Master of Worship Studies

The Master of Worship Studies degree is a unique and ground-breaking program with its entire curriculum formed around worship studies with a decidedly ancient future posture. It is specifically designed for church leaders including worship leaders, pastors, music ministers, parish musicians, professors, worship teachers, liturgists, artists, and missionaries.

Every course deals specifically with worship, yet integrates the classic theological disciplines as well. Students who graduate from this course of study will be able to reflect on worship through the disciplines of Scripture, history, theology, and cultural analysis.

All studies are geared toward the mission of the church to give witness to God’s redeeming work in the world and to fulfill the mandate of the Great Commission.

 

Program Details

The purpose of the master’s program is not only to educate but to encourage spiritual formation to prepare the student to minister to both the minds and hearts of God’s people. The Institute for Worship Studies will help you:

  • Re-evaluate your personal spirituality and ministry in light of cultural contexts, including the shift from modernity to postmodernity.
  • Develop the ability to think deeply about your ministry as it relates to the disciplines of theological thought and the ministries of the church.
  • Learn how to listen to the text of culture and discern how biblical faith is communicated within multiple cultural settings.
  • Consider your own ministry goals as they pertain to the material of each
    course.
Upcoming dates:
  • January 2025 On-Campus Intensive Week: January 1-8, 2025
  • June 2025 On-Campus Intensive Week:  June 18-25, 2025
  • January 2026 On-Campus Intensive Week: January 7-14, 2026
  • June 2026 On-Campus Intensive Week:  June 17-24, 2026
  • January 2026 On-Campus Intensive Week: January 6-13, 2027

Program Outcomes

  1. Biblical foundation of Christian worship
    The student will understand, as well as demonstrate the ability to articulate and evaluate, worship rooted in and declaring the story of the Triune God as expressed in the Scriptures.
  2. Historical development of Christian worship
    The student will understand, as well as demonstrate the ability to articulate and evaluate, major trajectories in the practice of Christian worship through culture and time for use in assessing current expressions of Christian worship.
  3. Theological reflection on Christian worship
    The student will understand, as well as demonstrate the ability to articulate, a scripturally rooted, historically informed Christian theology of worship to guide the planning and evaluation of Christian worship.
  4. Cultural reflection on Christian worship
    The student will understand, as well as demonstrate the ability to articulate and evaluate, ways in which culture informs and shapes expressions of Christian worship, past and present.
  5. Missiological reflection on Christian worship
    The student will understand, as well as demonstrate the ability to articulate and evaluate, the centrality of God’s mission, with respect to the Church’s worship, founded on the scriptural revelation of the Triune God.
  6. Methodological skills for studies in Christian worship
    The student will demonstrate the ability to research, evaluate, and articulate concepts related to Christian worship, using scholarly materials (primary and secondary) and the theological action-research methodology.
  7. Ministerial skills in Christian worship
    The student will understand, as well as demonstrate the ability to articulate, implement, and evaluate, key concepts related to Christian worship in a particular setting.

Master of Worship Studies Courses

As of June 2019, the M.W.S. requires 36 credit hours, consisting of three online courses of 2 credit hours each, and five hybrid on-campus/online courses of 6 credit hours each. The M.W.S. program can be completed in 2 years. The three online courses are designed to be taken concurrently with MWS 501, but sequenced so that no student is working on more than two courses at any one time during the semester. However, they may be taken prior to MWS 501 at either the student’s request or the registrar or academic dean’s request. Students may also petition to receive advanced standing for the first two online courses.

Advanced Standing

Students with graduate or undergraduate coursework from the last 10 years comparable to BIB 501(A) and/or BIB 501(B) may receive up to 4 hours of advanced standing for these two courses only, reducing the number of credit hours necessary to complete the M.W.S. degree. The student must provide course descriptions and have received a “B” or higher from an upper-level undergraduate course. Advanced standing is not permitted for WR 501. For more information about applying for advanced standing, contact the Director of Admissions.

MWS 501: A Biblical Theology of Worship

Faculty & Credit Hours

Dinelle Frankland, D.W.S., 6 credit hours

Course Details

This course will explore the concept and practice of worship in the Old and New Testaments. Students will be taught a biblical theology of worship that takes into account the variety of biblical materials related to worship. This course serves as a foundation for present and future ministry.

MWS 502: History of Christian Worship

Faculty & Credit Hours

Greg Wilde, D.W.S., 6 credit hours

Course Description

This course is an overview of the history of Christian worship, its theology, and rituals from the early church to today. Special attention is paid to the rites of the first four Christian centuries and the theology of worship inspired by their development. Events and cultures engendering subsequent ecclesial groups and forms of worship are also explored.

MWS 503: Contextualization, Spirituality and Christian Worship

Faculty & Credit Hours

Lou Kaloger, D.W.S., 6 credit hours

Course Description

The course will address the relationship between spiritual formation and Christian worship. Course material examines cultural trends in theology, philosophy, and epistemology. The centerpiece of the course is a wide-ranging look at ancient and emerging practices of Christian spirituality and spiritual formation through the lenses of worship, thought, art, architecture, and society.

MWS 504: Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Christian Worship

Faculty & Credit Hours

Pedrito Maynard-Reid, Th.D., 6 credit hours

Course Description

This course explores the impact of globalization on Christian worship in the 21st century. Students will examine a wide variety of contemporary cultural expressions of worship, and seek to understand how these expressions reveal the triune God. Students will also reflect on how understanding these expressions might enable deeper engagement with the triune God in the student’s own worship setting.

MWS 601: The Ministry Internship

Faculty & Credit Hours

Douglas Curry, D.Min., 6 credit hours over 2 semesters

Course Description

In this course, students will work one-on-one with a supervisor to design, implement, and evaluate a practical ministry internship. The internship is done under the direction of a field supervisor approved by the Institute for Worship Studies and follows the normative standards expected in that field of work for master’s-level students.

BIB 501(A): Biblical Survey (Online Class)

Faculty & Credit Hours

Carl Park, Ph.D., 2 credit hours

Course Description

This course surveys the Bible, with an emphasis on God’s story of creation, incarnation, redemption, and recreation through which God brings the entire cosmos under the reign of Christ, and the rehearsal of the story in Christian worship. Offered in a completely online, six-week format. The beginning date is approximately 7 weeks before the IWS session.

BIB 501(B): Interpreting Scripture (Online Class)

Faculty & Credit Hours

Carl Park, Ph.D., 2 credit hours

Course Description

This course is designed to give students a basic understanding of varying principles and methodologies for the interpretation of Scripture. Offered in a mostly online, six-week format. It begins the second week of the IWS session, with one day (6 hours) spent face-to-face with the instructor on the Tuesday of the IWS session.

Students who are taking the course online only (that is, before they begin their on-campus work) will be assigned an additional module in place of the Tuesday face-to-face session.

WR 501: Graduate Research and Writing (Online Class)

Faculty & Credit Hours

Melody Kuphal, D.W.S., 2 credit hours

Course Description

This course guides the student through the beginning stages of researching and writing a graduate level paper, particularly in the discipline of worship studies. Offered in a completely online, six-week format. The beginning date is approximately 6-7 weeks following the IWS session.