History of Donetsk Christian University
Donetsk Christian University (DCU) is the evangelical institution of higher theological education. It is aimed to equip Christians for their ministry in churches, for missionary activity and work in social sphere in such a way that they would be able to impact FSU countries and the world as a whole by increasing their cultural level and directing world outlook.
The idea to organize a school originated at the end of eighties of last century. It came into being in the process of activity of missionary organization The Light of the Gospel. As new churches were being planted, the community experienced a deep need in preparing new ministers. Many of church ministers and even the leaders of missions didn’t have adequate education. The way things were being dramatically changed in a former Communist society, gave them a clear hint that foundation of biblical and theological schools was the way they had to follow.
In 1990 the missionary organization acquired deserted children summer camp in Donetsk city. They repaired that camp for the needs of Christian higher institution and gave it a name of Donetsk Bible College. Soon a one-year intensive educational program was developed. It was designed with the purpose to equip broad-scope missionaries who want to plant new churches. The first group of students (56 people) from different regions of Former Soviet Union started their study in the fall of 1991.
In time, as the evangelical movement in FSU countries expanded, consequently, understanding of DBC mission grew as well. Christians realized that the mission of Donetsk college was not just to plant new churches, but to provide a qualified and systematic education so that a believer, who is “the salt of the earth”, would be able to take an active part in different spheres of social life. In regard to that purpose, in 1993 two new programs, Bachelor of Theology and Christian Broadcasting were implemented in DBC curriculum.
In time College was transformed in Donetsk Christian University (DCU). Officially that event took place in 1997. Founders of a new educational institution were Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine and Association of Independent Churches and Missions of Ukrainian EBC. The same year University stated its position as one of the founders of Eurasian Accreditation Association (EAAA). Alexei Ivanovich Melnichuk, the Rector of DCU, was elected as the Head of EAAA. That way, Donetsk Christian University turned out to be in the center of events, which defined strategic direction of the development of theological education in Ukraine and CIS. EAAA worked out general requirements to theological programs, which were founded both on state requirements and international principles. For that reason many graduates of DCU and other Ukrainian theological colleges and universities had opportunity to continue their education abroad.
University widely developed its cooperation with foreign and international organizations. At the end of 90s – in the beginning of 2000, in partnership with Denver Theological Seminary new educational programs were implemented, particularly, the theology program. A certain support DCU got from international missions International Teams, Overseas Council International, Mennonite Central Committee, Resource Leadership International, Overseas Council Britain, Guidelines International, Send International, ВСМ International, etc.
In the following years University systematically developed existing programs and started new ones. For instance, a program Bachelor of Theology was transformed from a three-year to four-year program. A three-year program Bachelor of Missiology was developed and implemented. In 1998-1999 an admission to a special program Monday Block designed for preachers and missionaries of Donbass took place. In 2003 DCU had admission of full and part-time students for a new program Bachelor of Church ministry. In 2006, with the purpose to assist local churches, two certification programs were developed, which were The School of Preachers, and Following the Great Teacher. The last program had its purpose to equip Sunday school teachers. In September 2006 University started out Foundations of Theology and Mission program, designed for full- and part-time students on the basis of ECB church The Light of the Gospel, Balakleya, Kharkov region.
In the summer of 2010 Donetsk Regional Bible College was affiliated to the structure of Donetsk Christian University. Prior, the college was functioning under Regional Associations of Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine. As the result, a Department of DCU Church Ministry was designed. Its primal task is to organize certificate programs on the basis of local churches.
Since 2010/11 academic year several educational programs have been successfully running at DCU: Mission of Church in Modern World, Christian Counseling and an educational project HOSANNA for pastors and young ministers of churches. At that time period DCU organized English Intensive Program New Horizons. At present time the leadership of the University is developing a laboratory of Christian journalism and publishing a newspaper Christian Outlook. Stability and perspectives of school development are grounded on good material-technical basis. The University obtains a significant piece of land, where a student campus is located. At students, coworkers and guests service, the University provides an academic building with vast classrooms, a big library (30,000 items), an audio and video collection, a computer classroom, dormitories, a dining-hall, a gym and a sports ground. In 2010 a construction of the second academic building is finished. It is supposed to be set in operation since 2011/12 academic year.
Donetsk Christian University has been a living testimony of the work of the Holy Spirit in Donetsk region for last twenty years. More than 700 DCU students are having ministry for God in different branches and directions of church and social life. Some of these DCU graduates are: Aleksander Gootz, Director of the mission “Christian Tent Ministry” (Russia); Andrei Kravtsev, President of the North-Caucasus Biblical Institute (Prokhladny, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia); Zoya Bardina, a well-known Christian journalist (Russia); Kristina Nagornaya, missionary (Bulgaria); Igor Kurchatov, a missionary (China); Mikhail Dubovik, Director of the international mission “Hope to People” (Rovno, Ukraine); Andrei Zolotaryov, a deacon of the First Evangelical Christian Baptist Church in Zaporozhye and a manager of the international humanitarian organization Dorcas Aid International (Ukraine); Vasily Trubchik, an editor of the journal “Spring of Life” and an assistant to the senior presbyter of the Evangelical Christian Baptist Union of Belarus; Vadim Tsaritson, an international coordinator of the Eurasian Apologetics Society (Simferopol, Ukraine); Taras Dyatlik, a coordinator for the Research Center of the Eurasian Accreditation Association (Rovno, Ukraine); Pavel Silchev, a Christian writer; G. Gololob and A. Puzynin, authors of theological works, and others.
Today, Donetsk Christian University is a large Christian family made up of people of different ages, temperaments, backgrounds, and interests, but united by the common goal of being effective in ministry for Christ. Our school has students from different regions of Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, including pastors of churches, missionaries, evangelists, social workers, counselors, leaders of different church ministries, and also young people who have felt God’s call to ministry and need a good preparation in order to accomplish His great purposes.