Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

Worship as a Process:

Pastor learns technical, spiritual aspects of worship
Matthew Hann on advantages of worship leadership  degree program at Huntington University, a Christian college.

“My worship leadership classes have proved to be invaluable to my ministry.”

From planning a worship set and running rehearsals to leading a worship team and developing sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Matthew Hann says Huntington University prepared him for his position as associate pastor of worship and care/visitation at Jerusalem Chapel Church of the United Brethren in Christ.

“My worship leadership classes have proved to be invaluable to my ministry,” the 2007 graduate said. “I learned the importance of prayer and strategic planning when I put together a set list of songs for a worship gathering. I learned that you cannot just rush into the presence of God through music.”

Matthew says his courses in leadership provided him with practical leadership skills and materials that he uses daily. This includes the art of leading with boldness and sensitivity.

“I say ‘boldly’ because if God is telling me to lead the worship ministry in a new direction, then I need to realize that not everyone is going to be OK with change,” he said. “I say ‘sensitively’ because my church is experiencing transitions, and I realize that coping with changes will take a great deal of prayer, patience and understanding.”

Matthew’s practical experiences as a student gave him the confidence to lead worship full-time. For six months, he served in a church leading worship, preaching sermons and teaching Sunday school through his PRIME (Practical Research and Immersion through Ministry Effectiveness) internship. “It truly opened my eyes to what ministry life is like,” he said. “My experience with the PRIME internship reinforced the decision that I made to go into full-time ministry.”

In addition, Matthew was the worship coordinator for Joyful Noise, the university’s chapel worship team, an experience that helped him develop stronger musical, leadership and relational skills. “I felt a good connection with the students in the auditorium when the worship team and I were up on stage. With HU being a smaller school, I felt like I could look out and see a large group of friends praising God with me rather than a sea of faces that I didn’t know.”

His strong relationships also included faculty. “Dr. Bob Myers and the other ministry professors truly did care about me, and they did whatever they could to connect me with full-time ministry opportunities after graduation.”

Matthew is grateful that the ministry and missions department faculty stressed a central aspect of ministry: Caring.

“Several of my professors frequently emphasized the importance of caring for the people in our future congregations,” he said. “Ministry is really all about people. Through Jesus, we have a message to share with people. As ministers, we are called to come alongside of those people to encourage them, to lead and equip them, and to do everything that we can to help them live a life that is surrendered to our God.”

Spiritually, Matthew felt challenged by the variety of topics, speakers and performers from the university’s chapel services. God also used residence life to teach him about what it truly means to live in community. He says it was common to see a large group of residents in his hall worshipping God. “It was a blessing to live in such close proximity with people who love God. If they love God, then they also should love their neighbors. This kind of atmosphere is what I experienced in the residence halls of HU.”

Matthew encourages those who have an interest in pursuing a worship leadership degree to consider Huntington University. “At Huntington, you will have the chance to interact with great professors that will equip and guide you. You also will have opportunities to meet people from all over the country that are of other worship backgrounds. If you are looking for a great education that will prepare you to go into full-time worship ministry, then HU would be a very wise choice for you.”

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