Jared Chatfield (’07): Participant in Israel archaeological digs
September 15, 2011
Jared Chatfield, a 2007 graduate, has traveled across Israel, from Dan to Beer Sheba, and has taken part in two archaeological digs associated with the Tel Gezer project, which works to investigate the Iron Age history of the biblical city of Tel Gezer.
As a History and Biblical Studies double major at Evangel, Chatfield was pleased to find how well he had been prepared by his undergraduate professors for his graduate work in religious studies at Missouri State University (’10). “When I arrived at MSU, despite their great program, the conservative perspective was not always well represented,” Chatfield says. “However, I had a better understanding of that perspective than many of my peers, and I had resources (such as Dr. Griffin and Dr. Nunnally) to turn to for the many questions with which I was confronted.”
During his time at MSU, Chatfield was introduced to the Tel Gezer Project, led by Dr. Steve Ortiz of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Ft. Worth Texas. Having now returned from his second dig, Chatfield explains that this “teaching” dig is a great learning experience, providing lectures almost every week night from renowned archaeologists and offering tours of the countryside on the weekends. Dr. Ortiz, lead archaeologist and tour guide, is careful to lead the tours to important archaeological sites, not just tourist traps.
As Chatfield took part in this dig, he was not only excited about strengthening his faith through his own learning experience; he was also excited to integrate his faith with learning to reach out to other members of the dig. “I took my ministry to the friends I made through the Gezer project very seriously, and I had many good conversations with some who were not believers in Jesus – some who were struggling with complex questions of faith and some who just needed encouragement,” Chatfield says.
Chatfield has recently started a Ph.D. program at SWBTS where his course of study will emphasize Archaeology with a minor emphasis in Old Testament. This is the first year for the Ph.D. Archaeology program at SWBTS and is the only one of its kind, specializing in both archaeology and biblical studies.
In the future, Chatfield hopes to teach and disciple students in a university setting. As an encouragement to current students, Chatfield says, “Take advantage of every moment at Evangel because it will fly by before you realize you even started. Get to know your faculty and absorb their wisdom to the best of your ability.”