The first time someone suggested I consider attending seminary, my response was an unequivocal, “No.” I planned to work in the business world, serve in my local church, and leave the deep theological topics to my pastor. Seminary was for the professionals, certainly not for me. My convictions changed in the fall of 2010 when I heard about a new one-year program called The WEST Institute—the Laramie, Wyoming teaching site of Shepherds Theological Seminary.
The WEST Institute offered an opportunity for me to invest one year in the study of God’s Word, earn a master’s degree, experience authentic community, and receive intentional discipleship. I enrolled in the program unsure of how it would impact me. Looking back, that one year has become perhaps the most pivotal year of my life. The time in the classroom gave me both a foundation in God’s Word and the tools to rightly interpret and apply it. The authentic community surrounded me with others on a similar spiritual path. And having intentional discipleship challenged me to put into action the truths I was learning in the classroom. The overall result was a life truly transformed.
My life was so impacted by my one year of study that I spent the next eight years serving within The WEST Institute. My wife also invested a year at The WEST, earned her MACM degree, and continued on to invest in the lives of others. Together, it has been our joy to see the lives of numerous men and women impacted by the same principles that made such a difference in our own lives. Graduates with the MTS degree have gone on to become school teachers, doctors, engineers, pastors, missionaries, counselors, and stay-at-home moms. Although their professions may vary, they are all using their seminary training to minister to their churches and those around them. When the opportunity was presented to bring all we had learned at The WEST Institute to Shepherds Institute, my wife and I jumped at it.
I am excited to serve as the Director of Shepherds Institute and to see the lives of men and women changed by the Word of God. I would invite you to prayerfully consider joining us for a year dedicated to the study and personal application of God’s Word. No matter your season of life or your career plans, I believe your primary calling is to know God and to make Him known. Shepherds Institute exists to equip you to fulfill that goal. Our nation and our churches are in desperate need of men and women who know and live God’s Word, and we are excited to partner with Shepherds Theological Seminary here in North Carolina to see that happen.
Yours for Lives Changed by God’s Grace,
Jimmy Carter, M.A.C.M., M.Div.
Director, Shepherds Institute
Shepherds Theological Seminary