University Relations // Warren Peper // 01.02.2017
Does the style of worship dictate your ability to connect with God in your house of worship? If there are no large screens or praise bands, will your experience be less fulfilling? Are you more comfortable with a traditional service that offers hymn singing and less contemporary efforts to reach you in the pew?
All of these questions factor in to Matt McCall’s desire to raise the profile of the Music and Worship Leadership program at Charleston Southern University. McCall, a 2009 alumnus, has only been the director of the program since August. He is seeking to recalibrate Charleston Southern’s Music and Worship Leadership program to better serve churches across the state.
“I want to prepare our students to walk into either format and be successful,” he said.
McCall was the product of a traditional church background of piano, organ and choir. As a teenager, though, he grew to enjoy contemporary services more.
In many churches, walking this tightrope is awkward. It creates them and us congregations.
“Food and fellowship are universal and needed by all Christians,” says McCall. “I don’t want our grads to be one dimensional.”
The Music and Worship Leadership degree at Charleston Southern includes three core areas of emphasis: music, worship and Christian studies. The standard music core, 33 credit hours, includes music theory, music history, basic conducting and voice training. Students will receive two years of basic voice lessons prior to one year of commercial voice study.
McCall believes, “This is a great way for students to engage and to better understand their calling.”
Being a successful worship leader involves more than connecting with the congregation through music. New trends in this course of study include administrative initiatives as well as a prudent understanding of technology. The curriculum seeks to include the various aspects of what this job now requires.
The program's goal is to teach the student to maintain vocal health while singing in a modern style. Students may choose either keyboard or guitar study to complement their voice training. The music core meets the National Association of Schools of Music accreditation standards for a Bachelor of Arts in Music. A second core area is worship studies.
In addition to classes in congregational song, church music education and worship leadership administration, Charleston Southern offers additional courses that focus on the history of worship, planning biblically sound worship services, worship technology and contemporary music theory and arranging.
A Christian studies core includes Old and New Testaments, systematic theology, Christian leadership and evangelism. Music and Worship Leadership students will graduate with a background in Christian doctrine and a solid biblical foundation to support worship planning and song writing.
Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern University is a private, four-year liberal arts college. CSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The university's vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.