A Teacher with a Missionary Heart
By Langham Partnership International Director Chris Wright
That’s the vision that Matthew Michael has for himself. Matthew has just reached the end of his first year on the Ph.D. programme in Jos, Nigeria, as the first Langham scholar studying there. Matthew is a Langham scholar supported by John Stott Ministries (the U.S. partner of Langham Partnership International). He is one of a group of five who are the first enrollment in the doctoral programme of the Jos ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS). ECWA is the Evangelical Church of West Africa, one of the largest denominations in Nigeria and across the region.
Matthew began his ministry as a missionary church planter with ECWA in the mid-1990s. He took his first degree in missiology, and his zeal is still very apparent. Even during his Ph.D. studies, he engages in student ministry, taking some of his fellow students to the campus of the University of Jos and relating to village students there every Saturday and Sunday.
Matthew’s other main passion is the Bible. He has been specializing in the Christological intepretation of the Old Testament, but with the particular goal of reaching the new generation of Africans with biblical teaching about Christ that is culturally rooted and relevant. “I have a great dream for biblical Christianity in Africa,” he told me when we met in Jos in January 2008, while I was leading a Langham Preaching seminar there. “I want to see African Christological reconstruction that will go beyond the standard pictures of the past and really speak to ordinary Christians.”
For four years before starting his doctoral studies, Matthew had already been teaching several courses at JETS, on Hebrew and Old Testament studies. He is also on the faculty of another ECWA seminary at Kagoro and will probably move to that faculty after his PhD. He is a highly valued member of the upcoming ECWA leadership, and finished both his BA and MA studies with top grades in all classes. He is working equally hard at his PhD now, and will finish his course-work in May, and then move into two years of dissertation work, hoping to complete some time in 2010.
I was so impressed with Matthew and the way his enthusiasm for his studies just fizzed out of him as he talked about the topics he is researching and writing on. But then I discovered another reason for the joy in his voice and the sparkle in his eye. He got married just a couple of months ago, in December! His new wife, Juliana, is doing a postgraduate degree in Law at the University of Jos.
Matthew is one of a growing number of scholars that JSM-Langham is supporting to do their Ph.D.s in Majority World contexts.
Read more about Langham Preaching training in Nigeria
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