Roberta R. King

Associate Professor of Communication and EthnomusicologySchool of Intercultural Studies

Contact Information
BA, University of California, Santa Barbara
MMus, University of Oregon
MA, PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary
Superior Certificate in the French Language and Civilization, Sorbonne University, France

Roberta King is associate professor of communication and ethnomusicology in the School of Intercultural Studies. Since coming to Fuller in 2000, she has served as All-Seminary Chapel director and developed a new curriculum for “Ethnomusicology in Mission”—renamed Global Christian Worship (ethnomusicology)—at the MA level, and has recently launched a new Doctor of Missiology in Ethnomusicology.

After studying music at the undergraduate and graduate levels, King began her missionary career in Kenya at Daystar Communications, now Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya. While there, she recognized the power of music to communicate the gospel profoundly within varying cultural contexts. She directed and led worship at Nairobi Baptist Church and established the Department of Christian Music Communication at Daystar University. King also served for 20 years with WorldVenture, a U.S.-based mission society, working with church leaders in 11 African nations, from Senegal to Madagascar, to develop appropriate songs for communicating the gospel in over 80 different languages.

In addition to her academic responsibilities at Fuller, King continues to reach out to the global Church, teaching and holding recent workshops in Chennai, India; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Nairobi, Kenya; and serving as the Hearn Innovator in Christian Music speaker at Baylor University’s School of Music. Though she teaches such subjects as qualitative research and intercultural communication, her passion is to communicate Christ through song and the arts of a culture in ways that lead to her ultimate missional goal: to release God’s people, from all nations, to worship Jesus Christ.

King has published Pathways in Christian Music Communication (2009), Music in the Life of the African Church (2008), A Time to Sing: A Manual for the African Church (1999), and contributed chapters to two books. She has also published articles in journals such as Missiology and the Evangelical Missions Quarterly, and is a regular contributor to Worship Leader magazine and EthnoDoxology, the journal of the International Council of EthnoDoxologists, an organization which she helped to found and now serves on both its Founders and Academic Programs committees.

King’s current research focuses on “Songs of Peace and Reconciliation Among Muslims and Christians,” the research topic of a 3-year Henry Luce grant to study the contribution of music and the performing arts to sustainable peacebuilding. The first consultation was held in Beirut, Lebanon in 2009, and another was held in 2010 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. A documentary film, (un)Common Sounds: Songs of Peace and Reconciliation among Muslims and Christians.

Courses Taught

  • ME506: Communicating the Gospel Cross-Culturally
  • ME510: Christian Communication through Music
  • ME513: Global Christian Worship
  • ME515: Communicating Christ through Narrative and Song
  • ME518: Exegeting Musical Culture
  • MD519: Ethnomusicology: Theory and Analysis

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching

Christian ethnomusicology in mission, worship, church music, intercultural communication, qualitative research, spirituality and mission, African music, music and peace-building studies, orality

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