For almost 20 years I have followed a call to ministry that began in the midst of a successful international performing career. My faith journey had always walked hand-in-hand with my love of the arts, from the time at 12 years old when I put a little cassette tape recorder in the front pew of First United Methodist Church, Adrian, Missouri and had someone read from Isaiah over the music as I danced with “wings like eagles.”
That little rural church let me play keyboards, sing, dance, mime and act my way through my childhood and adolescence…
and so when I began a professional career in dance and theater in New York City, it was a natural progression to continue my passion for the arts and religion “on the side” even as I toured the world.
At the height of that career I encountered a line in Cecil Williams’ (from Glide United Methodist in San Francisco) book called I’m Alive:
“If your doin’ doesn’t dance with your sayin’
you haven’t chosen life.”
It was an epiphany moment. From that time forward I would pour everything I knew about the arts, combined with a new theological education, into equipping and supporting leaders in the church to offer deeply evocative and artful rituals that transform lives to transform the world. Time after time leaders in the church gave me opportunities to offer my ministry in workshops and worship across the country. In twenty years…
“I’ve been around,” as they say.
Along the way I got a PhD in worship and ethics and then turned down tenured teaching positions because this call to equip and support worship leaders “in the trenches” kept pulling me towards more unorthodox methods of teaching. I started inviting people to come study with me in Tahoe–and they came! I started recording brainstorming sessions about worship with my friends and people signed up to listen. I discovered a great and wonderful hunger for learning among clergy and lay alike and…
I have been continually surprised at how hungry people are
for better, more meaningful and vital worship experiences
and learning how to create them.
After conferences, keynotes and workshops, people kept asking “how can I get more?” More inspiration. More education. More practical help. These questions led to another epiphany on a plane ride last year coming home from a conference.
I love teaching.
I love designing and leading worship,
but teaching is my passion.
So I’ve decided to spend more of my time teaching and doing it in a way that anyone, anywhere, anytime can access it. So here we are–”smack dab” (as they say in Missouri) in the middle of this venture called the Worship Design Studio. I hope you’ll give it a go and find something life-giving here.
If you are still reading this, maybe my story feels familiar. Perhaps you too have what drives me, thrills me, and sometimes “ails me.”
Love for learning.
Love for vital, artful worship.
Love for God’s people.
My number one purpose is to support ministry professionals and volunteers in such a way that you can have MORE EASE, MORE JOY AND MORE TIME for creativity and depth in everything you do!
Ok… if you absolutely need the “official bio” here it is:
Dr. Marcia McFee is an author, worship designer and leader, professor, preacher and artist. Her engaging and interactive style has been called “refreshing,” “inspiring,” and “unforgettable.” Marcia combines her background and experience in professional companies of music, theater and dance with a variety of worship and preaching styles in order to bring a fresh experience of the Gospel to each worship setting. Marcia has provided worship design and leadership at numerous international and regional gatherings.
Marcia’s passion for helping the church to worship God fully is especially directed toward the education of local congregations. She travels extensively in order to teach regional workshops that are accessible to congregational leaders and worship teams. These one-day workshops are usually hosted by a church, underwritten by district or conference bodies or by registration fees, and open to all churches in a particular area. Participants have commented that these workshops are inspirational as well as practical, no matter the “style” of worship practiced or denomination of the participants. Additionally, Marcia has begun a program of continuing education events in her home town of Lake Tahoe and an online subscription service to Worship Design Studio that offers inspirational and educational help for worship teams featuring a ground-breaking worship design application.
As well as her experience with local church worship, Marcia specializes in designing and leading conference worship. Over the last 18 years, she has coordinated worship for countless regional and agency conferences. Most recently, she designed and led 29 worship services over a 10 day period for the international quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Dr. McFee received a Master’s of Theological Studies degree at Saint Paul School of Theology with a concentration in Preaching and Worship, where she recently received the Outstanding Graduate Award from the Alumni Association. She earned a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union with an allied field of Ethics. She has been a guest lecturer and adjunct faculty at twelve seminaries. Marcia is an avid skier and the co-author of “Spiritual Adventures in the Snow: Skiing and Snowboarding as Renewal for Your Soul”.