• Contextualizing Church Planting among the Oromo Society: With particular Reference to the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY)

      Djaleta Djaldessa, Tesso (University of Liverpool (Chester), 2011-06)
      This thesis aims to explore and analyse the success of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) strategy for Church Planting among the Oromo community in the wider social and cultural context of Ethiopia in general, and Oromia in particular. Since the 1970s the Church has made considerable efforts to effectively evangelize the diverse unevangelized peoples of Ethiopia and to create new Christian communities in their own cultural and religious contexts by developing what the EECMY calls ‘Church Planting strategies’. I argue that EECMY Church planting has been only partially successful in that, while the EECMY has approximately three million Oromo members, after one hundred and ten years of its evangelism in Ethiopia, the main reasons for this growth have been due to existing Church members having children and through members of other Christian denominations joining the EECMY. The expansion of the EECMY has mostly not been among Oromo people unacquainted with Christianity. This thesis, therefore, carefully examines and analyzes why and how EECMY Church Planting has been ineffective among the vast majority of Oromo people. Findings from my fieldwork demonstrate a number of reasons for the lack of success of Church planting among the Oromo people. Notable examples include: Oromos’ strong preservation of their culture and tradition, fear of the persistent Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), persecution of evangelical Christians and the EECMY mission approach, EOC collaboration with the suppressive Abyssinian colonial system and the Western missionary cultural influence which was adopted and is still being practised by the EECMY. This study argues that a combination of a high regard for traditional Oromo culture and religion and widespread negative experiences of Christianity as a religion of repression and colonization has left many Oromo people feeling alienated from, and afraid of, Christianity. Recognizing the current ineffective nature of the EECMY’s Church planting strategies, this research then seeks to make a response by constructing alternative, contextually informed Church Planting approaches which do not disregard Oromo language, culture or tradition. In order to achieve this, the thesis develops contextual methods of mission, notably a ‘translation’ model of contextualization. A contextually appreciative approach to mission, it is argued, will in turn help to change perceptions of Christianity among the Oromo people and open up opportunities for a more successful mission praxis among Oromos.
    • The impact of the charismatic movement and related tensions on the traditional Lutheran worship of the South Central Synod of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus since 1991

      Greggs, Tom; Godebo Debanchor, Yacob (University of Chester, 2011-08)
      This research is based on the contemporary worship life of the South Central Synod (SCS) of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY). The worship life of the SCS congregations has been disrupted since 1991 because of the impact of the charismatic movement on the traditional Lutheran worship of the SCS and related tensions. The EECMY is the church that was founded by the European Lutheran Churches. Therefore, it adheres to the Lutheran theological tradition, which limits religious authority to Scripture and emphasizes the New Testament’s teaching of conversion, new birth, and justification by grace through faith. Lutheran theological tradition does not emphasize the necessity and possibility of the charismatic gifts as part of faith practice. Any tendency to receive and experience charismatic gifts outside of Scripture and sacraments has not been addressed for traditional Lutheran worship. Rather, such experiences were strongly rejected by Lutheran confessional documents (SA III: viii). Being one of the units of the EECMY, SCS was founded on this theological tradition and assumes it for its theology and practice. The SCS traditional worship, therefore, does not recognize charismatic worship and experiences of related manifestations as necessary parts of faith practice. Since 1991 the charismatic movement has introduced the congregations to traditionally neglected charismatic worship and experiences of charismatic gifts such as prophecy, revelations, speaking in tongues, physical healing, discerning spirits and miracle working. The receiving and experiencing of these gifts have become almost a normal part of worship in the congregations. This has impacted the congregations to the extent that they consider their own traditional worship structure as contradictory to devotional worship and deeper spiritual experience. Yet the traditionalists of the congregations reject charismatic worship and related experiences of the manifestations. These distinct views have caused tensions and disruption between the members those who want freedom of worship and changes to the traditional formalism, and those who wish to maintain the traditional form of worship. Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore this situation and the history that has brought it about. Having examined this, the research discusses the nature and impact of the charismatic movement and its effects on traditional Lutheran worship in the SCS, together with offering some potential contextually appropriate proposed solutions.