Dr. Eric BolgerDr. Eric Bolger, Vice Chair

B.A., University of California, San Diego
M. Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
D.W.S., The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies

Dr. Eric Bolger serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO, where he also teaches courses in Bible, theology, and worship. He was a member of the inaugural (“Alpha”) DWS class and taught MWS 501 Biblical Theology of Worship for 14 years, beginning with the inception of the MWS program. He served as the academic dean of IWS from 2007 to 2010. He has extensive experience in worship leadership and is a member of the preaching team at his home church in Branson, MO.

Dr. Kai Ton Chau, Secretary/Treasurer

Honors Diploma (with distinction), Hong Kong Baptist University
M.Mus., Choral Conducting, Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City
M.B.A., International Business, Laurentian University
D.W.S., The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies

Equally conversant in the fields of choral music, Christian worship theology and practices, technology, and accounting and business, Kai Ton Chau’s diverse background has brought him into a career of an international scope. With particular interest in the higher education sector — especially in teaching, research and academic administration, his calling and vocation revolves around serving, learning, and teaching.

Appointed as a visiting scholar at Calvin College in 2014, Kai Ton continues his research and writing in the field of Christian worship, and his effort in teaching and nurturing worship and music ministry, particularly among the ethnic Chinese churches in North America. Kai Ton held the position of Associate Professor of Music Studies and Jack Van Laar Endowed Chair of Music and Worship at Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to directing the college choir and ensemble, he taught music theory and chaired the Arts and Sciences department. His diverse career in Hong Kong, Canada and the United States has afforded him the opportunities to serve at various churches, inter-church events, mass choirs, and institutions of higher education (including Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, and Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Canada).

Laura Story Elvington

Dr. Laura Story Elvington

B.S. (Music/Bible), Columbia International University
M.A. (Theological Studies), Covenant Theological Seminary
D.W.S., The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies

Laura Story Elvington is a Bible teacher, worship leader, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, and bestselling author. The song “Blessings” was certified Gold in 2011 and inspired her first book, What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops. Laura’s music and writing show God’s love and grace intersecting with real life, and serve as a reminder that despite questions or circumstances, He is the ultimate author of our story. Laura recently released a new book, When God Doesn’t Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without. She has served as a worship leader at Perimeter Church in Atlanta since 2005, and is currently in the thesis stage of the Doctor of Worship Studies at IWS. Her greatest joy is being a wife to Martin and the mother to Josie, Ben, Griffin, and Timothy.

Dr. James R. Hart, President

B.M. (Sacred Music), Oral Roberts University
M.M. (Performance), University of Tulsa
D.W.S., the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies

Jim Hart holds a B.M. in Sacred Music from Oral Roberts University, an M.M. in Trumpet Performance from the University of Tulsa, and a D.W.S. from the Institute for Worship Studies where he graduated with the Alphas—the first graduating class—in 2002. He was critical to the formation of IWS in Florida and has held administrative responsibilities since its inception in 1999. He is a professional trumpeter, choral director, and a published composer/arranger, songwriter and author. He has served in church music ministry for approximately 40 years, including his current position as Choir Director at Grace Anglican Church in Fleming Island, FL. Dr. Hart and his wife, Carol, have three daughters and three grandchildren.

Dr. Wendy LaylandDr. Wendy C. Layland

B.A. (Social Sciences), Flagler College
M.C.L., Fuller Seminary
D.W.S., The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies

Wendy Curl Layland is a school founder (Veritas Classical School), worship leader, and realtor (owner of Endless Summer Realty). She is married to Brad Layland, CEO of The Focus Group. Together they have four teenage children: Max, Dakota, Jack, and Sydney.

Dr. John Lindsell, Chairman of the Board

Ed.M. & Ed.D. (Administration, Planning, and Social Policy), Harvard University
M.T.S. (Church History), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
A.B. (English Literature), Wheaton College

Dr. Lindsell is Head of School, Oakbrook Preparatory School, 190 Lincoln School Road, Spartanburg, SC and lives in Inman, SC. He also teaches on finances in non-profit organizations in Harvard’s Summer School and has served on the faculty at Kennesaw State University. Previously John worked as the Headmaster and CFO at Westminster School of Augusta, GA, as Headmaster at the Whitefield Academy in Atlanta, GA, and also as the Assistant Superintendent for Finance for the Merrimack School District in New Hampshire.

Sarah Monaco

Mrs. Sarah Monaco

Sarah Monaco is the cantor and children’s choir director at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Jacksonville, FL. She has taught Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, is a member of the National Teachers of Singing (NATS), and is an experienced music teacher (pre-K through 12th grade). Her students have won numerous competitions and been accepted to selective music schools.

Mrs. Monaco is a member of the Church Musician Association of America and National Pastoral Musicans. She has sung as a soloist in churches of many denominations and held recitals and concerts across the globe. She is married to Frances Monaco, has eight grandchildren and four children, and her hobbies include scuba diving, skiing and hiking, training her four Rottweilers, and cooking. Her call in life is to present beautiful music in the church, and to encourage congregations to be aware of the presence of God.

Emmett Price

Dr. Emmett G. Price

B.A. (Music), University of California
M.A. (Ethnomusicology), University of Pittsburgh
Ph.D. (Ethnomusicology), University of Pittsburgh

Emmett G. Price III is one of the nation’s leading experts on Music of the African Diaspora, Christian Worship and the Black Christian Experience. He has spent much of the past few decades writing, lecturing and conducting cutting edge research on bridging the generational divide. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Dr. Price received a B.A. in music from the University of California, Berkeley and earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. in music (ethnomusicology) from the University of Pittsburgh. He also obtained an M.A. in urban ministry leadership from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

He is the inaugural Dean of Africana Studies at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA. Prior to his current post, Dr. Price served on the faculties of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (2016-2021) where he founded the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience (ISBCE) and Northeastern University (2001-2016) where he served as chair of the Department of African American Studies (2008-2012). He has served as visiting professor at Boston University, Berklee College of Music, Andover Newton Theological School and Brandeis University. He has served as a guest lecturer at over 50 universities worldwide. He is a former research fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University and Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, where he served as the lead scholar on the Rhythm & Flow Initiative – a research project studying the various intersections of music and sport.

An ordained minister, Dr. Price serves as Founding Pastor of Community of Love Christian Fellowship (Allston, MA). A nationally recognized expert on church music, liturgical arts and ethnodoxology, he is also the president and founder of the Black Church Music Ministry Project (BCMMP), an organization launched in 2006 to “serve, nurture and develop spiritual leaders in music ministry.” Since 2011, he has served as the Director of the James Abbington Church Music Academy as part of the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference & Choir Directors’ and Organists’ Guild.

Stefany Welch

Mrs. Stefany Welch

Stefany is the daughter of IWS founder Robert E. Webber, and contributed a chapter to the updated version of his book ‘Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail.’ She graduated from Wheaton College with a BA in English Literature. She also serves on the board of a nonprofit substance abuse rehabilitation facility. She and her husband Tom have raised 4 children in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Trustees Emeriti

Dr. Melva Costen

B.A. (Education), Johnson C. Smith University
M.A.T.M. (Teaching Music), University of North Carolina
Ph.D. (Curriculum and Instruction), Georgia State University
Honorary doctorates (Litt.D.) from Wilson College and Erskine College

Dr. Costen is a widely recognized authority on music and worship. She has just retired as the Helmar Emil Nielsen Professor of Music and Worship at the Interdenominational Theological Seminary in Atlanta and is a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School for Fall 2007. She is the author of several books, including African American Christian Worship, which is widely used by theological seminaries. Melva’s latest book is titled Somewhere I Heard…! Worship and Celebrations in African American Traditions and is forthcoming from Geneva Press. Dr. Costen chaired the committee that created the 1990 PC(USA) hymnal.

Mrs. Joanne Lindsell Webber, Esq.

B.A. (Education), Wheaton College
M.P.A. (Masters in Public Administration), Northeastern University, Boston, MA
J.D., John Marshall Law School, Chicago, IL

Ms. Webber worked in education, social work, and law in the public sector for 30 years, and has been retired since 1997. She resides in the home she and Bob built at Bethany Beach in Sawyer, Michigan.

The Rev’d Dr. Luder G. Whitlock, Jr.

Dr. Whitlock is a graduate of the University of Florida, Westminster Theological Seminary, and Vanderbilt University (D.Min.). He served as the president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando for 23 years, and was the Executive Director of The New Geneva Study Bible and The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible.

Dr. Whitlock, a Presbyterian minister, has spent much of his life in education, including 27 years at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). Dr. Whitlock joined the faculty of RTS in 1975, and, at the age of 37, was appointed president, a position he held for 23 years. Under his leadership, RTS grew from a small regional school to one of the most innovative as well as one of the 10 largest seminaries in North America.

Dr. Whitlock’s years of ministry have been marked by an effort to bring mutual understanding and cooperation within the worldwide evangelical community, which led him to serve on the boards of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the World Evangelical Fellowship (North America region), Mission America, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, and Greater Europe Mission. He was co-founder and co-president of the International Reformed Fellowship, and later assumed a major role in the establishment of the World Reformed Fellowship. Dr. Whitlock has contributed to more than 20 books and 20 periodicals. He is author of The Spiritual Quest and served as executive director for The Spirit of The Reformation Study Bible.

Patricia Witt

Mrs. Patricia Witt

B.S. (Mathematics), Birmingham Southern College
Project Management Professional
Graduate M.B.A. course for IBM, Harvard University

Ms. Witt’s varied thirty-year career with IBM started with software development, technical education, and technical marketing, and concluded with leading international custom solutions teams as a nationally certified project manager.

Committed to community service since her teens, she serves in various roles with her church; has helped establish several non-profits; served as a Stephen Minister and Leader, as Laubach Literacy Tutor and Trainer; and volunteers with Kairos Outside, Soroptimist International of the Americas, Inc., the Woman’s Club of Raleigh and founding member of Partners Against Trafficking Humans in North Carolina.

An Alabama native, she is the widow of David Witt, past IWS Board member and organist of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, Raleigh, NC. She and their daughter and her family also reside in Raleigh. She enjoys choral singing, cooking, and traveling.