This research sought to address the current lack of transformational leadership in the Ethiopian Church, vis-a-vis the existing material poverty in the nation, and offer a two-year curriculum that can be used to help address the problem. The objectives of the research were accomplished through a combination of methods including literature review, assessment of historical and contemporary Christianity in Ethiopia, and evaluation of an existing ministry model called Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI). For the evaluation of ELI, a total of 397 project papers and eleven group discussion reports produced by twenty-four Ethiopian emerging leaders during a period of March 2008 and
December 2011 were critically read and analyzed.
The research indicated that the Ethiopian Church, although continues to register unprecedented numerical growth, lacks tangible impact on the nation’s socio-economic life. The reasons for such marginal impact of the Church consist of internal and external challenges that include (1) the implications of politically-motivated national Christianization, (2) the effects of the Ethiopian Church being under the supervision of
the Alexandrine Church for over sixteen centuries, (3) the anti-Christian ideology of the Italian invasion and the communist regime, and (4) the shallowness of Christian discipleship.
The evaluation of the ELI ministry model has shown that ELI is an intentional and contextually relevant leadership development program that is biblical, practical, and transformational. The program integrates biblical and theological reflection with character formation, skill development, experiential learning, and practical application; however, in order to increase its influence in Ethiopia and beyond, the program needs to be accredited. The research also resulted in a new ELI manual that outlines the philosophy, essential components, and content and processes of the training. Accordingly, ELI defines leadership as stewardship and approaches stewardship from four perspectives: stewardship of self (authenticity), stewardship of material resources (responsibility), stewardship of mission (productivity), and stewardship of people (posterity).