“Worship reveals who we are and where we are as a church, but it also forms us into what we are becoming.”
Dr. Betty Weatherby—a professor at Kingswood University—has a passion to develop students whose understanding of worship extends beyond the surface layer of musical performance.
“We are trying to train worship pastors, not just musicians. We certainly want to develop good musicians, but we want them to have a pastoral heart.” Dr. Weatherby shares, “Many still equate worship with music but music should be a means of tying worship together, not solely what worship is related to. A fuller understanding of worship will help us engage and experience God’s presence.”
After studying music in Bible college, Dr. Weatherby didn’t see clearly what God had in store for her musical talents until she began to attend church at Moncton Wesleyan—which created her first connection with the denomination. Her involvement in music there led her to a part-time teaching position at Bethany Bible College (now Kingswood University) where she taught music and piano for five years before being asked to direct the music ministry program full time.
“While I was teaching a course on church music I read my first book by Robert Webber about worship and a ‘light’ came on for me.” Dr. Weatherby shares, “My world of worship began to open up and my heart and mind became hungry to understand more.” In time, Dr. Weatherby began to shift the content of her classes to focus more on what true worship meant and less on musical development.
In 2008, Dr. Weatherby stepped down from the full-time position as director and felt God leading her to go back to school to develop her own education. She began attending the Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies in the fall of 2010. While Weatherby worked on her degree, she continued to teach at Kingswood part-time.
“I did not know if I would ever get to use the degree I was working on, but I knew it was the next step God wanted from me in obedience.” Dr. Weatherby shares, “I finished my degree in 2013 and the following summer Kingswood dropped their music ministry program and went toward a much stronger worship based program- The Worship Leading Program. In 2014, she came back on as a part time director of The Worship Leading Program—a clear call from God after her preparation through the Institute for Worship Studies.
“All pastors, not only worship pastors, can lead their congregations towards greater faithfulness in worship by recognizing worship and spiritual formation are two sides of the same coin.” Dr. Weatherby explains, “Worship reveals who we are and where we are as a church, but it also forms us into what we are becoming. It is important for pastors to educate the body and lead their people in a more robust understanding of worship. Scripture is an important part of worship and needs to be integrated into our worship. Even when some songs are based directly from Scripture, it is important to communicate how the music was derived so those who are worshiping can benefit from knowing it is God’s revelation to us”
Dr. Weatherby has a clear calling on her life to lead others in understanding what it truly means to worship. She believes God is speaking to the church by “brining renewal to its worship practices.” Dr. Weatherby served on the General Board from 2008 to 2016. She recently accepted an invitation to teach the upcoming FLAME course on Worship, through Zoom, beginning in January 2018.