Martin Luther University College
Many churches in Africa lack recorded history for various reasons, such as scarcity of funds and/or scholars in the field of church history (cf. Kalu, 1993:166ff). This situation is more prevalent among the Pentecostal movements which, initially and for genuine reasons, were anti-intellectualist and emphasized ministry alone (Clark & Lederle et al, 1983:41; McNamee, 1974:27; and Hollenweger). Another possible explanation results from the fact that these churches are relatively young compared to their counterpart mainline churches. This lack of recorded history poses a hindrance to any efforts in evaluating the growth of such churches.
There is an immediate need to understand the complex nature of the Pentecostal churches and how growth is motivated within their congregations. This is only possible if history is documented. Marwick (1989: 14) states that "as memory is to the individual, so history is to the community or society." To fully appreciate history, it is necessary to have it recorded, not just for the present but also for future generations. A church may not be able to adequately evaluate its growth or understand itself without recorded history. This fact applies also to Assemblies of God Church (hereafter KAG) as one of the major Pentecostal movements in Kenya and other parts of the world (Anderson, 1992 & 1993; and Saayman, 1993).
Recorded history is a treasure to any people, society or organisation (Brumback, 1977:iii). If history is not recorded within the life-span of pioneer members, it is likely that when the pioneers have departed, important information that makes the history complete, may die with them. The KAG church has over three decades worth of history and obviously, most of the pioneer members (both missionaries and nationals) are either gone or leaving the stage, one way or the other. As such, a reflection on its history is timely for the purpose of . evaluating both its growth and significance (cf. McIntire, 1984:40).
Juma, F. A. and Vorster, J. M. (2003) “Factors That Influenced the Growth of the Assemblies of God Church in Kenya: An Analysis of Multi-paradigms.” Studia Historia Ecclesiasticae (Journal of the Church History Society of Southern Africa) 29(2), 228-262.