Do you feel lost when you sit down to plan worship? Are you inundated by the amount of resources available to the worship leader? Do new techniques, practices, and technologies leave you feeling inadequate to lead your congregation? Have you ever walked onto the platform and felt lost? Do you desire to dig deeper into a biblical foundation for worship in the church?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the Online Certificate in Worship Leadership from the Ministry Training Institute at Samford University is for you.

Introduction to Worship Leadership

Course 1 - Introduction to Worship Leadership

This introductory course surveys basic principles, strategies, and skills for worship planning and leadership. Attention will be given to best practices that contribute to a healthy and vital music ministry and worshipping community, including overviews of worship ministry's administrative, musical, and pastoral tasks.

Designing Creative Worship

Course 2 - Designing Creative Worship

Leaders called to serve the church through the ministry of music and worship should strive to become theologically perceptive leaders. This course studies musical, theological, philosophical, and technological principles that inform public Christian worship. Particular attention will be given to application through guided experience in multiple models of worship design.

Biblical Foundations for Worship

Course 3 - Biblical Foundations for Worship

Leaders called to serve the church through music and worship should strive to become biblically astute leaders. This course provides a biblical and theological foundation for Christian worship. Particular attention will be given to the application of principles through guided reflection on concrete worship practices including congregational prayer, Scripture reading, and celebrations of the Lord's Supper.

The Worship Leaders as Pastor

Course 4 - The Worship Leader as Pastor

Leaders called to serve the church through the ministry of music and worship should strive to become pastorally sensitive leaders. This course examines the roles, function, and theological considerations for the practice of pastoral worship ministry. Particular attention will be given to the worship leader's spiritual formation in private and corporate contexts.


Who is the certificate designed for?

The Online Certificate in Worship Leadership is designed for avocational and bivocational worship leaders. High school students, media personnel, children and youth worship leaders, worship team members, and others who need training or want to refresh their skills in a vibrant, conversant, learning community.

Do I have to have a college degree to register?

Not at all! Our only requirements are an interest in worship leadership and a desire to learn, grow, and dialogue with others.

Do I get an actual certificate?

Absolutely. At the completion of all four courses, we will mail a certificate to you recognizing your study, learning, and successful completion of all four courses in our sequence.

How would I benefit from a certificate?

For starters, the certificate is a great addition to your personal resume; it shows your current and future employers that you are interested in worship in the church. Second, the certificate provides you with well-rounded training in worship leadership - from music to theology to ministry to leadership skills - the certificate covers each one of them. Third, the certificate will put you in an online community of worship leaders and worshipers who will become friends of yours this year, and we hope, in years to come.


When are the classes?

This year (2017-2018) our classes are as follows:

  • Course 1 // August 22–October 9
  • Course 2 // October 24–December 11
  • Course 3 // January 23–March 12
  • Course 4 // March 27–May 14

Do the courses meet at a set day and time?

No, you do the work at your own pace, when it's convenient for you: in the morning, over your lunch break, in the afternoon, or in the evening. You'll have due dates, but there is no set meeting time that everyone has to be online.

If I register today, do I have to commit to all four courses?

No, you can register for one course at a time ($199), but it's cheaper to register for the entire certificate at once.

What is the approximate workload per week?

We estimate 6-8 hours of weekly work in reading (each course has one book), lecture viewing (10 minutes each week), online discussion with class members (a few required posts each week), and writing a reflection paper of no more than 2 pages in length (12 in each course).

Who will be in the classes with me?

We market to a wide audience of avocational or bivocational ministers in the areas of music and worship; individuals in fulltime ministry positions who do not have a degree in a music or worship related field; and teenagers and college students interested in worship leadership.


What books will we read?

  • Greg Scheer, Essential Worship
  • Zac Hicks, The Worship Pastor
  • Bryan Chappell, Christ Centered Worship
  • Constance Cherry, The Worship Architect

What other materials will I need?

The other materials you need are simple: you need a computer or tablet that can connect to the internet. You’ll need a pen and some paper or a notebook to take notes with, and you’ll need speakers on your computer or tablet so you can hear the online lectures. You’ll also need time to complete the work each week.

Will the books be the same each year?

Right now, we intend to keep the same books each year. However, as these books are updated and new books are published, we will alter the content of our courses and certificates to stay current. In August, when we start a new cohort in the certificate, we’ll settle on the books and keep them as advertised through May so you can order all your books at once. We will let you know in advance if we change books for a particular course or certificate.


What are my payment options?

Pay for the entire certificate at the beginning of the first class ($699). This onetime payment includes a significant discount and a free Amazon Fire Tablet. You also can pay per class ($199) as they worship through the four courses.

What does this payment include?

If you pay for the entire certificate, the payment includes all four courses in the certificate. This means access to the online learning community at Samford where you’ll receive a video lecture each week, a handout with some materials, and access to others in each course and the certificate. You’ll also get access to the teachers of each course for eight weeks through email and video. These teachers will help you refine your worship leadership skills and sharpen your theological mindset to better equip the people you lead.

Do you have scholarships available?

At this time, we do not have scholarships available for the certificate. We do encourage you to see if your congregation might be willing to sponsor your enrollment in the certificate program or in individual courses. We would be happy to provide more information about the certificate and the course if that would help convince church leadership on your behalf.

I want to pay for someone else to attend. How can I do that?

Please contact the anima office at 205-726-4524 or anima@samford.edu. Tell us what you would like to contribute, and we will help you do so with ease and efficiency. You can go over to our “Give” page now and make a donation if that saves you time. Please note who and what the gift is going toward.


Emily Andrews

Emily Andrews

Emily Andrews is Instructor of Music and Worship and Assistant Director of anima: the Center for Worship and the Arts at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Emily received her undergraduate degree in music from Samford University, a MM in Church Music and Master of Divinity from Baylor University, and is a candidate for the PhD in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Zac Hicks

Zac Hicks

Zac Hicks is Canon for Liturgy and Worship at Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama. He is an avid blogger, song writer, worship leader, and author of the newly released text Worship Pastor from Zondervan Press.

Eric Mathis

Eric Mathis

Eric Mathis is Assistant Professor of Music and Worship and Director of anima: the Center for Worship and the Arts at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Eric received his undergraduate degree in music from Wheaton College (IL), a MM in Church Music and Master of Divinity from Baylor University, and a PhD in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Dan Odle

Dan Odle

Dan Odle is Minister of Worship Arts at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a respected worship leader, minister, speaker, theologian, and musician among the Southern Baptist Convention.