Boyce College brings pastor, worship leader on board

Communications Staff — October 11, 2010

Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, sent a message recently naming Scott Connell as its new instructor of music and worship leadership.

“Connell brings to Boyce College the kind of experience we need to train the next generation of worship leaders,” said Denny Burk, dean of Boyce College and associate professor of New Testament.

“Over the years of his ministry, Connell has served both as worship leader and as senior pastor, and his ministry demonstrates the conviction that worship leadership is a part of the teaching ministry of the church. Thus he shares our commitment to music ministry as pastoral ministry. He embodies the leadership and expertise that we want to see reproduced in our graduates.”

Connell expressed similar enthusiasm for the opportunity to train the next generation of worship pastors in a robust and biblical manner.

“I am passionate about training young pastors,” Connell said. “I look back over my life and see that I had begun to create opportunities to draw young men to myself in small-group Bible studies, personal mentoring and pastoral internship programs. I want to teach them. I want to advance the next generation of pastors, and I want to make sure that they’re trained well whether it’s teaching ministry, music ministry, youth ministry or whatever. I want to contribute to a right understanding of ministry, and of course, any right understanding is Gospel-centered.”

Randy Stinson, dean of the School of Church Ministries at Southern Seminary, stated that Connell represents the defining principles that Boyce College and Southern Seminary seek to instill in students.

“I am personally excited about Connell being a part of the SBTS team,” Stinson said. “He embodies the threefold commitment of the School of Church Ministries in the areas of biblical worship, family discipleship and pastoral leadership. He is a pastor who leads worship, not a mere church musician, which is central to our new direction.”

Alongside embodying a commitment to the School of Church Ministries’ vision for pastoral leadership, Connell said he hopes to instill in students the correct priorities involved in leading congregations in worship.

“I want to successfully contribute to a process that encourages well rounded yet theologically trained worship pastors. Students should leave knowing that the Gospel is priority, that the brilliance and glory of God is priority, and also [they should] be able to rightly handle the word of God. Those three prongs are critical to being an effective worship pastor. Then we can add to those the priority of being musically equipped,” Connell said. 

Southern Seminary’s hiring of Connell comes at a strategic time in the life of the seminary and the further implementation of its vision to train well rounded and theologically equipped worship pastors. In 2009, Southern Seminary established the School of Church Ministries by merging the School of Church Music and the School of Leadership and Church Ministry. This took place after seminary leadership discovered that 80 percent of music ministers in Southern Baptist churches serve in dual roles such as in youth and children ministry. 

Connell’s ministry experience vividly illustrates this reality and underscores the need for the type of training Southern offers those called as worship pastors.

“My life is a testimony as to why the program [at SBTS] is the way to [train worship pastors] because I found myself trying to do things that I was ill-equipped to do,” Connell said.

“I feel like if [worship pastors] do not understand the Scriptures thoroughly enough to be able to plan worship from a truly pastoral perspective, they’re not being well equipped. It’s fine to be trained musically – in fact, it’s critical to be trained musically as well – but it’s not fine to be unable to take the Scriptures and rightly divide them and apply them to worship.  The God of worship is found in the Scriptures and His worth of worship is explained there.  A worship pastor must know how to study Him there if he intends to lead his people in worship.”

Connell comes to Southern Seminary having left his position as the senior pastor of New Covenant Church in Annapolis, Md. Prior to his current position at Boyce, he served in the respective roles of senior pastor, church planter, associate pastor, and music and youth pastor in churches in Tennessee, Texas and Maryland. In addition, he served five years as principal at Arnold Christian Academy in Arnold, Md., and has taught music in both public and private school settings for a number of years.

Connell holds a master of music in music ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor of science in music education from Tennessee Technological University. He has also done some graduate coursework with Reformed Theological Seminary. Originally from Cleveland, Tenn., Connell has been married 12 years to Mary, with whom he has seven children.

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