Worship Leader Institute TestimoniesFeatured, Worship Leader Institute Monday, August 12th, 2013
Worship Leader Institute’s 2013 Tulsa class was our most diverse and exciting yet. For seven days, our newly enhanced faculty trained an unprecedented number of students from Boston, Seattle, California, South Carolina – even South America.
The ages and backgrounds represented this year were as diverse as the geography, including participants in high school, retirement and everywhere in between. Our number included two pharmacists, a chiropractor, several music directors, a few full-time worship ministers, two licensed pilots, elders, deacons, and a city mayor. The youngest was a high school quarterback who marches first trumpet during the half-time shows of his own games (talk about multi-tasking!).
To accommodate the needs of such a large and varied group – our number was more than double the previous year – we needed comprehensive and dynamic class work. So this year’s WLI’s curriculum centered on what we call holistic worship leading: the first three and a half hours of each day were reserved for core competencies starting with bible study and scripture memorization, then moving on to scripture recitation, the power of smiling and non-verbal communication, microphone technique, eye contact, stage presence, body language, directing and beat patterns, prayer, transitions, breaths, tempo management, dynamic contrasts, extended rests and holds, and cut offs, among other topics. These abilities represent what we consider to be a non-negotiable skill set for effective worship leaders. Because of their importance, all of these skills were not only explained, but also practiced through training exercises within an actual church auditorium environment.
With holistic worship-leading classes serving as the foundation for the institute, we have been able to grow the course to include other crucial worship leader know-how. The afternoon sessions of WLI detailed advanced topics like music theory/ear training, voice care and management, worship planning, worship technology, vocal tuning, and conflict management.
The faculty charged with delivering all of this content included me, resident musicianary at Park Plaza Church of Christ; my daughter, Melissa, Vice President of Acappella Ministries; my son, Anthony, vocalist for the group, Acappella; Gyula Cseszko, choral and orchestral conductor from Melbourne, Australia; Mike Rogers, music professor at Dallas Baptist University; Melissa Kirby, speech language pathologist at Vanderbilt Voice Clinic; Shane Coffman, Worship Minister at Memorial Drive Church of Christ and director of the Tulsa Workshop; Gary Moyers, Acappella alumni and current director of Moyers Design in Lubbock, Texas; Robert King, choral director at Lipscomb; and Robert Oglesby, director of the Center for Youth and Family Ministry at Abilene Christian University.
Our faculty, as well as the institute as a whole, received rave reviews from the students. “It was more challenging than any business seminar,” said Joe Lennon, former president of Fidelity retail distribution, “the experience greatly exceeded my expectations.” Most exciting, though, was the acclaim for the returning students’ program, in which participants received additional one-to-one training in voice lessons, worship planning, music arranging, and stage presence. “The second year is incredible,” said Mark Schinnerer, a second year student from Carlsbad, New Mexico who plans on returning every year, “This is probably the most rewarding experience I’ve had in my life.”
Worship Leader Institute 2013 testimonies
In addition to students returning, several congregations sponsored more than one leader for training, which we encourage because the bonding generates accountability between the leaders. Such accountability then refreshes and reinforces the material long after the institute is over. Comradery is an integral component of the Institute’s success, so we facilitate bonding through paired exercises, shared meals and a private networking group. With this group they can continue to benefit from one another’s experience and feedback. We feel this network is one of the most valuable ongoing resources we offer the students.
Worship Leader Institute from last year.
We are thankful to God for giving the growth we witnessed this year. Also, we want to thank Park Plaza Church of Christ, Broken Arrow Church of Christ, and all the volunteers for their contributions, without which Worship Leader Institute 2013 would not have been possible. We eagerly look forward to next year’s WLI. You can choose either August 2 – 8,2014, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or begin your week of training on July 26. For more information, contact Bill@Acappella.com
WLI students sharing the Word
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