Published on January 31, 2024 by Anne Madison Adcock  
jonathan rodgers headshot1

Jonathan Rodgers, director of the Samford Worship Collective and Samford University’s area coordinator of music and worship, recently received two significant grants to make an impact on the worship community and spiritual life both on and off Samford’s campus. The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship awarded him a Teacher-Scholar Grant. This program is made possible through a Vital Worship, Vital Preaching Grant from the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with funds provided by the Lilly Endowment, Inc.  He was also honored with an Innovative Technology Grant by Samford University. Rodgers plans to utilize these grants to enhance the worship experience and also provide a comprehensive understanding of current practices.

“I’m particularly excited about these two grant initiatives and the impact they will have on both current and future students as well as the churches we seek to serve beyond our campus,” said Rodgers.

He will use the Teacher-Scholar Grant to conduct a thorough survey of Southern Baptist churches in Alabama, aiming to understand their musical worship practices and personnel on a typical Sunday. The research will offer a clear picture of how musical worship is conducted post-pandemic. The goal is to uncover the new "norm," what's working, and areas of potential development. He hopes to share this information with churches, helping them realize they are not alone in their approach and inspiring them with successful practices from other churches. Moreover, the research will serve as a guide to entities like Lifeway, universities, seminaries and denominational leadership to equip churches and prepare future leaders more effectively.

“The Calvin Teacher-Scholar grant will support research to gain a better understanding of the ever-shifting landscape of worship in today’s churches,” said Rodgers. “This, in turn, helps us better prepare future leaders to understand and navigate that landscape when they step into ministry positions after graduation.”

samford worship collective members

Rodgers with Samford Worship Collective team members

The Innovative Technology Grant from Samford University will allow him to create a modern band rehearsal space, integrating in-ear monitoring technology. This technology allows students to hear themselves better, enhancing their performance while minimizing the risk of hearing damage. Rodgers exclaims he is thrilled to give students the opportunity to train on equipment that is becoming commonplace in many churches.

With the combination of his grants, Rodgers is on a path to make a significant contribution to Christian worship. His work exemplifies a commitment to fostering spiritual growth across Samford’s campus and beyond.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.