School of Worship Leading

The School of Worship Leading (SOWL) gives current worship leaders the opportunity to develop and refine your skills, at a pace that suits you. The majority of this course is online and flexible around your availability.

This programme aims to take someone with a great heart and musical ability and mould you into a competent, trained and equipped worship leader for your church context. You will be trained by great worship leaders from all around Aotearoa in areas of leadership, song writing, musicianship, team building, technical, planning, confidence and spiritual development. 

If you have a passion for Worship Leading and want to further your ability then this could be for you. 

Who is it for?

The School of Worship Leading is for anyone who is currently worship leading or heading up worship music teams in their church, whether you are a total newbie or a seasoned Pastor. We highly recommend you have the full support of your church leadership to enrol in SOWL, as you learn new ideas and concepts that you may want to introduce.

What is it?

The School of Worship Leading offers courses you can sign up for at your own pace. Our training includes lecturers from different denominations to show our students that although we may differ on style, we still have the same purpose as worship leaders;

"A faithful worship leader magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by skillfully combining God's Word with music, thereby motivating the gathered church to proclaim the gospel, to cherish God's presence, and to live for God"- Bob Kauflin

We believe a great unity can happen when our differences are unified in the Spirit, and churches around New Zealand are seeing the same purpose outworking for the Glory of God, in their unique context.

What does it look like?

The courses run over a semester and you can sign up according to your availability, anywhere from committing to 2 hours a week for just a semester, all the way to doing an internship of 16 hours a week over a whole year which includes both study and practical ministry. 

There will also be a 1 day course each semester for all SOWL students. During these sessions all the SOWL students gather together to learn more about the What, How and Why of worship from some of NZ's Top Worship Leaders.

SOWL allows you to remain based in your local church and train alongside your ministry. You will also be required to find a mentor in your church community who will be trained by us to support you throughout your study.

What will I learn?

The teaching will be delivered primarily online with quality video training from some of New Zealand's key worship leaders and lecturers. This course endeavours to be a tool to up skill a person in the area of worship leading and to strengthen their local church in worship of God in a real and engaging way.

SOWL currently has five courses on offer; the Worship Leading Workbook, Worship Elective, Interpreting the Bible, Systematic Theology, and Supervised Practice (internship). For more detail see below.

What does it cost?

The cost of training through the School of Worship Leading depends on the credit value of each SOWL course you enrol for. The price per credit is $35.00 for students taking a course for credit, or $17.50 per credit if you want to audit a course.

Download the PDF below for more information about fees and costs associated with this programme. 

SOWL Courses

Worship Ministry Elective:

We take a look at Biblical worship and how that translates into our church context today. The goal is to apply the lessons of history and look forward to how we can encourage worship in our church setting. Through this course, different approaches to leading, rehearsing and songwriting will be discussed and applied.

Systematic Theology 1 and 2: 

You will be introduced to a range of theological concepts from the character of God to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, from eschatology to what it means to live in Christ. You will learn how to use different sources like Scripture, reason, tradition, the Spirit, and experience to formulate theology into application. There will be a clear emphasis on the theological issues that relate to worship.

Worship Leading Workbook:

Each week you will complete sections from this worship leading workbook, written and delivered by key worship leaders from around New Zealand. Each section is a short article accompanied by a 15 minute video, available online.

Supervised Ministry Training:

This course gives framework to the practical ministry component of the course if you choose to do an internship at your church through SOWL. It is designed to establish a good balance between ministry, academics and spiritual formation, covering aspects of supervision practices, goal setting and reflection processes.

Interpreting the Bible: 

Through online lectures and readings you will learn how to competently interpret different passages throughout the Bible. The focus will be on verses and topics around worship, and how to apply that as a worship leader.


Our students are required to choose a mentor. Your mentor will be someone you know who can support you throughout your study with Pathways, discussing any area of study or life that you may need help and encouragement in, whether its academics, ministry, or your spiritual life.

Questions to ask before you apply:

  • Do I feel God calling me to step up practically and spiritually in worship leading?
  • Can I give up 2-8 hours a week and also one day per semester for training and learning?
  • Am I willing to be open to new ideas and concepts of worship?
  • Do I have the support of my church family?

Video Resources for Group Training

Are you looking for resources you can use as a group of worship leaders? Some of our SOWL resources are available through Pathways College On Demand through a subscription scheme, to watch and discuss with your worship leaders or worship team in a timeframe that suits you. Subscribing to Pathways College On Demand also gives you access to other quality online courses  like Biblical Leadership and Spiritual Disciplines.

​Pathways has helped me so much with my confidence. I spend more time with God, and my renewed faith gets me through each day whether it be a good day or a bad one.​

School of Worship Leading, 2016


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