A student leads worship at North Central.

Worship Leading

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Worship Leading at a glance

North Central’s Worship Leading major will prepare you for your calling as a worship leader in a variety of settings. Our vibrant Christian community will help you grow in your faith as you pursue your passion to praise God through spirit-filled worship. North Central’s world-class music program, state-of-the-art facilities, and relationships with local churches will give you both real-world experience and invaluable connections. Plus, you’ll have opportunities to join one of our student-led worship teams.

Considering a career in worship leading? Read our article on 7 reasons to get worship leader training.

What sets us apart

A student plays the keyboard.

We offer Music Scholarships worth up to $3,000 per year.

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Audition to earn a Music Scholarship

The College of Fine Arts awards Music Scholarships up to $3,000 per year for students interested in pursuing their calling as a musician. Scholarships are awarded based on your audition and interview with faculty. These awards aren’t need-based and are renewable for up to 4 years, provided you continue to meet the scholarship requirements.

Visit our financial aid site to learn more about Music Scholarships and how you can apply.

A professor works with students in McPherson Studios.
State-of-the-art facilities

Our McPherson Studios feature the latest recording technology and studio spaces.

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Gain hands-on experience in our state-of-the-art facilities

McPherson Studios is North Central’s state-of-the-art recording facility, featuring the latest equipment and technology including a Pro Tools HD system (loaded featuring McDSPand Antares plug-ins) with a Digidesign Control 24 interface, Genelec and Westlake monitors, and a wide selection of microphones and outboard equipment. Our Control Room is a great place to work with comfortable leather sofas and a warm atmosphere. The Studio A recording room is over 1200 square feet with enough room to record a choir, a big band, or an orchestra. Studio A also features a Yamaha grand piano with full MIDI capability. There are two additional rooms when isolation is needed for the session.

Artists who have recorded with us:

  • Sara Groves
  • Ben Gowell
  • Kristi Northrup
  • David Pedde
  • David Juve
  • Sovereign Grace Music Kids Project
  • Jeff Kerr and River Valley Worship Team
  • David Santisteven
  • Emmanuel Christian Center Youth Worship Team
A worship team at North Central University. What is a worship leader blog.
World-class worship teams

Joining a worship team gives you opportunities to lead spirit-filled worship.

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Join one of our highly-talented worship teams

North Central’s worship teams are known locally and nationally for their vibrant, dynamic worship, talented musicians, and passionate, spirit-filled ministry. From premiere touring performance group One Accord, led by renowned singer/songwriter Jeff Deyo, to chapel teams like Worship Live, we offer opportunities for students to express their love for God, pursue their love of music, and lead music ministries on campus and in the community.

Here are some of the highlights:

One Accord
North Central’s premiere touring performance group, One Accord is composed of current students under the direction of singer/songwriter Jeff Deyo.

Worship Live
Worship Live serves as the primary worship team for our daily Chapel services.

Soulful Prayze
Soulful Prayze is North Central’s multicultural worship team. The group performs music from a variety of cultures and leads North Central students in truly diverse worship experiences.

RENDER is our completely student-led Chapel service, taking place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during most of the semester. RENDER is a unique opportunity for students to take the lead in all aspects of a chapel experience, from coordinating and planning the services, to participating on worship teams, to preaching.

  • Skills you’ll gain

    When you graduate from the Worship Leading program, you’ll be prepared to:

    • Lead worship and music ministry in church settings
    • Use music to worship, bring God’s Word to life, evangelize, disciple others, and further God’s work
    • Effectively use multimedia presentations
    • Play the piano and guitar proficiently
    • Apply written and aural music theory
    • Conduct
    • Write original worship songs
    • Oversee administration—organize, manage time, create budgets, understand public and staff relations
  • Requirements

    To ensure that you’re prepared as an experienced, highly-skilled musician, we have a few extra requirements for our Worship Leading majors.

    • Ensemble participation—You need to participate in at least one ensemble each semester. You can choose from: Woman’s Chorus, Festival Chorus, Chorale (audition only), Rhythm Players, Jazz Workshop ( upperclassmen), String Ensemble
    • Recital performance classYou’ll register for this class each semester to prepare for your senior recital, perform on your primary instrument, and learn recital etiquette.
    • Recital attendanceYou’ll be expected to attend all recital classes, senior recitals, and faculty recitals.
    • Conducting labThis class serves as the choir for the senior recitals of Music Pastor and Music Education majors.
    • Applied lessons—You’ll take music lessons in one major instrument and one minor instrument. You can choose from the following: piano, voice, guitar, drums, bass guitar, violin, flute, cello, saxophone, trumpet and french horn. Piano is the minor instrument for anyone who isn’t a piano major.
    • Theory Placement Exam—You’ll take the theory placement exam before you enter the Worship Leading program or register for classes.
    • Jury exams—You’ll take final jury exams at the end of each semester. At jury exams, you’ll perform pieces you’ve studied that semester.
    • Piano and guitar proficiency—You’ll be required to demonstrate piano and guitar proficiency by the end of your fourth semester of theory.
    • Entrance audition (for transfer students and sophomores)—If you’re transferring to North Central or at sophomore status you’ll complete an entrance audition.
    • Senior project/recital—All Worship Leading majors need to complete a senior project and perform a senior recital to finish their degree. A junior recital will also be completed prior to approval for the senior recital.
  • Internships

    You’ll participate in an internship as part of your program. Your internship will prepare you with real-world experience and valuable connections as you follow your calling as a worship leader.

  • Supporting programs

    We want you to be well-rounded and well-prepared when you graduate, so you’ll have the opportunity to choose a minor or supporting program so you can explore another area of interest. Here are some possibilities:

    • Campus Missions
    • Evangelism & Church Planting
    • Intercultural Studies
    • Leadership Development
    • Media Production
    • Theatre
    • Urban Studies
    • Youth Ministries

    See the full list of minors and supporting programs.

Worship Leading alum Ryan Williams.
Lead Worship Pastor, River Valley Church

Ryan Williams '07
Apple Valley, MN

"NCU’s music program really propelled me into what I’m doing now. I enjoyed endless hands-on opportunities to get better at my craft. North Central has always had a way of fostering the presence of God. Believe me when I say there is something special in the atmosphere. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?"


All students must complete the General Education Core and Christian Studies Core. General electives may be added or an optional minor may be selected. You need 124 total credit hours to complete the Worship Leading degree.

Watch the new Worship Live single, performed and recorded by NCU students and alumni!

Meet one of your professors
Faculty Vinnie Zarlettie

Mensing 101

Vinnie Zarletti

Assistant Professor of Worship Arts

I am originally from Kenosha, WI (go Pack go!), and am married to my high school sweetheart (Justine). We have three amazing kids (Vinnie, Sofie, and Santino), and live in Princeton, MN (way north!). As a graduate of NCU (B.A. Music, 2002), I have had a love for the school for more than half of my life, and truly enjoy teaching here! Since graduating, I have served the local church in music ministry for over 12 years (serving in Orlando, FL and Princeton, MN). It has been my pleasure to lead people in worship through these years, and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the next generation of worship leaders and music pastors here at NCU.

What are your areas of expertise?

Worship Studies and Musical Worship Leadership in the Local Church

What do you love about teaching at North Central?

I love the culture of NCU and the impact that it has around the world. It is an honor to work with such incredible students!

What are your favorite classes to teach?

Theology of Christian Worship (339). Worship is so much bigger than we think it is! This class helps us to connect to God’s Story and explore the truth that Christian worship leads us to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.