Seminary for Worship Leaders? What do you think?

On December 8, 2011 by Eddie

I loved school. Seriously, I’m glad I married my wife when I did, because if I was still single I’d probably be a professional student still to this day. I love learning, and I love books – especially old books. Thus, I really love school. Weird, I know.

So here’s my question… Do you think it’s important for a worship leader to have a seminary education? If so, why?

I know it seems like the pre-requisites for leading worship are a decent voice and skinny jeans, but is there value in having a solid theological understanding as a worship leader? What do you think?

5 Responses to “Seminary for Worship Leaders? What do you think?”

  • I don’t think it has to be seminary but I do think worship leaders and artists should think deeply and theologically about what they sing about. And not pick songs because there is an emotional connection but is there theological substance and not just because some popular West Coast church or big name CCM worship leader sings them. But perhaps a small track for artistry and theology might be in order.

  • I do think that having a Biblically-grounded theological understanding is essential to being a worship leader; however, I do not think that seminary is required for that understanding. Actually, scriptural examples of worship never indicate that worship has anything to do with music (except that which is implied in the Psalms). In Nehemiah 8, Ezra opens the Law and reads it, and we are told that the people WORSHIPED to the reading of the Word. That is one of the most beautiful pictures of worship, feasting on the Word of God. So, in reality, music is secondary to Biblical reliance. As worship leaders (or lead worshipers), we are attempting to display the character of the Father, displayed through the death and resurrection of His son Jesus, all in a musical setting (“with stringed instruments” – Psalm 150:4). And if we cannot combine music with an accurate depiction of the Gospel, or find songs that do, we have the potential of leading many people into false doctrine. If there is any lack of understanding and urgency in the heart of a worship leader (all band positions included), pride soon becomes a reality, and music takes precedence over theology (or allowing God to reveal Himself through diligent study of His word, since “theology” has become an scary word to some people). It is important to have worship leaders who understand the implications of the Gospel, who live repentant lives sold out for the sake of the Gospel.

  • First of all, I’m a chubby worship leader and the greatest distraction to worship could possibly be me in skinny jeans. Not sure if I should consider exercise or a career change. :)

    I’ve had some seminary classes. Took some time off and hope to finish eventually. I was blown away with how much I didn’t know. I don’t think a worship leader *needs* to attend seminary, but I speak from personal experience that it will shape you immensely. There is something about working through deep study and tough questions in a room with other believers. There’s also benefit from sitting at the feet of a teacher from a scholarly perspective, rather than *only* a teacher/pastor more from a practical perspective. Both are necessary for leaders, in my opinion.

    Going deep into systematic theology, Biblical exposition and ministry practices, for me, was much like putting a wide angle lens on a camera. In seeing spiritual truths in a different context than just a Bible study with like-minded “homies,” it stretched my heart for God and changed the way I worship. No doubt, that influences the ones we serve and helps them to go deeper as well.

    FYI, I was taking classes at DTS in ATL that meets at NPCC. GREAT profs.

    jon owen

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