School of Worship Leading

Plan for Your Pathway Now. Enrolments for 2020 Are Open

Drawing on the expertise of some of Aotearoa NZ’s most experienced worship leaders, the Pathways School of Worship Leading (SOWL) exists to help you grow as a worship leader, to develop and refine your skills at a pace that suits you.

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 are looking for resources you can use for training as a worship team, ask us about accessing our SOWL resources through Pathways College On Demand.

Semester Dates

Semester 1: 17 February - 3 July
Enrolment cut-off date: 7 February 2020

Semester 2: 27 July - 11 December
Enrolment cut-off date: 17 July 2020

Who is it for?

SOWL is for anyone who is worship leading or heading up worship teams in their church, whether you are a total newbie or a seasoned Pastor. We 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, 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 with guest speakers to explore more of the What, How and Why of worship.
Semester 1 2020: Saturday February 29th, 10am-5pm, Auckland

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 (ministry component). 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. See our fee schedule for the details.

SOWL Courses

Biblical Worship: Then and Now
5 credits

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:
10 credits

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
5 credits

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.

Interpreting the Bible: 
10 credits

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.

Supervised Ministry Training:
30 credits

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.


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 at your church, or with your whole worship team? 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 PCOD 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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