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IT ISN'T ENOUGH TO KNOW ABOUT GOD. YOUNG PEOPLE WANT TO FEEL THE PULSE OF GOD. It's no secret. Young people are leaving the church and abandoning the faith because they find more life outside than inside the church. Too often, worship is part of the problem. It just isn't relevant to the lives they live. For some, worship is a show. Other times, it’s a hollow ritual. Yet, young people want more than silly gimmicks and boring routines.  They want to know God with their entire being, make authentic connections with God in worship, and engage the mystery of God with all their senses. And, that's what anima is for.

anima exists to help young people connect their imagination, creativity, and enthusiasm to all the possibilities inherent in worship and the arts. In a world where violence and division dominate and words are often inadequate, anima will empower young people to use their artistic gifts to cultivate unity and beauty in the church. Then, anima will prompt young people to channel their creative passions into a life of worship that glorifies God and advances the kingdom of God in the world - a kingdom of mercy, justice, and peace.

anima. generating and restoring life through teenagers, worship, and the arts. We need help building it, and we want everyone to be involved. Interested? Send church leaders, congregations, and young people our way. Let’s create anima together.

anima: generating and restoring life through teenagers, worship, and the arts


Worship has the potential to be the most important training ground for young people to hear and tell the story of God working in the world. And, worship has the potential to be the place where young people are regularly reminded that they are made in the image of God, that they matter in the kingdom of God, and that they have a place in the body of Christ, just as they are. Yet, churches have limited the role of young people in worship. Congregations have permitted young people to lead worship only a few times a year rather than on a weekly basis. They have placed young people in separate buildings and spaces, away from adults and children, robbing the church of all ages the opportunity to worship with the complete body of Christ. They have falsely told young people that they are the “future of the church.” Yet, teenagers are the church in the present. Teenagers are the church now.

anima begins with several initiatives

The Forum on the Web. First and foremost, anima is an online gathering place. This online forum will encourage congregations to engage young people in worship leadership regularly. It will soon include numerous resources young people can use to explore, learn, and experiment with worship leadership. It will empower young people to create and lead worship gatherings that are meaningful, relevant, and powerful. Then, it will prompt young people to share their worship gatherings through social media.

Animate. Animate is a hands-on worship workshop to equip young artists for worship leadership and encourage congregations to regularly engage young people in worship. With guidance from prominent liturgical theologians and worship practitioners, participants will work together and independently to discuss worship. Then, with prompting from artists of all types, they will create resources to use in worship with their own congregations.

Animate 2015 is from June 29-July 3 at Samford University. Click here for up-to-date Animate information.

The Elisha Project. The Elisha Project is an effort to equip faculty and students at Samford University to mentor and serve young people interested in worship and the arts. This will occur on campus through classroom discussions, seminars, and guest lecturers in worship and the arts. Additionally, the Elisha Project will provide scholarship monies for Samford students to attend worship seminars and workshops off campus to carefully examine the relationship between adolescent spirituality, worship, theology, and the arts.

To join the conversation, use the hashtag #animatheforum on Twitter and Instagram with your response to the question: Where do you worship God?