School of Music


Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)


Donald Ellsworth


Church Assimilation, Church Membership, Worship, Worship Curriculum, Worship Pedagogy, Worship Principles


Music | Music Education | Music Practice | Music Theory


A review of current research reveals there is a deficit in several models for new membership classes among Christian churches. In reviewing the current model examples the introduction and explanation of worship to new members as part of the new membership curriculum is missing. This deficit has implications toward churches that are having challenges with church membership. One of the challenges includes members grasping the importance of worship and its impact on members assimilating into the local church body. To address the gap in literature and the challenges with understanding worship, research examining local church curricula and performing class observations of a church's membership classes are necessary. In response to what is necessary, this thesis project produces two critical elements. The first critical element is a rationale for including the topic of worship within a church's new membership curriculum. The second critical element is that this thesis project provides an explicit curriculum guide that integrates worship principles and pedagogy, which produces the New Members Unified Curriculum Guide. Greater effort needs to occur to help new members understand the relevance of worship for assimilating into the life of a church and the importance of developing a lifestyle of personal and corporate worship. This thesis project provides tools to encourage the efforts of local churches to address systematically new church members and their understanding of worship.