Christian Leadership Institute of South Sudan
The Christian Leadership Institute of South Sudan (CLISS) was established in 2003 to equip church leaders with the skills and tools needed to meet and overcome the challenges of socio-political and religious changes taking place in that part of Africa. CLIS seeks to identify leaders from diverse communities and denominational backgrounds, and then help them share the Gospel.
CLIS offers a three year comprehensive Christian Education program for pastoral leaders that will result in an Advance Diploma in Biblical Studies at the completion of the program. Students attend three, four-week block session per year at the Institute in Yei, South Sudan. Between sessions, students return to their individual communities to train other church leaders. In addition to Biblical topics, CLIS students also study some practical topics that are very important in helping meet the needs of the community.
In between classroom work, students undertake field work that is an integral part of the CLIS program. Because the basic infrastructure and education system in South Sudan is of poor quality, the CLIS field work program provides an opportunity to spread the Gospel to even the most remote villages in South Sudan. Each CLIS student identifies 10 to 15 local community pastors, evangelists and lay leaders that they will train and mentor over the three year period. While the courses at CLIS are taught in English, the students use the same material for their field work but they teach in the local language. The CLIS students make excellent teachers and ambassadors in their own communities because of their deep understanding of the culture. As a result of the field work of the current class of twenty students at CLIS, there will be an additional 200 trained leaders throughout South Sudan.
One of the goals of CLIS is to promote unity in the church. That is why we seek to admit students from all major Christian denominations and tribes in South Sudan. As was anticipated, students at CLIS have shown a change in attitude towards classmates who are from different communities and denominational backgrounds. For instance, the students have been meeting for Bible study in small groups with some CLIS staff and this has had a very positive impact in helping to create lasting bonds between students from diverse backgrounds. Diversity on the campus has helped many of the students learn to be more understanding, compassionate and accepting of people from different tribes. This life-lesson has reaffirmed their commitment to spreading the message of forgiveness and reconciliation in their various communities.
CLIS graduated its first class of 29 students in December, 2006. The second class of 18 students graduated in December of 2009.
CLIS has an excellent staff that is both experienced and effective. The facilities, including the classrooms, dining hall and dormitories, serve the students well.