By Alex Murashko, Special to ASSIST News Service
IRVINE, CA (ANS – August 21, 2015) — Organizers of the first Rockbridge Seminary Conference say they hope other megachurches will see the benefit of hosting an event such as the one held last Saturday (August 15) aimed at equipping its core volunteers to advance into trained leadership positions. The conference featured plenary sessions and workshops which helped attendees find training to meet their specific interests.
Rockbridge Seminary partnered with Saddleback’s Irvine South location to raise awareness about the online accredited, degree-granting institution, explain the benefits of seminary education and to help show the steps towards developing servant leaders for Christian ministry. The advantage of the online seminary is that students can have learning experiences that allow them to study and practice without leaving their ministry field, according to the seminary.
“As churches continue to grow in numbers and in size we see that, in general, they do a great job at getting volunteers to take basic action steps. However, once volunteers get into leadership roles, I believe that most churches fail to have the resources to meet their needs. Conferences like this can increase the capacity of leader development,” said Max McGhee, one of the organizers from Saddleback Church who first envisioned the Rockbridge Conference. As a volunteer, he led hundreds of other volunteers involved in an outreach to homeless people.
“For those that needed a boost in the right direction, this was a great conference,” said McGhee. “‘Equip Your Calling’ (the conference theme) was for people who are feeling called to lead beyond what they are doing now.”
Angela Yee, a Rockbridge student who also helped organize the event, said that afterwards, there was “tons of positive feedback that people learned a lot and were challenged to grow.”
“Some even said they signed up for seminary or were considering it. One of the benefits was that people were challenged in ways they had not received in a while, and their eyes were opened to understand things they had never thought about,” said Yee, who is in Ministry & Mission leadership at Saddleback Church.
When asked about how she benefited from her Rockbridge experience as a student, Yee said, “Rockbridge has helped me grow leaps and bounds spiritually, in my relationship with God, my understanding of the Bible, and my ability to minister effectively. Having a foundation of theology, church history, and practical skills equipping and being able to apply it to my ministry while studying has helped me become a better minister of the Gospel.”
Rockbridge Seminary President, Dr. Daryl Eldridge, states on the institution’s website that the classes offered are not a correspondence school.
“Rockbridge courses are designed by notable authors and educators and taught by qualified practitioners. Students participate in a learning community that encourages its members to develop personal leadership and ministry skills,” Eldridge said. “At Rockbridge, students are part of a virtual classroom.”
The seminary believes in the power of relationships and community, and in each course, students are expected to enlist a mentor/spiritual friend who will “walk with you on this journey,” he explains. “This mentor will help you apply what you are learning to your ministry context.”
Note: Rockbridge Seminary is an accredited, degree-granting institution of higher learning that exists to develop servant leaders for Christian ministry through learning experiences that allow them to study and practice without leaving their ministry field. Rockbridge Seminary, It’s mailing address is: 3111 E Battlefield Rd.
Springfield, MO 65804, USA, and is located at Second Baptist Church, Springfield, Missouri.
Photo caption: 1) Students at Rockbridge Seminary Conference during breakout session discuss talking points (Photo: Rockbridge Seminary). 2) Logo. 3) Alex Murashko.
About the writer: Alex Murashko is currently working with One Ten Pictures as an associate producer, developing and working on projects that include stories about people and organizations making a difference in this world as ambassadors for Christ. He previously was a Church & Ministry Editor/Reporter for The Christian Post. He also worked at the Los Angeles Times Orange County Edition and at the Press Enterprise in its Southwest Riverside County bureau. He can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: (949) 547-0907.
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