THE Board of ESSA is delighted to announce the appointment of Johannes Klapprodt as Academic Director of ESSA. Friends and supporters of ESSA will have heard frequently from Johannes over the past few years about developments at the seminary, and items for prayer and praise, but you may perhaps not know much about him and his family!
Johannes was born in Wetzlar, Germany, in the early 70’s. He spent his early years in the Philippines where his parents were planting and growing churches as missionaries. Johannes returned to Germany in 1983 and did his matric in 1993. He began an apprenticeship as a car mechanic with Mazda and graduated in 1996. A missionary asked Johannes to spend a few weeks or months on a humanitarian aid station in post-civil war Croatia, where Johannes met his wife-to-be Christine. Johannes had to hurriedly leave the aid station as he had been called up for military service of nine months. Johannes eventually signed up for a total of 4 years, including a tour of 5 months in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a Weapons Inspector with the NATO Peacekeeping Forces.
In 1999 Johannes and Christine got married and he was honourably discharged from the Army in 2000. Johannes and Christine attended “Bibelschule Brake” for a BTh degree after which an MA degree in Missions & Church Growth at the Akademie fuer Weltmission in Giessen followed. After graduation in 2005 they began an internship with a church in northern Germany which was scheduled for 1 year but was extended into a part-time pastoring position. All the while both pursued a calling to the mission field. Between 2006-2008 Johannes ministered as part-time junior pastor, part-time truck driver and part-time missions secretary, raising support and preparing for ministry in South Africa.
In 2008 Johannes and Christine were seconded to ESSA by VDM (Vereinigte Deutsche Missionshilfe) and relocated their family to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa where he joined ESSA as junior lecturer. Due to challenging times at the Seminary a number of staff members resigned and Johannes over time was tasked with additional duties such as publicity, chaplaincy, fieldwork coordinator, student affairs and others.
The Seminary lost its accreditation in 2011 and the governing body approached Johannes with the mandate of “driving the turnaround strategy”. This mandate included the three goals of regaining financial stability, redesigning (and gaining accreditation) of the academic programme, and repairing the reputation of the Seminary. In order to work on this mandate Johannes was given the title of “Administrative Assistant to the Council” as the governing body was responsible for the process and Johannes was merely the executing or coordinating person on ground. Thanks to the enormous effort of a dedicated and committed staff ESSA managed to clear all debts by 2013 and submit applications to relevant government departments in 2014.
Toward the end of 2015 Johannes resigned from the position of Administrative Assistant as the mandate had expired with years end. The governing body appointed a Principal as of 1 February 2016 and Johannes is assisting with the hand-over process. As Johannes had been involved in designing the BTh in connection with the block release model the governing body felt it appropriate to appoint Johannes as Academic Director. Johannes is currently registered for a doctorate at SATS. The field of his research is missiological training in South Africa.
Johannes and Christine live in Pietermaritzburg with their 3 boys, Jonathan, Micha and Timothy.
The Board and staff of ESSA want to express their heartfelt thanks for all that Johannes has done for the seminary: his commitment and dedication to the Lord have been clearly seen in his hard work and the wholehearted manner in which he has set about carrying out the responsibilities with which he was entrusted. He has worked faithfully and meticulously, and we have confidence that these same qualities will be evident as he assumes the post of Academic Director.
We know that Christine will support him, as always, and are grateful for her involvement in the library and in the life of ESSA. Her quiet, calm and cheerful manner helps to make the seminary a better place!
Please continue to uphold Johannes, Christine and their three sons in your prayers. Johannes often cites the following verses and so it is appropriate that we ask you to pray this prayer for them, asking that they “may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” May they “be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified [them] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1: 9 – 12).