Shepherds Theological Seminary exists to equip servant leaders for life and ministry. The seminary affirms the primary role of the local church in training its leaders. The Apostle Paul describes the church as the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). The church’s responsibility is highlighted by Brian Croft in his volume Test, Train, Affirm and Send into Ministry:
It is the local church that God has appointed to be the agent to test, train, affirm, and send those who are called. Because of this truth, the local church must embrace this enormous responsibility. This call has been the responsibility of the church from the beginning, as we see the church in Antioch embrace it (Croft, Test, Train, Affirm, and Send into Ministry. Leominster: Day One Publications, 33).
After crediting Bible colleges, seminaries, mission agencies, parachurch ministries, and individual Christians with the significant contributions they have made, Croft interjected: “The problem, however, is that none of these options has been biblically commissioned by God to take the full and ultimate responsibility for testing, training, affirming, and sending those who are called to be pastors and missionaries” (Croft, 33).
Since most local churches cannot provide the faculty and extensive resources needed, the seminary comes alongside as a missionary of the church to provide scholarly theological training to the future leaders of the church.
Shepherds Seminary is committed to engaging churches and pastors by soliciting their fellowship, their input, their spiritual and material support, while in turn, pledging to honor and support churches which have the primary role of equipping their future leaders.
Components of Church Relations at Shepherds
The following components have been implemented to fulfill the seminary’s commitment to local churches and pastors:
- 360° A Circle of Shepherds – Quarterly Pastors Fellowship
- STS Placement Service
- STS Library
- Colloquia addressing major theological and practical ministry issues
- Student Internships and Apprenticeships in area churches
- Pulpit supply and Conference Ministry of Faculty and Staff
- Guest lecturers and Chapel speakers
- Military Chaplaincy Program
- Counseling Training and NANC Certification
- Israel Initiative and faculty-guided tours of the Holy Land
- Advanced Placement Master of Divinity
- Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry programs
- STS Board
- Regional Pastors Luncheons
- Publications of STS President Stephen Davey
360 A Circle of Shepherds
The vision for an outreach to pastors and churches was born in the heart of STS President and Founder Dr. Stephen Davey. This vibrant fellowship, which meets quarterly on the STS campus, has grown to more than fifty members. Pastors from North Carolina and Virginia gather for fellowship, prayer, edification, and encouragement in ministry. Pastors panels on various subjects such as counseling, church administration, and expository preaching have elicited very positive responses. Membership requires an affirmation of the doctrinal position of 360°, which can found on the seminary website (shepherds.edu) under “Alumni and Friends.”
Assistance and benefits to pastors include:
- Fellowship among evangelical pastors
- Cooperation in church-planting initiatives & missions
- Tuition-free seminary courses for pastors
- Pulpit supply for 360° churches
- Placement aid for 360° churches
- Relevant ministry materials to pastors and churches
- Access to the STS Library
STS Placement Services
Shepherds Seminary provides placement assistance to STS seminary students, alumni, pastors in the 360 Circle of Shepherds, and churches and other ministries seeking qualified candidates. Applications for placement should be submitted on the forms provided in the STS Placement Handbook, which can be accessed on the seminary website (shepherds.edu) under the “Alumni and Friends” tab. There are no charges or fees for this service.
In the Placement Handbook there are tips for résumé writing and other valuable resources on ministry placement. Placement consultation is offered through the Director of Placement. Local churches and ministry candidates are encouraged to contact the Placement Office (919-573-1568) when seeking to fill ministry staff positions.
Pulpit Supply and Conference Speakers
Members of the STS faculty and staff are experienced men in ministry and are delighted to serve churches in the region of the seminary as guest speakers or conference speakers. You are encouraged to review the faculty section of the STS website (shepherds.edu) and to invite any of the following resident faculty and staff members as a guest speaker:
- Stephen Davey, President (available in summer months)
- William Barber, Professor of Practical Theology
- Doug Bookman, Professor of New Testament
- David Burggraff, Professor of Theology
- Will Coberly, Professor of Bible Exposition
- Randall McKinion, Professor of Old Testament
- Larry Pettegrew, Professor of Theology
- Al Potter, Vice-President of Advancement
- Tom Zempel, Professor of Biblical Counseling
Guest Lecturers and Chapel Speakers
Monday Chapel Service guest speakers include pastors, faculty members, and ministry leaders, who challenge our students with devotional messages and exhort them to godliness and faithfulness. Area pastors may be invited as guest lecturers in STS classes.
Regional Pastor’s Luncheons
In North Carolina and Virginia pastors luncheons are held to acquaint pastors with the ministry of Shepherds Seminary. Pastors who are affiliated with the 360 Circle of Shepherds anchor these meetings inviting fellow pastors and prospective students. These luncheons have engendered warm relations and fellowship and serve as a testament to the fact that we value pastors and desire their input and ministry engagement.