The Need for Leadership Training in the Churches of Ethiopia
The Meserete Kristos Church grew out of the work of Mennonite missionaries back in the 1950’s. Since the early 1970’s it has experienced phenomenal growth. As of September, 2016, it counts 295,607 baptized members who fellowship in an inclusive community of 527,851 persons in 961 congregations and 1,016 church planting centers scattered in all 35 MKC Administrative Regions of Ethiopia. It added 20,164 members last year. The growth rate was 3.8%. Obviously, this rapid growth presents an awesome nurturing challenge to the Church’s leadership. Also, these church members have about 182,371 children who need educational opportunities as well.
A deep spiritual hunger makes Ethiopia a very attractive “field” for the many seductive cults from the west that are sowing much confusion among new Christians. This is a real concern among all the evangelical churches. The best defense against error is to know the truth! The need to train congregational leaders has never been more urgent!
The Need for Higher Education in Ethiopia
Education is a means for developing human resources that is critical for economic growth and poverty reduction as well as the development of any democratic society.
School enrollment in Ethiopia is still low, especially on the tertiary level. The need for expansion of educational opportunities is quite immense. The critical human resources needed for quality leadership to bring about human betterment and sustainable economic growth and reduction of the widespread poverty in the country can only be obtained through widespread education.
The Meserete Kristos Church Contribution to Education
The Meserete Kristos Church emerged out of Mennonite Central Committee and Eastern Mennonite Mission work that began in Ethiopia in 1946. Pioneer missionaries established hospitals, clinics, nursing assistant training schools, a school for the blind, elementary schools, and a high school while they also planted the Church. These institutions were all being operated by the Meserete Kristos Church when the Marxist military Government came to power.
That Government closed the Meserete Kristos Church in 1982, put its leaders in prison, and nationalized all its institutions including its schools, office and worship buildings, bank accounts and all physical properties. But, the Church survived and prospered underground.
Today, the Church desires to once again assume its historic role of service to society in the area of education, this time on the tertiary level.