The Christian Training College of Rwanda
There is an ongoing need for structured, sound biblical training for pastors and trainee pastors in Rwanda. In 2004 ‘Comfort Rwanda’ began to provide pastors and church leaders training through conferences. In 2009 we developed a structured programme of foundational teaching and assessments through accreditation from the International Christian College in Glasgow. This, supported across the denominations, became know The Christian Training College of Rwanda (CTCR). The CTCR now has its own Academic Board which oversees the content and accuracy of the CTCR courses and associated assessments as well as checking that student and teaching standards are maintained. Training takes place in church buildings at Muhanga and Kigali, with around 40 students at each location. The leading Rwandan partner in the training is the Free Methodist Church of Rwanda with a wide range of denominations (currently c. 15) accessing the training.
There are two levels of study. The Foundation Certificate of Christian Studies (FCCS), comprises three streams of teaching – biblical/theological, character and practical with 240 hours of class contact organised into 8 teaching weeks of 30 hours each, spread over a 18-24 month period. The higher level programme, Certificate of Christian Studies (CCS), provides more advanced training for the students and will enable them to move from that into the University Theological Degree course at Kibigora University, Rwanda. The FCCS programme is delivered in Kinyarwandan allowing non-English speakers to access basic training. The CCS programme is delivered in English.
“Students” on the programme come from a range of churches which do not have access to affordable appropriate church training courses. All students come from low income backgrounds/churches. Comfort Rwanda & Congo therefore provides the programme, including residential accommodation for those travelling into the location, free of charge. This includes the salaries of 2 national workers who translate, interpret and administer the programme in Rwanda.
Lecturers for the present programme of training are from Scotland, Wales and Rwanda. All lecturers fully fund their own travel and accommodation when delivering the programme.
The demand for the teaching continues to grow and with two levels of training available there are significant financial challenges for the programmes to be delivered to the poorest church leaders of Rwanda at no cost. This is our goal and purpose – to provide low or no-cost training to church leaders or prospective church leaders mainly from indigenous churches without the infrastructure and financial capabilities of the larger denominations. A number of students travel from Burundi for the teaching and there is a demand for the programme in both Burundi and DR Congo.
The development of accredited but accessible training facilities grows ever more urgent in Africa as the need for biblical foundations, righteous character and contemporary application is great. Despite the growth numerically of the church over the last decades, especially of the indigenous churches, there is an underlying crisis in developing the right kind of leaders. The future health of the Rwandan church depends on increasing the nation’s capacity to produce those leaders.