pastor training

3 Questions with Dr. Daryl Eldridge

I'm excited to share with you this conversation with a ministry hero of mine, Dr. Daryl Eldridge.  Dr. Eldridge is one of the founders and the President of my seminary, Rockridge.  Rockbridge is a 100% online seminary that is creating an affordable and flexible yet highly effective seminary training for ministry leaders without having to leave ministry to attend.  

Where did you get the idea for Rockbridge Seminary to be 100% online?

In 2003, the founders of Rockbridge were serving in residential seminaries. Wherever we traveled, prospective students asked us if they could do their studies without going to our campus.  For prospective students already engaged in a ministry, uprooting their family was just not an option.  At that time, schools could only allow 1 year of studies online, which meant students still had to travel to a residential campus. So we asked how we could put a seminary 100% online and design it around the purposes of the church. A friend pushed us over the tipping point by asking, “If you don’t do this, who will?”

What has been what you expected since the launch of Rockbridge and what has been completely unexpected? 

We expected to deliver an online educational experience that was comparable, if not better in some ways, to a residential seminary.  There were several things we didn’t expect.  First, we thought we might have trouble attracting qualified faculty members that would embrace online learning.  We discovered there were more than enough qualified teachers/practitioners who wanted to invest their lives in training a generation of servant leaders.

Second, while we knew that meaningful relationships could be developed online we were surprised the online learning environment provided better opportunities for long lasting friendships with students and faculty.  

Third, critics said you couldn’t effectively teach content areas like preaching, languages, or spiritual formation through online environments.  We’ve discovered you can accomplish learning objectives for a given subject if you think creatively about how to design the learning experience in an online medium.

What do you see ahead for seminary training as a whole as well Rockbridge seminary specifically?

The number and variety of options for seminary training will continue to explode.  As technology improves, we’ll see more interactive learning environments such as gaming, Second-Life, and hologram conversations.  We will also see more churches custom tailor their own brand of seminary for staff and church leaders. 

Content will not be the driving force for seminary education as it has been in the past.  In milliseconds a person can Google search a topic and find more information about a subject than they could 15 years ago in the most comprehensive seminary library.  Social conversations will be the hub of learning management software.  Seminaries must provide sacred learning environments where students can learn to interpret biblical truth, understand the culture, and effectively lead a church or ministry organization to reach that culture.  

Our vision at Rockbridge is to provide accessible, affordable, and practical ministry training to this and the next generation of servant leaders.   These are exciting days to be in ministry.

You can connect with Dr. Eldridge on Twitter - @drdaryl and find out more about Rockridge Seminary by visiting their website at  

If you are considering seminary at all I cannot recommend more that you highly consider Rockbridge Seminary.  If you have any questions please don't hesitant to leave a comment or send me a message.  

Church Innovate Conference

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My title at CBC recently changed again and definitely my favorite yet: Innovation Pastor.  Just days after making this change I was contacted by my friends at Leadership Network to participate in their upcoming online conference: Church Innovate.

Here is a description of the event:

The church is constant changing.  Leadership Network works with hundreds of churches all over the United States and Canada.  In the course of that work, we've identified three major areas of ministry that are changing rapidly... three main areas of church innovation that are re-shaping the church as we know it... before our very eyes.

On Tuesday, May 14, you'll hear from the innovators that are at the front edge of these ministry trends.  Over the course of three hours, you'll hear what's working, and what these individual leaders and ministries are doing to develop new ways of reaching their communities and churches with the message of Jesus.

We'll concentrate our time together on three main church innovations and what we're learning: generocity, multisite ministry, and leadership development.

Scheduled speakers include Mark Batterson, Booby Gruenwald, Toby Slough, Gunnar Johnson, Craig Groeschel, Larry Osborne, Gary Vet, Jeff Jones, and many others!

We invite you to join us for FREE!  All you need to do is RSVP!

I'm extremely excited and honored to join these incredible innovators and with Leadership Network for this online event.  I hope you will set aside 3 hours in your day on Tuesday, May 14th for this FREE and exciting event.

Click here to RSVP now or Comment if you have any questions.

Bill Hybels at All Access Conference

Probably the speaker I was looking forward to the most at the All Access Conference was Bill Hybels.  I have been following Bill Hybels and Willowcreek for more than a dozen years and his leadership principles have probably shaped my ministry leadership style more than anyone else.  His message at the conference were timely for me and probably many others.  Here are my notes: The future of the local church rests in the hands of its leaders.

Unless the church is well-led and well-fed it won’t reach it’s redemptive potential.

Leaders move people from current state to preferred future.

We must build a case for why we can’t stay “here’ so that we must go “there” (preferred future)

Celebrate as much as you can… create a culture of celebrating.

Almost every leader underestimates the power of casting vision.

Find fantastic people to join your team with these qualities:

-       Character

-       Competence

-       Chemistry

-       Culture

-       Calling

Culture at Willowcreek: Incessant Tinkerers