GCU to offer new Worship Arts curriculum led by Christian singer

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Grand Canyon University is teaming up with Christian music singer Bart Millard to offer a new Worship Arts program. GCU's new program is designed to prepare students for careers ranging from national recording artists to worship leaders at local churches.

Millard is the lead singer of Grammy nominated, American Music and Dove Award winning band MercyMe. He says he was attracted to Grand Canyon's Center for Worship Arts because – unlike many programs that are performance-based and run out of a music college – GCU's combines both a ministry component and performance component and is based in its College of Theology.

"They're going it right. They're breaking the mold," Millard told Gina Maravilla on Wednesday's Good Morning Arizona. "It's less about tradition and more about being relevant for students where they are now."

The centerpiece of GCU's Center for Worship Arts will be a performance band that will write its own songs, release records and tour the country.

Beyond that, however, the program will train students in all aspects of the music industry. The emphasis in digital media appeals to learners who have a desire to combine visual storytelling and media production with Christian music and ministry.

The program equips learners with technical and visual storytelling skills, to create high-quality audio, video and graphics for short or long-format video productions. The program enables scholars to lead in ministry with integrity and skill.

The program will offer four emphases – digital media, worship production, worship management and worship ministry – and incorporate courses from GCU's College of Theology, the Ken Blanchard College of Business and the College of Fine Arts and Production to help students develop the skills necessary for contemporary worship and ministry. The program, which starts in the fall of 2014, includes 32 credit hours of theology across the four-year program.

Bart Millard is best known as the founder and lead singer of MercyMe. The band is famous around the world for their hit singles "I Can Only Imagine" and "Word of God Speak." For more information on MercyMe, visit mercyme.org.

For more information on GCU's worship arts program, call 1-855-428-8529. Or visit: gcu.edu/worshiparts.