Gathering to Look at Future of Worship in United Methodist Church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. July 17, 2015 /Discipleship Ministries/ – United Methodist pastors, musicians and worship leaders will meet in February to explore how to use the wide variety of worship styles and resources currently available to revitalize their worship services now and for the future.

Fusion: The Future of Worship in the UMC, scheduled for Feb. 4-6 in Raleigh, N.C., will bring together practitioners from vital congregations and recognized expert professors to delve into current worlds of worship resources and leadership in the areas of music, worship planning and design, preaching and sacraments.

Fusion is designed to help students, pastors and worship leaders revitalize, update and modernize their worship services without losing sight of what identifies us as United Methodists,” said Dawn Chesser, Director of Preaching Ministries at Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.

“Participants will learn basic to advanced techniques for developing new worship services, or breathing life into already established ones. They will make connections with other worship leaders from across the denomination and engage in exciting conversation about the future of worship in the United Methodist Church,” Chesser said.

Fusion, hosted by Edenton Street UMC in Raleigh, will be three days of worship, inspiration, practical instruction and networking designed for clergy and lay people from both large and small churches, in addition to seminarians and professors. The registration fee of $149 per person will be discounted to $129 for anyone who registers by Dec. 1. Student registration for seminary and course of study students is $89. For more information and to register, go to

“This is for churches that are interested in growing, in deepening, in moving forward, drawing on all of the resources that are available for worship now, and that includes a lot of things that are contemporary,” said Taylor Burton-Edwards, Director of Worship Resources at Discipleship Ministries.

Participants at the gathering will look at where worship should go from here – about how to draw on all the best music, media and congregational resources, along with the gifts that people bring, Burton-Edwards said.

“How do we get out of the traditional/contemporary rut, because I think for a lot of us, worship has become running in one of those two paths?” he asked. “And how do we, instead, engage in vital and lively worship, drawing on as many of the gifts that are available as we possibly can?

“What we already see happening in worship is great vitality in both traditional and contemporary in many places, but greater vitality in those who are already adapting to more of this fusion understanding,” he said.

Each workshop and plenary will be led by scholars and practitioners working together, Burton-Edwards said. Plenary leaders include:

  • Rev. Rachel Billups, Executive Pastor of Discipleship at Ginghamsburg UMC, Ginghamsburg, Tipp City, Ohio
  • Rev. DeAndre Johnson, Pastor of Music and Worship at Westbury UMC in Houston
  • Dr. Marcia McFee, Worship Consultant at the Worship Design Studio in Truckee, Calif.
  • Kim Miller, Worship and Campus Designer at Ginghamsburg UMC
  • Rev. Matt Miofsky, Lead Pastor at The Gathering UMC in St. Louis
  • Rev. Dr. Lester Ruth, Research Professor of Christian Worship at Duke Divinity School
  • Rev. Dr. Don Saliers, William R. Cannon Professor of Theology and Worship, Emeritus, at Emory University
  • Rev. Dr. Karyn Wiseman, Associate Professor of Homiletics and Director of United Methodist Studies at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

In addition, 10 other professors and practitioners will join the speakers to lead workshops throughout the event.