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The WEST Institute Blog

Keep up with everything going on at The WEST Institute of Shepherds Theological Seminary.

Authentic Community

Authentic Community
My name is Spencer Edsall and my wife, EmmaJulia, and I are both attending The West Institute this year. Both of us grew up in Denver but most recently lived in Durango, Colorado. It was in this small mountain town that we met and both obtained our undergraduate in Adventure Education from Fort Lewis College. It was at a college ministry that we met, and it is also where we were first introduced to The West institute. EmmaJulia, who had been working on staff at the college ministry, knew that she desired a closer relationship with God and sought out the program as a way to draw closer to Him. Through the Lord's grace, He led us to The West Institute. Although I had originally planned to go through the program a year later, the Lord very quickly put it into my heart that I need...
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Understanding God's Word and God's Character

Understanding God's Word and God's Character
By: Chris StarksThis past year at The West Institute has truly been an amazing experience and I have learned so much from the Professors at Shepherds as well as the amazing staff Clayton, Jimmy, and Jeremy at The West Institute. One thing that Clayton and Jimmy had told me at the beginning of the year, and I think most of us at The West, was that this would likely be one of the hardest and best years of our lives, and boy were they right! While I have learned so much studying everything from the Old and New Testament, to church history and expository preaching, and pretty much everything in between, the biggest blessing has been the growth in my personal relationship with the Lord and getting to see God work in our lives.This past year my family and I have experienced plenty of trials and ...
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Ministering in Cologne, Germany

Ministering in Cologne, Germany
By: Adam Teeter, 2013 GraduateWhen we moved our family to Germany in the Autumn of 2016, there was only one thing certain for us - that God had led us there to serve the International Baptist Church of Cologne (IBCC). We left with little more than six months of savings, seven suitcases, and the plan to find work as an English Teacher in order to stay in Cologne. We knew this was a step of faith, but looking back, we had no idea just how much God was about to teach us about trusting Him!After initially getting settled, we spent the first few months searching and applying for jobs. Despite all our efforts and prayers, we never received a sufficient job offer or a work permit to remain in Germany. As our initial 6-month visa was drawing to a close, we were unsure what was coming ...
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Connecting The Head To The Heart

Connecting The Head To The Heart
By: Aaron Hulbert, 2017 GraduateGod called me into ministry in 2006. I was 26-years-old and full of youthful ignorance. I stumbled around ministry, had a lot of failures, but God was always good. I knew I needed more training so I began to attend a distance learning seminary. It was tough; though God used it, I could not finish, and felt like the theology was not connecting with actual, live ministry. I realized there was a disconnect between the head and the heart. What I was learning was great, but I was not learning how to apply it to ministry or my own life! I stopped attending seminary and almost gave up on the idea of seminary all together. Life continued to roll on. I married, had children and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming. My new position was bi-vocational. As a husband, ...
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Church Planting In St. George - ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

Church Planting In St. George - ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT
By: Jeff Schaefer, 2013 GraduateSince Graduating from the WEST Institute of Shepherds Theological Seminary more than 4 years ago I have taken what would probably be considered a non-traditional path for a seminary grad. I was convicted while going to The WEST to actually not pursue vocational ministry, but to pursue contentment and joy in God Himself. There was a subtle, yet significant shift in my mind about how I viewed the church and ministry. I had decided to love and serve the church with the gifts and opportunities available to me, while submitting to the leadership of godly men and trusting that God knows what He is doing with His church. While working construction in Laramie and helping with youth and college ministry, Molly (my wife) and I decided to move back ho...
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Broken Cisterns - A Year of Heart Study

Broken Cisterns - A Year of Heart Study
Broken Cisterns - A Year of Heart StudyBy: Hannah Shoults, 2017 GraduateWhen people ask me about the WEST Institute, my reply is often that it has been the best decision I have ever made, second only to accepting Christ as my Savior. In this year, was able to devote all of my time to studying and being changed by things that were eternal, lasting, and so valuable. Though I treasured my time in class and studying, the most impactful aspect of the WEST Institute was the Heart Study. The Heart Study is a curriculum that addresses the gap between what we as believers profess to believe and how we actually live our lives. In going through this curriculum with my Heart Study group, God showed me very clearly that there were patterns of sin in my life that I had been ignoring—He...
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SIX DAYS IN THE WEMINUCHE WILDERNESS - Part 2

SIX DAYS IN THE WEMINUCHE WILDERNESS - Part 2
By: Mary Martin"When I decided to go on this trip many people asked me why? I asked myself why? Why would you put yourself in so much discomfort? Why would you choose to do this?" - Part 1 Six Days in the Weminuche WildernessDay four in the Weminuche wilderness. Today we hiked to the bottom of Storm King. This was a harder day. It started out great. We were booking it, at least I felt like we were making really good time. I wasn't tired in the beginning, and I thought I finally had my legs under me in this whole backpacking thing. Then we started up steeper uphill trails. It was just a hard hike, and I wasn't in shape for it. During the hard points I remember thinking, the view better be worth it. Let me tell you, the view was always worth it. We camped at the bottom of a huge...
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SIX DAYS IN THE WEMINUCHE WILDERNESS - PART 1

SIX DAYS IN THE WEMINUCHE WILDERNESS - PART 1
B​y: Mary MartinWhen I decided to go on this trip many people asked me why? I asked myself why? Why would you put yourself in so much discomfort? Why would you choose to do this? Believe me when I say I asked myself that every day I was on this trip. It was uncomfortable. I was not prepared enough – physically and emotionally. I was anxious on the trail. Why was I there? I could have stayed home and stayed comfortable. Looking back I realized that I learned so much more from pushing through this trip then I could have never learned sitting at home.Day one. On Sunday, we loaded on to the train from Durango, Colorado with just our packs. We were headed to Needleton where we would leave all civilization behind for almost a week. The thought of this while we were standing in Duran...
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Weminuchi 2016 Photo Gallery

Weminuchi 2016 Photo Gallery
A few highlights from the Weminuchi.
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The Lord Will Provide

The Lord Will Provide
"The Lord will provide"; A statement easy to regurgitate in the life of a believer, but a test of true faith in the belief that He will indeed give provision. Prior to entering into seminary at The West Institute, I had no idea how I could afford this program. I am still bogged down with outstanding student loans from college, have a stay at home wife with two kids, a mortgage, and the financial burdens of everyday life. Secular culture would say I was crazy for entering into yet another financially difficult situation, but I had to.God had continually confirmed my convictions to enter seminary, and I took a leap of faith trusting in God's plan. Family and friends aided my first few months of school, but my funds soon ran out. Prayer after prayer was lifted up for God to provide. How could...
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