Many years ago, when my wife Amy and I visited New York City for the first time, I was in awe of the size of the skyscrapers. New York City boasts over 6,000 tall buildings and over 250 Skyscrapers. I was impressed and somewhat mesmerized by these giants and so curious to know what it took to engineer and construct one of these marvels.

Early on in our trip, as we ventured through the city, we passed a construction site building a large office complex. One of the architects happened to be standing outside the construction zone looking at plans. I could not resist the opportunity to satisfy my curiosity

As we talked, he explained the intricacy of such a massive project and emphasized repeatedly that nothing of this size and scale could be constructed without a carefully planned and skillfully built foundation. “It’s the most important part of the process and it takes the most time,” he said. “Somewhere between 6 to 24 months depending on the size of the building. But with the right foundation we can build just about anything we want.”

The conversation instantly reminded me of what Jesus taught us about the importance of building on the right foundation. He said,

“Therefore, everyone who hears what I say and obeys it will be like a wise person who built a house on rock. Rain poured, and floods came. Winds blew and beat against that house. But it did not collapse, because its foundation was on rock…” Matthew 7:24-25

 Jesus is the Rock we are meant to build every aspect of our life upon. Today we find ourselves in a new cultural landscape of shifting sands- very little feels certain or solid. However, Christ and His word remains true, steadfast and unchanging. He is our unshakable foundation when the winds of culture blow, rains of uncertainty fall and the floods of fear rage.

Today as I reflect on my first week of being a part of the Rockbridge team as President, I am so impressed with the incredible foundation that has already been laid by those I deeply respect.  Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” The co-founders of Rockbridge Seminary, Dr. Daryl Eldridge, Dr. Sam Simmons, and Dr. Gary Waller are giants of the faith for the hard, risk-taking, sacrificial work of laying the foundation of our school. Their passion for the gospel, commitment to practical, biblically sound, and accessible theological education and a deep love for pastors and ministers has ensured that we have stayed true to our name: Rockbridge, a seminary built on the true rock Jesus Christ   The foundation they have laid and the global seminary that has resulted  allows each of us to stand on their shoulders to see further, soar higher and serve greater our King and his mission in the world.

Amy and I are humbled and honored to join the Rockbridge team and continue the mission to develop men and women for Christian ministry and servant leadership around the world.  We will continue to build upon the foundation that has been laid to develop and equip:

Servant leaders who know God and know His Word. (2 Tim. 2:15 & Acts 2:42)

Servant leaders who love God and love others. (Mark 12:30-31)

Servant leaders who serve God and minister to others. (James 1:22)

Servant leaders who employ practices that nourish their inner lives. (Prov. 4:23 & Eph. 3:17-19)

More than ever, the world needs godly, loving, courageous, compassionate leaders to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Men and women deeply rooted in God’s word, who listen to the Holy Spirit and follow the Lord wherever He may lead. The opportunities have never been greater for fearless ambassadors to lovingly and boldly proclaim the hope of the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.

The faculty, staff, and I are honored to be a part of your journey. We consider it a deep privilege to support you and encourage you wherever you find yourself serving in our Savior’s Kingdom. In the days ahead I look forward to talking to every student, hearing your story and continuing the journey together.

Looking forward to the future!

Tommy Hilliker

Pastor Tom Bartlett (MDIV, 2008) Shares his Experience at Rockbridge


Course Highlight – M6405 Building an Effective Ministry Team

This course is a study of the leadership skills required to build effective ministry teams. The course examines the characteristics of high performance teams, clear common goals, diversity of roles in teams, effective team processes, how to build the team, the role of communication in team building, and pitfalls to avoid in team development.

It’s not too late to enroll for the fall terms.  Term 2020-T5 begins September 1.  For more information contact