ETHIOPIA

“FROM HOLOCAUST TO HOPE”

Youth Ministry International Launches the First Youth Ministry Master’s Degree in Ethiopia

IT’S OFFICIAL!

On Monday morning July 30th, at 8:30 AM, we launched an historic event in the beautiful country of Ethiopia in East Africa – The very first Evangelical Master’s Degree in Ethiopia’s history!

Thirty-two students signed in, sat down, prayed, and began listening to the first master’s degree lecture of the course, “Principles of Youth Ministry”. Course YM 501 was the first in a series of 12 courses to be offered over the next 3 years through a partnership with the Evangelical Theological College (ETC) in Addis Ababa and Youth Ministry International.  By 2020, most of the students upon graduation will begin teaching at the Bachelor level at ETC along with serving at several other Christian colleges throughout the country. Dr. Frew, the academic dean, made this comment:

“I praise God for bringing in this group of students for this brand new program. Usually, from our previous experience, it is not easy to get this many students for a new program. Of these students, one already has a PhD., six have Master’s degrees, and seven have Bachelor’s degrees. Eight are already in full-time ministry and three have already been selected to teach youth ministry at the Masters and Bachelor levels upon graduation, and several of the others are hoping to do the same. Praise God!”

Evangelical Theological College (ETC) is the flagship school of Ethiopia’s largest evangelical denomination, the Kale Heywet Church (‘kale heywet’ means ‘word of life’). The launch was the result of two years of prayer, meetings, and negotiation with ETC leadership. 

In 2003, the denomination celebrated its 75th year anniversary and today has about 10,000 churches and over eight million Christ-following attendees. Started by the Sudan Interior Mission (now Serving In Missions ) in the 1920’s, the church is completely independent and autonomous with a totally national leadership and hundreds of theological training institutions.

Founded in 1983 with just 17 students, ETC became the first fully accredited college of the denomination in 1994, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees to train ministry leaders. Though ETC has offered an undergraduate concentration (18 credit hours) in youth ministry, the new YMI-led MA is the first full youth ministry degree program in the country with 45 credit hours of youth ministry coursework. The new principal, Dr. Semeon Mulatu, graduated with YMI President  Dr. Randy Smith in 2012 from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. 

ETC currently has more than 500 students and has graduated more than 1,200 Christian workers for evangelical churches throughout Africa! We at YMI are proud to be partnering with the KHC denomination and ETC!

There are about 20 students taking the full MA program, along with other MA students taking courses as electives.  The graduates of this new MA program will become professorial candidates to begin teaching a full Bachelor degree youth major in a couple years, along with a continuation of the MA program and the start of a Doctorate in Youth Ministry.

But what does “Holocaust to Hope” mean?

Ethiopia is unique. It is the only country to survive the 7th century Islamic invasion of North Africa and the brutal colonization by Europeans in the 1800’s.

An emperor ruled the country until 1974 followed by the darkest 17 years after a military coup which led to a Marxist-Leninist communist regime that brought about a literal holocaust. Between 1974 and 1991 it is estimated that 1-5 million people (mostly youth) were imprisoned, tortured and executed by this brutal godless regime! 

It was a “hopeless” time in Ethiopia. Evangelical missionaries were driven out and thousands of Christians were killed and brutalized.

But, there is a new hope in the air, and the dream of having a high-level, fully accredited youth ministry theological education is now a reality to help reach the estimated population of 100 million (70% under the age of 29 and 45% under 15) through a new generation of highly trained youth leaders!

Youth Ministry International has spearheaded this formal degree effort and we have reached out to YMI partners in the Global Youth Coalition (ReachOut Youth Solutions, First Priority Global and GlobalLead) to teach MA level classes and establish Bachelor and Diploma programs, along with informal youth ministry training for volunteers in hundreds of Bible colleges and thousands of churches throughout Ethiopia – and beyond. 

YMI is honored to be a part of what we believe can be an evangelical youth movement to bring the youth of Ethiopia to Christ and to then see them disciple and lead a new generation with the true Gospel of HOPE.

May it be so!

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