Ministry Spotlight: Visible School

The Visible School was recently featured in our Spring 2011 Hope Newsletter.

While touring worldwide as a performer with the Grammy-nominated Christian rock band Skillet, Ken Steorts observed a disturbing number of young musicians with great promise yet seemingly little guidance, instruction, or purpose. In response, Ken founded the only independent, accredited music and worship arts college in the world, Visible Music College, whose name was inspired by the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his challenge for Christians to be the “visible community” in Nazi Germany.

Beginning with 21 students in 2000, Visible Music College has carried out its mission to train and equip recording artists, technicians, music ministers, and music business professionals in skill and character development for effective service in the music industry and in the church. Visible Music College students can earn a Bachelor of Ministry degree or a one-year certificate in one of three concentrations: music, music production or music business. Enrollment, which is currently at 120 students, is limited to ensure a supportive, experiential education that fosters a seamless transition both from high school to college and from student to professional. Drawing from both traditional and vocational educational models, as well as Christian ministry training, this non-denominational Christian college has pioneered a holistic program that is equally academically challenging, vocationally practical, and spiritually empowering.

Visible Music College has already purchased the iconic glass-front building at 200 Madison and plans to renovate the facility to include a concert hall, library, recording studios, classrooms, rehearsal spaces, and an atrium performance space. This 44,000-square foot “green” complex, which will be accessible by bus, car, or trolley, will support enrollment up to 180 full and part-time students. Visible Music College will also secure a nearby eco-friendly condo project at 670 Madison Avenue in The Edge district with a trolley stop literally at the front door. In addition to housing 72 students, this residence will also include rehearsal and recording facilities.

Visible Music College’s presence in the heart of downtown Memphis will provide accessibility to key partners including STAX Academy, Memphis Music Foundation, Neighborhood Christian Center, KIPP Academy, and many others. Their new urban campus will allow them to offer enhanced educational and community service programs for both children and adults including music worship workshops, summer youth programs, a public concert series, and Visible Community Music School, which will provide affordable lessons to 150 children per week. Visible Music College is more than a college campus–it is a community of artists, technicians, ministers, and business people serving the church and society with their collective energy and talents through worship and innovation in all artistic endeavors for the glory of God and for the benefit of all people.

Find out more at or call 901.381.3939. If you are a local ministry interested in being in the Hope Ministry Spotlight, please contact Hope.