Over 200 students of different ages and backgrounds have already participated in this biblical training programme. An article by Marisa Guardiola.
On 10 June, the Ephesus Project experienced a double joy and celebration for its twenty years of history and the graduation of the tenth promotion of students.
Ephesus began in 2002 through the vision of some Spanish church leaders, who knew that the men and women who served the Lord in their local congregations needed and wanted to have more tools, but could not set aside a few years of their lives to devote themselves exclusively to study.
That is why a training plan was designed to be developed in three courses, each with face-to-face classes held over six weekends. In total, eighteen subjects, combined with the student's own homework.
That was how people from different parts of Spain, men and women, young and old, began their journey,, all balancing that effort with the normal pressures of life, their own academic studies or their work and family burdens.
To that first class, with twenty graduates, new classes have been added every two years until reaching the eleventh class, which began in the 2022-2023 academic year.
Many former students, family and friends gathered at the Navafría Inn (Segovia) to celebrate the graduation of fifteen people from seven cities and eight churches, of different ages (24 to 66 years old), backgrounds, professions and nationalities.
Some had taken part in a missionary trip, getting to know another culture and other Christian ways of doing things. Everybody had a great time of sharing and bonding with each other.
The biblical exposition was given by Timothy Glasscock, who presented the example of Paul as a servant in 1 Thessalonians 2, and the need to imitate him in his character and actions.
According to one of the graduates, “It has been a starting point for what lies ahead. Ephesus is not a degree, but the challenge of the rest of our lives".
[photo_footer] Timoteo Glasscock, sharing the Word. / Ephesus Project. [/photo_footer]
The closing ceremony was also attended by Ronaldo Blue, the missionary who preached in 2005, at the graduation of the first class.
The students spoke about their experience and some of what they took away with them.
There was much emotion, worship and gratitude to the Lord and also, as an expression of gratitude to brothers and sisters who have worked over the years, a special recognition of the love and dedication of Timothy and his wife Elena to the Ephesus Project.
Over two hundred students have graduated in these twenty years, with almost a hundred more who have taken a course in the program.
The graduates, who belong to about a hundred different churches, had voluntary teachers from all over the country, and were accompanied since the second promotion by tutors on an individual level.
Other volunteers put aside their weekend breaks to cook, clean, take care of the dining room, the office.
Beyond numbers and statistics, Ephesus is the result of the work and collaboration of many people, many of whom have also been students.
[photo_footer] Some of the speakers at the celebration./ Ephesus Project. [/photo_footer]
The event was another example of God's blessing, who even held back the rain for just the right amount of time so that we could celebrate and eat together.
A blessing shown in the participation of several members of the management team of Ephesus, such as Rubén Lugilde, Amable Morales or Dan Hollingsworth; the video compilation of the history of these years; and the intervention of Samuel Pradas as the person in charge of one of the churches that sent several of its members from the beginning.
In total, over two hundred of us were able to accompany and rejoice with those who rejoice. But above all, we celebrated God's faithfulness.
[photo_footer] Worship moments shared by former students./ Ephesus Project. [/photo_footer]
Before the end, students from the past and the present joined together to sing that we want to give Him the glory, and that is what Ephesus is all about.
We worship God because He has helped us this far; we recognise that the journey to today has been a miracle of His power, goodness and mercy.
But we cannot stay in the past, we try to improve, to continue to learn even from mistakes, to seek how to provide better tools, how to accompany the present generations of the church in serving God and people. Everything as long as the Lord desires and allows us to continue collaborating in this area of His work.
Marisa Guardiola is part of the Ephesus Project team, in Spain.