Overview of EST Educational Center
Evangelical School of Theology (EST) in Poland is the only non-public, interdenominational, theological school accredited (2006) by the Polish Ministry of Higher Education and Science. Since 2009, EST has been transforming from a traditional theological school into an educational center that serves churches, Christian organizations and individuals. The mission of EST is to “equip Christians for effective ministry to strengthen the evangelical movement in Poland”. The EST Educational Center trains and develops Christian leaders and the Christian community in Poland through three main areas: 1) Bachelor of Arts program, 2) Institute of Church Development (for churches), and 3) Academy of Third Age (for seniors).
- Bachelor of Arts in Theology is primarily aimed at men and women who are interested in gaining solid theological knowledge and practical skills, useful for ministry in churches, fellowships, Christian organizations and missions. Graduates sometimes pursue additional studies/programs and obtain degrees in other disciplines, e.g. pedagogy, psychology, education, and economics. This enables them to serve not only their churches and fellowships, but also to work in the marketplace. As part of the B.A. program there is a requirement for ministry practice (student internships). The students serve as Christian leaders, workers and mentors in churches, fellowships and Christian organizations in Poland, and as missionaries in service abroad.
- Institute of Church Development. In October 2015, there was a transition from Open Academy of Theology (OAT) to the Institute of Church Development (ICD), which provides training to pastors, current or potential church leaders, and church planters. Some of the church leaders include EST graduates. The vision of ICD is the preparation of another Polish generation that is energized and equipped to fulfill their potential through ministry in local churches. The growth and development of the Polish evangelical church is an important priority for the EST Educational Center. In February 2017, ICD initiated a School of Worship that consists of five sessions on both in-depth spiritual analysis of worship, as well as practical workshops, during which each participant has the opportunity to expand their knowledge regarding the conduct of worship.
- Academy of the Third Age serves seniors and integrates Christian communities in Wroclaw around the issue of older generations. The goal is to meet the needs of men and women from different churches and backgrounds. ATA activities include Bible teaching, lectures, and discussions about other denominations, religions and cultures. Also, there are tours, English and German language courses, and workshops that help with self-development and ministry.
These programs constitute the core of the EST Educational Center and provide a good platform for its further growth, both in terms of broadening the scope of the pillar programs and inspiring new ones. Other projects are offered to support the main programs and/or strengthen the public awareness of the Center and its ministry. Included in the other projects are: special speakers, conferences, seminars, lectures, sermons, workshops, research, library resources, concerts, and festivals.