TaborEvangelicalCollege, which was formerly called Tabor Seminary, is one of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) training centres in the Southern part of Ethiopia. The Evangelism work was first initiated in Southern Ethiopia by Norwegian Lutheran Mission (NLM) from 1948. Then the church is growing very fast. Therefore, the Church and the Mission saw that it was very important to train church ministers in order to keep up with the fast growth of the Church. In 1952 in a town called Dilla Pastoral and BibleTraining School was established by NLM. The leaders of the church saw the need of training center in Awassa (now called Hawassa), a town which was appointed a regional town of SidamoProvince. Now Hawassa is the capital of South Ethiopia Region. Then Awassa Tabor Seminary was founded in 1968. The school at Dilla was transferred to the newly established seminary. Therefore Tabor Seminary was, already in 1969, able to graduate the first students from a 4 years pastoral course.
The purpose of establishing the former Tabor Seminary was to provide theological education to those who were called to serve and support the fast growing church work in Southern Ethiopia. The Pastoral courses at Tabor were active until 1977, and in those years 63 students were graduated from the seminary, most of them were ordained as pastors for the Southern Ethiopia Synod. Then the Ethiopian Socialist government, which was in power from 1974 to 1991, confiscated the Seminary in 1983.
After the change of the government in 1991, the country gained freedom of religion. After tireless efforts by the church leaders in the south the Regional Government and Zonal Office decided to give the Seminary back to the church in 2001. The leaders of the five synods (now seven units) of the EECMY which were part of the former South Ethiopia Synod before its division agreed to use and administer the compound.
In the beginning, theological training was not in agenda of the church leaders. They decided to run a Christian high-school and preparatory classes of strong academic excellence, Pre-School Teachers’ Training (PSTT) for one year, a kindergarten and Human Resource Development Program (HRDP) under the name of Tabor Evangelical College (TEC).
However, the demand from the congregations, parishes and some of the overseas partners for biblical training was high. Therefore, the SecondYearBibleSchool training was launched in the same premises beginning in September 2005. Then in 2007 the BibleSchool teachers and the church units recognized the immense need of advanced Bible teaching with special focus on mission. The leaders decided that Mission training in Diploma level (three-year course) be launched from the beginning of August 2008.
The yearly growth of the EECMY congregations especially in the number of believers is encouraging (see the map below). However, the number of trained ministers in the south is so little. Most of the congregations are served by lay voluntary people. These new believers should be helped to grow in the word of God by the trained ministers and the church needs to train missionaries who reach unreached areas and to equip local evangelists.
In January 2008 project proposal committee was assigned to work on the overall project and the curriculum. Then the committee proposed a new curriculum under the name Tabor Evangelical College Missiology Department (TEC-MD). All the courses in the curriculum are designed in a way that they will fulfill the missiological concentration of the College.
Then various synods and congregations have recruited and began to send students to the college since August 2008. In this academic year 2010/11 the department has totally 85 students (54 in Missiology Diploma and 31 in 2nd YearBibleSchool). Compared to the number of the believers and congregations in the south, there is a need of more training institutions. Therefore, the contribution of TEC is big. Based on the need of the churches in south the college has also opened the degree program beginning from August 2011.
The college is laid under TaborMountain in an attractive compound with trees, hedges, flowers and meadows. Both departments (Missiology and Academic) have their own libraries, class rooms, teaching staffs.