Touchstone and Capstone Courses
Developing the Focused Life R1300/R5400
In this touchstone course, learners will examine their call to ministry, write a statement of calling, assess their competencies for ministry, develop learning objectives for their program of study, and enlist a mentor who will support their learning. The course will introduce the learner to the various facets of online learning. This course is required for all academic programs and must be taken before a learner can enroll in any other seminary classes.
Ministry Proficiency Portfolio R5403
Students customize their seminary program by choosing five competencies on which to focus and by designing projects that promote development in these competencies. Project materials, combined with course-related documents, are collected in an e-portfolio as evidence of ministry proficiency.
Practicing the Focused Life R4300/R6400
In this Capstone Course, students analyze competency growth during their seminary program through self-assessment and 360-assessment. Looking beyond seminary, students write a strategy for continued learning and ministry development.
The Transformational Leader R7100
In this self-directed course, learners will study the principles of transformational leadership theory and will apply these principles through an examination of their ministry leadership journey. Learners will write a Personal Learning Plan that establishes learning objectives for their Doctor of Ministry study. This course must be completed prior to the learner’s first DMIN seminar.
Comprehensive Exam R7101
The Comprehensive Exam marks the shift from “user of knowledge of the field” in the seminars to the “originator and extender of the knowledge of the field” through the Applied Research Project. The exam evaluates the critical thinking and problem-solving skills of the doctoral student as well as the integration of concepts covered in the seminars in the doctoral program.
Research Methodology R7103
This self-directed course will introduce learners to research methodology, while preparing them to develop DMin project ideas. Learners will study applied research strategies, the nature and characteristics of a DMIN project, and APA formatting and style guidelines. This course must be completed prior to the learner’s third DMIN seminar. Prerequisites: R7100
Project Proposal R7105
This self-directed course will guide learners in establishing and formalizing the research approach for a DMIN project. Learners will write a DMIN project outline that must be approved by a DMIN advisor. Following this approval, learners will write a formal DMIN project proposal that must be approved by the DMIN Project Committee. This course must be completed prior to the fifth DMIN seminar. Prerequisites: R7100, R7103
Applied Research Project R7600
Learners are required to submit an applied research project, the final step in completing the DMIN program. Enrolling in this final seminar means that the learner has ALREADY completed the project and written the project paper. Also assumed is that the project advisor and project reader have read and signed the project paper. This self-directed course provides the process for submission, review, defense, and approval for the research project that leads to graduation. Prior to enrollment, learners must submit “Introduction, Chapter 1” for review. Prerequisites: R7100, R7103, R7105, all seminars
The Theology & Practice of Worship W1302/W5401
This course is a study of the biblical purpose of worship and the practice of worship in the church today. Learners will focus on the biblical foundations, theology, and history of worship.
Preaching/Teaching for Life Change W3303/W5403
Learners will study the purpose of preaching/teaching and will examine the practical steps of crafting, planning, communicating and delivering a message. The course includes a preaching/teaching workshop component that gives students an opportunity to construct, preach/teach, and evaluate messages preached or taught locally in their ministry context.
Spiritual Life of the Leader W7601
Ministry leadership is unmistakably influenced by the leader’s private practice of spirituality. This seminar introduces learners to the process and theological elements of spiritual formation, guides them in probing the spiritual pitfalls of leadership, and leads them to consider the benefits of using a personal Rule of Life. Together, learners will explore contemporary issues related to the spiritual life of the leader.
The Theology and Practice of Fellowship F1301/F5401
A study of God’s purpose for fellowship and the doctrine of ecclesiology, the student will develop a biblical understanding of the church and how the church has expressed the purpose of fellowship throughout history. In addition, learners will identify select functions and forms of fellowship and examine various organizational systems for promoting the purpose of fellowship.
Building a Small Group Ministry F5402
This course teaches principles for establishing and maintaining healthy small groups, and explores the various types of small groups. Emphasis will be given to how to help groups reproduce themselves to develop a healthy and growing church.
Personal Counseling Skills F6404
An introduction to the basics of pastoral counseling and spiritual guidance. The course examines fundamentals of counseling, the role of prayer and scripture in counseling, and when and how to make referrals to other caring professionals. Learners will use case studies and interactive techniques to develop their counseling skills.
Building and Nurturing Spiritual Community F7601
People live in a connected world but still long for community. This seminar will explore why and consider what authentic spiritual community looks like for the mobile and internet generation. Learners will also review best practices for assimilating and retaining new members and approaches for nurturing an intergenerational community of believers. Together, learners will explore contemporary issues related to building and nurturing spiritual community.
The Theology & Practice of Discipleship D1301/D5401
An exploration of a comprehensive program for producing fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Emphasis will be given to the study of the doctrine of the Word of God, planning, implementing, and evaluating the discipleship task of the church. Learners will design a discipleship strategy for their congregation or ministry.
Practicing the Spiritual Disciplines D5402
The learner will focus on several spiritual habits such as solitude, prayer, journaling, fasting, and spiritual mentoring. Learners will practice these disciplines individually and in a small group of fellow learners or church members.
Interpreting the Bible D1303/D5403
This course explores how to understand the meaning of Scripture and how it applies to us today. The course focuses on the different literary forms in Scripture and provides different Bible studies for serious learners of God’s Word. In this practical approach to Bible study, learners will learn how to use resources, including Bible software, for studying Scripture.
Church History I D6451
A study of the major movements within the church and how they have influenced current church practices with a focus on the first five centuries of Christianity and the Middle Ages to the Reformation. This course will provide a survey of significant events with a focus on the development of theology during this period.
Church History II D6452
A study of the major movements within the church and how they have influenced current church practices with a focus on the Reformation to the present. This course will provide a survey of significant events with a focus on the development of Protestant Orthodoxy and the theologies that emerged during the twentieth century.
Bible Language Tools D5471
This course explores the use of basic Bible language tools to grasp a deeper meaning of Scripture and formulate a deep appreciation of the original languages of the Bible. The course focuses on the practical application of this information for Bible Study and sermon preparation. In this practical approach to Bible study, students will learn how to use resources contained in the Bible software to discover and apply this information to Bible studies and sermons.
Christian Worldview and Theology D6461
This course will explore the biblical foundation of a Christian worldview. An emphasis will be placed on the theology that comprises a Christian worldview. Consideration will be given to the differences in a Christian worldview and movements such as secular humanism and post-modern philosophies.
Transformational Discipleship: How People Learn in a Digital Age D7601
How do people learn in the 21st century? New research in the field of neuroscience and psychology can help spiritual leaders understand that new strategies may be needed for this digital generation of Christ followers. In this seminar, learners will explore new developments in brain science and consider the implication for spiritual growth and discipleship. They will also examine the dynamics of personal change and how these dynamics can be applied to helping others grow spiritually. Together, learners will explore contemporary issues related to how people learn in a digital age.
The Theology & Practice of Ministry M1301/M5401
An introduction to the purpose of ministry through the study of the biblical and theological basis for “every member ministry,” the rise of clericalism in church history, the equipping church model vs. the dependency model, and the permission-giving church vs. the controlling church. Students will examine approaches to gift discovery and ministry matching.
Lead Like Jesus M2302/M5402
This course is an examination of the principles and practices of leadership in Christian ministry. The course will focus on the role of the minister as servant leader, the qualities of a spiritual leader, and how a variety of leadership styles are required in ministry. The leadership of Jesus will be used as a leadership role model.
Building an Effective Ministry Team M2305/M6405
This course is a study of the leadership skills required to build effective ministry teams, both church staff and volunteer. The course examines the characteristics of high performance teams, clear common goals, diversity of roles in teams, effective team processes, how to build the team, the role of communication in team building, and pitfalls to avoid in team development.
Recovery Ministry M3309/M6409
Through this course, learners will understand the biblical and ministry foundations of a recovery ministry and will develop strategic approaches for either the launch or upgrade of a recovery program. The course will explore the addictive personality and how it is revealed in different ways, such as through chemical addiction, sexual addiction, relationship addiction, eating disorders, and religious addiction.
Pastoral Care M6410
This course is an examination of pastoral care as it relates to officiating at weddings, the practice of hospital visitation, and the conducting of funerals. The ministry of Jesus Christ will be studied as a theological model of pastoral care. The course will explore such issues as pre-marital counseling, grief counseling, and the problem of suffering.
Organizational Leadership M7601
The task of leading a church, ministry, or organization offers the leader far-reaching opportunities for Kingdom influence. Still, the work is forever challenging, often difficult, and sometimes painful. This seminar addresses core elements of ministry leadership, including articulating vision, leading change, and dealing with the painful side of leadership. Through the presentation of and response to papers, learners will explore contemporary leadership issues related to organizational leadership in the ministry context.
The Theology & Practice of Evangelism E1301/E5401
This course is a study of the biblical purpose of evangelism and the practice of evangelism in the church today. An understanding of the postmodern culture and how to communicate the gospel story within that context will be emphasized. The course will also focus on the role of spiritual friendships and how to design a church strategy for evangelism.
Contemporary Evangelism E1303/E5401
This is a study of how to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ through personal witness. The course will explore the biblical motivation for sharing our faith and how to develop relationships with those who are not yet followers of Jesus. The course will investigate the values and worldview of the unchurched in order to connect God’s story with their story.
Understanding Other Cultures E6404
Cross-cultural ministry is a reality in today’s world, whether a neighborhood or an ocean away. Learn the attitudes of servanthood when bridging to those of another ethnic culture. Understand the challenges of dealing with the new and different. Develop skills to make the cultural adjustments necessary to minister within the context of another culture, whether short-term or long-term.
Introduction to Church Planting E6407
How do you start a new church? What is a church? What is a healthy church? What is a church planter? What are the stages of a church plant? The course will investigate the biblical and theological basis for church plants, as well as the practical aspects of starting a new work. This course is designed for students who are interested in church planting or sense a call to plant a church. It is also perfect for those who have recently started a church plant.
The Missional Leader E7601
No leader in today’s world can ignore the multi-faceted nature of culture, whether it is reflected in a community, a society, a religion, or an ethnic people. No church can ignore its missional responsibility to engage culture when it appears within its sphere of influence. This seminar provides a biblical framework that supports the missional task of the church, the missional culture in a church that is required to carry out the task, and the missional mapping needed to help a church focus. Together, learners will explore contemporary issues related to missional leadership.
Independent and Self Study Courses
An Independent Study course allows a student to explore in depth an agreed upon area of study related to one of the five purposes of the church that is not already part of the seminary curriculum. The student must present a proposed study guide to the VP for Academic Services that includes the following: course title, course description, number of credit hours, course learning outcomes, required textbooks, assignments in relationship to the course learning objectives, an 8-week outline of the flow of the course subject matter, and the name and contact information of the supervising professor. Assignments will be graded in accordance with the Rockbridge grading scale.
A Directed Study is a one-on-one offering of an existing course in the Rockbridge Catalog. Since one of the major learning experiences in a class is the forum discussions a student may only apply for a Directed Study if they have completed 75% of his or her program. The student will need to write a formal request to the Academic Council stating the course number and title, and the reason for needing to take the course as a Directed Study.
Decide which degree is best for you.
This course description listing is for planning purposes only. Rockbridge Seminary reserves the right to change course descriptions without notice. This listing does not constitute an expressed or implied contract between the Seminary and any member of the student body, faculty or general public.