Dr. Külli Tõniste has served as rector of Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary since August 2018. On September 4th, the Estonian Methodist Annual Conference confirmed her continuation as rector for the next three years. Bishop Christian Alsted and Superintendent Robert Tserenkov prayed over her to ask for God’s blessing upon her as she continues in office.
Külli considers theological education to be her passion as she says “I consider it a privilege to serve God at the school that gave so much to me spiritually as a student. I am rather new to a leadership role and it has some challenges. I am so grateful to work alongside a wonderful team of coworkers. There will be a time when I gladly return to the classroom or to a different mission, but at this time, I have felt God’s calling and blessing daily in this role.”
Prior to her coming to the BMTS Külli lectured at Northeastern Theological Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY and was the assistant professor of New Testament at Houghton College, Houghton, New York.
Külli received her PhD from Brunel University (London School of Theology) and her MA in Biblical Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary.
She authored a monograph, The Ending of the Canon (Bloomsbury / T&T Clark) and her forthcoming work is the Revelation Commentary in Central and Eastern European Bible Commentary (Langham).
Külli was called as a teacher and as a missionary. She participated in mission trips, to Dominican Republic and India and is now serving with her husband Rev. Douglas Robb Childress (also a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary) as GBGM missionaries in Tallinn. She also contributes to Acts 2 English Speaking ministry at Tallinn UMC. Külli and Douglas are raising three boys, Karl, Kristofer and Kalev.