Sweetwater, the music equipment and studio space company in Fort Wayne, Ind., recently featured the Grace College worship arts program in their Music Educators Technology Resource Directory. A portion of that story is included below, as reproduced at grace.edu. Click here to read the complete story.
Building the Worship Arts Program
Warsaw, Indiana, known as “The Orthopedic Capital of the World,” may not garner visions of a college on the cutting edge of modern worship. But nestled comfortably along the banks of the town’s beautiful Winona Lake is Grace College, a school that is just that. And though its worship program is still relatively young, it is already making a big impact.
Grace College boasts a long history of educating music pastors, but it had been years since it was a central focus. So a few years back, the school reached out to Minnesota-based worship pastor and educator Wally Brath about building a brand-new Worship Arts program, from the ground up. Brath was to craft a program with the tools and space necessary to prepare students for the rapidly advancing technology and methods of today’s modern worship industry.
With that goal in mind, Brath reached out to Sweetwater to help transform that passion and idea into a cutting-edge recording studio, a fully outfitted performance space, a high-tech MIDI lab and classroom, and more.
Brath was kind enough to invite Sweetwater to Grace College recently to see their success firsthand. While there, we discussed the genesis of the Worship Arts program, how Sweetwater continues to play a pivotal role, and where he sees the program going in the future.
How did the program evolve from a traditional college music program to the high-tech Worship Arts program you now have?
Back in the 1950s, Grace was focused on training pastors and missionaries. And then around three years ago, they started to reimagine what it would look like if they were to have a music program that was focused more on church ministry again and teaching people to serve the local church.
Our first class was in the fall of 2016. We began the first class in the fall of 2016 with 12 students. The following year we had 18 and this year (2019) we are working with 34 students.
What type of courses does the program offer?
The worship arts program is divided into different tracks for worship leaders, music directors, and music technology. We offer practical music courses such as music theory, applied lessons, ensembles, and recording classes. Other courses are focused on the theology of worship with courses like biblical theology of worship and history of Christian worship. Our goal is to train students to think like a theologian, labor like an artist, and shepherd like a pastor.
Sweetwater played a big role in outfitting the program. How did you come to work with us? When I got here, the head of the department had already begun that conversation and had [Sales Engineer] Michael Faz. They had a general plan of things they were going to need. But then we started thinking about a couple of years out. And we started thinking about the recording studio and the control room.
Click here to read the complete story.