Biblically sound education for worship leaders.
Designed with the local church in mind.
Would you like to offer your church staff members an opportunity for high-quality continuing worship education?
Interested in studying worship deeper but unable to pursue a degree right now? Whether you are a volunteer, bi-vocational worship leader, or a well-seasoned minister or administrator, our certificate programs offer biblically sound worship instruction without the commitment of pursuing a degree or attending classes on-campus. The Center for Worship and the Arts in partnership with Samford’s Ministry Training Institute offers two non-degree, Online Certificate Programs: Worship Leadership and Music Fundamentals for Worship (NEW). Registration for 2023-24 courses opens July 1, 2023.
Register for full certificates, or individual courses year-round.
While each class has starting and ending dates, actual classwork can be accomplished at the student’s convenience. You’ll have due dates for assignments, but there are no required synchronous class meeting times. We estimate you’ll spend approximately six hours per week on course work.
Register for the full certificate or click on each course title below for a description and registration links for individual courses.
Offers a strong foundation for biblically and theologically sound worship leadership.
provides an overview of basic principles and skills for worship planning and leadership including:
Dates: August 22- October 10
Instructor: Emily Andrews
Text: The Art of Worship: A Musician’s Guide to Leading Modern Worship (Greg Scheer)
Presents musical, biblical and philosophical principles that inform the design of public Christian worship, including:
Dates: October 24-December 12
Instructor: David Vaughan
Text: The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services (Constance Cherry)
explores the history of worship, equipping leaders with background and foundations for biblically and theologically sound worship practices, including:
Dates: January 23-March 13
Instructor: Wen Reagan
Text: Christ-Centered Worship (Bryan Chapell)
Examines the roles, function and theological considerations for the practice of pastoral worship ministry. Particular attention will be given to:
Dates: March 27-May 15
Instructor: Zac Hicks
Text: The Worship Pastor (Zac Hicks)
Provides training for those who want to grow in the musical dimension of worship leadership.
introduces the worship leader to a working knowledge of the fundamentals of music. Attention will be given to note reading, scales and key signatures, chord structure, chord symbols and charts, basic rhythms, Nashville Number System, and standard harmonic progressions.
Dates: August 22-October 10
Instructor: Dan Mullis
Text: Contemporary Music Theory: A Complete Guide for the Worship Musician (Andrew Nicolette)
explores the practical leadership of music for worship in various ministry contexts, with attention given to the worship choir and band-led setting. Aims to develop the functional skill set required to lead the church’s song and its musicians effectively through focus on rehearsal techniques, arranging, and basic conducting.
Dates: October 24-December 12
Instructor: Ken Boer
Text: The Art of Worship: A Musician's Guide to Leading Modern Worship (Greg Scheer)
familiarizes the worship leader with the best practices and resources for utilizing AVL technology, nurturing tech team relations, and introduces key theological principles that shape the production of Christian worship.
Dates: January 23-March 13
Instructor: Shannan Baker
Text: Sound, Lighting, and Video: A Resource for Worship (Brad Herring)
explores strategies, models, and rhythms for organizing & leading your worship ministry, including spiritual formation of your team, nurturing healthy team dynamics, copyright & livestream practices, volunteer recruitment & management, and collaborating with other ministry departments.
Dates: March 27-May 15
Instructor: Chris Headley
Text: From Postlude to Prelude: Music Ministry’s Other Six Days (C. Randall Bradley, revised edition)
“I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to grow their worship leadership skills.
“From those new to the role to those who've been involved for years, it's both practical and challenging to your spiritual growth, equipping you with many great tools for worship planning and leadership.”
—Corrine Scholman, Ottawa, ON
“The Worship Leadership Certificate is for worship leaders/pastors from all levels of experience.
“If you'd like to grow even a little bit in your ability to lead your church or your team, give it a try!”
—Michael Adams, Philadelphia, PA
“I had been considering taking this course for a couple years, and I'm so glad that I decided to take it.
“It has given me a deeper understanding of the "whys" and "hows" of worship, and has especially affirmed what I was already doing in my worship planning. It has given me the language to explain to my congregation and church leadership why we do what we do.”
—Becky VandenAkker, Whitinsville, MA
“Taking this course completely changed my understanding of worship and corporate church practices...
“...giving me a deeper connection to my congregation and to Christ. Developing this new knowledge and learning how to best utilize my gifts as a worship leader was an amazing opportunity that everyone involved in worship planning, leading and performing should consider!”
—Ann Elizabeth Smit, Milford, NS
“I loved this course. It was so helpful in clarifying a foundation for theology, philosophy, history, and practice in worship.
“The combination of the four classes was a great balance of concepts, and the year-long time frame allowed the information to soak into my framework (and ultimately my worship planning) rather than drinking from a firehose at a short conference. Thank you for this great resource! It has absolutely impacted my vision for worship.”
—Tim Vande Griend, Chino, California
“I think this is something I would recommend for anyone looking to grow as a worship leader.
“Whether you are new to this calling or have been serving for a while, there is something new to learn in each class. The community of students taking the courses together is a nice way to dialogue with people in similar (or different) situations and be able to bounce ideas off of and share the joys and stumbling blocks of worship ministry together.”
—Lynn Stob, Cascade, Michigan
“I totally recommend the Worship Leadership classes. Personally, I will never be the same after taking these classes.
“My insight into the "whys" and "hows" of worship has deepened. I was able to apply knowledge into my planning of the services. I have acquired not only informational knowledge, but also spiritual knowledge to be able to use my God-given gifts to bless others (including myself). These classes do not take a whole lot of your time, are very doable, and you will be better for it!”
—Analu Riegstad, Pella, Iowa
“I recommend this program with much excitement.
“My ideas of what worship was were challenged as well as my understanding of what worship is has become more concrete and is now eagerly expressed. The purpose of worship has become more directly focused on God and I can recognize the work of the Spirit as we prepare and lead our services! I lead with confidence as I spent the year building up my knowledge of worship. I have a clearer understanding of how our worship impacts our church as we give all the glory to Christ in the story that we tell through our services. He is Lord!”
—Ashley Renkema, Edmonton, AB
“I have served my church as a worship leader for 13 years, and haven't had any formal training or education aside from annual conferences.
“In just a few short months, I feel like I have gained a wealth of knowledge. The Biblical foundations and practical applications that I have learned during these classes are already proving themselves invaluable in my church community. I have also enjoyed engaging with others across the country, from different churches, denominations and backgrounds. I have learned so much through our discussions.”
—Christie Grammatikos, Olathe, KS
“Most of us have a sense of what seems right in worship, and we all certainly know what we like.
“What we really need is the ability to approach worship from a Biblical perspective. Relating the Gospel story to the liturgy of our weekly gatherings is the foundation for creating worship that honors God and renews his people. This program has given me a much better understanding of what that means. I have also been greatly blessed by sharing the experiences of fellow worship leaders. They have been a source of strength and learning. Through this excellent program and the wonderful people I've met, I believe I am much better equipped to serve our church.”
—Christy Olsen, Colorado Springs, CO
“I'm grateful the CRCNA has found on a way to encourage continued life-long education, assessment and exploration.
“As a new worship director, the coursework provided a solid framework to carefully discern the nuances of this role and how it deeply impacts the spiritual formation and well-being of my congregation. I've been blessed by the weekly discussions with classmates/colleagues as we've grappled with issues in modern worship and differing church traditions, hoping to come to a common call and understanding of our work. The pace of the program provided both rigor and flexibility. On a personal note I feel more sure and confident in my calling to the role of Worship Leader/Pastor than I ever have.”
—George Davis, Grand Rapids, MI
“Having led worship now for almost 15 years, most of what I’ve learned about worship I’ve learned through experience.
“While experience is a great teacher, it has been refreshing and rewarding to get some teaching about worship and its history through this certificate program. I’ve found ways in which I was doing worship wrong and ways in which what I might be doing right could be adjusted to be even better. I have really appreciated the practical, spiritual and historical approach that this certificate program has taken, and I would recommend this program to anyone who has the opportunity to take it.”
—Austin Gentry, Rockford, MI
“I recommend this program with much excitement. My ideas of what worship is were challenged...
“as well as my understanding of what worship is has become more concrete and is now eagerly expressed. The purpose of worship has become more directly focused on God and I can recognize the work of the Spirit as we prepare and lead our services! I lead with confidence as I spent the year building up my knowledge of worship. I have a clearer understanding of how our worship impacts our church as we give all the glory to Christ in the story that we tell through our services. He is Lord!”
—Ashley Renkema, Edmonton, Alberta
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