Community Transformation

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What impact can a theological college have on the life of a country? In the third of a series of articles celebrating 50 years of the Evangelical Bible College of Malawi, Ian Farrimond looks at the College’s third core value; ‘Community Transformation’ and its commitment to practical applications to bring genuine change in the world.

Under the ‘C’ – Community Transformation – in its core values the following phrase is used: “We are committed to transformational teaching in order to equip leaders who will build transformed and transforming communities. We shape leaders to shape their world for Christ.”

EBCoM graduates from different generations but all commited to Community Transformation

his is a very noble goal; but can a theological college really have an impact on the life of a country like Malawi? Looking at some of the statistics relating to the College, it would appear it can; students from some 40 denominations from across Malawi have graduated from the Evangelical Bible College of Malawi (EBCoM), and the General Secretaries of at least six of the main denominations are ex-EBCoM Graduates.

This desire is reflected in the range of courses taught – from HIV/AIDS to children and youth ministry, from biblical studies to child development which graduates can apply to impact their communities.

EBCoM graduates are also involved in social-development programmes and organisations, and a number of EBCoM graduates are now theological educators themselves at EBCoM and also at Chancellor College, and Mzuzu University.

But what other evidence is there? Having spoken to a number of Church leaders, the answer to this question, in the case of EBCoM, is ‘considerable’.

Abusa Mapute and Abusa Mawaya of the Evangelical Church of Malawi

Revd Otherwise Mapute, General Secretary of the Evangelical Church of Malawi said: “EBCoM is like a torch or a moon giving light to people not seeing. EBCoM is growing leaders, both of the Church and also for the wider society. The main impact EBCoM is having on Malawi is the training of pastors to go out and preach against evil. EBCoM graduates are helping the Government to sort out problems and to pray with and over them. The graduates are like salt and light in society.”

Revd Luckwell Mtima, General Secretary of the Zambezi Evangelical Church, said: “It is still huge: look at me sitting in this office! I have sat in forums with EBCoM graduates, talking about what is happening in the country, and the Government knows it needs to take the views of the Church into account; EBCoM graduates are part of this process.”

Revd Louis Ndekha, General Secretary of the Africa Evangelical Church

Revd Louis Ndekha, General Secretary of the Africa Evangelical Church, said: “Training pastors is the main goal of EBCoM and this is helping to contribute to the moral and spiritual basis and development of Malawi. This is true even beyond our borders because of the students from Mozambique and Zambia who have benefited from an EBCoM education. I see EBCoM continuing to provide excellent theological training for this country and its diversity of Churches.”

So after 50 years of faithful service to the Church and the country of Malawi, EBCoM can be rightly proud of its record. But it must not become complacent. Student numbers are declining, financial strictures are increasing but despite this there is a determination that the impact the College has had on Malawi will continue in the future.

In the next article we will consider ‘O’ – Oneness in Ministry – an important aspect of work for a church or denomination, but what about a college dealing with around 40 denominations?

The Evangelical Bible College of Malawi is supported by S

IM Malawi Project MW 96757 Theological Education Support

 


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