Although the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus is the largest Lutheran church in the world, many of its pastors have difficulty expressing key biblical concepts to their parishioners. Fifty-three of the eighty-five language communities in Ethiopia are still without access to Scripture in their own mother tongue. God’s Word was not reaching them in a language that spoke to their hearts. The Mekane Yesus Seminary identified a gap and a means to bridge it.
Lutheran Bible Translators and the Mekane Yesus Seminary are partnered together to develop and implement a pilot seminary program to prepare future pastors from remote minority language communities. Over three hundred applied to join the pilot program. Fifteen seminarians were selected. These top candidates make up a cohort at the Mekane Yesus Seminary to receive training to become pastors who also have the skills necessary to do Bible translation. The program’s coursework would include subjects like theology, Biblical languages, and Bible translation principles.
Through this program, local pastors will be equipped to serve the minority language communities in Ethiopia in the ministry of Bible translation, providing leadership, facilitating partnerships, and building sustainability. It is the vision of both the seminary and Lutheran Bible Translators for multiple cohorts to receive training through the program, which will result in more skilled, local speakers to be placed within Bible translation projects in Ethiopia.
Fifty-three of the eighty-five language communities in Ethiopia are still without access to Scripture in their own mother tongue.