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Training Men to be Pastors
In the Church, For the Church
Shepherds Fellowship logo

The Shepherds Fellowship

formerly The Timothy Track at Midwestern Seminary

Interested in residential education but concerned about putting ministry experience on hold? Midwestern Seminary now has a way to gain valuable ministry experience — under a local pastor’s mentorship — while you pursue your studies.

The Shepherds Fellowship offers select residential Master of Divinity students in-the-field ministry training and mentorship within the context of the local church. In addition to their classroom studies, students in The Shepherds Fellowship will spend their first calendar year at Midwestern as an intern/apprentice within a local partner church. The program will allow participating students the opportunity to integrate what they are learning in the classroom into the local church, all while earning class credit. A pastor or staff leader at their church will serve as their mentor throughout the year (and hopefully, beyond). As an added benefit, all Shepherds Fellowship students receive a 100% tuition scholarship for their year in the program.


credit hours of applied theology courses


Tuition Scholarship for first year


Local church partners

Program Offerings

Timothy Track

Students participating in The Shepherds Fellowship will spend a considerable portion of their time serving the church in a variety of ways. Students are expected to be exemplary church members first and foremost. As church members, they may be given a variety of opportunities to serve which will vary from church to church. They may be given tasks such as:

  • Providing support to the church’s weekly food pantry
  • Helping manage the church’s website, bulletin, or other communication pieces
  • Providing support to various other ministries throughout the church
  • Serving as a research assistant to the pastor as he develops his sermon

Timothy Track

In addition to serving and leading in various contexts, interns will also learn through a variety of formats. The partner church has been asked to provide a context in which the student can observe leadership from the inside. That means, students may get to:

  • Regularly attend staff and business meetings to observe
  • Regularly meet with one’s direct supervisor to discuss theology, the practice of ministry, areas for growth, etc.
  • Join with ministry leaders on hospital visits, funeral or wedding preparation, and more

Timothy Track

In addition to serving behind the scenes, churches are also encouraged to provide occasional opportunities for interns to lead in appropriate ways. Churches are encouraged to reserve the bulk of these opportunities for the Spring semester, after they have opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the student. Below are a few examples of what this might look like:

  • Driving the effort to research and draft an update to the church’s bylaws or constitution
  • Leading a small group or Bible study
  • Leading a weekend missions initiative
  • Leading worship

MDiv Coursework

Shepherds Fellowship students take two classes together each semester (of their required three). The classes on the left below take the place of the corresponding core classes on the right in their MDiv program.


Shepherds Fellowship Classes Equivalent
MN 5450 TT Applied Ecclesiology Practicum (Church-Based, Fall) MN 5430 Intro to Pastoral Ministry
MN 5410 TT Leadership (Campus-Based, Fall) MN 5468 Leadership Practicum
MN 5490 TT Ministry Stewardship Practicum (Church-Based, Spring) CE 8345 Biblical Leadership & Administration for the Church
MN 5010 TT Spiritual Disciplines and Evangelism (Campus-Based, Spring) MN 5060 Evangelism and Discipleship

Regular Interviews with Special Guests

men in a meeting

In class sessions with the Shepherds Fellowship cohort, the program leaders invite guest pastors or leaders on a regular basis to come and share wisdom and insight on specific topics relevant for ministry leadership. The selection of guest speakers changes from year to year, however, we are excited that our new partnership with SEND Network means key leaders like Vance Pitman, Matt Carter, Tony Merida, and others will be participating each year. Additional guests are specifically chosen for their extensive experience, godly character, and/or unique expertise or perspective on a particular subject.

Student Requirements


Have a 3.0 incoming GPA and maintain the same throughout the program.

Students must be full-time on-campus students (9 credit hours) in both the fall and spring semesters of the program year to remain eligible.


Be recommended by a pastor of their church, and be a member in good standing of that church.


Uphold biblical conduct as required by the student handbook.


Must become and remain members in good standing of their partner church (includes consistent attendance, giving, and service).

Church Requirements


Within 40 mile radius
of Midwestern campus.

SBC Church

Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Danvers and Chicago Statements, Biblical Exposition in Preaching.


Stability in church staff for past
couple of years (Not in transition).


Jordan Wilbanks

Jordan Wilbanks serves as the Director of Church Partnerships here at Midwestern. Before coming to Kansas City, Jordan served as a founding member and an elder at Christ Fellowship Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Professionally, he comes from both a business and a ministry background, having served as Accounts Receivable Manager for a major domestic staffing firm based in Birmingham, and having worked on the Communications team of Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes.

Jordan received his undergraduate education in Communications from The University of Miami, and he completed his MDiv from Midwestern Seminary. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Biblical Theology from Midwestern. Originally from Jacksonville, FL, Jordan has been a part of Baptist churches in five different cities, and grew up as the son of a Southern Baptist pastor. He loves the church, and his aim at Midwestern is to see the church in this region grow and flourish, as we all work together to proclaim Christ, make disciples of all nations, and give glory to our Father. You can contact Jordan at [email protected].

Professor for Shepherds Fellowship Courses

Dr. Jared Bumpers

Jared Bumpers

Jared Bumpers is the Assistant Professor of Preaching & Evangelism and FTC Cohorts Faculty Coordinator at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to joining the team at Midwestern, Jared served for over a decade as a student pastor, then as an associate pastor of preaching, at a church in southwest Missouri. He has also served as an interim pastor and spoken at numerous conferences throughout the United States.

Jared holds a B. S. in Pastoral Ministry from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri; a M.Div. from Luther Rice Seminary in Lithonia, Georgia; a Th.M. in Biblical Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia; and a Ph.D. in Christian Preaching from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His doctoral research focused on the hermeneutic and homiletic of John Albert Broadus.

Jared is married to his wife, Kimberly, and they have four children: McCartnie, Rush, Maverick, and Jett.

Frequently Asked Questions

For Students:

Can I become a Shepherds Fellowship student if I’ve already started my M.Div.?
The Shepherds Fellowship M.Div. is for incoming students who have completed 6 credit hours or less. In rare cases, a student may begin study in the spring and then apply for The Shepherds Fellowship for the subsequent fall. Transfer students may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

How many times a year does the internship start?
The internship begins once a year, at the beginning of each fall semester.

How is a Shepherds Fellowship M.Div. different from the other M.Div. programs?
The Shepherds Fellowship is not itself a specific MDiv emphasis; Shepherds Fellowship students can pursue any MDiv emphasis at MBTS. The primary curricular distinction for Shepherds Fellowship students is their four unique courses stated above, as those take place of the four core courses as shown.

How do I get matched up with a church?
We don’t choose what church a student joins! Instead, based on the student’s interview in the application process, the Director of Church Partnerships will make suggestions for churches that seem like the best available fits. This depends also on which churches are participating in a given year. Then, the student and pastor/mentors can give feedback until the student is able to find the right church.

What happens if I don’t get matched with the church I really want to go to?
First, we want to be clear that all of our Shepherds Fellowship church partners are in this program for multiple reasons. Not only have these churches agreed to partner with MBTS, but MBTS strongly supports their ministries as well. The primary reasons why a student may not have the opportunity to join a particular church are:
1) they only have capacity to bring on a certain number of students, and those spots have already been filled, or
2) the church is unable to participate in that given year for any number of reasons. Should this occur, we will be very prayerful and intentional to help you choose another church will provide you with the opportunities for growth in your pursuit of pastoral ministry or ministry leadership.

How will I succeed and learn as much as I can?
First, students can best prepare for an excellent experience through The Shepherds Fellowship by investing in a vibrant, intentional, and disciplined relationship with God, increasing in enjoyment of Him. This means of course being grounded in His Word, growing in intercessory prayer and dependency on Him, and actively serving within the ministry of the church where one is currently a member. Once students begin the program, a posture of humility and learning is a must to maximize the receptivity to the wisdom of those with greater experience. Additionally, one of the most vital tasks of the student is to get to know the members of the church. Treating the church members as the center of one’s ministry, rather than a temporary laboratory, will increase the effectiveness of the experience and increase trust. Finally, Shepherds Fellowship leadership will debrief with each student four times throughout the year to process how they are growing and what they are seeing.

What are the details of the scholarship?
Each FTC Cohort student will receive a scholarship amounting to 100% of their tuition costs for up to 18 credit hours during the academic year. This scholarship only applies to residential or practicum courses

For Churches:

Our church would love to participate in The Shepherds Fellowship, but we don’t have the funds in our budget to make it happen. How can we still be involved?
In our efforts to be for the Church, we have sought to make The Shepherds Fellowship accessible to churches of every size by scaling down the pricing for smaller churches.Even so, we understand that one of the primary barriers to your church participating in The Shepherds Fellowship may still likely be financial in nature. But we’d like to encourage you not to close the book on it just yet. Even if your budget is fixed, we want to suggest a few very manageable ways that you may be able to raise funds to free you and your staff to invest in a future pastor:

  • Ask specific church members to give directly
  • Bring it to your church on a Sunday, a members’ meeting, via “love offering,” etc
  • One-day fundraising event

How many interns could our church invest in?
Your church may invest in as many interns as is mutually agreed will be beneficial to each of those interns. The goal of this program is to develop these young leaders for the sake of their future ministry. So we ask for discernment in the number of interns you bring on, considering the bandwidth of your pastoral staff toward that end.

What is expected of our church in this program?
Church partners are expected to invest in your interns alongside MBTS. We hope our partner churches will see this as an opportunity to strengthen the Church at large by taking ownership of the formation of future pastors and leaders as they train with you. Please pray for them, and with them! Also, churches are expected to provide:

  • Mentorship
  • Regular opportunities for interns to attend staff and business meetings
  • Opportunities for leadership in the ministry area of their internship, and perhaps in other areas as well

How much does an intern cost my church?
In an effort to be inclusive and strategic in the mission of MBTS to be “For the Church” with churches of all budgets and sizes in mind, a progressive pricing model will be used:

  • Attendance 0 – 100: $1,000 per intern
  • Attendance 100 – 200: $2,000 per intern
  • Attendance 200 – 500: $3,500 per intern
  • Attendance 500+: $5,000 per intern

What makes this program unique?
The Shepherds Fellowship M.Div. program is unique because of the layers of investment, both by Midwestern and the local church, in the growth of the intern. Of course, we are excited that this program provides our students with the opportunity for in-the-field pastoral ministry experience, but the hands-on mentorship of the student from the pastor(s) and the Shepherds Fellowship leadership make this program stand out.

How can I find out more?
To learn more about the Shepherds Fellowship, contact [email protected].

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