I wrote a post recently called “Do Worship Leaders Need to Go to Seminary?,” and I kinda answered the question by saying Yes & No. However, if seminary isn’t for you, then what other options are there?
I wanted to take a quick moment today to share with you 3 of my favorite alternatives to seminary, that I probably would have used myself if I didn’t choose to go to seminary and work full-time. PLEASE NOTE: these are not the only 3 alternatives or even the 3 BEST alternatives for you! I simply want to open your mind to some ideas and to get the wheels turning in your head about what is best for YOU!
With that in mind, here’s my brief thoughts on 3 great alternatives to seminary for Worship Leaders:
1. Worship Schools
Worship Schools are not a new idea, but they have really gained some momentum in recent years. These are typically home-grown groups that desire to help Worship Leaders grow and to build community with other Worship Leaders in a challenging environment. They focus on not just the theological part of what Worship Leaders do, but the practical side as well.
One school that really has my attention is Aaron Keyes’ school, 10,000 Fathers. One of my closest friends/mentors, Duane Mixon, brought the school to my attention and I’m incredibly impressed with the content, community, and fruit coming out of 10,000 Fathers. Aaron’s heart to raise up Worship Leaders who are more than song-singers is so encouraging, and knowing some of the leaders and students there, I can say that 10,000 Fathers is a GREAT option for your Worship School experience.
Whether paid or unpaid, Internships are some of the best ways to get some real-life ministry experience under your belt without having to invest too much capital. While you’ll likely be challenged and pushed, Internships can give you a perspective that you can’t have outside of physically being inside a functioning ministry.
One great internship is Church on the Move’s (COTM) NEXT Creative Internship. COTM is known for their creative excellence and consistency, but they are also an incredible church that cares deeply about seeing people become disciples of Jesus. This is also a great opportunity if you’re interested in any aspect of production or creative ministry. This is a one-year internship, and they really give their interns the opportunity to grow, learn, and lead.
3. Ministry Coaching
Finally, ministry coaching is a great, affordable option to help you grow as a worship leader. Essentially, ministry coaching is what it sounds like: finding someone who has ministry experience you would like to gain from and having them coach you. This can be a friendly relationship, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I would encourage you to find someone whom you can pay to have coach you as a Worship Leader. This can be a significant investment, but it’s still more affordable than a traditional seminary option.
A few great ministry coaching options include Worship Rocket, Worship Circle with Todd Fields, and Worship Leader Insights with Jason Hatley. Each of these options provides you with great content, great coaching, and great community with other Worship Leaders trying to grow themselves. My advice: find the coach who’s personality fits yours well. That relationship is important in coaching, and you shouldn’t overlook it.