A news brief in the March 2023 issue of Christianity Today magazine reports that the number of seminary students pursuing a Master of Divinity degree has declined by nine percent in the last five years. The Master of Divinity degree has long been the standard degree for those entering the pastoral ministry and remains a qualification for many churches looking for a pastor.
The M.Div. typically requires training in the original languages of Scripture prompting one expert quoted in the above-mentioned article to note his concern about a shortage of biblical language scholars by the year 2050. Understandably, biblical languages are difficult to learn in the context of online education and they are not included in many online seminary degrees such as the Master of Arts degree. This means that pastors are often left to learn Greek or Hebrew on their own. Consequently, one aspect of The Shepherd’s Table ministry involves answering questions about the original languages in addition to providing encouragement and advice to pastors, seminary students, and Bible teachers. Your prayer support of The Shepherd’s Table project is vitally important. Please pray for the Lord to supply me with the wisdom and grace to assist those in front-line ministry.
Over the past three months, I have had the privilege of ministering to twelve individuals including seven pastors, one retired pastor, one seminary student, and three Bible teachers. In addition, I have preached twice and taught numerous adult Bible classes. Since the last newsletter, I have also made one ministry trip to give a report on the project and conduct an expository preaching seminar. The seminar entitled Ten Ways to Improve Your Preaching is available on The Shepherd’s Table website. Finally, I have continued to write my next book and help Dianne with the book she is writing.
I greatly value your prayer support for The Shepherd’s Table Project. A full description of this project is available online at shepherdstable.net. There you will find many helpful resources including a blog, links to my books, a link to The Shepherd’s Table podcast, and access to sermonaudio.com with hundreds of my audio and video sermons.
Those who wish to assist the Shepherd’s Table Project can make tax-deductible donations at Interlinkministries.org. All donations will go toward project expenses such as publishing costs, website fees, and travel expenses associated with the ministry.
A Fellow Servant,
Dr. R. Jay Waggoner