IWS Community News, April 2017

Personal Stories and Updates

MWS students 2013How grateful we are for the increasingly significant impact of IWS students and graduates around the world! These 30 stories and updates serve not only to inform and keep us connected, they are tangible evidence of the broad reach of Bob Webber’s legacy through the school he founded. Thanks be to God!

Warren Anderson, D.W.S. (Iota 2010)

“I continue to serve as Director of the Demoss Center for Worship in the Performing Arts at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois, where I also direct the University Choir and serve as Dean of the Chapel. I love bringing my IWS education to my students. In March, I was privileged to bring 45 Judson Choir members to the IWS campus as part of our spring break tour in Florida.”

Brad Bradford, D.W.S. (Delta 2 2016)

Brad, Worship Pastor at Shalimar United Methodist Church in Shalimar, Florida, has been approved by the Board of Ordained Ministry of the United Methodist Church for Provisional Clergy Membership, Deacon Order. He will be commissioned at the Alabama-West Florida Conference’s Annual Meeting in June 2017.

Marc Brown, D.W.S. (Omega 2014)

“Our family transitioned to Louisville, Kentucky a year and a half ago where I now serve as the Minister for Worship and the Arts at First Baptist Church Mt. Washington. This school year, I have been teaching masters level voice students at Southern Seminary, and will teach a Field Ministry course to the undergraduate students of Boyce College next fall. I am also going through the admission process for Southern’s PhD in Christian Worship program. I’m really excited to get the chance to research and write more!” Check out Marc’s blog.

Tom Burns, D.W.S. (Alpha 2002)

“I am retiring from my position as Worship Pastor / Administrator at Fairview Baptist Church in Greer, SC on April 30 after 28 years. Looking forward to what our God has for us next.”

Christopher Cook, D.W.S. (Rho 2011)

Dr. Christopher CookChris was recently named Director Emeritus of Worship, Music and the Arts upon his retirement from Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church in San Diego, California. He served there for thirteen years culminating forty-six years in church music. Not finished, he is awaiting God leading for ongoing part-time ministry.

Chris Diffenderfer, D.W.S. (Mu 2008)

“I am beginning my eighth year as an online adjunct professor of Christian Studies at Grand Canyon University, most often teaching Old Testament and Biblical Hermeneutics in the graduate program. My wife and I are active in our local parish, Our Lady of the Pines. Work on my book project, an exploration of Christian spirituality and worship drawing from the ancient catechumenate, continues slowly but steadily. We find ourselves in transition as a family that is somewhat difficult financially, as the online educational world is in something of a slump (enrollment in the program in which I teach has been low), but we are also very blessed in many ways as we learn each day to trust God and to remain faithful in each new situation we face.”

Jim Dodge, D.W.S. (Nu 2008)

Published under the Webber Books label, The Gavel: From Verdict to Victory is Jim Dodge’s first novel.  A second novel is in the works. Jim is Professor at Canby Bible College, Canby, Oregon.

Karen Durbin, M.W.S. (Beth 2005), D.W.S. (Xi 2011)

Karen earned her M.Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, PA on May 13, 2016. In pursuit of God’s calling and the affirmation of the Church, she was ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church on February 19, 2017, and has been called to serve as Pastor of the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mechanicsburg, PA.

Ryan Forbes, D.W.S. (Alpha 2002)

“Fifteen  years after graduating with the inaugural class, I still find myself relying on the foundations learned in my worship studies at IWS. It is a lifelong journey. As Bob Webber wrote, ‘Worship, like God, is a mystery that can never be exhausted.'”

Dinelle Frankland, D.W.S. (Delta 2004)

Dinelle will begin as IWS’s new Academic Dean on May 1, 2017. She is the former Academic Dean of Lincoln Christian Seminary, Lincoln, Illinois, where she currently serves as Professor of Worship Studies.  She is the author of His Story, Our Response: What the Bible Says About Worship (College Press Publishing, 2008). Jim Hart writes, “Dr. Frankland’s experience as a seminary dean is invaluable to us as IWS continues its accredited status with ABHE and begins the process of ATS accreditation. I am confident that she will continue to build on the fine work of her immediate predecessor, Dr. Ohlmann.” Read the news release of Dinelle’s appointment. Congratulations, Dinelle!

Don Fugate, D.W.S. (Delta 2004)

“I am beginning my 35th year at Foxworthy Baptist Church of San Jose, the last 10 years as Senior Pastor. I am currently serving as Chairman of the Executive Board for the California Southern Baptist Convention. Best news, I have 3 grandkids!”

Brent Gibson, D.W.S. (Nu 2009)

“Since graduating from IWS, I met and married Nancy in 2010. We have three boys: Elisha (6 years), Malachi (3 years) and Theo (1 year). My DWS degree has opened doors for me to teach part-time at various colleges in recent years. I’m now finishing my second year as the full-time Director of Music Leadership at Summit Pacific College in Abbotsford, BC.”

Craig Gilbert, D.W.S. (Kappa 2007)

“My DVD teaching series on congregational worship, A Purposed Heart for the Purpose of Worship, is being used as the Lenten study at McKinney First United Methodist Church to introduce the congregation to understanding corporate worship in deeper, more challenging ways. I will go there to conclude the series with a “What’s next?” follow up and to lead a worship service that applies what they have studied. I am blessed to participate once again on the teaching faculty at the National Worship Leader conferences in 2017, where, over the last 5 years, I have taught on a variety of topics ranging from song selection for worship to using liturgy in the contemporary worship setting.”

Karen Hetrick, D.W.S. (Epsilon 2 2016)

After 11 years as part-time Director of Music Ministries, Karen is now the full-time Director of Worship and Worship Arts at Mt. Auburn United Methodist Church in Greenwood, IN. This summer she will teach Introduction to Christian Worship at the Church Leadership Institute of the American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky. She will serve as Worship Coordinator for the 2017 Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians Conference for Church Musicians.

Jeff Holmes, M.W.S. (Ayin 2014)

“I anticipate going full-time this year at Twin Towers Senior Living Community in Cincinnati as Music and Worship Coordinator. In addition to helping design and lead worship services and music ensembles, we intend to expand our ministry into the field of music and memory to work with residents who are experiencing cognitive decline. I’m excited to see how God can use me in this new way!”

Christopher Jackson, M.W.S. (Qof 2016)

“On September 17, 2016, Jennifer and I welcomed our son, Walker, into the world. Six months have gone by so fast! I continue to serve as Minister of Music and Youth at Prospect United Methodist Church in Maxton, NC where we are exploring some new methods in youth and music ministries. God is good!”

Josh Lavender, M.W.S. Candidate

Josh’s song (with Laura Watson), Hope in Jesus, was named one of Worship Leader’s Top 20 Worship Songs for 2016.


Budianto Lim, D.W.S. (Psi 2014) and Lidya Siah, M.W.S. (Gimel 2008), D.W.S. (Psi 2014)

Budianto & Lidya LimBudi and Lidya began this year as full-time faculty members at the Reformed Seminary of Indonesia (STTRI) in Jakarta, where they have designed and initiated a Master of Theology in Worship degree program (Magister Teologi Ibadah). Budi writes, “We are humbled for the opportunity to be part of this historic moment for STTRI. We want to impact churches in Indonesia with this program that promotes the integration of worship with discipleship, mission-evangelism and pastoral ministry. We are extremely thankful for God’s timing for us to be home in Indonesia. Please pray for us because starting a new thing is not easy and we do not know what dynamics lay ahead of us.”

Eddie Lockamy, M.W.S. (Aleph 2004), D.W.S. (Lambda 2009)

“I enrolled in IWS as a Music Pastor having served churches in that role for 35 years. I completed my masters and doctorate there and I’m incredibly blessed to be a part of the IWS family. Four years ago, just as I began thinking about retirement, God had other plans and called me into a Senior Pastorate. The IWS experience has proven to be even more beneficial to me in this role. I’m so grateful for all that IWS has done for me personally and for the church that I serve, Arlington Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida.”

Johnny Markin, M.W.S. (Pe 2015)

Johnny is Pastor of Worship Ministries at Northview Community Church, Abbotsford, BC, Canada. Last fall, he launched a leadership training project in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia called the Worship Leader Institute. Five one-day training sessions have been held with the goal of theologically training worship leaders to train their team members. The sessions focused on biblical principles of worship, the role of the Psalms, and how to cultivate a worshiper’s heart. Johnny writes, “It is such a blessing to see the growing confidence of our first attendees—16 in total! The feedback we’ve received from the students and the interest shown by local worship leaders and pastors seem to point to a successful venture for the future.”

Todd Marshall, M.W.S. (Qof 2016)

“In October 2016, I was invited by the national leadership of the Assemblies of God in Tanzania to teach a four-day seminar for 200 pastors and leaders in the city of Dodoma. My Worship Is Life teaching, which focuses on the biblical pattern of worship and life as revelation and response, was deepened and strengthened during my studies at IWS. The AG in Tanzania has planted 8,000 churches in the last eight years but doesn’t have worship studies training. I was able to consult with the national director of Christian Education on developing a worship studies curriculum for their seven Bible colleges and 48 church planting centers.” Todd is the Minnesota Assemblies of God District Worship Arts Director and author of Worship Is Life: Finding Our Identity in the Story of Worship.

David McCollum, D.W.S. candidate

David is Director of Music at Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church in Blowing Rock, NC. He writes, “IWS enabled me to break out of my denominational experience of church and approach all areas of worship with new perspective. The diversity of the staff and students along with an ancient-future approach has provided a healthy space for growth and leadership. I’m indebted to IWS for jump-starting my learning process. I look forward to my next project!”

Jeffrey Meeks, D.W.S. (Mu 2008)

Jeffrey joined the staff of First Presbyterian Church, Marietta, GA, as Director of Music and Fine Arts after 13 years as Minister of Worship and Music at University Place Presbyterian Church, Tacoma, WA. While in Washington, Jeffrey lectured in worship at Trinity Lutheran College, served as a cohort mentor for M.Div. students in Worship Renewal for Fuller Seminary Northwest, and was a member of the Chambers Creek Chamber Trio. He offers leadership/HR/recruitment consulting as well as choral/vocal, praise band and worship arts workshops. He is active in the Atlanta area as a collaborative pianist specializing in violin repertoire.

Christopher Montgomery, D.W.S. (Omega 2016)

Christopher is the pastor of Sermon on the Mount Mennonite Church in Sioux Falls, SD. He has launched The Anabaptist School of Worship, a series of seminars, forums, and labs designed to apprentice congregations in worship that discerns God’s reign of shalom.

Mike O’Brien, M.W.S. (Resh 2016)

Be inspired by Mike’s encouraging words to songwriters to compose worship music that is “forming people rightly, making souls that think and act more like Christ.” Read his blog article and check out his ministry.

Dyton Owen, D.W.S. (Kappa 2009)

“On July 1, 2016, I began as Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Junction City, KS. We are focusing on developing new formats for worship to reach our community: Outdoor Church, Java Church and Table Church, and I am working on my second book for church leaders and pastors entitled Rev. Dr. David PannabeckerRemembering Who We Are.”

David Pannabecker, D.W.S. (Theta 2007)

David was ordained February 12, 2017 in the Kahili Union Church, Honolulu, Hawaii, where he serves as the Pastor of Worship. Jim Smith, D.W.S. (Epsilon 2007) preached the ordination sermon. David has been courageously fighting a Dr. James Smithbattle with pancreatic cancer for over a year.

Gayle Pohl, M.W.S. (Zayin 2010)

Gayle is the Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Alphonsus Parish. She writes, “Our church, along with Fourth Reformed Church and Berkley Hills Wesleyan Church, all of Grand Rapids, Michigan, are combining for the first time to hold an ecumenical Palm Sunday service featuring the cantata, His Last Days, by Dallas Holm. We will have 4 priests and 2 pastors available to pray with and respond to questions and concerns. Rejoice!”

Vallen Prest, D.W.S. (Mu 2008)

“For several years I went to India to teach on worship and leadership in a missionary/pastor’s training school. Over 100 men have gone from there to plant churches in the Andhra Pradesh province of India. Out of that ministry I developed Ancient Future Ministries and RefugeeBible.com. 10,000 Bibles have been provided for refugees arriving in Sicily and hundreds have come to Christ and been baptized in the past three years. This April, I travel with a team to minister both in Sicily and Sardinia.

Jeff Vogan, D.W.S. (Omega 2014)

“April marks two years of ministry in Northern Virginia as Director of Worship at McLean Presbyterian Church just outside Washington D.C. The Lord has blessed the church with a lot of growth in the last few years. With over 2300 members, we have four services on Sunday and oversee three church plants in the D.C. area with plans for an additional service and church plants. This growth has afforded me the privilege and opportunity to use my IWS training to mentor other worship leaders and pastoral interns, which I love to do. This month, I’m taking a team of musicians from our church to lead worship for a missionary retreat on the Greek island of Crete.”

About the author

Alumni Director, Practicum Professor, and DWS graduate.