The School of Worship Leading exists to empower you as a worship leader, and to see our church communities engaging in deeper and more transformative worship. Learn more about the Biblical, Spiritual and Practical elements of worship and worship leading from some of Aotearoa’s most experienced worship leaders, both online and at SoWL days.

This online 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 worship leaders from all around Aotearoa in areas of leadership, song writing, musicianship, team building, technical, planning, confidence and spiritual development.

Semester Dates 2022

Semester 1: 14 Feb - 01 July
Enrolment cut-off date: 07 Feb 2022

Semester 2: 25 July - 9 December
Enrolment cut-off date: 18 July 2021

Who is it for?

The SoWL programme 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 programme offers courses you can sign up for at your own pace, to complete part-time over 1 or 2 years. 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 3 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.

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.

The SoWL programme consists of five courses; Worship Leading, Biblical Worship: Then and Now, Interpreting the Bible, Systematic Theology, and Supervised Ministry Training. 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 information for the details.

SoWL Courses

Biblical Worship: Then and Now 5 credits

This course will help you understand the purpose and context of worship, including the role of music in Christian worship. 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 arranging will be discussed and applied.

Worship Leading 5 credits

You will be trained by worship leaders from all around Aotearoa in areas of leadership, musicianship, team building, technical, planning, confidence and spiritual development. Each week you will work through the Worship Workbook, a compilation of articles and videos, unpacking the role of a worship leader. This course involves a worship leading practicum assessment where you will plan towards and reflect on your leading and growth.

Interpreting the Bible 10 credits

This course helps you build a method for opening the Bible up so that it can be interpreted and applied accurately. When this course in undertaken as a part of SoWL, the student will complete assessments specific to their worship ministry context.

Systematic Theology 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 an emphasis on the theological issues that relate to worship for assessments.

Supervised Ministry Training 30 credits

This course gives framework to the practical component of your ministry involvement in worship leading, and this spans the entire time you are enrolled as a SoWL student. 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 3-16 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?


Though Pathways College of Bible & Mission is accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and is a Category 2 provider, the SoWL certificate programme is not accredited. This means a student will be awarded a non-NZQA certificate of completion after successfully meeting all programme requirements.

SoWL Days

Are you involved with worship at church, or just interested in finding out more? Come to our next SoWL Day on Saturday, 13 August 2022 at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Tauranga.

Be inspired, equipped and empowered to capably lead your congregations in Spirit-led and Christ-centred worship.

Guest Speakers

Each SoWL day features different content, and a variety of guest speakers and topics.  In August you will be blessed to hear from:

  • Rosie Devery Pathways College SoWL Coordinator and Educator, Tauranga
  • Chris Opie Worship Development Coach, Chase Oaks Church, Texas

​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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