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Worship Leader Institute

What’s a song leader to do? For decades there have been scarcely any opportunities to study a capella worship leading in an academic setting. Only in the past few years have universities begun instituting degrees in worship music. And even these programs won’t give you the secrets of the worship leaders who get invited to the big conferences – the ones who light up the room and get everyone singing.  Such courses can’t because they’re concentrated on Bible and music fluency almost exclusively. And who’s got four years to invest, anyway? You want to give your best for God and your congregation, but you’ve got to lead worship now.

Robert King teaches a session

What if you could get these secrets, all of them, in a week? Sound like a great opportunity? That’s what Keith Lancaster, founder of Acappella Ministries, has created with The Worship Leader Institute, the world’s premiere training resource for comprehensive a capella worship education.

But how are you able to load so much content into one week? It’s simple, because many of the secrets themselves are simple. In fact, at a subconscious level, you already know much of what makes for powerful, charismatic worship leading. It’s a matter of putting in the right work and getting coached.

To unlock your own potential as a worship leader, you need to:

  1. Learn the fundamentals so you know what to practice.
  2. Find a safe, comfortable outlet to practice and practice.
  3. Get feedback from experts and peers.
  4. Repeat.

Because The Worship Leader Institute uses this four-tiered structure and only includes the most relevant principles for worship leaders, we cover a lot more ground. But make no mistake, the time may be brief, but this is an advanced course for those willing to dedicate themselves to intensive coursework. We explore nearly every facet of what a worship leader does and what a worship leader needs. And it turns out, it’s a lot more than just starting and leading songs.

WLI’s curriculum centers on what we call holistic worship leading: the first three and a half hours of each day are reserved for core competencies like:

  • Bible Study – Scripture memorization – Scripture Recitation
  • Facial Expressions – Microphone Technique – Eye Contact
  • Stage presence – Body Language – Directing – Public Prayer
  • Transitions – Breath Control – Tempo Management – Dynamics/Contrasts
  • Extended Rests, Holds and Cut-Offs
  • And more

These abilities represent what we consider to be a non-negotiable skill set for effective worship leaders.

Holistic worship classes serve as the foundation for the institute, but you can expect a lot more after you apply to take part. The afternoon sessions of WLI detail practical conventions for advanced topics like music theory/ear training, voice care and management, worship planning, worship technology, vocal tuning, and conflict resolution.

There’s even exclusive content for students who return for the multi-year track, including additional one-to-one sessions with faculty, who include:

Shane Coffman, Worship Minister at Memorial Drive Church of Christ and Director of the Tulsa Workshop

Russ Corley, Director of Encouragement Ministries and Minister of the Madison Church of Christ

Gyula Cseszko, Choral and Orchestral conductor in Melbourne, Australia

Randy Gill, Worship Minister at Otter Creek Church in Nashville, Tennessee

Robert King, Choral director at Lipscomb in Nashville, Tennessee

Melissa Kirby, Speech language pathologist at Vanderbilt Voice Clinic

Anthony Lancaster, vocalist for the group Acappella and Worship Minister at the Madison Church of Christ.

Keith Lancaster, Musicianary at Park Plaza Church of Christ

Melissa Lancaster, Vice President of Acappella Ministries and Worship Coordinator for the Northfield Church

Gary MoyersAcappella vocalist and Worship Minister at the Broadway Church in Lubbock, Texas

Dr. Kelly Neill, associate professor at Harding University, serves as coordinator of the vocal division and conducts the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers

Robert Oglesby, Director of the Center for Youth and Family Ministry at Abilene Christian University.

Mike Rogers, Music professor at Abilene Christian University

Brian Sheppard, MS,LPC Therapist for the Babb Center

Yes, there are a lot of faces, but camaraderie is an integral component of your success at the institute, so we encourage bonding through paired exercises and shared meals. After the institute is over, you will be added to a private networking group for alumni, allowing you to utilize other students’ experience and feedback well into the future. We feel this network is one of the most valuable ongoing resources you will receive.

So, there it is. As a worship leader, you know you’ve been charged with a sacred task. You want to take your job seriously, giving your best for God’s glory. Discover the art of the craft. Equip yourself with tools that fit your calling. Cultivate a skill set and relationships that will last through eternity. Apply for The Worship Leader Institute now to begin your journey into excellence.


“It was more challenging than any business seminar. The experience greatly exceeded my expectations.” – Joe Lennon, former president of Fidelity retail distribution, Mansfield, Massachusetts

“This is probably the most rewarding experience I’ve had in my life.” – Mark Shinnerer, a four year student from the Sunset Church in Carlsbad, New Mexico.