Over the course of a year, the Center for Worship and the Arts at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, will engage student worship teams for mutual learning, sharing and growth. These teams will work with the Center to test best practices for deepening intergenerational worship practices in their congregation, while adding depth and breadth to the worship lives of teenage worshipers and worship leaders.

Teenagers will be key players in each cohort as initiators and creators of these worship practices. With coaching, resources, and support from the Center for Worship and the Arts, adult mentors on each team will provide training and opportunities for teenagers to fully engage the broad scope of Christian worship, whether in congregational settings or in their own personal lives.



If a student worship team applies and is selected for the cohort program, the Center for Worship and the Arts at Samford University will provide $2,000 towards costs to attend Animate for two years, as well as several coaching conference calls and worship resources throughout the year.

To join the cohort program, team leaders must acknowledge approval from their sponsoring congregation or school’s key leadership, which may include the Senior Pastor, Worship Pastor, and/or Youth Pastor for churches and senior administration for schools. In the church setting, the applying leader ideally will be one of these three individuals.  Each leader will assemble an intergenerational team of 4-12 individuals, approximately 70% of which must be teenagers with experience, interest, gifts, and capacity for worship in its myriad forms. 

The full team must attend Animate 2020 at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. After Animate, adult leaders will participate in two coaching calls in the Fall of 2020 and two coaching calls in the Spring of 2021. The team will return to Animate 2021 to talk about their project and reflect together on their work over the year.

[Cohort numbers will be determined in consultation with the Center for Worship and the Arts based on congregational size and demographics.  They must be assembled no later than March 1, 2020 for Animate 2020 registration.]

What Will Cohorts Do?

Come to Birmingham, Alabama

We will introduce the Student Worship Project in an innovative, hands-on workshop during the week of Animate. 

Participate in Animate 2020

Animate 2020 is June 22-26, 2020 on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.  Each team will participate in Animate with other attendees as well as a fun, interactive meal time with key leadership from the Center for Worship and the Arts.

Learn with Us from Home

We want to learn with you as you strengthen intergenerational worship practices and deepen and broaden the worship life of your teenagers. We’ll do that through coaching calls and local experimentation through a year-long project primarily designed and implemented by students.

Return to Animate 2021

Animate 2021 is June 21-25, 2021 on the campus of Samford University.  Each team will wrap up their experience in a meaningful way by reflecting together on the year.

Download Our 2020-2021 Process


Bridging the Ministry Gap

The backdrop of the Student Worship Project is bridging the gap between youth ministry and worship ministry by illustrating the importance of public and private worship in the lives of teenagers and providing congregations, leaders, and parents with practical tools for helping teenagers enter worship in church, at school, and at home.

Engaging Deep Expressions of Worship

To bridge the gap, the Student Worship Project will pilot teaching and training materials developed by the Center for Worship and the Arts to encourage congregations to engage deeper expressions of worship within an intergenerational setting.  This will include incorporating portable practices for teenagers’ personal worship and increasing opportunities for teenagers to worship in diverse contexts.

Training Student Worship Teams

For those teenagers who have exhibited gifts in worship planning and worship leadership, the Student Worship Project will provide resources that will amplify the role of student worshipers and worship leaders by helping them adopt transferable leadership models through multiple attempts to lead worship in risk-safe environments.


Applications open October 15, 2019 and close December 15, 2019. Applicants must be adult representatives (18 and older) of a church, para-church organization, or Christian educational institution. If you have further questions about application requirements, please contact Wen Reagan at oreagan@samford.edu.