Church Construction in Jimma - December 2018 Update
During a recent trip to Africa, I was thankful for the opportunity to visit Jimma, Ethiopia, to get caught up on progress with the Ginjo Guduru Bethel Mekane Yesus Church, or, as it is often called, the Jimma University Church.
Work on the physical structure has proceeded gradually, moving forward when the congregation has had funds for construction, see photo at top of page. They have continued to prioritize their outreach efforts or “prayer houses,” and funds that they might otherwise have used on their own building they have used to help newly formed congregations purchase land. I love their passion for reaching out.
The Jimma Bethel Synod now has 140 congregations, 96 pastors and 120 evangelists. One new project that they are focused on is a much-needed Bible school. You may remember hearing that the area around Jimma has a strong majority of Muslim believers, 95-98% we were told. How does one witness to Christ in such a context? Rev. Alemayehu Kebede, the Synod DMT Director observed, “We are approaching them in a lovely way.”
3500 people are now gathering for worship at the Ginju Guduru church. They have six choirs, each of which forms an “action group” for intentional outreach efforts. Last year, the action groups traveled to a rural area 70 km away and shared the Gospel for three days. 98 people gave their lives to Christ. The Ginju Guduru church has formed eight outreaches, and three of them have become congregations. The Booth Leadership Initiative has helped roof four of the buildings.
On Sundays in Jimma they continue to use their sprawling temporary building. If it is raining, the most committed members sit outside under umbrellas to make room for newcomers. There are now 800 permanent members with an ongoing vital ministry to the university community.
Rev. Asefa Disasa has served the congregation as pastor for nearly five years, but he has been working in the area for the past fifteen years.
They hope to make some progress in the next few months that will allow the congregation to begin using the new building, but they have a ways to go. Dr. Lalissa Daniel, Director of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) Department of Mission and Theology for the entire church, sent an experienced man from the EECMY Development and Social Service Commission whose report said that about $31,000 more was needed for construction; then, chairs and furnishings and a sound system would be needed.
The congregation remains one of the most dynamic, committed, outwardly-focused that I have ever encountered, and I hope that we can help them reach the goal of completing their new building. It will be a wonderful tool for ministry and mission!
Grace and peace,
Read more about Church Construction in Jimma, Ethiopia HERE.
Church leaders estimate that about $31,000 more is needed for construction, then funds will be needed for chairs, furnishings and a sound system.