“It is less of something new and more of a modification,” said Bill Wolf, Dean of Chapel. “The difference between what it will be and what we have now, is [that] we are creating more space in the curriculum for classes that are specifically looking at worship through biblical or theological intents, as opposed to music classes and ministry classes.”
Matthew Broaddus, Dean of the School of Communications & Creative Arts, said, “[This new program will] take the music program from a focus on music, with elements of worship, to more of a worship program that includes elements of music, congregational ministry, worship theology, and technology. It is a much more well rounded degree for students who are wanting to go into worship ministry.”
“[This degree] gives you a theological understanding of the world of worship and how worship is an act of our lives. It goes way beyond the Sunday morning service, or way beyond the music. It prepares the students for a more holistic approach to leading worship,” Broaddus said.
Wolf continued this by saying, “[It] will prepare students well for it if they want to go on to graduate school.”
This will open up a whole array of new job opportunities for the students.
There are currently two different majors for each campus (JUTN & JUFL).
Broaddus said, “[This new major] unifies the degree. So students could do part of the degree here (at JUTN) or part of the degree at Florida.”
The focus for this new degree will center on leading church worship while working on music education.
Brad Campbell, a freshman at JUTN, said, “When I found out that Johnson had a worship ministry program that was opening up I thought it was going to be cool, because the program right now focuses more on music and then being able to teach the music, but the new degree focuses more on the pastoral side of things.”
Campbell has been one of the first freshmen to make the transition from the old program to the new.
Broaddus said they are currently encouraging the freshman class who came in on the old program to switch to the new curriculum.
“This is an important shift. No other school is doing a worship degree like this. It is very unique,” Broaddus said.
The new degree is based on a five year review, where worship leaders across the country were surveyed, current and past students were consulted, and countless research went into designing the degree.
There is an audition requirement for new students coming in, both Broaddus and Wolf said.
“We feel like this degree meets the needs of the current church better than any worship degree we have seen anywhere else,” said Broaddus.
They anticipate it taking a few years to roll out the full degree as they teach out the old one, but the excitement is in full swing.