Faculty Spotlight – Stephen Love

by Paul Devine

This is Kingdom. Stephen Love uses the phrase as a touchstone in all his work as Director of the Worship Ministry program at Manna University. “How does this assignment help an individual align with God’s Great Commission?” Love asks. In what way is this strengthening their faith, challenging their lifestyle, developing their skill set to advance the Kingdom? If we do not have that at the forefront of what we do I think we might miss it.” 

Love has developed a holistic approach to growing Worship Leaders that goes well beyond musical skill. “How are we developing that leader to become more like Christ?” Love wonders. Worship Foundations, a core course for worship students, is a thorough study of the structure and theology of worship. Students in the Worship Studies program also take multiple semesters of Infuse Leadership. “Infuse Leadership is designed to create a space where the individual can develop other people and their skill sets in three primary areas, faith, character and leadership,” Love explains. “The goal is we want that student to be ready to step out into a job. If they land a job or a serving opportunity, they are fully equipped to lead a team.”  

Love is well prepared for his current role. Love earned a bachelor’s degree in music and spent several years teaching, leading choirs, marching bands, and orchestras in the public schools. Love then felt called to ministry and took a role as a worship pastor. One of Love’s mentors encouraged him to pursue further education, and Love completed an MDiv in Biblical Studies. He then took a role as a children’s pastor. “It was a really great opportunity to develop my leadership and my faith,” Love says. “It also taught me how to have a more childlike faith, to really just totally surrender.” 

Love then decided to pursue a doctorate, a decision that led him to Manna U. As part of his doctoral studies, Love was assigned to work with Manna Church Fayetteville/Ft Bragg. “It was part of the school’s plan but God had a divine plan, to get me connected,” Love notes. The church leadership knew a good thing when it comes in the door and hired Love as a Worship Development coordinator in 2020. A few months later, Love became the program director of Manna U’s Worship studies program. He has led the process of continuing to develop the program. Love was promoted Worship Director for Manna Church in 2022. The energetic Love also has a third role, as director of an after-school program in Robeson County NC called 21st Century Leadership. 


Love will complete his doctorate in May 2023. He is aware that he is well credentialed and there may be other opportunities for him to work and serve. “I think being faithful is the best direction,” Love asserts. “I anticipate God is going to do some great things. I do not exactly know what that is going to look like.”  Love says he is happy with his multiple roles as Worship Director in his church and program director at Manna U, but believes God has a long-term plan. “My wife and I believe God has called us to plant, but we do not want to rush that process.”  Love says he wants to do what he leads his students to do: “We want to embody everything we are learning right now.”  

Love and his wife Ashely will celebrate 10 years of marriage in 2023.