Oneness in Ministry’

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Under its core value of ‘Oneness in Ministry’, EBCoM states: ‘We strive for the unity of the Spirit and seek to live and work in an environment characterised by tolerance, sensitivity and openness in order to create a strong community life among faculty, staff and students.’ In his fourth article celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the College, Ian Farrimond reports on EBCoM’s commitment to personal character growth which enables genuine unity with people from different backgrounds.

Church unity, oneness of purpose, working together; all ‘buzz phrases’ which are regularly spoken in churches and Church Denominations. Even for single entities, putting these things into practice can be difficult, so what must it be like for an organisation with multiple denominations represented?

This is just the problem which is faced by the Evangelical Bible College of Malawi (EBCoM) and it has been faced for most of its 50 years of existence.

College Principal, Revd Michael Phiri - top - and Francis Mkandawire, General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of Malawi

College Principal, Revd Michael Phiri, sums it up, saying: “The common denominator for all of the denominations represented at EBCoM is that they are all evangelical. That is important when taking on students; they need to be saved and hold to evangelical teaching.

“What we don’t do is hold one denomination’s liturgy up above another’s or hold the way one denomination does things against another. So we are about teaching the foundations of the Bible and ministerial development rather than the specifics of one denomination or another.”

Francis Mkandawire is the General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of Malawi. From his position as the head of a multi-denominational organisation he can see the benefit of how EBCoM can train pastors across such a diverse range of backgrounds.

“EBCoM is able to develop ministers of the Gospel, training them in evangelism, discipleship and pastoral work as well. It is also able to do more in terms of social and community engagement and how to bring the Gospel into community/social issues. It has come a long way, but there is a need for this wholistic impact on people.”

Revd Louis Ndekha, a former student, lecturer and principal of the College, said: “I see EBCoM continuing to provide excellent theological training for this country and its diversity of Churches. I am confident that EBCoM does have a future to service the Church and the nation of Malawi but it needs to adapt as the Church adapts. Things need to change to make training more accessible to more people. The development of extension studies so that people can gain high-quality theological training while still working is one way, and this could have a major impact on the College’s future.”

The final article in this series will look at ‘M’ – Making Ministers of God

The Evangelical Bible College of Malawi is supported by SIM Malawi Project MW 96757 Theological Education Support


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