The Shepherds programme provides prospective pastors with the exegetical, theological, and practical skills necessary to be excellent students of Scripture, accurate expositors, capable biblical counsellors, Christlike leaders, and competent administrators in caring for the flock.


The Shepherds programme is a 4-year programme that follows the South African school calendar with two semesters per year, starting in January and ending in November.


Each semester our students spend about 90 hours in the classroom. We present classes in 5-hour sessions, once per week. Classes meet after-hours, allowing students to work while studying. Each semester is 17 weeks long and students break for holidays according to the school calendar.

Cohort System

Shepherds works on a cohort system so we do not take in new students every year. Each cohort proceeds through the programme as a group. The frequency of cohorts will be determined by the availability of lecturers and quantity of students.

Modular Subjects

Our classes are presented in a modular format where one subject is taught until complete and then students progress to the next subject. Subjects vary from 5 hours of class time (1 session) to 30 hours of class time (6 sessions). Each semester students complete at least 4 subjects in addition to mentorship requirements.

Academic Load

The academic load of our programme works on a 1:2 ratio. For every 1 hour of class time we expect our students to spend 2 additional hours preparing for classes, reading assigned books and articles, completing assignments, and preparing for tests and exams. This workload fairly represents the typical weekly workload of a pastor and is therefore an essential part of preparing our students for future pastoral ministry.

Core Programme Description

Our programme consists of the following core subjects. All subjects must be completed for a student to graduate. Shepherds reserves the right to replace or alter the courses in its programme and may from time to time offer electives that would benefit our students. All such changes will be made in order to improve our programme and provide our students with training that best prepares them for pastoral ministry.

Year 1

Semester 1 Semester 2
EX101 English Skills BI102 Hebrew Grammar II
EX102 Research Skills PM201 Pastoral Ministries I
EX201 Hermeneutics BI301 Old Testament Survey I
PM101 Biblical Counselling I BI201 Greek Grammar I
BI101 Hebrew Grammar I ME102 Mentorship II
ME101 Mentorship I

Year 2

Semester 1 Semester 2
BI202 Greek Grammar II BI401 New Testament Survey I
PM202 Pastoral Ministries II BI203 Greek Syntax
BI302 Old Testament Survey II TH201 Theology I
EX301 Preaching I EX302 Preaching II
ME103 Mentorship III ME104 Mentorship IV

Year 3

Semester 1 Semester 2
BI402 New Testament Survey II EX303 Preaching III
TH101 Church History I TH203 Theology III
TH202 Theology II TH301 Apologetic Methodology
PM203 Pastoral Ministries III TH102 Church History II
ME105 Mentorship V ME106 Mentorship VI

Year 4

Semester 1 Semester 2
PM204 Pastoral Ministries IV EX305 Preaching V
TH204 Theology IV PM103 Biblical Counselling III
PM102 Biblical Counselling II EX401 Exposition Elective
EX304 Preaching IV TH401 Theology Elective
ME107 Mentorship VII ME108 Mentorship VIII


Subject Descriptions

Bible Division

In Bible overview classes we survey all sixty-six books of the Bible. We provide the student with knowledge of the authorship, date, historical background, purpose, theological importance, and key interpretive issues of each book. We help the student understand the overall plan of redemption traced from Genesis to Revelation and study important biblical themes and background material that help us understand God’s message in the Scriptures. Bible reading is an essential part of these classes. We also provide students with guidelines for preaching each book.

Our classes in Hebrew and Greek help students become proficient in the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of the languages in which the Old and New Testaments were written. These classes lay a strong foundation for the accurate study and proclamation of God’s Word.

BI 101, 102 Hebrew Grammar I and II

An introduction to the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of biblical Hebrew that provides the student with knowledge essential for the study of OT texts and lays a solid foundation for further Hebrew language study.

BI 201, 202 Greek Grammar I and II

An introduction to the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of biblical Greek.

BI 203 Greek Syntax

This subject continues to develop the student’s knowledge of biblical Greek syntax and vocabulary at an intermediate level and lays a solid foundation for exegesis and exposition of the New Testament.

BI 301, 302 Old Testament Survey I and II

A survey of the content, date, authorship, background, and theology of the Old Testament books. An emphasis is placed on reading the biblical text. Class notes and supplemental reading help students grasp the broad themes, background, and key interpretive issues of each book.

BI 401, 402 New Testament Survey I and II

A survey of the content, date, authorship, background, and theology of the New Testament books. An emphasis is placed on reading the biblical text. Class notes and supplemental reading help students grasp the broad themes, background, and key interpretive issues of each book.

Exposition Division

In exposition classes we develop the student’s ability to accurately handle the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15) by teaching the principles of Bible interpretation. We then teach them to apply these principles in the exegesis and preaching of the biblical text. These classes provide students with the foundational principles of Scripture study, proclamation, and application necessary for preaching, prayer, personal growth in holiness, systematic theology, apologetics, and counselling.

EX 101 English Skills

An introduction to English language skills vital to academic study and clear communication. Grammar, speaking, reading, and writing skills are developed.

EX 102 Research Skills

An introduction to the skills necessary for conducting research for pastoral study. Students learn how to find and cite sources, prepare assignments, and avoid plagiarism. Study skills are also developed.

EX 201 Hermeneutics

An introduction to the principles and practice of interpreting the Bible. This course involves in-class application of principles learned.

EX 301 Preaching I

An introduction to the history of preaching and basic principles of preparing expository sermons. Practical exercises are an essential part of this course.

EX 302 Preaching II

This course continues to sharpen the preacher’s skills by covering the following topics: Jesus’ preaching; preaching narrative; preaching Christ from the OT; writing sermons; organisation of sermons; imperatival outlines; outlining larger sections.

EX 303 Preaching III

This course involves a review of block diagramming. Students spend most of the course practicing exegesis and exposition.

EX 304 Preaching IV

In this subject students focus on the following preaching topics: writing introductions and conclusions; using illustrations; making applications; sermon delivery. Students preach sermons and are evaluated in class.

EX 305 Preaching V

Students continue to preach sermons in class and receive constructive input from the lecturer.

EX401 Exposition Elective

An elective class on exposition. The focus of this class is dependant upon the lecturer.

Theology Division

We teach students to take the results of careful, exegetical Bible study and form them into a systematic theology that they can use for preaching, worship, counselling, and apologetics. Our theology classes introduce students to historical and contemporary issues and provide a biblical basis for defending the faith.

TH 101, 102 Church History I and II

A survey of important events, individuals, and theological issues from the inception of the church to the modern age.

TH 201 Theology I

This course starts with an introduction to systematic theology (Prolegomena) in which students learn the importance of developing a systematic theology based upon exegesis of Scripture. The nature of Scripture and the study of God (Theology Proper) follow.

TH 202 Theology II

This course is a study of the person and work of Christ (Christology), the person and work of the Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), and the Bible’s teaching on angels, demons, and Satan (Angelology).

TH 203 Theology III

A course focused on what the Bible teaches about the origin and nature of mankind (Anthropology), sin and its consequences (Harmartiology), and salvation in Christ (Soteriology).

TH 204 Theology IV

This class focuses on the nature and ministry of the church (Ecclesiology) and the Bible’s teaching on the tribulation, the kingdom, resurrection, judgment, and the eternal state (Eschatology).

TH 301 Apologetic Methodology

A study of the defence of the Christian faith with a focus on application in ministry.

TH 401 Theology Elective

An elective class on theology. The focus of this class is dependant upon the lecturer.

Pastoral Ministries Division

All Scripture is God-breathed and all-sufficient to address the emotional and spiritual problems of God’s people (2 Tim 3:16-17). In our pastoral ministries classes we provide our students with the knowledge and skills they need to apply God’s Word in their shepherding care and leadership of their families and God’s people. In these classes we encourage our students to grow in their personal devotion to Christ and to serve his people as shepherds who are exemplary in all they teach.

Our pastoral ministry classes also provide our students with the skills and resources necessary for the effective day-to-day administration of a church. We help our students develop a philosophy and practice of ministry that is founded on biblical principles and applied with wisdom.

PM 101 Biblical Counselling I

Biblical Counselling I introduces the student to the why, what, and how of biblical counselling. In this course he will learn why the Bible is sufficient to deal with our emotional and spiritual problems, what makes biblical counselling truly biblical, how to identify and apply biblical principles in counselling, and what the key elements of the counselling process are.

PM 102 Biblical Counselling II

In this course the student learns to apply biblical principles to marriage specific issues. Counselling video case studies form an essential part of this course.

PM 103 Biblical Counselling III

In this course the student learns to apply biblical principles to counselling issues that arise often in pastoral ministry, such as parenting, rebellious teens, painful pasts, anger, and depression. Students learn to apply biblical counselling principles through interaction with counselling video case studies.

PM 201 Pastoral Ministries I

In our Pastoral Ministries classes students learn about various aspects essential for the shepherd-preacher. The content of these classes is based on the pastoral ministries curriculum developed by The Expositor’s Seminary. In Pastoral Ministries I the following topics are addressed: the pastor’s character; the pastor’s call to ministry; the role of associate pastors; the pastor’s family.

PM 202 Pastoral Ministries II

In this course we cover the following topics: battling the lure of power and personal significance; the pastor’s relationship to his congregation; dealing with criticism; avoiding moral catastrophe; ministerial reputation and Christian liberties.

PM 203 Pastoral Ministries III

In this course we cover the following topics: developing and training leaders; unity in leadership; unity in doctrine and ministry philosophy; shepherding the flock through leadership crises; church discipline; handling information biblically.

PM 204 Pastoral Ministries IV

In Pastoral Ministries IV we address the following topics: shepherding administrative needs; candidating and first pastorate concerns; common mistakes in early ministry; the church ordinances; special services; practicing hospitality; hospital and bereavement ministry; funerals; premarital counselling and weddings; women’s ministries; the weekly ministerial schedule; church planting dynamics.

Mentorship Division

For pastoral training to be effective, theory and practice must join hands by means of a meaningful mentoring programme. For this reason our lecturers intentionally mentor students in the classroom, drawing upon their biblical knowledge and experience as shepherds, church leaders, and church administrators. In addition, Shepherds works closely with the student’s home church ensuring that students are involved in the life of the church, exposed to various ministries, and given the opportunity to apply the knowledge and principles taught in the classroom.

ME 101-108 Mentorship I-VIII

In the mentorship courses of Shepherds our students learn to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom through their involvement in an approved church congregation. Students and their church mentors will report to the seminary on the student’s participation in the full spectrum of activities involved in pastoral ministry. Our students not only participate in ministry activities: they receive constant training and counsel from their mentor and seminary lecturers.

In Mentorship I-VIII our prospective shepherd-preachers partake in church activities such as: attending membership classes, and joining and becoming active church members; participating in Sunday corporate worship and ministries; attending regular member and business meetings; observing the practice of church discipline; participating in midweek Bible studies; observing regular staff and elder’s meetings; observing diaconal work; teaching and preaching; observing the pastor in sermon preparation, planning and song selection; preparing pastoral prayer; reviewing Sunday services; observing and practicing biblical counselling, discipling, mentoring, conflict resolution, home visitation, and hospital visits; visiting pastor fraternals, church plants, outside ministry opportunities, camps, conferences, and seminars; observing church members in their homes, and observing godly marriages and families; reading and discussing books on pastoral ministry and practical ecclesiology.