Worship Studies - Worship Leader Track

Master of Arts33 Credits

The Master of Arts degree in Worship Studies is the first of its kind within the Assemblies of God and is a degree that can be completed in approximately two and a half years. The program is designed for music pastors, church musicians, lead pastors, associate pastors, missionaries, and laypersons interested in pursuing graduate studies in worship. It will focus on unchanging Biblical truth as a basis for assessing the appropriateness and usefulness of innovations and traditions in worship. The curriculum provides Evangelical and Pentecostal hermeneutic competencies for original research of the Scriptures.

Through this program Pentecostal spirituality is understood in both its unique distinctive and its historical connections with the classic Christian spirituality of the apostles, the church fathers and the reformers. Emphasis will be placed on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in private and public worship. The history and practice of 20th/21st Century Pentecostalism, including the charismatic and Praise and Worship renewals of the last 50 years will be examined. The program will incorporate a method of theological reflection, the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, and will conclude with original research on a ministry problem in the student’s local ministry.

In addition to the theological and historical core studies, flexible study plans allow the student to pursue areas of personal interest at the graduate level as electives. Classes from other graduate programs at VFCC in music technology, Christian Leadership, and Theology can be used as electives. Work done in the normal course of ministry such as productions, recordings, sermon or teaching series, can count toward elective credits when approved and supervised by an approved professor. 

The program is designed for music pastors, church musicians, lead pastors, associate pastors, missionaries, and laypersons interested in pursuing graduate studies in worship. The program focuses on unchanging biblical truth and emphasis will be placed on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in private and public worship.

  1. Students will perform quality academic research in the field of worship studies using the most advanced and up to date scholarly works, and prepare them for entry into additional degree programs and doctoral studies.
  2. Students will integrate theological knowledge and worship practice within the framework of a Christian worldview and Pentecostal spirituality.
  3. Students will describe the historical foundations of worship and be able to identify the societal influences upon such developments.
  4. Students will demonstrate acquired skills in professional ministerial settings.

For students seeking to pursue graduate education, most graduate programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0 for entrance.

Course Descriptions & Related Information

WRS 500 Introduction to Worship Studies 3 credits

This course serves to introduce the student to the expectations of post-graduate work, the chief distinction being one of sources. As graduate students, they are expected to do original work based on primary sources. The principle primary source for the study of worship is the Holy Bible. This course will begin with a survey of the scriptures as a library of works on worship. The course will also introduce a method of theological reflection, the Wesleyan Quadrilateral and will conclude with original research on a ministry problem in the student’s local ministry.

WRS 505 Pentecostal Spirituality: Contemporary Pentecostal/Charismatic Worship 3 credits

This course will be an exploration of Pentecostal life and ministry. Emphasis will be placed on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in private and public worship. The history and practice of 20th/21st Century Pentecostalism, including the charismatic and Praise and Worship renewals of the last 50 years will be examined. Current trends will also be analyzed. The course will conclude with a research project on a contemporary theme.

WRS 510 Biblical Foundations of Worship 3 credits

The Biblical Theology of worship is presented in this course. The unity and contrasts of the Old and New Covenants, the seven biblical models of worship, and definitions of key New Testament terms will be explored.

WRS 515 Historical Foundations of Worship 3 credits

The history of the church, prior to the 20th Century Pentecostal Revival, will be examined with an eye to changing worship expressions and methods through the centuries. Each era of the church will be analyzed in the light of scripture and patterns of conflict and resolution will be explored. The course will conclude with a research project on an historical subject.

WRS 520 Pastoring a Worshiping Community 3 credits

Issues of church planting, renewal and growth will be the emphasis of this course. Key questions of the building of community, the flow of authority and responsibility in the local church, and the use of the arts in worship will be explored. The course will conclude with a research project on a contemporary ministry challenge.

WRS 525 Worship Leading 3 credits

The planning and leading of public and private worship throughout the year will be the focus of this course. The distinct yet complementary roles of the senior pastor, the worship leader and the worship team (including technicians) will be explored. The course will conclude with a series of worship services, planned and lead by the student.

WRS 540 Developing and Leading the Worship Team: Vocalists, Instrumentalists and Technicians (Worship Leader Track) 3 credits

This course will explore the ministry of those making the music and operating the technical equipment of the contemporary worship service. The recruitment, preparation, and spirituality of these highly skilled individuals will be the focus of this class.

WRS 545 The Senior Pastor—Lead Worshiper (Preaching track) 3 credits

This class will examine the challenges of the senior pastor as the Lead Worshiper of the congregation. The pastor establishes the context for the worship service and must also manage the calendar of worship. He/she must also take the lead in structuring and encouraging the private worship of the congregation. Leadership of paid staff and volunteers will also be emphasized.

WRS 595 Worship Practicum 3 credits

Students will choose a ministry project directly related to his/her ministry. A supervisor will be approved by the college to work individually with the student in the preparation and presentation of the ministry project. Appropriate records of the project should be submitted to the college upon completion. For the Minister of Music this project might be a musical presentation at his/her church. For the Senior Pastor this project might be a teaching series on worship.