Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) told members of the parliament, on November 1, 2023, that over 75 per cent of Pastors of the Association of Pentecostal Churches in Rwanda (ADEPR) have only a primary school education level. ALSO READ: For ADEPR church, ‘sweeping reform is the only way out’ RGB CEO, Usta Kaitesi, revealed the pastors’ education status while presenting the RGB 2022/23 report. “We assessed ADEPR church pastors’ capacity and found that they still have a long journey in terms of reforms. Currently, over 75 per cent of ADEPR pastors have only a primary school level,” she said. ALSO READ: Over 300 pastors, evangelists graduate in theology She said that over 1,000 pastors, who were laid off, have not even completed primary school. “They don't have the required capacity to lead their congregations,” she noted. She said that there are other churches with similiar problems. “We first focused on ADEPR this time as it has 2.8 million believers which is a big number of Rwandans, and currently it employs over 4,000 workers. We want to strongly build the church to have strong leadership and capacity,” she said, adding that reforms will continue. An investigation into the operations of the umbrella of Pentecostal churches, ADEPR, in 2020, showed that poor governance practices were responsible for sustained conflicts within the church. “ADEPR leadership was criticized and therefore we dissolved leaders, suspended leaders, and established an interim committee. We tasked the leaders to establish rules and the church’s institutions. This was the third time such issues were happening in ADEPR. That is why we deployed a team to analyze what is behind the wrangles,” she said. In 2022, the Association of Pentecostal Churches of Rwanda (ADEPR) instated new leaders on the national level, and said it worked on the issues that often-caused problems in the church. ALSO READ: ADEPR instates new leaders, optimistic for calm times “Some pastors were getting salaries, others were getting nothing. Some had health insurance, others didn’t have,” she said. The need of graduates in theology In 2021, two new private universities that will produce graduates in theology opened in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, to respond to the pressure on churches and faith-based organisations to be headed by degree holders. These include the East African Christian College (EACC) and the Africa College of Theology. ALSO READ: Clerics move to fulfil qualifications as new law goes into force The two higher learning institutions received the green light to start operating two years after the government, through the Rwanda Governance Board, enacted the Faith-based Organisations law requiring church leaders to hold a bachelors degree in theology. At the time, there was no higher education institution in the country offering a theology programme. Other than the Catholic Church, which requires priests and other clergy to have a suitable qualification, there has been no similar requirement in other denominations. As a consequence, many churches are headed by people with limited skills, except at top management level. According to the law, all church- and faith-based organisations should be led by theology graduates or else they will not be allowed to operate. The law came into force to curb poor leadership in churches, according to the Rwanda Governance Board that regulates faith-based organisations.