CBU offers new worship arts and ministry degree designed for worship leaders

Published Aug 09, 2017

Riverside, Calif. —The Shelby and Ferne Collinsworth School of Music at California Baptist University will offer a new bachelor of arts in worship arts and ministry starting this fall semester.

“One of the most exciting dimensions of the worship arts and ministry degree is its focus on training students to be successful pastoral and professional leaders in the church,” said Dr. Joseph Bolin, dean of the School of Music. “It isn’t enough for the modern worship leader to be a skillful musician or have a strong platform presence. The role requires skills as a leader, pastor, counselor, administrator, motivator, organizer, manager, theologian and communicator.”

Bolin, who transitioned to CBU last year after a 20-year career in church worship ministry, said the new worship arts and ministry degree at CBU is designed to develop worship leaders who will be successful in the eclectic culture of the modern church.

“As the church in the U.S. attempts to connect with existing and emerging subcultures through worship style, the musical skill set of the worship leader or pastor must be increasingly diverse,” Bolin explained. “Also, today’s worship leader is called upon to incorporate an expansive palette of technical studio production and even theatrical elements in each worship experience.”

To ensure the program would be on the cutting edge of worship, Bolin brought together a steering and development board comprising influential worship leaders and innovators from throughout the U.S. to help develop the degree. Included in the group are: CBU alumnus Travis Ryan, worship pastor and multi-Dove Award nominated songwriter; Don Koch, music producer who has won three Dove awards and produced 38 No. 1 hit songs in the contemporary Christian music scene; and Tommy Walker and Rick Muchow, both seasoned worship leaders with more than 25 years each of worship leading and songwriting experience.

The worship arts and ministry degree will challenge students with a wide-ranging curriculum that includes upper-division courses in private instruction for voice, piano and guitar in addition to lower-division courses such as music in global cultures and the technical integration of live worship.

“The objective is to prepare future worship leaders to be competent in a multitude of styles —from modern band-driven to choir and/or orchestra models, from hymnody and liturgy to multicultural music,” Bolin said. “We will train students to utilize these eclectic styles individually or in concert to create a coherent, unified and powerful worship experience.”

Bolin also indicated that the program will have a strong emphasis on personal development.

“The program will draw from a cross-section of disciplines to prepare students to be strong and wise leaders as they manage resources, projects and the people the Lord has placed in their sphere of influence,” Bolin said.

The worship arts and ministry degree will be the seventh bachelor’s degree option in the School of Music, which also offers a Master of Music degree.

For more information on the worship arts and ministry major click here.