My Journey Since the Doctorate

“What are you going to do with your Doctorate?”  I heard that question a lot.  Graduating from the Institute of Worship Studies was much like graduating from the Music Conservatory.  I waited a week for someone to call and beg me to do this thing that makes me feel like a man on fire: teaching on Worship.  When the phone didn’t ring, I decided to get busy.  My studies at IWS had provoked many questions, such as ‘what makes worship Christian?’ and ‘what makes it Worship?’  I also had many questions from my own study, including ‘Why should we gather? Culture vs. Content; Individual vs. Corporate vs. Lifestyle worship; Right vs. Wrong worship; Etc.  These questions provided the impetus to write a philosophy of worship.

IWS was my midlife crisis.  It represented a change of passion from being a trumpet player to training the next generation of Worship Leaders.  The Doctorate opened the door to some part-time teaching at Azusa Pacific University, and equipped me to write curriculum for a new Graduate Worship Leadership emphasis they were offering.  Still, I wanted to influence the Contemporary Worship scene, which seemed to be the offspring of the Jesus Movement that had birthed my faith.

My mantra was, “I couldn’t wait for success; I had to go ahead without it,” (Jonathan Winters), and I began to develop worship resources for the Church.  Since I was and am unknown in this arena, and since I was burning for the next generation, I decided the Internet would my conduit for delivery.  To my shame, the thing that made me hesitate was the difficulty in monetizing a medium where people expect to get something for free.  My wife finally asked the illuminating question: “Do you want to influence the Church and grow the Kingdom of God, or do you want to make money?”  Ouch!

I reduced my teaching and playing load to part-time so that I would have time to write, dream and do.  I developed a type of expository worship called “Roadmaps For Worship,” designed to nudge Evangelicals back towards the pattern of Revelation/Response.  I launched a worship-education website by the same name (RoadmapsForWorship.com), and released an iPhone application so that the guys I was discipling could worship during their commutes to work.  At a friend’s suggestion, I began writing, filming and distributing short teaching videos to be used by others in worship education, and my wife and I released “Anamnesis,” our 7th CD (Hymns redone).  I developed a Video-Practicum to help Musician-Theologians refine this crazy synergy of skill, knowledge and heart.  I’ve also done some Church consulting, and have taught the occasional seminar.  Currently, I’m writing a textbook called “The Making of a Worship Leader” which will be an eBook combining philosophy with praxis, and will facilitate linkage to both Scripture and graphics.

Returning to the original question of what I will do with my doctorate: as of this writing, I have made very little money from the above resources (I’m pathetic at marketing), and have never been happier. I am not sure what the next “thing” is, but I believe phones will be central to the dissemination of worship resources.  They are quickly becoming people’s computer-of-choice, Bible, audio player, textbook, study resource, video library and ministry network.  The streaming-audio Internet players currently available will enable people or groups to host their own radio station, be easily monetized, and will expand educational possibilities exponentially, with video players to follow.  Education will continue to evolve and decentralize along with the technology that facilitates it.

The Institute of Worship Studies delivered the goods.  The curriculum, faculty and students were more than worth the price of admission.  It was a delightfully “ruinous work” in my life, and I’ll be forever thankful for the Institute’s edge, flavor, freedom, community and vision.  I developed life-long friends/colleagues, and had a blast doing it.  As Auntie Mame says, “Life is a banquet, and most people are starving to death” (censored).  IWS truly was a banquet.  I am still working on the leftovers, and am digging the journey.  That’s what I’m doing with my Doctorate!

Rss Feed Facebook button Youtube button