How Our Seminary Started

July 2010


Ever since I started my ministry with YFC in 1976 I sensed the need for a theological seminary in our capital city, Colombo. I soon realized that almost all the other evangelical leaders in Colombo also sensed this need. But the lack of Christian leadership in the country made such a plan a daunting task. Some tried to start institutes without proper preparation, and these operated for a short time and were closed down. One day in the early 1990s a friend of mine, Eran Wickramaratna, a banker who directed a theological training institute, Impetus Institute,  in Colombo, came to meet me. He said that he felt that the time was ripe for them to upgrade their institute and possibly let a more representative group lead it. I immediately sensed that this may be the opportunity we were looking for to launch our seminary. I met with several evangelical leaders and all of them said that they felt this was a good idea.

This was how Colombo Theological Seminary started sixteen years ago. Since then we have had some huge problems and numerous obstacles along the way. Sometimes, upset with some of the things that were happening, I felt like resigning from the Council (the equivalent of a Board) of which I was President (Chairman). This project took an enormous amount of time, especially during the early years. I had just recently decided that I will not spend time on board and committee responsibilities so that I can concentrate on personal ministry and the ministry of teaching and writing. Once when I was just about to start a sabbatical to write a commentary on Acts, the job of Principal (President) suddenly fell vacant. Because we could not find a Principal I had to spend my year’s sabbatical as Acting Principal of the Seminary in addition to writing the book. There was no turning back after the initial decision was made. Whatever happened we had to keep moving according to the vision God gave us.


The first Board enjoyed wonderful fellowship in Christ. This was truly a project begun with unifying passion. Now there are capable staff who run the school well and do a lot that the Board used to do. But still the friendship we enjoy is a feature of the Council. It is amazing to see how the school has grown and what an impact it is making upon the life of the Church in Sri Lanka. And the Principal of the school Ivor Poobalan is one of the nation’s most important Christian leaders.