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Four SEBTS GTI Participants on Board of the Baptist Union of Uganda

Southeastern Global Theological Initiative
BY SEBTS STAFF   03/03/2022

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) seeks to raise up leaders around the world who are equipped to teach the whole counsel of Scripture to those in their context. Through Southeastern’s Global Theological Initiatives (GTI), local leaders and pastors are being trained in over 40 countries to do just that.  


Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) seeks to raise up leaders around the world who are equipped to teach the whole counsel of Scripture to those in their context. Through Southeastern’s Global Theological Initiatives (GTI), local leaders and pastors are being trained in over 40 countries to do just that.   

“GTI is an important component of Southeastern’s goal to be a Great Commission Seminary,” said SEBTS President Danny Akin. “It focuses on training leaders as disciple makers who impact their respective mission field by training leaders. John Ewart has done an incredible job in overseeing this program and extending its influence literally around the world. We have a global vision for theological education. GTI is helping us fulfill that vision.”  

Equipping leaders with theological training, GTI has enjoyed a rich partnership with Baptist in Uganda. The current leadership of the Baptist Union of Uganda have all participated in GTI cohorts in East Africa. President Abel Ssegirinya, Vice President Hillary Wafula, Treasurer David Echau, and General Secretary John Robert Aupal studied with SEBTS and now work together with a vision to unite and equip Ugandans for God’s mission. Through a GTI partnership with Uganda Baptist Seminary (UBS), these African leaders, as well as many others, pursued a Master of Theological Studies degree. All four of these men have also served or are currently serving as adjuncts with the Uganda Baptist Seminary.  

The Baptist Union of Uganda was founded in 1977 and currently consists of over 1,800 churches that have been in existence for over 35 years. About a decade later, the Uganda Baptist Seminary was founded in 1988 as a ministry of the Baptist Mission of Uganda of the International Mission Board and the Baptist Union of Uganda. The seminary is training over 300 students in theological education, offering Certificate, Diploma, and Bachelors programs.  

Abel Ssegirinya, a SEBTS graduate from Masaka, serves as a pastor and the President of the Baptist Union of Uganda. Pastor Abel completed his degree in 2013 and has felt thoroughly equipped for ministry through his theological education. His time at Southeastern encouraged him to develop a heart for the nations. “It was really powerful . . . to actually engage me in not just staying at where I am,” said Pastor Abel, “but just go beyond there and reach other people in other places.” From his professors, he learned the importance of being a humble and vigilant leader like Christ.  

Having worked for the Baptist Union of Uganda in various capacities since 2001, Hillary Wafula now serves as the current Vice President of the Baptist Union of Uganda and has also ministered as a pastor in Busia, Uganda, since 2000. Pastor Hillary grew exponentially in his understanding and practice of expository preaching while studying at SEBTS. That understanding has grown his confidence to serve in several leadership roles and has influenced his current work at UBS where he seeks to train pastors to preach the Bible. “Southeastern has given me the confidence to serve at all levels,” said Pastor Hillary. 

John Robert Aupal, who serves as the General Secretary for the Baptist Union of Uganda, clearly remembers his call to pastoral ministry, which came through his reading of Ezra 7:10: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” Pastor John Robert has seen how his theological education at SEBTS has better equipped him for applying the truth of God’s Word to his Ugandan context. As he seeks to demonstrate the importance of God’s Word, he also hopes to see his congregation prioritize the value of Christlike community. Pastor John Robert also recognizes the importance of Africa as a future center of Christianity and is confident that African Christians will be prepared to give back to the rest of the world.  

David Echau, the current Baptist Union of Uganda Treasurer, is from Jinja, Uganda. He became a pastor back in 2012 and has served in an adjunctive role at UBS. He enjoys training others to participate in the Great Commission and hopes to raise up a group of pastors prepared to continue his work. He sees how his theological education has equipped him to attain results and goals but with the sole focus of glorifying Christ through humble service. While some statistics show that 80 percent of Uganda is Christian, Pastor David sees low church commitment among believers and the need for more leaders to be trained in his country.   

Southeastern’s goal is to train up more leaders like Pastor Abel, Pastor Hillary, Pastor David, and Pastor John Robert to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission in Uganda and to the ends of the earth. Through GTI programs and partnerships, SEBTS is training over 3,000 vetted, positioned leaders from over 40 countries with the goal of developing national, indigenous leaders who are capable of equipping other leaders within their context. Learn more about GTI here.