|Pastor Girma of Medhane-Alem Evangelical Church, Seattle|
and Pastor Josh of Overlake Christian, Redmond, WA
Vision Leadership Institute has been a vision of Pastor Girma Desalegn for many years.
This year, it has bore the first fruit of 101 graduates from the Institute with the diploma in Biblical studies. I was privileged to witness to the result of this collaborative effort between the American and Ethiopian bodies of Christ!
Earlier in March, I was invited to take Pastor Josh's place on the 2013 training team. Pastor Josh McQeen and his Overlake Christian Church have been a vital partner of Vision Leadership Institute since its inception. In his absence, I became the instructor of the one-week intensive course in systematic theology.
It is Pastor Girma's vision to provide free high-quality training in theology, Biblical studies, pastoral ministry and leadership for those ministry practitioners in rural areas of Ethiopia. Most evangelists, that is, non-ordained pastoral staff, and many pastors in rural churches cannot afford formal pastoral training which is available in Addis. And yet, they are on the front line of outreach to reach towns and communities dominated by the Muslim faith and other spiritual forces such as witchcraft.
Vision Leadership Institute is beginning to meet this critical spiritual need of the Ethiopian believers. It is the result of the Kingdom-minded collaboration among pastors, churches and Christian organizations both here in the States and in Ethiopia:
Medhane-Alem Evangelical Church, Seattle, WA
Overlake Christian Church, Redmond, WA
Cascade Community Church, Monroe, WA
Evangelical Church Fellowship of Ethiopia [association of Evangelical denominations in Ethiopia]
Acts 8 Ministries
Global Training Network
One Challenge USA
Through Evangelical Church Fellowship of Ethiopia, pastors from various denominations have taken the lead and ownership of the in-country operation of the Institute. Better equipped Ethiopian pastors have been appointed as "master trainers" to lead ongoing training locally throughout the year. The American training teams provide one-week intensive courses.
I am very excited for us to take part in this joint Kingdom adventure!