Blog

From Student to Teacher

23/9/2020

Vitalii Mariash in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a young person wanted to study theology, and in this article outlines his journey and the importance to him of ‘handing over the baton’ to the next generation.

FROM STUDENT TO TEACHER

Since becoming a Christian, theological studies have always been crucial to my Christian life and ministry. After I became a disciple of Christ in 1998 I immediately immersed myself in learning: at first I did correspondence courses, after that studied at the church-based Bible Institute, and then took a one-year course for preachers at Odessa Theological Seminary. Eventually my theological pilgrimage led me to England to the EMF School of Biblical Studies, where I studied from 2002 to 2003. That year of training was probably one of the most important years in all my life. It was deeply transformative and had lasting effects upon the whole of my walk with the Lord. That year I realised that my life is tied by Heaven with Christian theological education. I did not know yet where the Lord’s calling would finally bring me – for that I had to wait till 2014, when God’s hand directed me to Kyiv Theological Seminary.

Kyiv Theological Seminary (KTS) is one of the best and biggest Evangelical Seminaries in Ukraine. I had always dreamed of working in the field of Christian education, but never even dared to dream of working at KTS, let alone as its Academic Dean. It was founded in 1995. Currently we have 325 full-time and part-time students: some at undergraduate level (a Bachelor programme with 8 specialties/majors: Biblical Studies, Chaplaincy, Church Ministry, Christian Education, Evangelism and Church Planting, Pastoral Leadership, Youth Ministry and World Missions) and  others at graduate level (MA in Biblical and Theological Studies – a course run in partnership with Biola University, USA, Talbot School of Theology, and MA in Biblical Counselling [my wife is taking this course]). There is a wonderful international team of twenty professors from USA, Canada, Belarus and Ukraine. Although my primary responsibilities are related to the administrative work of organising and ensuring the entire educational process, I am actively involved in teaching, mentoring and lecturing. Both aspects of my ministry are deeply rooted in my EMF studies experience and the firm belief that by God's grace I can share this experience with our students which I believe is of utmost importance in preparing the next generation for serving churches in Ukraine in the future.