Faculty Profiles


Muhia Karianjahi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Outdoor and Adventure Leadership Program Coordinator

On Faculty since 2013
715.479.7474 x305

I am a Kenyan who was raised and schooled in the City of Nairobi. Though raised in a Christian family, I made the unfortunate choice to live in rebellion through college. It was not until later while working as a wilderness outdoor instructor that Jesus captured my heart using his Creation. This led to several decades of exploring, designing, and rolling out experiential programs for spiritual and life-skills development of young people and youth workers in Eastern Africa; and consulting in youth programming in the Kenyan public and private sectors. My life journey has been punctuated by divinely appointed encounters with Christ’s ambassadors. Chief among them is my soulmate and wife Marcy, who is a constant reminder of Christ’s love for his church; and my two young adult sons Kiama and Wangai.

God has used mentors and colleagues at the Nairobi Chapel Association of Churches, Tanari (a youth centered Christian non-profit based in Nairobi), Christian Camping International, Wheaton College, Biola University, and the Northwoods of Wisconsin community, to nurture in me a passion to point young people to Jesus through experiential learning. I subscribe to the Ubuntu adage: it takes a village to raise up a child, and I believe that village to be the global church today. My journey with young people and those who love, live, and work with them brought me to Wheaton College Graduate School's Outdoor Adventure and Leadership program. I love sharpening one another with graduate students and the entire family at this leadership laboratory. I am excited to explore what loving God and learning from the worldwide neighbor looks like in authentic Christian community.

Biola University
Ph.D., Education Studies, 2013

Wheaton College
M.A., Interdisciplinary Studies (Education and Intercultural Studies), 2003

University of Nairobi
B.Sc. (Hons), Civil Engineering, 1988

  • Experiential and Outdoor Education
  • Spiritual Formation Through Rites of Passage and Temporary Communities
  • Global and Cross-Cultural Camp Ministry
  • Positive Youth Development and Youth Ministry

I am engaged in the following areas of research:

  • Contemporary reconstructions of rites of passage
  • Christian camping in the Global south
  • Otherness and Christian community
  • Adult life transitions and aging well
  • Camp Ministry in Global Contexts
  • Personal Spiritual Formation
  • Temporary Communities and the Church
  • Foundations of Experiential Education
  • Program planning and leadership
  • Christian Camping International – Worldwide, board member
  • African Christian Camping/CCI Eastern Africa, founding Chair
  • Christian Camps and Conference Association
  • Association of Youth Ministry Educators

Programming for Cultural Inclusion. Christian Camps and Conferences Association (CCCA), MN-E-Dakotas. Alexandria, MN, 2020

Christian Camping Around the World. Christian Camps and Conferences Association (CCCA), MN-E-Dakotas Alexandria, MN, 2020

Kijiji: Exploring Rites of Passage in Communities to Facilitate Life Transitions. John Gration Lecture, 2019 Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, 2019

A Biblical Strategy to Developing the Potential of African Youth. Sierra Leone Fellowship of Evangelical Students (SLEFES). Port Loko, Sierra Leone, 2019

Equipping Churches and Organizations for Effectiveness Through Christian Camping. ECWA WUSE II, Abuja, Nigeria, 2019

Christian Camp Leadership and the Family. Conference, Christian Camping International, Mexico. Tlajomulco, Jalisco, Mexico. 2018

The Power of Camp and Experiential Methodology. Symposium: Emerging network of Christian camp practitioners. Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2018

Character Virtues & Kenya-Addressing the Youth Gap: The Emergence of Modern Rites of Passage 1997-2016. Keynote Address: National Initiation Rites Conference Moi University. Nairobi, Kenya, 2017

Program Planning and Development. Indian Christian Camping Association. Bangalore, India, 2017

Positive Youth Development in Christian Camping. Christian Camping Southern Africa Annual Conference. Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa, 2014

Experiential Learning and Adventure Challenge. Generation Christian Camping Conference. CCI-Russia. St. Petersburg, Russia, 2014

Initiation-Male and Female: African Cultural Realities in the Light of God’s Word. Forum of Bible Agencies (FOBA) Africa Conference. Karen, Nairobi, Kenya, 2011

Crisis of Youth in East Africa. Whitworth College. Public Lecture: Spokane, WA. 2011

“Worldviews and Rethinking Africa’s Development” in Religion, Identity & Values: Rethinking Africa’s Development, 2020.

Spiritual Formation and Soul Care in the Department of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College, (with CFM faculty). Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, 2018, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 271-295.

Taruma: Empowering Youth Through Rites of Passage. Nairobi, Kenya: SIM Youth Workers Toolkit, 2016.

Church as Village: Rites of Passage and Positive Youth Development. Journal of Youth Ministry, Fall 2015, Vol. 14 No. 1

Contemporary, Community Based Rites of Passage as an Educational Tool for Transformative Learning: A Positive Youth Development Perspective. (2013). Transformative Education for Development Riara University, Nairobi, Kenya.

“Are rites of passage out of step? A Kenyan Christian perspective.” (2008). Lausanne World Pulse, online Magazine. http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/perspectives.php/944.

Constructing Adolescent Rites of Passage Experiences, ROPES: A Training of Coordinators’ Handbook for ROPES Pioneers in their Christian Communities. (2006). Tanari Trust, Nairobi, Kenya.