Church leaders in Kenya have cautiously welcomed the latest Population and Housing Census result, which shows the number of Christians in the East African country has grown.
"This increase may have resulted from the sustained evangelistic work, but we are concerned many of them are nominal Christians," Anglican Bishop Charles Gaita of Nyahururu told ENInews.
The leaders say many of those describing themselves as Christians are not attending Sunday services and their lifestyles have not been in keeping with the faith.
"Church leaders should not be deceived by the figures. They need to teach their followers so that faith grows in their hearts," said Gaita.
The Rev Wellington Mutiso, the General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya warned that a "nominal" Christian faith is "a great killer of churches".
"I think many people were enumerated as Christians for identification or family affiliation. It is also positive to be seen as a Christian," noted Mutiso.
The results of the 2009 survey, released on 30 August, showed that Christians make up 31.8 million of Kenya's 38.6 million people, or 82.6 per cent of the population, compared to 78 per cent at the time of the last census in 1989.
Roman Catholics are the biggest single denomination, accounting for 9 million people. Protestants make up a total of 18 million people, while other Christians account for 4.5 million people.
"The growth could be attributed to the commitment of Christian families to teach their children to the matters of faith. It could also be people defecting from other faiths," said the Rev Maloba Wesoga of Nairobi's Catholic archdiocese.
Kenya's Muslim population stands at 4.3 million while that of Hindus is 53,393, the Daily Nation newspaper reported.
[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]