2nd. Friday of each month.
  3. AGM, 9th. February.
  4. Reformed Baptist Association of Kenya (RBAK) meetings 15-18th. February here in Nairobi.
  5. Ministry in Pokot North at the end of February.
  6. General elections on March 4th. that we earnestly pray will end peacefully, not like 5 years ago.
  7. 35th. Anniversary of beginning of Trinity Baptist Church, Nairobi, 15-17th. March, with Pastor Geoffrey Thomas as our guest.
  8. Reformation Conference in west Kenya (Mumias) 10-14th. April at which hundreds are expected to attend!

We thank God for your continued fellowship, support and prayers.

In Christ’s service,

Keith & Priscilla Underhill