Shepherds Global Classroom

Tim Keep Sr.


The vision for Shepherds Global Classroom (“SGC”) began in 2012 with a small group of like-minded cross-cultural trainers who share a burden for the world’s most underserved, undertrained pastors.  With God’s blessing and favor, we have developed a unique curriculum for the multiplication of indigenous, non-formal Bible schools and seminaries.

Our Founding Story

In April 2012, I was traveling with other missionary trainers through East Africa, teaching a diverse group of pastors and laypeople in small villages and in very rustic settings. In each place, pastors and Christian leaders gathered under the shade of mango trees, under simple make-shift shelters, and under tents. It was a wonderful, eye-opening season of ministry. These men and women who had had almost no access to theological training were eager students.  I was often amazed by their spiritual depth and insight, but also saddened over their lack of resources. As we taught, it became evident that some of the pastors and leaders we were training had the heart, the capacity, and the gifts to teach as well. They didn’t really need us. They needed us to equip them to do what we were doing.  

One beautiful morning in a village in Mozambique I sat on the porch of an old mission house with an opened Bible before me. A salty breeze from the Indian Ocean rustled gently through the coconut palms, while a farmer cultivated his pineapple garden close by. The passage I was reading was John 13, and as I read, I was struck by a phrase from the story of Jesus washing His disciple’s feet. “Do you know what I have done to you … I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:13-15, ESV, emphasis mine).

As I thought about this word, the events of the past days, the men and women I had been privileged to teach, and this strong desire God had given me to equip Christian leaders, the thought came to me that we could serve Jesus’ disciples best by providing a training resource suited for them, and for their context. What if we had a training curriculum that was theologically robust, but simple, clear, and concise to put into the hands of these pastors? I thought. 

That morning I sensed the Holy Spirit was saying in my heart that if we would find a way to develop this needed resource for the sake of his body—as a service to his diverse body—he would prosper the effort. 

Over the next few months, God affirmed this calling and providentially brought together a team of qualified, dedicated, cross-cultural trainers and educators to begin the work. Within a year or so this nameless vision became known as Shepherds Global Classroom, Inc. 

Since the planting of the first tiny seeds in 2012, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested into twenty foundational English courses and numerous translations. These courses are already equipping leaders to train thousands of men and women for the harvest in in forty-seven countries. Our free Shepherds Global Classroom App has been downloaded in one hundred and nine countries. 

Why We Exist

According to the Global Alliance for Church Multiplication (GACX), “about four in every 10 people are living in places where there are few to no believers or churches. Another 30% are in places the gospel has reached, but they are still waiting to hear.” The God fully revealed in Jesus desires that every person hear the Good News, a desire which will only be fulfilled through the multiplication of “local, indigenous church(es) filled with equipped, fruitful disciples.” SGC exists as an equipping arm of the church planting movement taking place around the world. 

SGC exists because a vast majority of existing churches of the world are led by people who have no formal education in theology or ministry and because, as Ramesh Richard states, “These pastors lack theological discernment, a strong undergirding of biblical spirituality, and a preaching method to communicate God’s Word in a faithful, deep and compelling way.” 

According to David Livermore, “There’s little question that there is compelling need to serve the global church with theological and leadership training. The expansive growth of the church around the world is producing a shortage of theologically equipped pastors and church leaders.

  • There are approximately 2.2 million evangelical churches in the world.
  • 85% are led by men and women who have no theological training.
  • 7,000 new church leaders are needed daily to care for the growing church.
  • If every Christian training institute in the world operated at 120% capacity, less than 10% of the unequipped leaders would be trained.” 

The church must scale training through informal and non-formal training programs. According to our South African friends at Re-forma, “The biggest crisis facing the evangelical, global church today is the fact that most pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders are undertrained or not trained at all.” The mission of Shepherds Global Classroom is a response to this crisis.  After a recent trip with me to Zambia and Uganda, my friend, Dr. Tom McCall of Asbury Theological Seminary, wrote:

In much of the world, Christianity is not only surviving but indeed is growing and flourishing. In many places, however, there is a deep need for biblical and theological training. Pastors and church leaders are hungry for it; they are eager and motivated to learn. But they are under-resourced, and the health of the church suffers as a result. Shepherd’s Global Classroom is taking important steps to provide much-needed resources that are biblical, orthodox, and accessible. I have witnessed first-hand—in contexts as varied as universities and refugee camps—how the materials are being used, and I have no doubt that Shepherds Global Classroom will be a great blessing to God’s people around the world. 

 The Mission of SGC

We exist to equip the body of Christ by providing curriculum for rising Christian leaders around the world. 

The Scalable Vision of SGC

This curriculum reflects biblical, orthodox teaching, and a heart for evangelical unity. Our motto is Christ-centered. Training. Everywhere.  

Our free 20-course curriculum (in 32 majority world languages) is turning homes, sanctuaries, cafés, and even shade trees into locally governed, locally structured, and locally financed theological classrooms. 

Growth and Collaboration

SGC is equipping pastor-trainers from many evangelical denominations (Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc.) to launch non-formal training programs in 47 countries (as of March 2024). Our curriculum is being accessed and downloaded through our webpage and mobile app by thousands of trainers and students in over 105 countries. 

We collaborate with missions organizations and with a broad spectrum of like-minded training ministries such as Third Millennium, Our Daily Bread University, iTEE Global, Re-forma. (Please see our webpage for a full list.) We eagerly sign free printing and distribution MOU’s with churches and organizations (large and small) all over the globe.   

Anyone may download and print SGC courses for free, but for pastor-trainers who plan to print and distribute courses to a group, we prefer to create a signed MOU. This allows us to assist trainers, track growth, and share stories!

The Curriculum and Why it is Different

At the heart of the Shepherds Global Classroom mission is the unique curriculum tool—a theological curriculum which is Christ-centered, adaptable to various context, and makes training reproducible. We realize that there are many great ministries producing curriculum for underserved pastors and leaders, but we are also sure SGC curriculum is unique in some respects: 

  1. Because of how it is written. SGC curriculum is deep but written in a clear and simple language—language easier to grasp for English as Secondary Language (ESL) learners.  Each course has been developed by credentialed, experienced, cross-cultural leaders and trainers with a passion for God’s word. No textbooks are required (full text is included), and tests and answer keys are provided. Courses are full of illustrations, stories, quotes, character sketches, dialog, maps, charts, and timelines throughout. And each course is focused on practical application for people in ministry. Free, downloadable courses can be found on our website or in the SGC app.
  2. Because of what it provides. SGC curriculum provides a set of twenty foundational, fifteen-week courses, covering a broad range of biblical theology, for a robust (2-3 year) training program. We are not a training institution but provide excellent training tools so that informal and nonformal training institutions can be formed where they currently do not exist. With this curriculum, classes can be structured to fit any context.
  3. Because courses are being translated into over thirty languages currently: Translation of curriculum began with languages representing some of the world’s greatest populations. As of January 2023, English, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, Mandarin, and French are all complete with many additional languages partially complete. (See all translations)
  4. Because of whom it serves. SGC seeks evangelical unity in its approach to theological training. We desire to serve the body and to promote the well-known saying, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and it all things charity.”  Our motto is Christ-centered. Training. Everywhere.
  5. Because of whom it equips. SGC scales up theological training by equipping local Christian leaders, pastors, and missionaries as trainers who then form their own grassroots training programs. Through SGC, Christian leaders are being prepared as pastors, teachers, and ordained elders. 
  6. Because it is free! SGC offers all curriculum to trainers around the world for free in digital form (webpage and app), even granting printing and distribution rights to anyone who asks. SGC charges no royalty or membership fee when denominations, agencies, institutions, or individuals download and distribute SGC curriculum within the context of their ministry. Access to a particular language file is available simply by contacting us.
  7. Because we allow printing and distribution. We use a custom license for our courses. This license gives permission for each course to be copied and distributed freely in print and digital format but not altered in any way or sold for profit (although printing costs may be charged). Educational institutions may use this course even if they charge tuition fees.
  8. Because two partner schools—Columbia International University (CIU) and God’s Bible School & College (GBSC)—offer certificate programs using SGC curriculum. See more about this on our webpage or contact us. 
  9. Because we offer Global Trainers to help launch training programs upon invitation. We are developing a network of trainers around the world, whom we serve by providing regular online coaching. We will make Global Training teams available for ministries who ask. 

The Courses Available from Shepherds Global Classroom

  • Exploring the Old Testament
  • Exploring the New Testament 
  • Principles of Biblical Interpretation 
  • Christian Beliefs
  • Romans
  • Doctrine and Practice of the Holy Life
  • Doctrine and Practice of the Church
  • Biblical Evangelism and Discipleship
  • Spiritual Formation
  • Practical Christian Living
  • The Christian Family
  • The Life and Ministry of Jesus
  • Ministry Leadership
  • Principles of Communication
  • Introduction to Apologetics
  • World Religions and Cults
  • Survey of Church History I
  • Survey of Church History II
  • Introduction to Christian Worship
  • Eschatology

A Few Testimonials

In March 2024, Zambian pastor-trainer, Allegri Parmigren writes from the oldest refugee camp in Africa—Mayukwayukwa (where he has now started a second training center), “The courses are doing wonders by changing and transforming people, some of whom are even forsaking some of the sinful practices that they once practiced, to the point where they are not even embarrassed to publicly confess and repent… I have never seen anything like this among leaders.”

We get stories from around the world of training ministries being formed and lives being changed through the SGC tool. I received some unexpected encouragement on a recent trip to Papua New Guinea. Pastor Roger, a brother in his early forties, climbed into the back of a Toyota 4×4 with me, and as we slowly ascended a mountain road just outside of Mt. Hagen, he shared his deep appreciation for Shepherds Global Classroom.  “SGC has changed my life,” he said very matter-of-factly. “Thank you for your ministry.”

Roger went to explain that though he’s been pastoring for many years he had never had the opportunity to attend Bible College. Then, two or three years ago when missionary Shirley offered Saturday classes (using SGC curriculum), he eagerly enrolled. “Every Saturday, I’ve traveled four hours one way from my village to study with the group,” he said. “I’ve already completed fifteen SGC courses, and these courses have taught me so much. The teaching has changed my life!” 

In Mexico, missionary Brennan Muir writes: “SGC was instrumental in helping us to start Ezra Biblical Seminary. Since 2019, attendees have included pastors, church leaders, laypersons, and professionals. As we have grown from only a few students to more than sixty, we have seen the value of SGC for making disciples of Christ, no matter the level of one’s education.” Ezra is now training students in six Central American countries. 

Pastor Silas, in Kenya, discovered our courses online in 2017 and began training a group of leaders each week. For five years, they have continued this training program and have sent trainers into surrounding East African countries, including Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, South Sudan, Zambia, Uganda, and Tanzania. 

Eli Fader, a missionary in Uganda, states, “Northern Uganda is a strategic place for pastoral training right now. Many of the pastors in this area have not had the opportunity to study the word of God, and yet they faithfully serve their communities of believers.” Eli and his wife Bethany serve in the refugee camps where south Sudanese have fled their war-torn countries. They are using SGC to train fifty church leaders each week who are returning to their own congregations to then teach what they have learned. 

Biblical Illiteracy Is the ‘Utmost Problem’ Facing Global Evangelicalism

“The biggest crisis facing the evangelical, global church today is the growing lack of biblical literacy worldwide, according to Thomas Schirrmacher, the newly elected secretary-general of the World Evangelical Alliance.” A lack of systematic discipleship and doctrinal training makes the Church susceptible to all kinds of deceptions. As a missionary leader in my 27th year of service, I’ve witnessed so much real-world pain and suffering brought on by the absence of careful biblical instruction.  

I remember visiting a village in the Philippines with several pastors where we met a dear lady with a horribly painful skin disease coving her entire body. She and her family were believers, but with little biblical knowledge.  We learned that they had spent quite a bit of money on doctors, with no good affect, and had finally gone to see the latest prosperity gospel evangelist passing through their city. That night, the family gave their “seed offering,” which further impoverished them, and tried their best to believe God for healing, but nothing happened. Our hearts went out to her, and her family! 

In the little time we had, we did our best to gently guide this family toward a more biblical understanding of divine healing, and then laid our hands on the lady and prayed for healing according to James 5:14-15. We sensed God’s love and compassion working through our team in those moments, and from that moment the lady began to recover. Praise the Lord!

This story is just one example of how false teaching is troubling the church and the power of the word to set them free. Christians who aren’t armed with the truth are susceptible to deceptions of all kinds, but the truth will set them free. 

A biblical mandate for training

In Acts 8:26-32, we read of Philip being called by God to leave Samaria and travel along a certain road near Gaza. There, he came upon a man from Ethiopia sitting in his chariot and reading from the prophesies of Isaiah. “Do you understand what you’re reading?” Philip asked (v. 30, ESV). “How can I, unless someone guides me?” the man responded (v. 31, emphasis mine).

“How can I, unless someone guides me?” This sentence has been very convicting to me. The Holy Spirit was doing a lot of supernatural things in those days, but when it came to a man who needed biblical understanding, he sent a teacher. This is God’s normal response. And at Shepherds Global Classroom, we see our curriculum, in the hands of trainers, as a kind of scalable teacher helping and guiding men and women into truth. SGC, then, is a practical response to the biblical mandate of 1 Timothy 2:2: “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” It is a modern day “wine skin” seeking to scale biblical training and to equip underserved pastors and rising leaders in the developing world. 

Latest Blog Posts

The Simplicity of Trust and Obedience 

Tim Keep

Every joy and blessing and success I’m experiencing today (today I “celebrate” turning 55 and qualifying for the senior discount!), I owe to God's grace and the simplicity of the Christian life expressed in the lyrics below.
Read more: The Simplicity of Trust and Obedience 

What Jesus Followers Do With Power

Tim Keep

The disciples understood who he was— "the Messiah, the son of the living God." The Father had revealed this to them. He deserved respect. He deserved honor. He deserved hospitality. As his apostles, they felt they deserved these things, too.
Read more: What Jesus Followers Do With Power

Fat with Want

Tim Keep Sr.

When we think of our suffering as increasing our joy in God and our eternal happiness, it puts our present pain in the proper perspective.
Read more: Fat with Want

Be the first to read new articles!