Friday, October 07, 2005

Dr. Eldridge & the Rockbridge (part 1)

I was decluttering my office, the other night and discovered an overlooked copy of the fall 2003 issue of a publication from the seminary I graduated from. As I browsed through the magazine I discovered for the first time that one of my favorite professors is no longer at the seminary.

Dr. Daryl Eldridge was a professor at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth when I was there, and became dean of the school of Religious Education not too long after. Dr. Eldridge was always scholarly and scripturally sound, and his classes were always challenging, but he also had his head very much in the reality of ministry in the local church and the technology of the day. He was also very accessible to students and gave me extra guidance a number of times along the way.

When I read the brief article about what he is now doing, I had a lot of questions. So I immediately started up the google machine and found the website with the answers. I spent a few minutes browsing the site and was greatly encouraged by what I saw there. Dr. Eldridge is now the President of Rockbridge Seminary, an interdenominational school that Rick Warren has called "the future of global seminary education."

I quickly discovered that Rockbridge is different in at least two ways:
  1. Rockbridge is a fully online Seminary.
  2. The Rockbridge curriculum is designed around the five purposes of the church: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism.
Reading about this sparked a memory.

Back in the wonder years of 1992, I was in a class with Dr. Eldridge where we were discussing what's going on in learning and what the future holds. Of the things you'd expect, use of computers, multimedia, etc., one of the items in my notes stood out to me now: "Fully electronic schools."

Reading about Dr. Eldridge's new adventure, I just thought, "Wow. He was talking about that as a possibility over a decade ago, and now he's in the forefront, leading the way in that very thing. Dr. Eldridge challenged and encouraged me during my days at Southwestern, and is still on the cutting edge of ministry and God's purposes all these years later.

I've since had a few great email "conversations" with Dr. Eldridge, and I'll be sharing more about that in another post. Pretty cool stuff - He has been starting a seminary from scratch, and we have been starting a church from scratch! If you haven't already, check out their website; it is an innovative and effective seminary in more ways than one.

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