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OBU Music to Host Panel Discussion on Transformational Worship April 18

April 8, 2021

The Division of Music and the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts at OBU will host a panel discussion April 18 titled, “Transformational Worship: Rethinking the Formative Nature of Weekly Corporate Worship.” The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Yarborough Auditorium.

The panel discussion will focus on the biblical and historical guidelines of corporate worship as well as practical applications for the purpose of forming the local church and its members. The panel will consist of participants from three universities and seminaries, including Dr. Chris Mathews, dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts at OBU; Dr. Ray Van Neste, dean of the School of Theology and Missions at Union University; and Dr. Scott Aniol, associate professor of church music and worship at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Matthew Halsted, associate professor of biblical studies at Eternity Bible College, will moderate the panel discussion.

Mathews is looking forward to the discussion and to hosting it here on the OBU campus.

“Dr. Van Neste and I have had an ongoing conversation for years regarding the purpose of corporate worship, both of us believing that an essential component is the formation of the worshiper,” he said. “When we saw that Dr. Aniol was going to be on campus as part of a separate event hosted by the Baptist Church Music Conference, we asked if he would like to join our conversation. When he agreed, we decided to open part of our conversation to any who may want to listen and engage, thus our panel discussion Sunday evening.”

Mathews noted that OBU has a long history of producing outstanding worship leaders and music ministers, encouraging those called to worship leadership to come to OBU for their education.

“OBU continues to offer our students training and a degree in worship leadership as well as opportunities and tools for our local leaders. As we have been for decades, we are committed to providing the best education possible and the knowledge, skills and examples that effectively equip ministers to equip congregations to the glory of God.”

Dr. Chris Mathews is the dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts and professor of music at OBU. He also serves as director for multiple vocal ensembles within the Division of Music. Before coming to OBU in 2016, he served for eight years as chair of the Department of Music at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Prior to that time, he was director of choral activities at Clemson University and has served churches in part- and full-time capacities in Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, South Carolina and Oklahoma. Choirs under his direction have performed in prestigious venues in the United States and Europe, including the National Cathedral, the St. Louis Basilica, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, as well as for state and national conferences of the National Association for Music Education.

He earned a Bachelor of Music in sacred music with a major in piano and a minor in organ from Union University, graduating summa cum laude. He then earned a Master of Music in choral conducting from Southwest Missouri State University. He later earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting from the University of Kentucky, receiving a graduate certificate in music theory pedagogy.

Dr. Ray Van Neste is dean of the School of Theology and Missions at Union University. Before assuming his role as dean in 2018, he served as professor of biblical studies and the director of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies at Union. He has been a member of the Union faculty since 2001. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Union and a Master of Arts from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He then earned a Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

He has published numerous books and scholarly essays on topics such as biblical studies, pastoral ministry and church history. In addition to being a professor and dean, he is an ordained minister, preaching and teaching often in local churches. He has served in pastoral or other roles in Baptist congregations in Tennessee, Wisconsin and Scotland. He also serves on the editorial board of the Southeastern Theological Review and on the Board of Reference for Eagle Projects International, a missions organization. He helped to start and currently leads the study group on the Pastoral Epistles in the Evangelical Theological Society. He manages the website,, which reports on the work of this study group and other research related to the Pastoral Epistles.

Dr. Scott Aniol is associate professor of church music and worship at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also an author, speaker, and teacher of worship, church music philosophy, culture and aesthetics. He regularly lectures around the country in churches, conferences, colleges and seminaries. He has also lectured in conferences and seminaries in Australia, Brazil and Hong Kong. He earned a Bachelor of Music at Bob Jones University, Master of Music at Northern Illinois University, Master of Theological Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. also from Southwestern.

He is the author of three books, “Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship,” “Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World,” and “By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture,” as well as dozens of articles. He also serves as editor-in-chief of “Artistic Theologian,” a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal of worship and ministry arts published by the School of Church Music and Worship at Southwestern. He serves as chair of the Biblical Worship Section of the Evangelical Theological Society.

He encourages churches to allow the Bible to regulate their worship instead of the prevailing culture, brought about by pastors and church musicians having a thorough understanding about what scripture teaches regarding worship, beauty and culture, subjects he has given his life to studying and teaching.