New Nashville Program to Educate Worship Pastors in Music City

Travecca Nazarene University is launching The National Praise and Worship Institute (NPWI) for worship leaders to develop their musical gifting in Nashville, Tenn. Known as 'Music City,' Nashville is home to professional and amateur musicians and singers of many genres, including Christian, Gospel and Inspirational.

The purpose of NPWI is to educate and produce worship pastors who not only sing or play, but worship and manage volunteers as well. According to the Institute, the program is designed for worship pastors and not for Christian performers. Often the worship pastors are managing choir members and other musicians, who are usually volunteers. NPWI has courses in place to help leaders to manage the volunteers.

Academic Coordinator Sam Green states, "At the National Praise and Worship Institute our goal is to educate and equip tomorrow's Worship Leaders to humbly but joyfully lead the body of believers to passionately express their adoration to God through consuming worship."

Green, a vocalist himself, understands that there are some who would oppose the need for formal training and a certificate to be an effective worship pastor. "I understand that you do not need to have a certificate or formal training to be a worship leader and that a license is not needed unlike teaching. However, you get great theological training and it will set any prospective pastor apart from the rest. With teaching you must have a license. We want to train the best." Green says.

The overall cost for tuition and fees for the 2-year program is $37,000. At this time, there are no scholarships available. The University says that students can receive financial aid in the form of governmental grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.

The first session of The National Praise and Worship Institute begins on July 29, 2013. Each prospective student is expected to attend a 45 minute long live audition that consists of one prepared piece of your choice, improvisation over a standard Praise and Worship tune, sight-reading or chord chart reading, melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic ear training exercises and a songwriting exercise.

During the program's first year, leaders of NPWI at Trevecca hope to attract 60 students. Some will be music pastors already at churches said Dan Boone, president of Trevecca. Some of the students will be fresh out of high school.

At the end of the program, students can expect a certificate from NPWI and the opportunity to work with Slingshot Ministry Placement Services, a California-based job placement service, for assistance on finding a church to become a worship pastor in. Before a student receives a certificate from NPWI, they must complete basic proficiency on both a piano and guitar.