iServe Africa began in 2007 after Harrison spent two years in the UK as a ministry apprentice in Reading and Sussex. Through observation of the UK church landscape, training and the personal mentoring he received, he became strongly convinced that the African church is in great need of gospel workers. After prayer and wide consultations with leaders both in Kenya and in the UK, the idea solidified and he felt strongly that an apprenticeship programme would be one answer to raising a generation of gospel workers who will faithfully teach the scriptures and encourage Christians to live out their faith in the African context.
Inspired by the apprenticeship models in the UK, Harrison envisaged a programme that would give young graduates opportunities of involvement in Christian ministry, helping them to explore the needs and opportunities available in gospel ministry, whether gospel ministry is for them and also a programme that would support the ministry of a local church. The idea of iServe Africa was born.
While still in the UK Harrison approached an indigenous mission movement in Kenya, Mission Together Africa (MTA), whose leader, Duncan Olumbe, he had known since college days, and asked them if iServe Africa could be run under them. They were pleased with the idea and promised to help. They worked out the administrative details and established iServe Africa as a structure in which young people in Africa can give their time to serve the Church and the community for their own good and to the Glory of God .
Upon his return from the UK in 2007, MTA provided the legal and institutional framework and hired Harrison to run the programme. They also provided support facilities like an office, a desk and internet access. The Mission Awareness Committee of All Saints and St Richards Crowborough, besides adopting Harrison as a mission partner provided a laptop and some financial support. Other friends both in the UK and Kenya came forward to support the idea, giving it the much needed goodwill and prayer support.
The next one year was spent in preparation for the actual take off. There was need to look for placements, to recruit apprentices, to establish the curriculum for training as well as laying the administrative foundation needed for such work and not least the need to mobilize resources. As almost a fulfilment of a dream, on Sunday 7th of September 2008 at All Saints Cathedral Nairobi, iServe Africa was launched and an pioneer group of 14 apprentices commissioned to serve. Then the work had only just begun.
The next phase was to support those apprentices, maintain relationships with partners, build new strategic partnerships, establish ongoing recruitment of both apprentices and placements as well as keep the administrative aspects of the work running.
In March 2011, iServe Africa was registered by the NGO Coordination Board as an International NGO (Registration Number OP.218/051/11-035/6919). In February 2014 a parallel registration, iServe Africa Gospel Society, was enacted under CAP 108 [The Societies Act], society number SOC/66336, registration number 43946.
Over 300 apprentices have now been through the iServe apprenticeship programme. We hope and pray that by God’s grace we might continue to grow this work by encouraging more churches to take apprenticeship as a training model.