Education Extra Center for Worship and the Arts_Samford_ Dance_horizontal

Samford University Center for Worship and the Arts

Education Extra


National Platform for Youth Ministry & Worship Ministry: Center for Worship and the Arts

Through programs, research, and scholarship, the Center for Worship and the Arts is creating a national platform for conversations about the relationship between youth ministry and worship ministry. Based at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., the Center is run by staff and students within the School of the Arts, and it is most known for Animate, a five-day summer program in worship leadership for teenagers and their adult mentors.

Animate will celebrate its fifth year this summer on the campus of Samford University June 25-29, 2018. Using biblical, Christ-centered principles, students hone worship leadership skills, adults sharpen their mentoring tools, and everybody works together to reflect on the intersection between worship, theology, and the arts. Participants have the opportunity to experience a wide range of worship styles and practices, gain practical skills in worship leadership through workshops, plan and lead a 15-minute worship service with their small group, and reflect on worship, theology, and the arts throughout the week.

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming to Animate, but the worship has been really engaging and inspiring. I feel like I’m going to take what I’m learning with me back to my home church.” —Jade, 16 (Animate 2017 participant)

The Center for Worship and the Arts will also add a new program this year, Worship Leader Boot Camp, which is an intensive 24-hour training experience for student worship leaders and student worship teams. With a focus on practical skills in music and principles of worship leadership, Worship Leader Boot Camp prepares teenage youth worship leaders to plan, rehearse, and lead worship for their peers or their whole church during the Fall semester. Participants will be taught in large plenary sessions, have the opportunity to watch a band rehearse and lead worship, and work in groups to learn songs on their chosen instrument. Additionally, participants will receive a packet of materials to continue their learning after Boot Camp. This event will take place July 27-28 on the campus of Samford University.

“Churches of every shape, size, and denomination must do a better job of helping teenagers connect in worship, or they risk becoming just another part of the world’s noise. Teens connecting well to worship means better connecting to God; to the children, adults, and elders in the church; and to their own too-often divided selves,” explains Executive Director of the Center for Worship and the Arts, Dr. Eric L. Mathis. “These programs will equip teenagers and congregations to work together on the joy and privilege of worship in an intergenerational community.” To learn more visit or email †

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