ABOUT THE ISRAEL INITIATIVE
Shepherds Theological Seminary is committed to the idea that all degree-seeking students visit the Holy Land and our Israel Initiative is a commitment born of two realities. First, we believe that this trip is of crucial value to students who are preparing to faithfully and accurately handle the Word of God. Visiting Israel gives our students much-needed context and allows them to explore the stage on which so much of the drama of God’s “mighty acts” unfolded. A good teacher seeks to incorporate visual aids for the students, and there is no better visual aid then seeing in person the land where the bulk of biblical history took place. For STS students, Israel becomes their giant blackboard, their real-life powerpoint, and the pages of Scripture come alive in front of them.
Second, it is worth mentioning that we live in that remarkable and very narrow window of history during which the land of Israel – a land which was functionally closed from AD 70-1967 – is actually accessible. The Apostle Paul testified to a special love for the people of Israel, and his desire was that all believers would have an affection for Israel as well (Rom 9:1-5; 11:28-36). The modern state of Israel is the most dramatic and important concentration of Jewish people and culture since AD 70, and that nation is much cherished at STS because of our grammatical-historical hermeneutic and exegesis.
Given all of that, the seminary continues to raise the funds necessary to provide a full two-week study trip for its credit students every year.
Open to Others
As space is available (and know that it is limited), travelers who are willing and able to pay a market price for the trip are invited to apply. There are strict demands upon those travelers: they must be hearty enough to keep up well with the group (which involves walking 8-9 miles/day, often over rugged and steep terrain); they must enthusiastically buy into the dynamic of a study trip (as opposed to a standard vacation-type excursion); they must watch pre-trip videos and complete several assignments in order to prepare themselves for the trip.
Our dates for the Israel Trip vary from year-to-year, However, generally speaking, our trip normally starts within the first week of December and returns mid-December.
What Our Students Are Saying…
"Before this trip, the Biblical timeline and the events I learned about in History class didn't connect to each other. However, after this trip I finally saw how things fit together."
"There are no words for how amazing the trip to Israel was. It literally made the Bible come to life."
Study the Bible in 3d
Experience the stage where God has chosen to reveal the truth about Himself and His plan.
Dr. Doug Bookman
This trip is led by Dr. Doug Bookman. His experience with Israel spans over 20 years.
Dr. Doug Bookman
The Israel Initiative is lead by Dr. Doug Bookman, who has been leading educational tours through Israel for over 20 years.
Dr. Bookman has focused much of his teaching career on a renewed emphasis on the life of Christ and the nation of Israel. In 1987, Dr. Bookman joined the Bible Department faculty of The Master's College. While there, he conceived, designed, and implemented the IBEX program, a semester-abroad program in Israel. In 1998, Dr. Bookman joined the Friends of Israel as a national representative. Throughout the years he has taught at various colleges and seminaries, and has served as pastor and interim pastor at local churches. He is now on staff at Shepherds Theological Seminary, and teaches classes in the New Testament and Life of Christ.