1. Purpose

This policy sets forth the principles to be applied with regards to admission of students into the programmes of Shepherds.

2. Scriptural Criteria

The purpose of Shepherds’ pastoral ministry programmes is to train pastors and elders to serve the church of Jesus Christ. According to Scripture only men of suitable qualification may fulfill such leadership roles within the church (1 Tim 2:12; 3:1-13; 2 Tim 2:2; Titus 1:5-9). Therefore:

2.1 Only men may apply for admission to pastoral ministry programmes.
2.2 Only men who meet the biblical criteria for eldership may be admitted into pastoral ministry programmes.

3. Admission Process

The following process must be followed for all applications:
3.1 A completed application must be submitted along with all supporting documentation. Unsigned or incomplete applications will not be processed.
3.2 The application and all material must be reviewed by the admissions committee.
3.3 Students who meet the biblical criteria in §2 above will be vetted according to the criteria laid out in §4 below. Students who do not meet the criteria in §2 above will be informed in writing that their application is unsuccessful.
3.4 Students who meet the admission criteria will be interviewed along with their wife (if married) and pastor or an elder from their church as part of the vetting process. The interview process must take into account the criteria listed in §4 below. Where a student is not able to meet in person with the admissions committee, the interview may take place via an online medium or over the phone.
3.5 Students who meet the criteria for admission will be admitted into the programme and informed in writing. The admissions committee may admit a student with conditions that must be met by the student, which may include the successful completion of a bridging course. Students who do not meet the criteria after the vetting process will be informed in writing.

4. Vetting Criteria

The following criteria will be considered when determining the suitability of a candidate for admission:
4.1 The student must be a believer in Jesus Christ and be able to give a clear testimony of his faith.
4.2 The student should demonstrate that his character meets the biblical elder qualifications as listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 2:12; 2 Timothy 2:2 and related passages.
4.3 He should hold to evangelical doctrine that is aligned with the Shepherds’ doctrinal statement. Where there are differences, he should declare these.
4.4 He should provide evidence of his spiritual giftedness in the form of commendable effectiveness in his current ministry.
4.5 He should be fluent in English and demonstrate his ability to function academically at a level equivalent to a Master’s degree.
4.6 He should have a record of employment and demonstrate his faithfulness and discipline in this regard.
4.7 He should demonstrate humility, teachableness, and a desire to submit himself to the authority of Scripture.
4.8 The student should be age-approriate: he should not be a new convert and should at least be in his mid twenties. Students who show giftedness for ministry, but are deemed too young, will be asked to apply again at a latter date. Age-appropriateness will be determined by the admissions committee.
4.9 A non-resident of South Africa must obtain the necessary South African permit/visa that allows them to be in the country legally for the duration of their studies.
4.10 A non-resident of South Africa student must provide proof that he has found a suitable South African church where he will attend and serve, and whose leaders will mentor him.

5. Annual Review

Every student who is accepted into Shepherds’ programmes will be subject to an annual review of his suitability for pastoral ministry and thus continuation in the programme.
5.1 A formal review will be conducted annually. However, should a lecturer, Shepherds staff, or the student’s home church deem it necessary, a formal review can be conducted at any time.
5.2 The student will be reviewed according to the criteria in §4 and in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.
5.3 The annual review will incorporate input from the student, lecturers, and home church leaders/mentors. His academic progress and grades will also be reviewed.
5.4 A student who fails to meet the criteria of §4 will be removed from the programme. He and his church will be informed in writing.
5.5 Costs incurred by the student as a result of being removed from a Shepherds programme remain the responsibility of the student. Any costs incurred by Shepherds as a result of removing a student from a Shepherds programme will be charged to the student’s account. Re-imbursement of tuition and fees will take place as per the Shepherds’ Financial Policy.

6. Waiving of Subjects

A student who has completed theological courses elsewhere may apply to Shepherds to waive classes in the Shepherds programme. Shepherds will process such applications on a case-by-case basis, but as a rule, prefers students to complete the entire Shepherds programme.
6.1 Waiving of classes will lie at the discretion of the Academic Head and lecturing staff.
6.2 When a student applies to waive classes he must provide a detailed description of all the work completed for that subject including class syllabi, copies of assignments, grades, and any other information requested by the Academic Head or lecturing staff.
6.3 If a partial waiver is granted a student may be required to attend classes or fulfill other requirements.

7. International Students

Shepherds requires all international students to abide by South African Law and obtain the necessary legal status for study in South Africa.
7.1 Shepherds will assist international students by providing documentation required by SA Home Affairs in processing the visa application.
7.2 All requirements for admission as set out in the Admissions Policy of Shepherds must be met by international students.
7.3 Proof of legal status in South Africa must be submitted to Shepherds once obtained by the student. No student will be allowed to begin classes without proof of legal status.
7.4 Any Shepherds international student who fails to meet his visa requirements will be asked to return to his home country until such time that his visa requirements are met. Shepherds’ reserves the right to remove an international student from any of its programmes for failor to maintain his legal status in South Africa.
7.5 International students who fail to meet the criteria of ongoing admission in Shepherds’ programmes as set out in the Admissions Policy will not be reimbursed for any financial loss on their part. All costs for return to his home country will be the responsibility of the student.
7.6 Where necessary, Shepherds will inform South African Home Affairs of the removal of an international student from its programmes.

8. Non-Discrimination Policy

This policy will be applied fairly to all students irrespective of their race, colour, national, and ethnic background and all students will be given the full rights and privileges due to them in Shepherds programmes.