NAIROBI, KENYA (July 22, 2015) — Pastors in the Evangelical Covenant Church of Kenya (ECCK) are benefiting from training originally developed to be used in basic ministerial classes at Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos (CHET), the ECC Hispanic leadership training center.
Most ECCK pastors have had no formal theological education and many would not qualify to attend schools of higher education so the material is especially helpful, said Simon Kamau, moderator of the African denomination.
Earlier this year Hispanic ministers and CHET graduates Melvin Ardon and Argel Chay, traveled with Steve Thulson, pastor of Centennial Covenant Church in Littleton, Colorado, as well as one of his church members, Lee Robinson, to lead a week-long introductory course. “The training came as a first step in an ongoing partnership between ECCK and CHET,” said Kamau.
Nineteen people, including three women, are participating in the pilot program.
The pastors are continuing through a self-study program that involves five additional courses. The courses also require that the pastors meet together at least once.
Although the formal education has been lacking, the passion to learn and share the gospel has been abundant. Some of the pastors who attended the training in Nairobi had to travel 25 hours to get there.
“The pastors are eager to learn more for a better future of ECCK,” Kamau said. That future was being strengthened as participants benefited from the diversity of tribes and cultural backgrounds representing at the gathering.
“It was wonderful to see the partnership and relationships being built,” said Thulson.
It was Ardon’s fourth trip to Kenya. He previously ministered there in 2007, 2009, and 2013. In 2013, he led a team of CHET students to work alongside a nonprofit in Kitale and preach to residents living in slums.
Kamau noted that the training received by the pastors will filter throughout the denomination. “This is a big gift to our congregations now that the pastors can teach a relevant biblical concept without necessarily preaching sermons that are out of biblical context,” he said. “This is a big jump start, and congregations are grateful that this partnership has born such a great gift.”
Centennial Covenant Church helped fund the trip.