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John Woods - MDIV/MM Degree, Class of 2009
As the landscape of church music continues to expand and deepen, there are many universities who have chosen to focus on one particular musical style or liturgical expression. Yet as an active pastor of music and worship, I am so thankful that Baylor did not. Instead of limiting academic study and practical experience to a narrow genre, Baylor continued to grow its training, allowing me to be successful in any environment for worship. Historical liturgy, philosophical understanding, biblical exegesis, contemporary instrumentation, classical orchestration, strong administration, and artistic imagery-all were given voice and training during my time at Baylor.
Looking back, my broad understanding and deep conviction born at Baylor have allowed me to say "yes" to God each time I am given the opportunity to lead any form of worship. Perhaps most meaningful, being able to build bridges between styles and expressions began at Baylor, as I spent one-on-one time with innovators in church music: people like David Crowder, Anton Armstrong, Pablo Sosa, and Gloria Gaither. These conversations enriched my class work, helping me make connections between the academic and professional world.
Baylor prepared me to be able to enter a full-time position as a pastor of music and worship, leading choirs, children, bands, and orchestras, while at the same time teaching studies on worship, training youth to lead a congregation successfully, and bringing seemingly divergent tastes and expressions together in one worship service. And as I move forward, God has given me the Baylor church music faculty, who are now my friends and colleagues, to lean on anytime I need new perspective. I came to Baylor with a calling and I left with the tools to honor God through that calling.