On January 26, 2004, 14 students from six states enrolled in the inaugural class of the fully online Rockbridge Seminary (founded in 2002). In doing so, they became part of a movement to make seminary education available to anyone serving in a church anywhere in the world in a format that is ministry-focused.
We call that movement “The Dream.” Why is it important?
- Because a growing number of ministers need seminary training that is accessible to them while they serve on their church fields.
- Because the focus in a growing number of churches worldwide is shifting to thinking of ministry and life in terms of God’s purposes.
- Because God is convicting more church leaders to see members as ministers. Church members who assume a greater burden for local church ministry deserve access to seminary education.
- Because ministers are best trained on their fields of ministry where learning is immediately applied.
- Because seminary distance learning is good stewardship of Kingdom resources; saving money, energy, and time.
- Because ministers and missionaries overseas or in remote areas often have no other way to develop essential ministry skills under the guidance of experienced ministers and professors.
“New Paradigm” Churches …
How churches approach ministry training is changing in the 21st century.
First, churches are more likely to look within their congregations for ministry staff rather than hiring them from a list of recent seminary graduates. This means that placement precedes training, making it unlikely that a new staff member can leave the ministry field for years to attend a far-away seminary campus.
Second, more churches today challenge members to find purpose through ministry. The more the membership participates in ministry, the more likely the church needs the kind of ministry training formerly available only on a seminary campus.
Third, younger ministers are more likely to distrust seminary training, viewing it as irrelevant and unnecessary. A recent study by The Barna Group showed a significant drop in the number of younger ministers seeking seminarydegrees.
Each change means that ministry education through the traditional seminary is less attractive than before.
… Need a “New Paradigm” Seminary
Rockbridge Seminary provides an innovative approach to seminary education that meets the needs of “new paradigm” churches.
First, our fully online academic programs make seminary education accessible to anyone serving a church anywhere in the world.
Second, our curriculum design around the five biblical purposes of the church and our competency-guided learning approach keep academic programs practical and focused on the student’s church ministry as the primary learning platform. Our online seminary degrees are equally relevant to the person serving fulltime or part-time; vocational or volunteer.
In summary, Rockbridge Seminary provides innovative seminary training for “New Paradigm” churches that is accessible and relevant.
A Big Dream
Churches across the nation and the world need a seminary like Rockbridge Seminary. These churches are at work in the harvest. God is calling forth laborers from within these churches to work in the harvest. These laborers need accessible ministry training to help them be as effective as possible. Rockbridge Seminary can meet that need.
Reengineering seminary education is a big dream. But God’s Kingdom purposes worldwide make “The Dream” worthwhile to pursue.
Perhaps you are the kind of person who is attracted to dreams that have the potential of being used mightily of God’s purposes.
If so, come join us! Help us make “The Dream” a reality through your tax-deductible contributions.
Decide which degree is best for you.