New HIU Center for Music & Worship Arts Officially Unveiled

Posted: April 18, 2015

Hope International University’s mission of equipping students to impact the world for Christ is realized through the lives of HIU students and graduates who apply their knowledge in their respective areas of service.  On Saturday, April 18, HIU’s Pacific Christian College of Ministry and Biblical Studies (PCC) cut the ribbon on HIU’s new Center for Music and Worship Arts, purposefully designed to equip future worship leaders and worship teams, allowing them to learn from mentors and coaches who already are successful worship ministers, leaders and musicians.

“HIU’s goal is to produce leaders who develop exemplary talents and skills in their respective callings,” said President John L. Derry, “Impacting the world requires the best preparation, and the Center for Music and Worship Arts will provide that.”

The idea for the Center was born when Music Professor Joseph Cho came to PCC Dean Joe Grana and suggested that they meet with Tom Brooks, a professional musician and worship leader who desires to help students learn the art of worship.  After meeting with University administration, Brooks agreed to lead the Center, and will utilize his own recording studio and contacts in the Christian music industry as resources for the program and its students.

Brooks is well known for his work as Producer, Arranger, Engineer, and Keyboardist on the “Hosanna Music” Praise & Worship series from Integrity Music.  He has produced more than 100 well-loved Christian albums, including several Gold and Platinum records, as well as Grammy and GMA Dove Award winners. He has also worked with a number of rock and other artists, and is the founder of Worship Alliance, a group of Christian artists and musicians dedicated to “bringing people into God’s Presence through music.” He serves on the worship team at nearby Saddleback Church.

“Tom is extremely well connected,” said Grana.  “He flies at the 40,000-foot level and sees a broad landscape.  He has a vision for the church and young people, and how this program can strengthen the ministry of worship.”

Many of the Center’s students will be earning a bachelor’s degree in Worship Arts, and this program serves as an enhancement to that degree.  These students will be taught by part-time faculty mentor/coaches, who work full-time in ministry.  Each mentor/coach will work with teams of five students to develop their skills, knowledge, and practical training.  The program includes both pre-internship and practicum elements that place students in real ministry and worship environments.  It is expected that the program will often feature guest lecturers from the Christian music recording industry.

Grana believes that the philosophy of this program will prepare students to lead congregations in the model of worship that the Christian philosopher, Kierkegaard, compared to theater.  “Kierkegaard protested the typical worship scenario that sets up the leaders as the ‘players’ and the congregation as the audience,” said Grana.  “The truth is that the worship leaders should be helping prompt the congregation as ‘players,’ too, and all the players are playing for God, an audience of one.”