September Workshop: Worship Design and Leadership in Changing Communities

Date Posted: 8/14/2014

Passionate worship is a hallmark of a vital congregation, and an area that requires ongoing revitalization. The TAC Passionate Worship Team invites you to participate in a two-day conference at Westbury UMC next month to learn how to create environments for impactful life change. Space is limited, so register soon.

“The One Body: Worshipping Together event I attended helped us develop a process for worship planning focused on the team and integrating all elements of worship; music, preaching, space, and verbage,” shares former attendee Rev. Eric Strader, pastor of Christ Church in Colorado. “This approach to worship planning helped us to incorporate the global diversity of Christianity in our weekly worship experience.” 
Dr. Craig Gilbert, Chair of the TAC Passionate Worship Committee and director of music and worship arts for First UMC, Sugar Land says that, “Being the church that God calls us to be in this quickly changing world can be challenging. Churches are seeking direction for ministry in the missional opportunities found in the increasing diversity in our communities,” he says. He is excited to be offering TAC congregations the One Body: Worshipping Together event where churches can bring their entire ministry team to discover new and exciting ways to reach people for God both inside and outside the walls of the church. “This is a don’t-miss opportunity,” he adds. “It is reasonably priced to be accessible to any size church, and participants will leave with new ideas through hands-on planning activities at the workshop.”

The event is sponsored by the General Board of Global Ministries, in collaboration with the Passionate Worship Committee of the Texas Annual Conference, and will also provide a training event to help congregations in designing and facilitating worship that crosses cultural boundaries. “One Body: Worshipping Together” will be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19–20, at Westbury UMC at 5200 Willowbend Blvd. in Houston.

This unique training will assist and accompany congregations in identifying who is “inside,” who is “outside,” and how to plan worship in a way that welcomes and nourishes everyone. Organizers are placing a special emphasis on creating space where the gifts of God’s people may be honored and shared for the benefit of the whole community.

The event will feature sessions in preaching, music and visuals/media. Workshop leaders include:

  • Dr. Valerie Bridgeman (Distinguished Visiting Professor of Homiletics and Hebrew Bible at Methodist Theological School in Ohio and founder of WomanPreach!, Inc.);
  • Jorge Lockward (Director of Global Praise at GBGM); Debi Tyree (Global Praise at GBGM);
  • Rev. R. DeAndre Johnson (Pastor of Music and Worship at Westbury UMC);
  • Lanecia Rouse (Project Manager of The Art Project Houston, Inc.); and
  • Kelsey Johnson (Director of Communications at Westbury UMC).
Congregations that send a team including the pastor and music director will get the maximum impact of the training over those that attend as individuals. The experience of planning and leading cross-cultural worship services (including preaching) as part of the training provides the teams a glimpse of what is possible in their own locales.

Registration is $30 per person, with a maximum cost of $100 per church and the church can bring “as many team members as you like.” There is the possibility of continued coaching in the year following the event at no additional cost for participating churches. Online registration is available at; the deadline is Friday, Sept. 5. For more information, contact Rev. R. DeAndre Johnson at or 713.723.0175.

Hotel Accommodations: Hampton Inn Houston near the Galleria (713.871.9911) 4500 Post Oak Pkwy Houston, TX 77027; $85/night (including breakfast, parking and free Wi-Fi)

Group Code: WUC

Courtyard by Marriott Houston Galleria (713.622.3611) 2900 Sage Road Houston, TX 77056. $104/night (including free hot breakfast and secured parking for 1 vehicle) Group Name: Global Praise