J. Michael Dennis

Associate Professor of Church Music

J. Michael Dennis headshot

D.W.S.; M.A.




 PPAC 110




Church Music



From humble beginnings in a musical family, Dr. Dennis has become a respected soloist, composer, and leader in the field of Christian music.  His 21-year career in music includes appearances on national television, on international radio, with Christian artists, with a professional quartet, studio recordings in Nashville and Chattanooga, and professional stage appearances. Before joining the IWU music division in 2012, he served for over 18 years as full-time music minister in Wesleyan, Baptist and Nazarene churches.  He holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal performance from the University of Montevallo, Master of Church Music in Choral Conducting from Lee University, and a Doctorate in Worship Studies with an emphasis on Wesleyan Eucharistic Hymnody from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies.  

Under his direction, the Indiana Wesleyan University Singers has performed a rich variety of classical repertoire such as Rachmaninoff’s The Bells, Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, Ramirez’s Misa Criolla, and Vivaldi’s Gloria.  In November 2014, the Singers premiered, “Jesus Only,” a collection of choral works from hymnist and theologian, Charles Price Jones (1865-1949), founder of the Church of Christ Holiness USA.  His choral arrangement of the classic, Come Unto Me, was performed by the COCHUSA National Convention Choir on July 27, 2015 with Dr. Dennis conducting. 



Dennis, Michael. “Discovering Charles Price Jones: My Musical Journey that Runs Through the Past,”  

Article in THE TRUTH, Spring 2015 edition, National Newsletter for COCHUSA. 

Dennis, Michael. Nine Original Musical Arrangements of the music of Charles Price  

Jones, September 2015. 

Dennis, Michael.  Restoring Wesleyan Practices of the Lord’s Supper Through the  

Eucharistic Hymns of Charles Wesley at Christ Wesleyan Church, Milton, PA 

Dissertation, Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies, 2010. 

Dennis, Michael. Conversations and Hope.  An Easter Musical Drama. 2008. 

Barfoot, Phillip. The Ultimate Idea Book for Ministers of Music. Word Music, 2004.  

Dr. Dennis was a contributor to this edition. 



Speaker and Soloist at National Convention of COCHUSA, July 27, 2015. Video of IWU  

Singers Concert from Nov 11, 2014, played at convention 

Panelist, Worship Conference, College Wesleyan Church, May 18, 2015. 

Speaker at IWU Chapel service, “The Story of God” Chapel series on Worship, 

 January 26, 2015. 

Clinic with David Meece, Christian Hall of Fame musician, November 21, 2014.  

Moderator, Baker Recital Hall, IWU campus.  

State of Music in the Church – Presentation at St. James Lutheran Church, 

Marion, Indiana, November 15, 2014  

Lecturer at Taylor University, March 12, 2014 – Church Music Methods Class 

Indiana Wesleyan University Singers 

“The Mythos of Narrative” – a concert of the spiritual dimension of storytelling, March 2016 

“El Amor y La Adoracion” – a concert celebrating Hispanic choral composers, featuring the Misa Criolla with special guests, IWU percussion ensemble and Drs. Jess Muñoz and Keith Brautigam. November 2015 

“Great Is God’s Faithfulness: a concert on Suffering and Hope,” IWU Singers with special guests, Drs. Jim Lo and Mary Alice Trent, March 26, 2015 

Singers and band, “Jesus Only: the music and ministry of Charles Price Jones,”  

(Nov 11, 2014) 

Faure Requiem. Conducted the IWU Singers and Orchestra (October 20, 2013) 

Sound of Many Waters – a Multicultural Night of Worship with IWU World  

Music Ensemble, First United Methodist Church, Marion, Indiana (February 27, 2014) 

Clinician for McCutcheon High School Women’s Chorus, November 8, 2013 

Indiana Wesleyan University Women's Chorus – 2012- 2013 

Indiana Wesleyan University Chapel Ensemble – 2012-present 

Hospitality in Worship – Seminar in Worship Organization and Implementation, Penn-Jersey District meeting, March 3, 2011  

Worship Together – Seminar in Worship Practices and Philosophy.  Philadelphia Pilgrim Wesleyan Church. April 11-13, 2008. 

Evaluating and Enhancing Worship. Seminar for the Penn-Jersey District of the Wesleyan Church – March 1, 2008. 

IMPACTO 2005. Music Director for crusade in San Pedro al Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala. August 2005. 

Christian Worship: An overview of Worship from the scriptures, taught 8-week course in conjunction with Evangelical Training Association, Sept 2004.  

Worship Festival, annual concert series 2003-2012 

Remembrance (Hymn Festival), monthly series, 2009-present 

Excellence in the Arts. Seminar at Battlefield Parkway Church of the Nazarene, September 2000. 

Worship: Old and New. – Seminar at Improve Your Serve, Bradenton FL. March 1998 


Honors and Awards

Valedictorian, New Site High School, 1989. 

Full Academic Scholarship – University of Montevallo, 1989. 

Finalist in Alabama State NATS Collegiate level – 1989 & 1991. 

Member of Phi Kappa Lambda 

Member of NCCO, NATS, and ACDA 


Professional Development

Music and Worship Consultant, St. James Lutheran Church, March-July 2014 

Music and Worship Consultant, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Feb 2014  

Music and Worship Consultant, Brookhaven Wesleyan Church, May-August 2013 

Music/Worship Volunteer, Talladega Federal Correctional Institute, 1994-1995. 

Music Therapy Volunteer, Memorial Hospital, 2001-2002. 


Principle Teachers

Dr. Benjamin Middaugh, former Professor of Music, University of Montevallo 

Dr. Bradley Logan, University of Montevallo 

Ms. Shari Braruvka, University of Montevallo 

Dr. Stephen Plate, Houghton College (former Dean of the School of Music, Lee University) 

Dr. Jim Burns, Lee University 

Dr. Lester Ruth, Duke University (IWS)



Vocal instructor and performer – countertenor/tenor 

Conductor – instrumental and vocal (choirs and ensembles) 

Pianist – rehearsal and performance 

Instrumentalist - trumpet, guitar 

Composer – vocal and instrumental works 

Writer – dramas, stories, articles 

Proficiency in media related to worship: sound, video, lighting, as well as graphic design, studio recording. 


  • D.W.S.
    2010, Robert E. Webber Institute of Worship Studies
  • M.A. - Choral Conducting
    2004, Lee University
  • B.A. - Vocal Performance
    1993, University of Montevallo
Indiana Wesleyan University
4201 S. Washington St.
Marion, IN 46953