Rockbridge Seminary was founded by Dr. Daryl Eldridge, Dr. Sam Simmons, and Dr. Gary Waller based on a new paradigm of global ministry training. On January 26, 2004, fourteen students from six states enrolled in the inaugural class of the fully online Rockbridge Seminary. In so doing, they became part of a movement to make seminary education available to anyone serving in Christian ministry—anywhere in the world—in a format that is ministry-focused and ministry-friendly.
Why is this important?
Churches approach ministry training differently in the 21st century.
- Churches are more likely to look within their congregations for ministry staff rather than hiring them from a list of seminary graduates. Placement increasingly precedes training, making it unlikely that a new staff member can leave the ministry field to attend a seminary campus far-away.
- More churches today challenge church members to think of ministry and life in terms of God’s purposes. The more the church membership participates in the purposes of ministry, the more likely the church needs the kind of training formerly available only on a seminary campus.
- 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 pursuing seminary education. The traditional seminary is less attractive than before.
- Ministers are best trained on their fields of ministry where learning is immediately applied. A growing number of ministers need seminary education that is accessible to them while they serve on their church fields.
- 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.
- Online learning is good stewardship of Kingdom resources.
Rockbridge Seminary provides an innovative approach to seminary education that meets the needs of “new paradigm” churches and those serving in ministry. Our fully online academic programs make seminary education accessible to anyone anywhere in the world. And our curriculum is designed around the five purposes of the church, making our academic programs practical, relevant, and focused on our students’ ministry context.