Mission, Vision & Values

Mission Statement

The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies forms servant leaders in Christian worship renewal and education through graduate academic praxis, grounded in biblical, historical, theological, formational, cultural, and missiological reflection in community.

Vision Statement

IWS graduates will be academically and spiritually formed servant leaders who participate intentionally in the story of the Triune God, fostering renewal in the local and global church by shaping life and ministry according to the fullness of that story.

Core Values

IWS serves God’s action in history to express his lordship over all creation through worship situated in the Divine Narrative.

  1. IWS is evangelical in nature and ecumenical in outlook, embracing and serving the whole church in its many expressions and variations of the Christian faith, particularly articulated by the consensus of the ancient Church and its guardians in the traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, the Protestant Reformation and the Evangelical awakenings and heritage.
  2. IWS emphasizes God’s story of creation, incarnation and recreation through which God brings the entire cosmos under the reign of Christ, and the rehearsal of that story in Christian worship.
  3. IWS draws on the classical interpretation of Scripture as contained in the Old and New Testaments, and as affirmed by the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Council of Chalcedon, together with the affirmation of an evangelical grounding and ecumenical and multicultural outreach.
  4. IWS offers an ongoing critical appraisal of Christian worship, with an open mind and heart to an authentic faith and practice in the twenty-first century.
  5. IWS intentionally remains a self-sacrificing, simple school of students involved in an intense spiritual interaction with each other, not unnecessarily encumbered by building ownership, big budgets and a large full-time staff.
  6. IWS “teaches those who teach,” continuing to raise up leaders around the world whose ministries are grounded in intentional biblical, historical, theological, formational, cultural and missiological reflection.
  7. IWS pursues its vision through an educational methodology that combines an on-campus experience of academic learning and spiritual community, distance learning components and up-to-date technology.

Statement on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The Church of Jesus Christ is catholic, meaning “universal,” or literally, “according to the whole.” Through the Church God gathers the world to himself—embracing but transcending nationalities, ethnicities and cultures. The global Church is called out from the oppressive regimes of the powers of darkness and declared to be, universally, “What belongs to the Lord.” In light of this theological position, the Institute for Worship Studies (IWS) is committed to reflect the full racial, ethnic, sex, socio-economic, denominational and age diversity of the Church universal at all levels—students, faculty, administrative staff and board. All activities and perspectives of diversity, equity/equality and inclusion (DEI) are circumscribed by the mission of IWS as an educational community committed to the traditional orthodox Christian faith and practice.

Institutional Goals

Every attempt has been made to align our educational goals with our mission statement. These goals reflect the commitment of IWS to an organic understanding of a story-formed approach to the Christian faith. We are committed not only to the unity of all knowledge of God’s story in history but also to all ministry as applied theology. We do not sever ministry from God’s story, but situate it in God’s story through reflection in the biblical, historical, theological, formational, cultural and missiological disciplines. We seek therefore to form all ministry by the Divine Narrative, not the cultural narrative.

  1. Programs (Academic and Spiritual Formation)
    1. IWS will offer rigorous academic programs leading to masters and doctoral degrees in Christian worship.
    2. IWS will purposefully integrate theory and practice in our academic programs.
    3. IWS will ground our academic programs in biblical, historical, theological, formational, cultural, and missiological reflection in community.
    4. IWS will cultivate Christ-like servant leaders for the global church, shaped by the Divine Narrative rather than the cultural narrative.
  2. Possessions (Facilities, Finances, Resources, and Technology)
    1. IWS will retain and/or maintain appropriate facilities, encourage community life for on-campus sessions, and provide necessary space and resources for our local administrative staff and library.
    2. IWS will control tuition and other student costs by focusing expenditures on people, technology and appropriate infrastructure rather than large capital projects.
    3. IWS will maintain a financially stable infrastructure that is consistent with the mission and vision of IWS, including having adequate reserves and restricted funds for long-term sustainability.
    4. IWS will provide the academic and practical resources necessary for quality academic reflection and research, including appropriate physical and electronic learning resources.
    5. IWS will maintain up-to-date technology and provide essential training to facilitate the development of an intentional online academic community.
  3. People (Faculty, Students, and Staff)
    1. IWS will recruit and support faculty members that are highly qualified, both academically and professionally, spiritually mature, active in Christian ministry, and deeply and personally committed to the lordship of Jesus Christ and the mission of IWS.
    2. IWS will recruit, support, and teach students from the United States and other countries who are academically prepared, spiritually committed, and engaged actively in Christian ministry.
    3. IWS will recruit and support well-qualified staff members to provide all necessary student services and other administrative leadership.
    4. IWS will offer an on-campus experience that is semi-monastic, designed to create a strong sense of community among the students, faculty, staff and alumni of IWS that can be continued and enhanced in the online environment.
    5. IWS will provide opportunities for encouraging the ongoing academic, spiritual and ministerial development of its alumni.