by alexa mangrum
For PLNU alumnus Will Shine (’10), a music ministries major, music has always provided the perfect medium to translate to others how vocation and faith may interact.
A San Diego County native, Shine grew up with two parents who fostered a love of music into him at an early age.
However, it was Shine’s education at PLNU that truly offered him the opportunity to transform his approach to music into an outlet for ministry as well. Before embarking on a brief musical tour in Scotland, Shine stopped in San Diego from his present location of Kaneohe, Hawaii, last March.
Now the creative arts and worship director at Windward Nazarene Church and Academy, Shine discussed with The Point Weekly his background and beliefs about how music can communicate Christ.
Point Weekly: At what age did music enter your childhood?
Will Shine: I started playing as a kid. My dad was a professional guitar player for most of his life, and music was always all around me. I was an only child and my parents’ solution to that was when I was eight they bought me a drum set, and I was recruited by my dad as a local touring member for his classic rock and roll cover band, and I’ve been playing ever since.
PW: You graduated with a degree in music ministry, a pretty unique major. What influenced your decision to pursue this degree, and to choose PLNU for college?
WS: My senior year of high school, I got really into drums and was a year away from pursuing a music school, but I didn’t read a note of music. So a buddy of mine was going [to PLNU] and he was like, “You’ve gotta apply.”
I went into my admissions interview [at PLNU] thinking I was passionate about history. My dad was [also] a teacher, and I was like, “This is a good gig.” The admissions counselor saw I was plugged into my church [during high school] and that I had been developing a youth program there, and said, “You know we have a music ministry degree,” and that was the rest of the story. I was like, “Sign me up!” Why not take advantage of the opportunities?
I declared a major that I had no background in really, other than that I jammed with people. “Oh I like doing that! That sounds good…” That was the rest of the story. I didn’t read a note of music when I came to college.
PW: What does a music ministries major involve?
WS: Within the music department we work through what church music is and how to be an effective church musician in a church setting. From big Episcopal churches to rock-style churches, we looked at a wide smattering of style choices and asked, “What are our roles as artists? As musicians, as people who claim to be touched with this capacity?”
The program is very insightful because there are so many ideas about what it means to be a music minister and get paid, or to do it and to not get paid and there’s every kind of gray in the midst of that.
PW: What is your present position and how did your college experience integrate with your chosen vocation?
WS: I graduated and got two job offers from churches, one in Huntington Beach, Calif. that was a comfy part-time that let me live in San Diego, as I was in a band at the time. But in the seventh month of my employment there I got a strange call from some of the friends I had made in Hawaii at a junior and senior high school camp, saying that their music director had to go because his wife was in the military and was being re-stationed. I had toured the camp while at PLNU with the summer ministry teams, and knew the camp director, PLNU alumnus Will Campbell. I was like, “I have a nice job; that’s really flattering, but why would I leave it?” [But,] I ended up there. It just felt right.
PW: How has your role there expanded your approach to music and ministry?
WS: Hawaii is on a very different end of the spectrum in terms of how church is done and what the process involved is. I don’t know what a correct vision of the church is but from what I understand, the church is an opportunity for people who know and love Jesus to go out and serve their community. In Hawaii I discovered I am called to be a good musician, but I am called to be just a loving person. So, that’s what the philosophy behind what I do is.
Do I need an electric guitar to do that? No! But is it awesome if that [guitar] can be a vehicle through which I meet people where they are? Yeah! But, if my neighbor calls me up and needs me to go scrub their toilet [instead], I better go scrub their toilet…and if they want me to sing them a song, coincidentally I’m good at doing that, or so I’ve been told.