Samford’s School of the Arts is introducing new ways to develop students’ talents in preparation for the professional world. Samford Worship, a new initiative in the Center for Worship and the Arts, is releasing its first album, Convocation Live. The album features creative covers of modern worship standards from the student and faculty-led campus worship team recorded live in Reid Chapel over the 2018-19 academic year. Samford Worship is a creative worship collective that will serve as an in-house record label, a hub for worship recordings featuring students, faculty, and staff in the Samford worship leadership program, including campus worship team, Worship Arts Ensemble, and the worship songwriters who call the Center for Worship and the Arts home.
“This is a way to celebrate students, strengthen campus worship, promote Samford, hone our songwriting and production programs, and create cultural artifacts that will bless and benefit the wider church,” Wen Reagan, associate director and visiting assistant professor of Music and Worship, said.
The Center for Worship and the Arts resides in the School of the Arts and engages worship-related ministries with a special focus on teenage youth worship practices. Samford students benefit from working directly with churches, Campus Worship Team and the flagship summer program Animate to lead worship. Reagan, a seasoned worship leader with songwriting and music production skills, saw a need for Samford to offer this opportunity to students when he joined the faculty in 2018.
“In the last 15 years, we have seen an explosion of affordable digital recording tools that churches and Christian universities have integrated into their worship ministries and have utilized to craft and distribute their creative work. We want to be in this space with peer institutions and churches, contributing to the conversation about new worship music,” he said.
The School of the Arts has degrees in music and worship and worship leadership and Reagan emphasizes the need to be well-rounded to pursue ministry today.
“Worship ministry has become deeply interdisciplinary. Future worship leaders need to not only be trained musically, but theologically, liturgically, and conversant in the burgeoning world of worship songwriting and production. Campus Worship Team, the Center for Worship and the Arts, and Samford Worship provide a practical and holistic laboratory that is deeply tied to our curriculum,” he said.