The Christian faith was first brought to Uganda by missionaries of the British Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1877 and the French White Fathers in 1879. By Independence in 1962, three mainline denominations had been established – the Church of Uganda (Anglican), the Roman Catholic Church, and the Greek Orthodox Church. New church movements – Baptist, Pentecostal and Presbyterian – were also beginning to take root in various parts of the country.
The 1970s brought a rude awakening when the infamous dictator Idi Amin banned all churches and church organizations except the three established churches – Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Greek Orthodox. Evangelical churches and organizations, and many individual Christians, bore an especially harsh brunt of Amin’s persecution. Leadership development, in particular, suffered serious setbacks because the Church was simply unable to create programmes and institutions to meet its needs.
Amin’s ousting in 1979 marked a turning point. Breaking out of their ‘underground havens’, evangelical Christians gave themselves to evangelism, mission and church planting. By the end of the 80s, the need for trained leaders to care for and disciple the thousands who were coming to Christ was desperate.
What Uganda (and indeed Africa as a whole) urgently needs is leaders who will apply the gospel both to Africa’s spiritual hunger and to its physical, social, political and economic realities. Consequently, a group of Christian leaders in 1989 founded KEST to equip pastors and leaders to meet these needs. Initially, this involved a non-formal training programme in various hired halls. In September 2001, however, KEST launched its full-time programme, with full-time faculty and students on its own campus situated near Makerere University, which is where we are still based.
We envision a church that is Christ-like in its character, work and witness, and a society that is influenced by the values of the gospel.
Our mission is to prepare and equip men and women for effective ministry and service in Church and in Society.
In the quest to realize this vision, KEST purposes to develop a culture and ethos that is shaped by and reflects the following core values: