|Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” — Job 8:7. It was in 1983 that the Evangelism Committee of the then banned Meserete Kristos Church appointed and charged three persons, Yeshitila Mengistu, Kedir Dolchume, and Tadesse Negawo with the responsibility of looking after leadership training. These three men co-opted another two persons, Siyum Gebretsadik and Shemelis Rega, and later Solomon Kebede and Bedru Hussein were added. Together they began to give informal leadership training clandestinely.
Fittingly for an underground Church, they organized a Bible School “without walls”. They prepared a practical curriculum and chose four training centers in Addis Ababa, Nazareth, Metahara, and Dire-Dawa. Six times per year elders and evangelists from the congregations secretly gathered at the centers for two days of intensive training. Later this was reduced to four times per year. Today, with freedom, the program continues for six days two times per year. The Lord blessed this humble beginning and used it for the rapid growth of the Meserete Kristos Church throughout Ethiopia.
The tremendous growth in numbers has posed a serious challenge to the Church’s leadership. With so many thousands of new believers entering the Church every year, there is a tremendous need for trained leaders to disciple and shepherd them.
To meet this challenge, the Meserete Kristos Church resolved to open a Bible Institute. In January 1994, the Meserete Kristos Church Bible Institute (MKCBI) was opened for the purpose of providing relevant and contextualized Biblical training for pastors, evangelists, and lay leaders within Ethiopia. The Church rented a compound with a small house and a two-room outbuilding in a residential area in eastern Addis Ababa. There was space for one classroom, a dinning room, a kitchen, an office, and a bedroom which served as a dormitory. A faculty & staff was put in place with one full time teacher/director, a dean of students and several part time volunteer teachers.
The first student body was composed of 13 evangelists. Ten of them graduated with diplomas on April 5, 1996. In 1997 the Bible Institute was reorganized as the Meserete Kristos College. In January of 1999, the College was moved to better rented facilities in Kotebe. Enrollment grew gradually until it reached 124 full time students in September, 2001.
In January 2007 the whole College was moved into the first half of its new Academic building on its permanent 60,000 m2 campus at Debre Zeit. Since that time, six smaller buildings have been built including a kitchen, dining hall/chapel building, a toilet/wash house, a workshop, a transformer/generator building, and a guest faculty residence. A large dormitory with capacity to accommodate 384 men was completed in 2012. A smaller dorm for 258 women is being constructed.
The College currently offers three programs: A two-year Diploma in Bible and Christian Ministries given in the Amharic Language, a four-year Baccalaureate Degree in Bible and Christian Ministries using the English medium for instruction, and a Distance Education program offering a diploma in Bible and Christian Ministries. Since its beginning in 1994, over 1,226 persons have graduated from one of these programs. A masters degree program has been initiated in collaboration with Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, VA, USA, and the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST) in Addis Ababa. “Branch” campuses with about 300 part time students are also being operated by local Churches in the following locations: Addis Ababa, Nazareth, Nekempt, Hossana, Hadero, Dire Dawa, Asella, and Meta Robi.” These campuses are locally initiated but use the College curriculum, and classes are taught by College alumni. Certificates are issued by the MK College.