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Ed Wilmington

Well-Formed Worship Leader Cohort

Launch Date: April 19
Timeline: 10 weeks, April 19—June 22, meeting for 1.5 hours Tuesday evenings each week, 4:00 - 5:30 pm PDT
Facilitators: Ed Willmington, Jennifer Ackerman, Julie Tai
Price: $495
Optional Individualized Coaching: $250 for two 1.5 hour coaching sessions with facilitators

Cohort Description

There has been an observable shift in recent years in the roles of worship leaders or those involved in worship ministry. Beyond the traditional expectation to select and lead songs each week, cultural tensions and contemporary life (including the reality of a pandemic) have reshaped congregational worship and the work of worship leaders.

In this cohort, you’ll learn to understand your vocation in a new and deeper way. You’ll grow in addressing the emotional and psychological wounds of the people you serve. You’ll improve your ability to plan worship structures that lead people through spiritual transformation. You’ll stretch your ability to be sensitive to the particularities and diverse backgrounds that make up your congregation’s life. You’ll ground your efforts in deep theological thinking and the rich traditions that define your denomination. And finally, you’ll strengthen your skills in making the artistic, technological, and musical choices that allow you to speak well to the worshiping community in our current world. In community with worship leaders from all over the United States, you’ll have the opportunity to encourage each other and learn deeply from one another.

The curriculum, shaped from extensive research funded by a Calvin Institute for Christian Worship grant, offers six essentials for well-formed worship leadership, as well as two additional topics addressing the current cultural context. Each lesson will begin with a brief video introduction from instructors followed by supplementary material. Lessons will also include thought exercises and practical assignments to incorporate what you learn into your own church worship contexts. The cohort’s weekly themes are listed below.


Week 1: Introductions and Overview
Week 2: Spiritual Formation
Week 3: Pastoral Guidance
Week 4: Liturgical Sensibility
Week 5: Cultural Implications
Week 6: Raising Your Racial Awareness
Week 7: Theological Integrity
Week 8: Online, but Still Communal
Week 9: Musical Depth and Width
Week 10: Commitments for Moving Forward

Want to go deeper? Sign up for individualized coaching sessions with our cohort facilitators to explore contextualized approaches for your specific worshiping community.


Ed WillmingtonEdwin M. (Ed) Willmington is the director of Brehm Music, an initiative of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Seminary. As director, Ed serves in several roles, including teaching graduate level classes related to music and worship, as well as mentoring students who lead Fuller’s chapel ministry. He is also Fuller’s Composer-in-Residence. Before coming to Fuller/Brehm Center, Ed was the Pastor of Worship and Arts for more than 20 years in a large non-denominational church.

Jen AckermanJennifer Ackerman is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the executive director of Brehm Preaching at Fuller Seminary. She has more than 20 years of previous experience directing the worship and preaching efforts of churches in multiple denominations across the US. Jennifer works to ensure Brehm Preaching’s long-term status as a leader in the convergence of worship, preaching, and justice. She recently completed her PhD in theology and culture.

Julie Tai singingJulie Tai is the director of chapel at Fuller Seminary. She received a BA in Asian American studies and studied vocal jazz at UCLA before earning an MA in intercultural studies at Fuller. She is a songwriter, worship leader, and liturgist who explores creative and integrative ways to engage diverse people in worship. A proud second-generation Korean American, Julie has led worship experiences at Urbana, the Calvin Worship Symposium, and SIM’s Global Assembly. She trains worship leaders, seminarians, and pastors to see liturgy as a unifying and artistic act of justice: the reordering of glory, honor, and praise to God.

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