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Center for African American Worship Studies

In the spirit of a holistic approach to ministry training, Trevecca has joined with strategic African American leadership across the country to establish its Center for African American Worship Studies.

The Purpose

The Mission of the Center for African American Worship Studies is to train and equip worship leaders to disciple and nurture local church ministries into thriving, healthy congregations.  In the process, we seek to help develop local church assemblies into Christ-honoring, thriving, biblical, community-sensitive congregations. This center is designed to support congregations through the equipping of dynamic, gifted and talented students for spiritual leadership and service in church congregations within multiple denominational contexts around the world. 

The Center for African American Worship Studies at Trevecca is the only college, university, seminary or divinity school offering worship studies workshops, boot camps and degree programs exclusively focusing on equipping leadership for church congregations. 

Objectives & Core Values:

Broad objectives for the Center portray and represent the value of African American congregational worship as a viable and imperative equipping resource for the local church, building bridges for racial reconciliation, social justice, discipleship and spiritual formation. Core values of the Center include developing a culture and environment committed to teaching fellow believers how to: 

  • Assemble in the name of Jesus; 
  • Confirm their calling; 
  • Cultivate spiritual discernment; 
  • Encourage unified worship; 
  • Engage community reconciliation; 
  • Practice ethnic diversity; and
  • Fortify spiritual graces.
Mission and Leadership

The vision, focus, mission and goals for the Center fit within Trevecca’s mission to equip leaders and nurture servants. Trevecca, as a university and haven for higher education, and the Center, as an equipping agent, form an incredibly efficient mission partnership. Equipping musicians from the church to be leaders in and stewards of their own local congregational communities is also consistent with the purposes of the School of Music and Worship Arts at Trevecca, the endorsing agency to which the the Center is responsible.

Dr. Stephen Newby is director of the Center for African American Worship Studies at Trevecca and chairperson of the Center's Advisory Council. He serves as a worship leader/composer and professor of music at Seattle Pacific University.

The Advisory Council includes: 

  • Dr. Oscar Williams, adjunct professor of African American worship; educator and director of creative worship, T.D. Jakes Ministries
  • Roderick L. Hairston, M.A., adjunct instructor of worship studies; author, speaker, and senior pastor of Messiah Community Church
  • Dr. Eddie Robinson, adjunct professor of worship studies; vice president of the Dorsey Choir Conference; worship pastor, Springfield Missionary Baptist Church, Conyers, Georgia
  • Madelyn Howze, adjunct instructor of worship studies; worship pastor, Mount Zion Baptist Church, Nashville
  • Bishop Dr. Lester Taylor, adjunct professor of worship theology; president of the General Baptist Convention in New Jersey, Inc.; pastor of Community Baptist Church, Englewood, New Jersey
  • Babbie Mason, adjunct instructor of spiritual formation and worship; gospel singer, songwriter, recording artist and author
  • Dr. Emmett Price, pastor, adjunct professor of multicultural worship; professor at Gordon-Conwell College with extensive work in the field of ethnomusicology
  • Dr. Raymond Wise, adjunct professor of African American worship; gospel choir clinician, worship pastor, director of African American studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana