TRAINING GOSPEL PREACHERS:
My family was sent to Ethiopia in May of 1968. Recognizing that language was the greatest problem we faced, a plan was developed to train preachers from the different language groups based on two scriptures:
- Acts 2:8 “….we each hear them in our own language to which we were born…”
- 2 Timothy 2:2 “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
By 1968 the government had established a public school system in the countryside of Ethiopia. The government decided that two languages would be taught in the schools: Amharic and English. Amharic was made the official business language in Ethiopia at that time, so any man who completed at least the 8th grade had the ability to speak, read and write the Amharic language. This made our plan possible to go forward:
- To establish a short term (Four months) School of Preaching for men who were fluent in the Amharic language. A decent translation of the bible was available in Amharic.
- The aim of the curriculum would be to teach the following: God’s Plan for Redeeming Man, The New Testament Church, Old and New Testament Survey, The Epistles, The Book of Acts, Worship in the New Testament Church, A Practical Class on Preaching and a 13 lesson printed Correspondence Course on “The Bible Says” for the men to take back home with them to use as lessons to teach the basics of New Testament Christianity in their home areas.
- Admission to the school required that each man must be sent by a congregation of people. They didn’t have to be members of the church because we were sure the man would be converted during our study with him. (This proved to be true; after training more than 1300 gospel preachers, only two men have left the school that have not obeyed the gospel)
- The church that sent the man had to sign a letter of understanding that the man they sent would not be supported by us and that he was to be considered their member and if they chose to support him, that would be their responsibility.
- Our aim was to develop a staff of Ethiopian Preacher Training School instructors. (This was accomplished by 1971)
- To eliminate the American missionary presence as soon as possible. (The last American missionary left Ethiopia in 1976. The Ethiopian work has been accomplished by our Ethiopian brethren since that time. Our involvement has been to facilitate the needs they have as they go out to preach among their own people.)
The only School of Preaching from 1968 through 1973 was located in Addis Ababa. A Communist (Scientific Socialistic) government disposed of Emperor Haile Salassie in 1974. The removal of individual rights and religious freedom during the 17 years that followed made it impossible to bring men from the countryside to train them. When the Communists were defeated in 1991, we reopened the school in Addis Ababa. (The church grew during the Communist occupation to more than 250 congregations.) There was a great need for trained gospel preachers so a second School of Preaching had been started in Santariea, Sidamo in 1974. (345km south of Addis Ababa) Because of the language problem and the growing need for preachers, additional schools were opened in Jajura, Ethiopia in 1998 and in Nekemte, Ethiopia in 2005. One hundred and five men are trained each year at these Level One Schools.
The School of Preaching in Addis Ababa became a Level Two School. Preachers who have excelled in evangelism and church plantings are selected to attend the Level Two program. Ten to twenty men graduate each year from the Level Two training program.
A new Level One School of Preaching has now been constructed in Shone, Ethiopia and was opened in April 2012. This school will add an additional 20 gospel preachers and trained church leaders for the congregations in the Badewatcho, Wollieta, Kambatta and Hadiya areas. This school will concentrate on training preachers for the new churches established through the Water Well Evangelistic Outreach. As of April 2013, 125 new congregations had been started as preachers went to preach where water wells had been completed.
FACTS ABOUT THE GOSPEL OUTREACH TO ETHIOPIA:
800 Known Congregations of the Lord’s Church.
5 Schools of Preaching:
- Jajura School of Preaching, Level One—40 men are trained each year
- Santariea School of Preaching, Level One—20 men are trained each year
- Nekemte School of Preaching, Level One—20-25 men are trained each year
- Addis Ababa School of Preaching, Level Two—10-20 men are trained each year
- Shone School of Preaching, Level One—20 men are trained each year
- 1800+ Trained Gospel Preachers and Church Leaders have graduated as of 2013