The Arnold Family, Nairobi

We spoke to Chris Arnold, Lead Pastor of Renewal Church in Nairobi, about his family's decision to buy a home in the UK, with the help of Kingdom Bank.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your church.

My name is Chris, and I live in Nairobi with my wife and children. After moving to Kenya around 12 years ago, we planted ‘Renewal Church’, which seeks to make church accessible and engaging for those who otherwise wouldn’t be involved. Including children, we currently have about 400 people in our church family, which is made up of 25 nationalities, of which 15 are different African nationalities.

In Nairobi there is a lot of religious baggage, as it’s a very religious culture, but doesn’t have the same Christian heritage as the UK. We have seen a drop off in church attendance at a similar rate to the UK, but in half the time, so we felt there was a real need for church that meets people where they are. Lots of people had given up on church, but they hadn’t given up on God. As we strive to be a welcoming community, it creates the opportunity for people to journey with us, discovering more of who Jesus is at their own pace.

What excites you about your ministry?

We felt called to create a space where these people could grow and be discipled in a way which was encouraging and equipping. We want to serve people and help them to be a light for Jesus in their everyday lives, so helping them to be a Christian in their workplace, working in the way of Jesus. For instance, we have a team of young lawyers who work to free wrongly imprisoned people, and then try to integrate them back into society, as well as bringing them into community and sharing the love of Jesus.

One practical and exciting way in which we are trying to do this is through our new co-working space, which has a coffee shop staffed by ex-inmates. This space is designed to remind people that God cares about our lives here and now, and what we do and how we work matters. We have the potential to change, partnering with God in his Kingdom work, offering what we have to him in praise, fulfilling his creation mandate. It’s exciting to be able to try and help release people to do more of what they are already doing.

What made you decide to buy this property?

When we first planted the church here, we did it on a whim and a prayer really, so realised we needed to start thinking about how to make this work in a sustainable, long-term way. We were in a place where we were wondering if we would need to move back to the UK, because of increased living costs here and increasing pressure of thinking about the future. We felt convicted that God wanted us to start planning well.

Over two years, four unrelated people who didn’t know each other gave us big donations, as they thought we should buy a house. We weren’t earning enough to save anything at this point, so this felt like a real sign from God that we should take this seriously and start looking.

My parents live in Scarborough, and so we knew it would make sense to buy a house near to them but didn’t know much about the area. We really wanted the house to feel right and like God had His hand on it, and so were overjoyed when we found this property. It’s in an old fishing village, and happens to be right next to a big, old church building, which as a pastor I was obviously pleased by. We were even more surprised when we realised that the property is an old schoolhouse, which was great for my wife, who teaches in an international school. This all felt like God providing for us once again.

How were Kingdom Bank able to help?

As we have never purchased a house before, we really needed someone to guide us through the process, and Jackie from the Kingdom Bank team did just that. Church planting is entrepreneurial, risk-taking work, so thinking through the pressures of society and the financial pressures can be burdensome. We felt like Jackie was sharing that burden with and for us and were encouraged by the Bank’s willingness to work alongside us to make this possible, even though our income is not straightforward.

Being able to rent out the house in the UK while we live in Kenya is an investment in our future, and we are so pleased to have had Kingdom Bank walking through this process with us.

If you’re in Christian ministry and looking for a mortgage, we’d be delighted to see if we can help, including discussing shared ownership options if appropriate. Get in touch by completing our mortgage enquiry form to find out if a Kingdom Bank mortgage could be right for you, or click here to find out more.

Related articles

Good News Stories

Jacob’s Well Care Centre

When the building they rented suddenly went up for sale, Jacob’s Well Care Centre thought they would have no choice but to cut down on their staff, and the ways they serve their community. We spoke to Lorraine about how a Kingdom Bank mortgage has enabled them to buy the building, meaning they can continue and grow their work and ministries.

Read more
Good News Stories

John Percival, Cambridge

Eden Baptist Church in Cambridge is a diverse congregation serving their community and sharing the good news of Jesus. Thanks to a Kingdom Bank mortgage, their Senior Pastor John can now live and serve in the local area.

Read more
Good News Stories

Danny Aanderud, Oxford

We spoke to Danny about how his family’s new home will be a hub for mission, helping them to grow their ministry in new ways.

Read more