Equipping an Ethiopian Movement of Transformation
Updated: Oct 21, 2021
A thriving national movement across Ethiopia's campuses invites Servant Partners' partnership
THREE YEARS AGO, Servant Partners staff Henry Williams received a message from a longtime friend: “Come to Ethiopia! A huge missions movement is blossoming, and you can partner with them to focus it.” Henry’s friend was describing a rapidly developing revival beginning in the 1950s, and now facilitated by a student movement called EvaSUE.
EvaSUE is a fast-growing student movement across 150 campuses in Ethiopia, actively reaching 50,000 students around the country with only 60 staff. To help mobilize students for ministry, EvaSUE created a seven-week summer program to introduce students to world missions and offer discipleship training. Last year, the program’s 50 spots invited over 250 applications, and students’ lives were being transformed. “When I came here, I didn’t understand God’s plan,” one student said. “Now, I’m understanding his love for all people and giving up my life for his purpose.”
“We’ve had the gospel for 1600 years and barely sent out missionaries. This generation is going to change that. We are becoming a sending country.”
Despite being faced with Ethiopia’s extreme levels of poverty, a civil war, and now a pandemic, EvaSue graduates are undeterred in their passion to reach their Muslim neighbors throughout the Horn of Africa. Some have become missionaries to Ethiopia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
But while many students were being trained to serve unreached, rural people groups, EvaSUE noticed that they lacked an urban strategy. As urban migration grows, huge urban centers in Ethiopia and throughout Africa are expanding—along with their marginalized corners. EvaSUE invited Servant Partners to partner with them in training and equipping their missionaries for a movement of urban transformation.
“We’ve had the gospel for 1600 years and barely sent out missionaries,” one graduate said. “This generation is going to change that. We are becoming a sending country.”
From January to June, Servant Partners met with EvaSUE and Horn of Africa, the largest indigenous missions agency in Ethiopia, where many EvaSUE graduates are now working. Together, they formed a partnership agreement to help catalyze a movement of urban transformation in Ethiopia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
“It’s an indigenous movement inviting us to come, train, and encourage them into urban poor ministry,” Henry said. “That’s exactly our vision of catalyzing national movements!” This partnership effort arrives on the heels of Servant Partners’ Vision 2030, which includes an initiative to support national movements addressing urban poverty. A Servant Partners team conducted a 3-week training in Ethiopia to launch this 4-year pilot project, where they offered trainings on community empowerment, trauma-informed ministries, partnerships and strategic planning, and more.
“This wasn’t just a skill development session—it was a movement of the Holy Spirit,” Henry said. In powerful moments of intercession and inner healing prayer, God was directly speaking with the graduates. Supported by significant intercession, the team felt God’s active presence during prayer and worship, teaching, and connecting with new partners.
Even during a spontaneous soccer game in town, SP staff encountered a young leader who was interested in starting a soccer club as a holistic ministry to serve the community by helping with academics, providing training for economic development, and planting a church. “In other words, he wanted to do the precise kind of ministry that we were training people to do!” Henry exclaimed. “We were amazed that the Lord had brought such a person into this community and he was amazed that we shared his vision for community transformation. He decided to join our training.”
Graduates of this program are being sent to three different cities in Ethiopia with a national vision. And Ethiopia is not alone in its revival—Nigeria and Kenya are experiencing similar student movements, as do other parts of Africa. As the center of the evangelical movement shifts to Africa, the work of missions encounters new possibilities. Join us in praying for EvaSUE and this movement, and follow Servant Partners’ Vision 2030 campaign to remain updated on our national movements work at www.servantpartners.org/vision2030.