My Journey to Wheaton College Graduate School and Beyond

Posted October 21, 2016 by
Tags: Graduate School Spiritual Life

In 2009, I was exhausted, feeling that I had given all that I could to ministry. After serving for 10 years with Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) in Ethiopia, I was looking for two things: for a break and for mentorship and development to prepare for future ministry. At that time, I met a Canadian man who came to Ethiopia to provide Christian leadership training and told him about my situation. He told me that Wheaton College Graduate School was a place where I could get a Bible-based, quality education that could help prepare me for future ministry. 

I was so blessed by my time at Wheaton. I was accepted to the Evangelism and Leadership master’s program as a Billy Graham Center scholar, and the interesting courses and excellent professors, especially Dr. Rick Richardson, had a lasting impact on my ministry.

I returned to Ethiopia in 2012, and continued working with Cru (locally known as The Great Commission Ministry Ethiopia), for which I am now the national director.

Through our church planting department we have coached 1,050 church planters from 240 local churches in the last two years and have successfully planted 645 new churches. This September we launched a similar cycle of providing two years of coaching for more than 1,000 church planters and hope to see about 750 new churches planted. 

I also chair the coordination of a National Alliance for Church Multiplication in Ethiopia where mission agencies and denominational offices are joining hands to set a collective national goal of planting 80,000 additional churches to saturate Ethiopia with the Gospel. 

Since returning to Ethiopia, I have developed a heart for the country’s most unreached people groups, especially focusing on northeastern Ethiopia where only 0.8 percent of the population are gospel-believing Christians. In the last three years God has helped me to partner with Ethiopian Diaspora groups living in the U.S. to help recruit, train, and deploy 150 missionaries in these regions.

Wheaton also introduced me to the AWANA children’s ministry. About 44 percent of Ethiopia’s population is children -- that’s 44 million under the age of 15. I believe that without paying attention to this section of Ethiopian society, the Ethiopian church cannot maintain sustainable growth. Upon my return to Ethiopia, I facilitated a partnership between AWANA and the Great Commission Ministry Ethiopia to begin this children’s ministry in Ethiopia. Over just two years, the AWANA program has been introduced to 735 local churches in Ethiopia, with about 169,000 child participants. The goal, however, is to introduce AWANA to 5,000 local churches in Ethiopia by 2020. 

I am thankful for my Wheaton experience and for the ways my degree has equipped me to serve Christ in Ethiopia and beyond.

Girma Altaye Gebremedhin M.A. ’12 is a Wheaton College Graduate School alumnus working as the national director of Campus Crusade for Christ Ethiopia (the Great Commission Ministry). He graduated in 2012 with a master’s degree in Evangelism & Leadership. Girma recently wrote a book (yet to be published) titled Evangelism: Theology and Methodology that is currently being used as a course reader at the Evangelical Theological College in Addis Ababa. Photo captions (at top, clockwise from top left): Girma delivering the opening Speech at the National Alliance for Church Multiplication; Girma with his family; Girma receiving a Billy Graham Center Scholarship in 2010; Girma training church leaders abroad.

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