Curriculum Changes in Worship Leader Training at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1980 to 2019
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SubjectCultural Impact on Education
Worship Leader Training
The School of Church Music and Department of Biblical Worship at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has been training ministers of music, worship pastors, and worship leaders since 1944. During this span, the School of Church Music (SCM), School of Church Music and Worship (SCMW), and Department of Biblical Worship (DBW) have navigated significant changes occurring as a result of shifting worship styles, theological and political changes within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and leadership transitions at Southern Seminary. Because these challenges are not uncommon, documenting how the SCM, SCMW, and DBW responded to these changes remains an important story to tell.Chapter 1 serves as an introduction and historical overview to the dissertation. Chapter 2 recounts the early history of church music education at Southern Seminary between 1890 and 1944. Beginning with hymnology courses taught by one of the founding seminary faculty, John A. Broadus, this chapter follows the early music training of pastors occurring up to the founding of the SCM. Chapter 3 explores the beginnings of the SCM under the leadership of the seminary’s sixth president, Ellis Adams Fuller Sr. Chapter 4 surveys the life of the SCM at SBTS from 1952 to 2000. This chapter covers the longest period of growth under two deans, along with the beginning of its enrollment decline. Chapters 5 chronicles the continuing enrollment decline from 2000 to 2009 under the moniker of the School of Church Music and Worship, which led to the dissolution of the school and its transition to a department. Chapter 6 recounts multiple changes impacting worship leader training at Southern Seminary and identifies the significant curriculum and personnel changes used to bring about new life and revitalization for worship leader training at SBTS. Finally, chapter 7 provides conclusions and recommendations for further study, presenting a mission that is still in progress—teaching and training God-called men and women to help lead and guide churches in the SBC in their corporate worship.