WorldShare has supported AWEMA’s Augustine Theological Institute (ATI) since its inception in January 2003. This unique institute is the only training centre specifically designed to address the issues that concern the emerging churches in North Africa.
The need for this institute became clear when church leaders realized that students who travelled to schools in the West often did not return or else received an education that was not suited to the local context. Besides biblical studies, students learn practical ministry skills through weekly outreaches in the local area.
ATI provides certified degrees to graduates in partnership with theological seminaries in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Eighty-five percent of the graduates have returned to their home areas to lead churches.
Today, four branches are operational and located in North Africa, the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. This year, WorldShare will support one of the two branches in North Africa and the branch in the Horn of Africa. The North Africa branch will train 12-15 students in the six-month diploma program and an additional 30-40 students in a three-week discipleship course (a prerequisite for the diploma program).
The trainees are pastors, church leaders, and believers from the underground and house churches throughout the country. All of them are from non-Christian backgrounds. WorldShare would like to raise £81,000 for this branch, helping to raise up and equip a first generation of Christian leaders from this country.
The institute in the Horn of Africa will train 35 students each year including 12 Somali and Djiboutian pastors, evangelists, and laymen who wish to upgrade their theological training.
WorldShare would like to raise £44,300 for this institute which is particularly strategic as it is the only official theological institute that provides theological, biblical, and ministry training without requiring three years of full-time study away from the trainee’s normal life context.
Also, Somalia and Djibouti are extremely difficult to reach and the institute will give intentional effort to training workers with a heart for these hard places.
Gifts to both institutes will be used toward accommodations, transportation, training materials, and administration of the institutes.