Doctor of Ministry Pursuit is a Stepping-Stone for Stephen Muindi
Front (left to right): Dr. Daniel Brown, Dr. Douglas Brown, Henry John, Rod Efta, Junior Taylor, James Leslie
Back (left to right): Nick Oliver, Charlie Eldred, Mark Lounsbrough, Stephen Muindi, Jacob Saylor
“One step at a time.”
That is the message Pastor Stephen Muindi has continually preached to his congregation at Elgon View Baptist Church in Eldoret, Kenya, throughout the construction process of its new church building.
“We’re moving one step at a time so the church can see the whole process of building,” said Pastor Muindi. “At the same time, we are training nationals, so they know the process if we start another one. Rather than being overwhelmed with the knowledge that they would need a lot of money and need to buy property (which is very hard to obtain all at once), we are trying to help the church know how to move one step at a time to accomplish something. That has been very helpful as we train nationals to serve the Lord, to see how God works, and how He provides for the church. It’s really been an excellent moment.”
The “one step at a time” theme is also one that Pastor Muindi considers very relevant as he pursues his Doctor of Ministry degree at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary.
Pastor Muindi is one of nine students in the inaugural class of the new Doctor of Ministry program at Faith. The first “cohort” began in January with online courses, and recently wrapped up a two-week session of classes on campus. The entire degree is designed to be finished in three years. Most of the classes are online, with just four weeks of on-campus learning required (two weeks in year one, and two weeks in year two). The third year is an online (guided) research and writing project.
The cohort model, utilized in this program for the first time at Faith, is a strategic approach to learning that is catching on at colleges and universities across America. A cohort is a group of classmates that progresses together through a course of study. Research has shown that the cohort model helps build stronger relationships between classmates, stimulates creativity, and enhances critical thinking more effectively than traditional, individual learning. It is the Biblical illustration of iron sharpening iron. The cohort model for the Doctor of Ministry degree offers two paths of study to choose from: the Shepherding and Discipleship track or the Expository Preaching track.
Being a part of the cohort model has been something Pastor Muindi has really appreciated. He knew most of the people in his cohort from previous studies at Faith and through ministry. He has enjoyed catching up with them and getting to know new co-laborers in the ministry as well.
“That’s been encouraging to me,” said Pastor Muindi. “They support me. We can share each other’s burdens and new ideas, and I’m able to ask questions for clarification. As a program, you want to build each other up. I want us to help each other improve.”
Pastor Muindi concedes that the decision to pursue his Doctor of Ministry degree was not an easy one. It is a lot of work (mostly reading and research), but he also acknowledges that it is very relevant to his ministry. He says it helps him be more prepared, to know how to communicate more effectively and gives him wisdom and knowledge of how to deal with issues.
“I really appreciate the program,” said Pastor Muindi. “There are a lot of reminders of things you have studied with the other programs which are very helpful. It stretches you in areas you didn’t work on. Being a pastor, you tend to preach, preach, preach, and sometimes you forget areas that are needed homiletically or hermeneutically. All of the professors have done a wonderful job bringing us up to speed on current issues and exposing us to different views.”
Pastor Muindi’s history as a student at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary is unique. He initially learned about Faith Baptist Bible College in 1999, while working as a government official in Kenya. He was serving in his local church at the time and had a desire for ministry.
“Because I was in a Baptist church, I searched in a directory for Baptist colleges and sent letters,” said Pastor Muindi. “Only Faith responded back out of the five of them. I kept in contact until 1999, when I became a student.”
Stephen and his wife, Edna, had only been married a little more than a year. They arrived in Ankeny, Iowa, on August 11 and began classes August 18. He attended Faith Baptist Bible College four years to complete his undergraduate degree, and three years for seminary. All three of their children were born while he was a student at Faith. His two oldest twins (Regina and Ian) are currently attending medical school at Iowa State University. His youngest daughter, Rena, will be entering tenth grade this fall.
The Muindis have been home on furlough but will be returning to Kenya shortly after July 4. When they return, they will continue the ministry that God has blessed them with—a ministry that has seen considerable growth.
It’s more than just being called as a pastor to a church. You realize that you can’t quit because they don’t have anybody to replace you. It’s not like America.”
“We started in our home as a Bible study,” said Pastor Muindi. “We filled the house, then we bought a tent and put it outside the house. As God provided finances, we put up temporary facilities, then finally the Lord allowed us to start the building we are working on now. We use concrete and blocks. The structure is up, and now we are putting in the lights, windows, doors, and electricity, and then we’ll be tiling the floors.”
Pastor Muindi admits that the building process is challenging and exhausting, but that he cannot give up.
“There are challenges. Whether it be government legalities, or building requirements, or dealing with sinful people, you’re graciously trusting the Lord. You’re training, counseling, evangelizing, and reaching out to people. It’s more than just being called as a pastor to a church. You realize that you can’t quit because they don’t have anybody to replace you. It’s not like America.”
Whether it be his demanding building project in Kenya, his leadership of his family, or his pursuit of the Doctor of Ministry degree while serving as a full-time missionary, Pastor Muindi accomplishes it all by trusting Christ and practicing what he preaches…by approaching life and ministry one step at a time.
(The next Doctor of Ministry cohort at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary begins in January of 2020. Discounts are available and applications are currently being accepted. If you would like more information about the program, or how to apply, visit the Doctor of Ministry web page. )