James Abbington is associate professor of music and worship at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He received the B.A. in music from Morehouse College in Atlanta, the M.Mus. and D.M.A. in church music and organ from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Dr. Abbington is a member of the Executive Committee of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, and Reformed Worship magazine.
Jeff Barker is Endowed Professor of Theatre and Speech at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, where he has taught for more than two decades. He holds an M.A. in theatre performance from Northern Illinois University and an M.F.A. in directing from University of South Dakota. He’s an elder in the Reformed Church in America and has been a staff worship leader for many years at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City. He’s a much-produced playwright, including And God Said, a musical created with Broadway composer Ron Melrose. Jeff was selected as the Carnegie Foundation’s Iowa Professor of the Year in 2006.
Eric Bolger has taught as an undergraduate Professor of Philosophy and Religion for the past 17 years. Dr. Bolger is staff elder of Harvest Evangelical Free Church in Branson, Missouri. He holds an M.Div. and a Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He graduated from IWS with the Doctor of Worship Studies degree as a member of the first or “Alpha” graduating class.
Professor Emerita. Doris Borchert is retired Professor of Christian Education and Supervision at Northern Seminary. She holds the D.Min from Andover Newton Theological School and has served as Professor of Christian Education and Director of Supervised Ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky Northern Baptist Seminary in Lombard, Illinois and North American Baptist Seminary
Professor Emeritus. Dr. Borchert has served as a Lawyer, an Ordained Baptist Minister, a Professor, and a Dean and Vice President of two Baptist theological seminaries in the United States in addition to having taught in many places. He is one of the translators of the New Living Translation and has written more than 150 articles and a score of books including commentaries on John, Galatians, Revelation, Thessalonians, a work on Worship in the New Testament: Divine Mystery and Human Response which surveys the entire New Testament, a handbook on visiting The Lands of the Bible and most recently Jesus of Nazareth: Background, Witnesses and Significance.
He has retired three times, and he and his wife Doris were recently installed as emeriti Professors at the Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies. The Borcherts have two sons: Mark, a professor of communications and Tim, a senior pastor, two daughters-in-law who are ordained and four grandchildren.
Dr. Constance Cherry is an experienced professor, worship leader, musician, and pastor, having served in local church ministry and academic teaching positions for more than thirty years. She holds a B.A. in music from Huntington University, a Master of Music from Bowling Green State University, and the Doctor of Ministry in Christian Worship from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary where she studied with Robert Webber. She is Professor of Worship and Christian Ministries at Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana. Dr. Cherry speaks and teaches internationally in the areas of worship and church music. She is an active hymn writer with hymns in seven major hymnals published in the last two decades. Her publications include musical compositions, hymn texts and tunes, and articles. Recent books authored by Constance include The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services (Baker Academic, 2010), a sequel, The Special Service Worship Architect: Blueprints for Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms, Holy Communion and Other Occasions (Baker Academic, 2013), and Selecting Worship Songs: A Guide for Leaders (Triangle Publishing, 2011). Dr. Cherry’s website is theworshiparchitect.com.
Dr. Vaughn CroweTipton is Associate Vice President for Spiritual Life, Associate Professor of Religion, and University Chaplain at Furman University. Formerly the senior pastor at Auburn First Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama, Dr. CroweTipton also taught in the religion department at Auburn University, as well as Mercer University, Brewton-Parker College and Macon College. He has served as senior pastor at Northwest Baptist Church in Ardmore, OK, senior chaplain at Methodist Children’s Home in Macon, GA, and pastor of Loveview Baptist Church in Hillsboro, TX. He has published numerous articles, edited several books, and serves as a conference speaker. A graduate of Mississippi College (B.A.), he holds the M.Div. degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Baylor University. Dr. CroweTipton has also done postdoctoral study at Oxford University.
Michael Hawn is University Distinguished Professor of Church Music and Director of the Sacred Music Program in Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, where he has taught since 1992. He taught previously at two Southern Baptist Seminaries for fifteen years. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and the Master of Church Music degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His research and publications are primarily in the areas of congregational song and cross-cultural worship with over 300 articles, books, reviews and curriculum materials published. He has taught and conducted research in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America. Two of his books are Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2003) and One Bread, One Body: Exploring Cultural Diversity in Worship (The Alban Institute, 2003). In 2006 he served as the music director for the IX Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He was elected a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in 2008.
Andrew Hill is Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. His graduate training includes a M.Div. with Christian Education emphasis from Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including A Survey of the Old Testament (with J. H. Walton), 1 & 2 Chronicles (NIV Application Commentary), Minor Prophets (with R. D. Patterson, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary), and Malachi (Anchor Bible Commentary).
He has been affiliated with Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies since 1999 as co-instructor in DWS 701 The Biblical Foundations and Historical Development of Christian Worship. He is the author of Enter His Courts with Praise! (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993). Other related experiences include: a contributor to The Complete Library of Christian Worship (Vol. 1: The Biblical Foundations of Worship. R. E. Webber, ed. Nashville: Star Song, 1993); a contributor to the Praise and Worship Study Bible (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1997); and a contributor to The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible. R. J. Foster and D. Willard, eds. San Francisco: Harper, 2005). He currently serves as the Academic Dean for the Webber Institute.
Reggie Kidd is Professor of New Testament and Dean of the Chapel at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He holds an M.A.R. and an M.Div. from Westminister Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Duke University. His writings include Wealth and Beneficence in the Pastoral Epistles, the notes on Ephesians and Colossians for the New Geneva Study Bible, and the recently published With One Voice: Discovering Christ’s Song in our Worship. In January 2009, Dr. Kidd was tapped to become a new columnist and member of the editorial board and conference staff for Worship Leader Magazine contributing a regular column entitled “One Voice.”
Paul Neeley is the co-founder and past president of the International Council of Ethnodoxologists, a network for the development of culturally appropriate Christian worship, utilizing insights from ethnomusicology, missiology, worship studies and the arts (www.worldofworship.org), He has been promoting culturally appropriate worship since the 1980s, living in Ghana for 7 years with Wycliffe Bible Translators, and working short-term in about 15 other countries. He has written 2 books, helped edit 2 others, and edited the journals EM News and EthnoDoxology journal for many years. Paul founded several ensembles that lead global Christian worship (church and parachurch contexts), and produced and played on multiple recordings of multicultural worship music. He is a consultant for various mission agencies and schools. Author of 50+ articles and reviews, he blogs about global Christian worship.
Carl Park is a Ph.D. candidate in Theological Studies (New Testament) at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and children’s pastor with Calvary English Chapel in Wheeling, IL. He received a B.A. from Yale University, a M.Div. from Trinity, and a Th.M. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has been a worship leader and a pastor to worship leaders, and he has served on the staffs of Presbyterian, Vineyard, and non-denominational churches.
Keith D. Ray II is Senior Pastor of Clemson United Methodist Church, Clemson, South Carolina. Formerly a chaplain and faculty member at Furman University, Keith now lives out his vocation as a pastor while teaching in adjunct capacities. He has taught United Methodist Worship at Erskine Theological Seminary, Due West, SC and Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY. He is married to the Rev. Susan Leonard-Ray, District Superintendent of the Anderson District in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Lester Ruth is the Research Professor of Christian Worship at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Prior to teaching at Duke, he taught at Yale Divinity School and Asbury Theological Seminary. He holds a M.Div. from Asbury, a Th.M. from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and a Ph.D. in liturgical history from the University of Notre Dame. He specializes in worship history with particular interests in the Patristic period, early Methodism, and contemporary worship. He has written 5 books: Walking where Jesus Walked: Worship in Fourth-Century Jerusalem (with John Witvliet and Carrie Steenwyk), Early Methodist Life and Spirituality: A Reader, A Little Heaven Below: Worship at Early Methodist Quarterly Meetings, Creative Preaching on the Sacraments (with Craig Satterlee), and Accompanying the Journey: A Handbook for Sponsors (a book on preparing people for baptism). He recently revised Robert E. Webber’s book Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail.
He has also written numerous articles for pastoral and scholarly journals. He served as a United Methodist pastor in Texas before he began teaching full-time in 1998. He has been with the Institute for Worship Studies since January 2000 and teaches the worship history part of the first doctoral course with Andy Hill. Keep up with him by viewing his recent public presentations on his Duke website and following @jl_ruth on Twitter.
Daniel Sharp is the Minister of Worship Arts at the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, FL. He holds the M.M.E. from Drake University and a D.M.A. from the University of Southern California. He has served churches in Lexington, MA, Newport Beach, CA, Seattle WA, San Diego, CA, and now in Orlando. He is the author of the children’s musical Three Wee Kings, as well as various articles for Worship and Creator magazines. He has served as an adjunct professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Wenham, MA, and is past president of the National Association of Church Musicians.
Jack Van Marion is Lead Pastor of Preaching and Teaching at Calvary Church in Edina, Minnesota. He received an M.Div. degree from Calvin Theological Seminary and a D.Min. in Worship Studies from Northern Seminary. He combines his ministry experience in the pastorate with teaching opportunities, and along with others, he supervises doctoral candidates as they develop their thesis projects.
Emily A. Vermilya is the Director of Worship and Arts Ministry Development at College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana, and an Adjunct Professor of Worship at Indiana Wesleyan University. An alum of Indiana Wesleyan University (B.A. in Communication Arts) and I.W.S., Emily earned her M.W.S. degree in 2009 and D.W.S. degree in June of 2012. She is excited and grateful to use her experience in local church worship ministry and familiarity with equipping and mentoring worship leaders to serve the I.W.S. community.
Kent Walters is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Previously, he served as music director and worship pastor in a local church for 31 years. He received an M.M. from Michigan State University and a Doctor of Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies graduating as a member of the first or “Alpha” class. He has served as the school’s Director of Alumni Activities and Editor of the IWS newsletter, Anamnesis since 2004, and was appointed faculty member for the Practicum Courses in June 2007.