Owners of the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST) urged faculty and administration to focus more on balancing academic excellence with practical ministry of students and graduates. In an event organized for fellowship and vision sharing on September 17, 2016, representatives of the EGST owners emphasized the role of EGST in producing more graduates not only with high academic caliber but also with matured spiritual quality and practical ministry.
Reverend Dr. Wakseyoum Idosa, President of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and the Chairperson of the EGST Council of Owners encouraged EGST to continue to produce Christ like servants and leaders who can equip others for the ministry at a time when the wind of false teaching is sweeping across the country. “We expect EGST to give sound biblical teaching for the mind, prepare graduates with compassionate heart and willing to go down to the grass roots to address both spiritual and social needs of the people” he said. He also stressed that the role of EGST is to produce high level scholars who prepare and equip others for lower level colleges as most denominations have their own lower level theological colleges. He acknowledged the contributions of EGST in fulfilling its mission and affirmed EECMY’s willingness to continue supporting EGST’s mission.
President of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church (EKHC) Dr. Eyasu Elias shared his denomination’s vision by emphasizing on the academic excellence and life quality of EGST graduates. “Earning diplomas and degrees are not sufficient” he emphasized, “but the number of graduates and their spiritual life in practice is critical”. Dr. Eyasu further highlighted on the need of maintaining the quality of faculty as students and graduates resemble their teachers and schools also bear a resemblance to those who teach there. Indicating the expectations of his constituency, Dr. Eyasu said that EKHC currently needs 8000 well qualified pastors to serve churches as leaders in rural areas are looking for more matured ministers. He further underlined that EKHC expects more graduates on Biblical and Systematic Theology qualifications and applauded the plan to launch PhD at EGST. Nevertheless, he called for more action research oriented program development, curriculum review and impact assessment and confirmed that EKHC is proud of EGST’s achievements within a short period of time. He also assured that EKHC will extend its support in the future.
Representing the Evangelical Churches Fellowship of Ethiopia (ECFE), Mr. Theodros Beyene, board member of ECFE and President of Meseret Kirstos Church (MKC) stated that the marks of a Christian educational institution needs to be evaluated by its objectives, the process and the means it applies and its personnel. He also noted that EGST’s faculty development process should critically consider the quality of candidates’ spiritual life, where they study and their committed service to the churches and God’s people in addition to earning higher degrees to change status. He also thanked EGST for challenging contemporary church problems by mentioning the advisory role EGST had played in settling the confusion during controversial moments such as the plan to invite TB Joshua. He also called to focus on contextual education and challenged the participants by asking whether “we have Ethiopian theologians”.
EGST board chairperson, Dr. Tesfaye Yacob, in his welcome address reminded the need to balance academics with practical ministry and elaborated the value of fellowship and vision sharing to enhance cooperation and partnership as one of EGST’s core values.
In his sermon, Reverend Dr. Megersa Guta, founding board chairperson of EGST, outlined the true marks of a Church in relation to EGST’s institutional mission. He explained that courage to stand against false teachings, true love and fellowship, living in Christ are the marks of a true Church and cautioned EGST to stand firm in teaching and resisting false teachings in an era of modernism and post modernism when false teachings are challenging churches.
Council and board members, faculty and some staff members of EGST attended the event and it was indicated that such occasions will continue in the future.
EGST was founded in 1997 and owned by EECMY, EKHC and ECFE to serve church and society in Ethiopia and beyond. Many witness that EGST is a living example of ecumenism, unity, cooperation and partnership among Ethiopian churches. EGST has graduated more than 450 students in Theology, Biblical and Theological Studies, Leadership and Management as well as Development Studies over the last two decades. EGST anticipates launching a PhD program in 2017/18.