My wife Amy and I were newly married during my last semester of traditional seminary. During this season my professor Dr. Sam Simmons, cofounder of Rockbridge Seminary, invited me into a conversation about a new kind of educational approach to training ministers in churches. He spoke of a seminary experience that would not require pastors, ministers, or church leaders to leave their ministry assignments and uproot their lives. The curriculum would be theologically solid but also carry equal weight in training the practical aspects of ministry, something seminaries are not typically known for offering. The focus would be on developing servant leaders who last in ministry by encouraging them to cultivate habits that encourage them to grow spiritually and emotionally. Intentionally focusing on the soul care needed for the difficult work and demands of ministry life.
My heart and my mind were captivated! I was hooked and ready to do seminary over again! In 2004 the dream became a reality as cofounders, Dr. Daryl Eldridge, Dr. Sam Simmons, and Dr. Gary Waller, pioneers at the time in distance seminary education, launched Rockbridge’s first class. Sixteen years later we continue to fulfill our mission of developing men and women as servant leaders for Christian ministry. There are many aspects of Rockbridge that set it apart in the educational terrain, but Amy and I want to share seven distinctives that we love about our seminary.