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Midwestern Seminary Faculty Travels to Holy Land

Posted August 31, 2023 by Brett Fredenberg

KANSAS CITY, Mo—Prior to the fall semester, Midwestern Seminary’s faculty traveled to Israel for a once-in-a-lifetime leadership development retreat. The trip to the Holy Land featured daily tours of historic sites and devotionals led by faculty members at select locations. The faculty retreat was made possible by a generous gift from a Midwestern Seminary donor.

“I am incredibly grateful that we were able to take our faculty to the Holy Land earlier this month,” said President Jason Allen. “I have had the idea of this trip in my mind for several years, but thanks to a generous donor, we were able to make that idea a reality this year.”

He went on to say, “Traveling to the various Biblical sites was incredible, but what was even more moving was getting to do it with my colleagues at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College. I praise God for the trip, for all the memories we made, and for how this trip has refreshed and encouraged myself and our faculty.”

During their first day in Israel, the faculty visited Caesarea, Mount Carmel, and Nazareth. They had opportunities to see locations where Pontius Pilate lived, where the Apostle Paul was on house arrest, and where Elijah faced the prophets of Baal.

The second day began with a boat tour on the Sea of Galilee, followed by a visit to the Mount of Beatitudes. They saw where Jesus filled Peter’s nets with fish and fed the 4,000 and visited Peter’s hometown of Capernaum and Mary Magdalene’s hometown of Magdala.

During this day, Assistant Professor of Missions Joe Allen met with International Mission Board personnel serving in North Africa and Middle East affinities. Though the needs are great in these areas, IMB missionaries continue to serve faithfully amidst many complexities. Midwestern Seminary is proud to send and support many of these missionaries in these areas.

The next two days featured stops at the Jordan River, Jericho, Masada, and more. During these days, the faculty visited historic sites such as the fortress built by King Herod the Great and the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by a Bedouin boy in 1947. Several faculty members had opportunities to float in the Dead Sea as well, which is composed of a uniquely high percentage of salt (34% salt) as compared to the oceans (3.5% salt).

The fifth day began with a Lord’s Day worship service on the Mount of Olives. Associate Professor of Worship Ministries Matthew Swain led a hymn sing for faculty members and Associate Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology Patrick Schreiner led a devotion on Christ’s ascension. Schreiner described the experience as “a dream come true.”

They continued the day by visiting the Temple Mount, the Church of the Nativity, and the Shepherds Fields in Bethlehem. Faculty saw locations of Jesus’ ascension, possible locations for where the shepherds would have been keeping their sheep, and where many believe to be Jesus’ birthplace.

The final two days included a variety of tour stops. Among them, faculty saw the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is one of the possible sites where Jesus was crucified and buried, and then they visited the Pool of Bethesda, which is mentioned in John 5. They followed the processional route in Jerusalem, called the Via Dolorosa, that Jesus would have likely taken to his crucifixion.

They closed their Holy Land retreat by visiting the Upper Room, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden Tomb. Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry Jared Wilson led a devotional at this location focused on the benefits and joys of Christ’s resurrection.

Midwestern Seminary continues to prioritize faculty health through annual retreats, regular faculty development meetings, individual coaching sessions, and more. With the sustained growth at the seminary and college, the addition of several key faculty members has only helped ensure this priority.

Reflecting on the event, Midwestern Seminary Provost Jason Duesing said, “This opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime trip—and to share that with faculty colleagues has made lifetime memories for those who serve together but often do not have extended time for uninterrupted fellowship. That gift alone has catalyzed our peer collegiality and has given the new academic year a freshness and excited for which we are grateful.”

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