The musical and performance arts are an important part of ministry training at OCC. Each tour group and production seeks not only to minister and entertain, but more importantly to honor God and worship him.
Worship Arts Staff
Matt Stafford is the director of Worship Arts Department at OCC and the director of the Creative Arts Academy. He has led and coached worship teams for the past thirty years in hundreds of different places across the country and has produced eight audio recordings. A faculty member for thirteen years, Matt currently teaches in the area of creative and technical arts, music, worship leadership and the book of Psalms. Matt’s education includes a Bachelor of Theology in Old Testament from Ozark Christian College and an M.A. in TESOL and Linguistics. He and his wife Joy have two college age sons, Aaron and Ethan.
Carolyn graduated from Ozark Christian College with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Counseling. She is the administrative assistant to the Worship Arts Department and the program administrator for the Creative Arts Academy, where she provides administrative support to the worship arts and creative arts programs. Carolyn lives in Joplin with her husband, Nick, and attends Bronaugh Christian Church where her husband is the preacher. She is a cat-lover who enjoys reading and doing calligraphy art. Her spirit animal is the ground hog.
Isaac serves at Ozark Christian College as faculty, the director of Frontline, and the chapel minister. Isaac has a B.A. from Milligan College and an M.A.R. (Arts & Religion) from Emmanuel Christian Seminary. His wife, Maggie, a proud Texan, is the Community Impact Minister at nearby Christ's Church of Oronogo. Isaac and Maggie have one son, Paxton, and are in the process of adopting from the Caribbean. Isaac is a rabid North Carolina Tar Heels basketball fan, thoroughly enjoys watching movies and TV, and loves things from his hometown of Atlanta, like Coke, Chick-fil-A, and the Atlanta Braves.
Andrea is the piano instructor for the piano classes and private lessons at OCC. She also serves as a vocal coach and worship leader alongside her husband, Josh Huckabay, creative arts pastor at College Heights Christian Church in Joplin. Andrea and Josh have four children, Madison (8), Micah (6), Isaiah (4), and Eden (3) and enjoy having a big family. Andrea's favorite times are spent hanging out with her husband, children, and a good cup of coffee.
Tamra Nelson graduated from OCC in 1998 with a Bachelor of Music Ministry. She has served as a choir director, worship leader and private voice teacher over the last 20 years. Since 2002, Tammy has served as Ozark's voice instructor, and she currently also serves as concert choir director. Tammy has been married for 26 years to Troy, and they have two children, Aaron (20) and Michaela (11).
Worship Arts Degrees
The worship arts program prepares students to lead churches in worship with musical excellence, theological depth and pastoral wisdom. Students will gain a solid foundation in music theory along with the vocal and instrumental musicianship needed to serve the church effectively. Recognizing the many roles that the worship leader fills, we graduate leaders who are tech-savvy, musically skilled and biblically grounded. With plenty of performance opportunities both on and off campus, students gain valuable experience under the guidance of proven mentors.
Worship Arts Facilities
With over 900 seats, the chapel is home to our weekly worship gathering and other campus events. Music, worship and creative arts students call the chapel their second home. Rehearse a worship team on the chapel stage, mix sound with a digital audio console, program an array of lights and design environments for sacred moments of worship. This is where it happens.
Our piano lab features eight digital pianos for classroom instruction, all with headphones for private practice. Each piano is linked to a computer workstation where students can notate their music as they play, practice their aural skills, and compose and arrange music using Finale software.
Creative Arts Lab
Our creative arts lab has five iMac workstations, loaded with software to make your vision come to life. Students have access to the full array of Adobe products, including Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, PremierPro and others. Each workstation has a MIDI keyboard for recording tracks using Ableton Live.
In addition to the chapel stage, worship teams rehearse in our audio lab, where students will find a Yamaha M7 mixing console, identical to the one in the chapel. This gives students plenty of hours of hands on experience with audio equipment. Coupled with an iMac workstation, this room also serves as a space for live audio recording.
Music Theory Classroom
In our Music Theory Classroom, students learn the fundamentals that will enable them to speak the universal language that is music. Foundational courses in music theory and skills prepare students to lead worship teams, create vocal and instrumental arrangements, compose music and share that music with others.
Worship Arts Careers
Worship arts majors gain experience they can use in a wide range of careers. Here are few career options that our grads have found in music and creative arts:
Worship leader: Churches are always looking for individuals with the musical skills and spiritual maturity needed to lead a congregation in worship each week. You’ll plan services, develop teams and serve as a pastoral musician.
Youth worship leader: Many churches employ youth leaders with worship leading ability. You'll disciple young people as you develop their musical skills.
Children’s worship leader: Teach children how to worship and give them them songs they'll remember for life.
Technical director: Manage the production needs of a church including audio, video, lighting and stage design.
Creative arts director: Dream up new ways of telling the gospel story that speak to all the senses, and lead a team to make it happen each week.
Music industry: Grow your talents in composition, recording, producing and publishing music.
Music teacher: Teach private lessons, or, with some additional education at MSSU, become a school music teacher.
Recording industry: Gain experience and learn to use the tools that will prepare you to be an audio engineer or producer.
Performance: Many local venues provide avenues for students to begin a career in music performance.
Accompanist: Churches, choirs and universities are always looking for great accompanists.
All prospective music and worship students must be auditioned by the music faculty before beginning a worship arts degree program. This includes those seeking a Music and Worship degree, an Associate of Arts in Music, and a minor in Worship Ministry.
- Vocal students should prepare two pieces of varying styles by memory, and vocalization to show voice range.
- Piano students should prepare two pieces of varying styles by memory, and major and minor scales, two octaves.
- Guitar students should prepare two pieces of varying styles (finger style, chord style) by memory and sight-read a piece by notation.
Auditions are held on the Friday morning of Welcome Week in August, and they should be scheduled with the Worship Arts Department administrative assistant (417.626.1234 ext. 2400) beginning August 1. Students living a great distance from the campus should make arrangements to be available on that date.
Candidates are expected to meet specific college entrance requirements. They will be accepted as full candidates for the degree or placed on probationary status from one to four semesters. Probationary status requires that the student show improvement in their major applied area, as well as potential for music ministry. The student will be evaluated at the end of each semester until full candidate status is reached.