At the turn of the 19th Century, instituting the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) began proclaiming the Gospel with the help of Lutheran and Presbyterian Missions in Ethiopia. As a result of these joint efforts, congregations, parishes and synods were established that brought about instituting the EECMY as a national Church on January 21, 1959. The church embraced the evangelism and development works as major components of its ministry which were already progressing hand-in-hand from its inception.In 1970s, the EECMY developed the theme, “Serving the Whole Person”, later on often quoted and referred to as holistic ministry. Throughout the years, this has been a guiding principle for all church work, be it evangelism or development. The holistic ministry implied that the church is out to address the spiritual as well as the physical and psycho-social needs of a person. This popular conception and notable contribution of the church made to the livelihoods of communities, have given its a prominent place as one of the notable contributors to the efforts of building the society.
The development and social services of the church were led by its development department which was established from its institutionalization as a national church. In the year 2000, the EECMY development department was organized into Development and Social Services Commission (EECMY-DASSC) and registered as a legal church-based development agency in line with the government policy. In November 2009, EECMY-DASSC received its license as Ethiopian Resident Charity Organization from the newly established government agency for Charities and Societies. Over the years, the development work of EECMY-DASSC has gained long experiences and good reputations as a result of successful implementation of different development and social activities, comprising of food security, emergency relief, natural resource management, water, sanitation, and hygiene, health services including HIV/AIDS prevention, education, child and youth development, gender and development and capacity building by covering most of the administrative regions of the country.EECMY-DASSC has longstanding and reliable partnerships with different national and international organizations which have been providing major financial and expertise support to all sectors of services of the Commission.Well established church structures in most regions of the country have provided leverage to EECMY-DASSC to become familiar with specific geographical, social and cultural circumstances of communities and localities and serve their priority needs. Church structure being part of the community facilitated grassroots level works of the Commission to reach the most needy and vulnerable communities. EECMY-DASSC has strong network with other actors and has secured firm acceptance by local, regional and federal government bodies and collaborative relationships are being progressively strengthened. Development interventions initiated by communities and supported by EECMY-DASSC are contributing to the realization of the poverty reduction aims and national development policy targets.