MOBILE, Ala. (BP)–Integrity Worship Institute, a nonprofit ministry, and the University of Mobile, a Baptist university in Mobile, Ala., have joined forces to offer a bachelor’s degree in worship leadership that will provide collegians with the theological and practical skills to lead congregations in contemporary worship.
“God is doing something wonderful through praise and worship. With this bachelor’s degree in worship leadership, we hope to teach students to go into a church, assess the situation and use their best talents and communication methods to lead a particular group of people to encounter God in a way that is best for them,” said Mark Foley, president of the University of Mobile.
The new major will be offered beginning in the fall 2002 semester. The program combines courses in the university’s school of religion with practical courses focusing on worship leadership taught by internationally known worship leaders, ministers and teachers.
“This partnership reflects a unique correlation between the mission of the Integrity Worship Institute and the educational mission of our Christian university,” Foley said. “The University of Mobile will always be on the front line, training men and women for places of service in the kingdom of God through worship and praise in whatever form it takes. This is not about a particular style of music — this is about leading people to God in the very best way for a given group of people.”
Integrity Worship Ministries’ president and co-founder of Integrity Music, Michael Coleman, said, “We are pleased that this exciting partnership has developed with this fine Christian university, which has been involved in equipping students for the ministry for a number of years. We feel this new degree will enhance worship styles in a variety of denominations and look forward to helping leaders embrace worship as a lifestyle.”
This is the institute’s only partnership with a university to offer an undergraduate degree. A master’s degree program has been offered in partnership with Regent University’s divinity school in Virginia Beach, Va., for more than three years.
Integrity Worship Ministries began in 1997 and was formed to help Christians and Christian leaders worldwide experience God’s presence and develop a lifestyle of worship. The Integrity Worship Institute course of study is designed to equip and empower men and women to fulfill their calling in worship ministry.
The worship leadership major will provide students with a solid base in biblical studies and theology taught by faculty of the University of Mobile, which is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention. Award-winning recording artists, teachers, songwriters and worship leaders from Integrity Music such as Don Moen, Ron Kenoly, Pete Sanchez Jr., Paul Baloche and Dow Robinson will teach classes on the Integrity campus.
Cecil Taylor, dean of the UM school of religion, said it is significant that the degree is a religion degree rather than a degree in music.
“We will be involved in the training and shaping of people who will lead worship. They will be trained in good, strong, Bible theology, while learning practical musical techniques.” Taylor said.
Students enrolled in the worship leadership degree will take core courses in the school of religion including topics such as introduction to the Bible, Old Testament, New Testament, history of Christian thought, the mission and message of Jesus, and an internship in ministry.
Foley said students interested in the music aspect of worship leadership will have the advantage of laying a strong musical foundation for their careers through a variety of courses taught by faculty in the university’s department of music in the college of arts and sciences.
The courses offered in combination with the Integrity Worship Institute will focus on such aspects as the theological basis of worship, how people in Old and New Testament times worshiped and the essential scriptural foundation for entering dynamic, life-changing worship.
Taylor McCall, a freshman at UM, said he is excited about the new major and the opportunities it offers. A member of First Baptist Church of Monroeville, Ala., McCall plays guitar in the university’s chapel services and leads worship for church youth groups on weekends.
“Leading worship is a big part of my life,” McCall said. “I was excited when I heard about this program. To be able to receive that level of training from professionals in the field, and have the religion courses taught by UM professors, is a perfect combination.”
Mike McLemore, president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., commended the university for creating the new degree with the Integrity Worship Ministries.
“I certainly think it’s a wonderful degree program,” McLemore said. “It’s definitely going to be a need of the future, and I’m excited about it.”
For information about the new worship leadership major, contact the University of Mobile office of admissions at 1-800-946-7267 or (251) 442-2273; by email at [email protected]; or visit the website at www.umobile.edu.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: NEW DEGREE OFFERED.