June 25-29, 2018

Animate is a five-day summer program in worship leadership for teenagers and their adult mentors. It is sponsored by anima: the Center for Worship and the Arts on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. At Animate, 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.

Ambassador Program

The Ambassador Program starts with you. Your gifts, your passions, your interests. When you register for Animate, you’ll choose a track based on the topics that you’d like to explore in depth through workshops on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

Many worship leadership programs exist across the country. The Ambassador Program sets Animate apart. Through the Ambassador Program, we are giving young people the skill, ability, and knowledge for every kind of artistic work in the church.Exodus 35:30-35

Five Tracks

Music Beginner

Don’t have any background playing an instrument? Great. This track is for you. The music beginners track is for students who want to learn basic music notation and explore a new instrument. By the end of the week, you’ll have been introduced to music on an introductory level, and you’ll be prepared to continue studies when you return home. Your voice is an instrument!

Music Advanced

Want to beef up your music skills? This track is for you. The music advanced track is for students who can read basic music notation and play an instrument. By the end of the week, you’ll have been introduced to the nuances of reading lead sheets and chord charts and playing in a worship team. Your voice is an instrument!

Spoken Word

Want to practice presenting scripture, sharing your story, and witnessing to the work of God in the world? This track is for you. The spoken word track is for students who have a desire to proclaim scripture and the Gospel through public speaking. By the end of the week, you’ll have tools for presenting scripture in an engaging way, and speaking about your faith in a public setting.

Visual Arts

Want to explore how visual arts can fit in the life of the church? This track is for you. The visual arts track is for students who have a passion for connecting themselves and others to God through the visual arts. By the end of the week, you’ll have tools for creating works of art and displaying them for others to see.


Do you desire to use your gifts from the back of the worship space, through media ministry? This track is for you. The technology track is designed for students who want to learn to use audio and visual means to enhance worship. By the end of the week, you’ll have been introduced to the basics of sound systems, audio mixing, lighting design, and even film production.

You’ve chosen to focus on an area of study, but there are still other topics you want to explore. When you register for Animate, you will pick two of the following electives to expand your worship leadership skills even more.

  • Choosing Music for Worship
  • Conducting
  • Dance
  • Heart of the Worship Leader
  • Introduction to the Pipe Organ
  • Leading Prayers and Devotions
  • Photography
  • Projection Practices
  • Songwriting
  • The Theology of Worship

Animate Philosophy

Mentoring young people for faithful worship ministry in the twenty-first century lies at the heart of the Animate philosophy. By encouraging thoughtful, artistic, imaginative worship planning and leadership, Animate seeks to help students and their mentors better understand and facilitate the dialogue of worship. We hope they will, in turn, further enhance the worship life of their local congregation.

Through Animate, teenagers become conversant in multiple styles, expressions, and idioms of worship. They will be inspired to invigorate the mission of the church, foster a richer imagination about who God is, promote a deeper level of participation in church life, and create a greater desire to live a life of humility and conviction in the world.

What’s the result? We believe Animate has the potential to raise up a generation of multi-lingual worshipers and worship leaders: teenagers who are biblically faithful and contextually aware, historically informed and culturally relevant, spiritually sensitive and prophetically challenging, theologically imaginative and artistically astute, locally connected and globally engaged. Informed and inspired by interdisciplinary studies in worship, preaching, music, theatre, dance, visual art, architecture, and film, they will learn the art of collaborating with others to create artistic liturgies that will inspire a rich life of faith.

Read more about our beliefs and core convictions.


Individual Registration: $449/person
Team Registration (2 or more): $399/person

A $75 refundable deposit is required for each participant at the time of initial registration.

  • Includes housing, meals, Animate t-shirt, artistic supplies, transportation for off campus events, and all Animate activities.
  • Does not include travel to Birmingham or the Samford University Campus.
  • Individual registrations will be paired with same-gender roommates of similar age.
  • Adults cannot room with students.
  • Individuals who request a single room will be billed an additional $150 for the week.


  • Online registration opens February 15, 2018 and closes May 31, or when registration reaches capacity.
  • A $75 deposit is required for each participant at the time of initial registration.
  • Deposits will be refundable until May 31, 2018.
  • A limited number of scholarships are available if needed.
  • Email with questions.


  • Check-in begins at 3:00 pm on Monday
  • Check-out is at 11:30 am on Friday

A typical day at Animate includes breakfast, worship, small groups, sessions, lunch, free time, more sessions, evening showcase, and late night.

Download The 2017 Schedule

What Will We Do?


Experience a wide range of worship styles and practices, led by Samford students with help from guest artists.


Think about worship, theology, and the arts. Gain practical skills in worship leadership through workshops utilizing anima’s innovative, hands-on teaching methods.

At Animate, you’ll learn from these guest artists alongside Samford University faculty.


The whole week culminates in Thursday’s Festival of Worship. Students plan and lead a 15-minute worship service with their small group and they worship with friends who have done the same.


Each evening will feature showcase events with our guest artists on the Samford campus or within the city of Birmingham.


Students and adults are placed in small groups throughout the week to reflect on the week and to learn spiritual practices.

Who Can Attend?


Animate is open to any student who has completed 7th grade through 12th grade and is interested in becoming a better worshiper or exploring vocation in a worship and arts related field.


Not only will students hone worship leadership skills at Animate, but adults have the opportunity to sharpen their mentoring tools.

You get the most out of Animate if you attend with a team of students and adults from your church or school. We strongly encourage teams of students and adult mentors from churches and schools interested in deepening the connections between worship, theology, and the arts in their local context. (Adult mentors should be 21 years of age or older.)