“As a seminary committed to training students in the Word of God, we believe it is crucial to not only educate each student about Israel…but to educate them in Israel!”

Dr. Doug Bookman

Professor and Israel Trip Leader


What is the Israel Initiative?

The Israel Initiative is Shepherds Theological Seminary’s commitment to get students to the Holy Land for a 2-week study course at minimal cost. You can read more below about why STS thinks this trip is so important for students.

Is the Trip Really Free?

Our generous donors have made it possible for STS to underwrite the land costs and most meals for the Israel Initiative, leaving students with only minimal costs for lunches, snacks, and souvenirs.

What's the Trip Like?

The Israel Study Trip is intense! Spanning 2-weeks, the trip is an intensive course covering the history and geography of the Holy Land—Old Testament to New Testament. Days usually begin at 8am and end about 7-8pm.



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.


Since participation in the trip is limited, we ask that each potential traveler submit an application. The application deadline for each year’s December trip is August 31. After all the applications are submitted and reviewed, you will receive an email regarding your eligibility for the trip. If approved, you will receive further information at that time via email (typically within the first week of September).

The study trip for the 2023-2024 Academic Year is scheduled for December 9-21, 2023. For a detailed itinerary, please see the “Israel Trip Travel Itinerary” below.

Before submitting your application, please read the following documents:

To apply for the Israel initiative, please use these forms:

Student Application (Credit Students Only)

General Application