Worship Planning Retreat

Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

September 9-12, 2018





(or watch the recordings at your convenience)



Relentless. Worship planning can start to feel like a chore when the regularity of it, combined with the busyness of life, creates last-minute scrambling. Eventually this stress squashes our ability to pursue fresh ideas and worship loses some of its power to renew us and our congregations.

This retreat will TURN THAT ALL AROUND!

"Our team 'gelled' at the conference, and went on to do really fine worship together. For all of us, worship planning was the best part of our week, with the possible exception of worship itself."



You've heard it from colleagues: "Oh, I give my worship team the themes, scriptures and titles for the whole year." Maybe you are one of those folks–then you know the positive effect that planning ahead has on your life. But you may be one of the majority of pastors who would respond, "Don't I wish!!!"


What if you had the whole liturgical year mapped out with general directions, themes, scriptures, symbols and ideas?  And what if you had three concentrated days with a worship expert to guide you through the process, sharing energy and lots of ideas?


It is my goal to resource leaders like you in practical ways that help you create relevant, meaningful and memorable worship in the places that you serve. I am going to give you an amazing jump-start on your planning for the year (starting with Advent 2018). 

I hope to see you there!

Peace & Passion, 

Marcia McFee

Marcia McFee, Ph.D. has spent over 20 years in a teaching ministry specializing in revitalizing worship. She is a sought-after seminary professor, having taught as a guest in 15 seminaries. She is a popular workshop leader and plenary speaker, having made hundreds of appearances for local, regional, national, and international bodies of the UMC, UCC, DOC, PCUSA, UU, MCC, ELCA, and Baptist traditions. She is a ground-breaking worship designer and leader, including two General Conferences for the United Methodist Church. Dr. McFee is a renowned consultant who has spent time one-on-one helping hundreds of churches, no matter their size, style, denomination, or current state of vitality, to reinvigorate their services. She is the visionary and curator of the Worship Design Studio, an educational, inspirational coaching website that includes over 10 years of worship themes and ideas as well as training materials for all the worship arts: musical, verbal, visual, dramatic and media. Find out more about Dr. McFee at www.marciamcfee.com.


This retreat will rejuvenate your passion for your work of worship ministry, give you a major jump-start on planning for the year, and help train others to help with the task of carrying out worship plans.

Testimonials from past participants: 


“The retreat was nothing short of amazing. Our worship team now has Advent and Christmas programs and bulletins written out in advance so we can come into the season on steady legs with a clear vision. We couldn't have done it without you!”

“I was captivated. Absolutely captivated. And it’s hard to captivate me!” 

“We're excited about going from a week-by-week planning to more long range planning.” 

“The retreat has made a tremendous difference in worship already!”


"The plans we made at Worship Design Studio carried us through the liturgical year beautifully! The five of us who attended the event returned home with ample passion and energy to spread it around to the rest of our team. It's no longer just those of us who attended the Studio who are the biggest contributors in planning; now all the members of our Team are thinking creatively together and learning to manage the delicate balance between tradition and newness while being faithful to the text and the Spirit working among us!"

“Thank you for another inspiring retreat - year after year I get reminded of the possibilities of creating meaningful transformative experiences. As an added bonus, I steal away some time for spiritual renewal–much needed!”

"Without a doubt this was both the most inspiring and productive retreat time I have ever spent!"

“The plans we made at the retreat carried us through the year beautifully!"



In each session, Marcia offers you the creative pre-work she has done with the history and theological significance of each season as well as an exploration of Revised Common Lectionary, Narrative Lectionary and non-lectionary themes. Then after steeping you in musical, verbal and visual resources, she'll set you and your team to work making plans for the seasons to come.

Join us for get-ready webinars this summer!

We will be offering three different FREE webinars this summer to get you prepared for the retreat. Put the following dates on your calendar for introductory sessions that will help you steep in the design process and materials beforehand:

Thursday, June 28th -- Watch the recording of this webinar in the video linked below!

Wednesday, August 8th at 9am PST / 11am CST / 12pm EST

Thursday, August 30th at 9am PST / 11am CST / 12pm EST

You can register for these HERE. And don't worry, we will be recording and sending them to you if you cannot be on live. Again, these webinars are FREE to attend whether you haven't registered yet and just want to know more or as preparation sessions for your participation in the live retreat on September 9-12!

Watch the recording of the first webinar below!



September 9-12, 2018

2 CEUs available

Sunday evening: Arrival for all participants - fly into Asheville. VIP reception for full-year Worship Design Studio members! Folks with a full subscription to the Worship Design Studio will be invited to a special welcome reception (special appearance and performance by Howard Hanger, Marcia's mentor in all things worship, ritual leader and musician extraordinaire) before the retreat "officially" begins the next day. If you're not yet a full member, sign up for a subscription at checkout when you register for this retreat (with our biggest discount ever) and join us for a delightful evening with other members of the WDS community.

Monday morning: THE ADVENT/CHRISTMAS/EPHIPHANY CYCLE – each session will start with interesting information about the history and theology of the seasons that can inspire you for your congregation's journey

Monday afternoon: THE LENTEN SEASON – in each session, Marcia will also point to threads coming from a look at lectionaries for those of you who follow this structure as well as non-lectionary ideas

Monday night: HOLY WEEK – we will take a deeply moving "Journey with Egeria," the first person to record her experience of Holy Week in the 4th century Jerusalem church that will inspire us to make our Holy Week an experiential pilgrimage

Tuesday morning: FREE TIME – after three packed sessions, you'll be ready to sleep in, catch up, take a hike or you may just want to use the time continuing to plan

Tuesday afternoon: EASTER CYCLE AND THE DAY OF PENTECOST – each session will also include sharing some of Marcia's favorite verbal, musical and visual resources with you, steeping you in the season

Tuesday evening: THE SUNDAYS AFTER PENTECOST – we'll look at how to manage and plan for this long season, making "ordinary time" extraordinary!

Wednesday morning: CONTINUING THE PROCESS – what to do when you go home, how to keep the creativity flowing, manage teamwork and how to get to the nitty-gritty of planning details


INCLUDED in your event registration is one month of complimentary access to the Worship Design Studio Online where you will be able to utilize over 10 years of worship themes (lectionary and non-lectionary) to turbo-boost your creativity, put you in touch with hundreds of amazing ideas and resources and train (or start) your worship team.


ALSO INCLUDED in your event registration is our Fall series, "On the Mend," full of resources for every worship art for a 9-week dive into uncovering and healing the wounds that hold us back from the fullness of life - PLUS ideas for All Saints Sunday. This will get you jumpstarted so that you can get ahead instantly and stay ahead with the planning you'll do at the retreat!




2 to 6 persons from your church

If you want to bring more, contact us


 Please note that even if you are coming together with another pastor from a different church,

you are two "individual" registrations, not a "team."

Meals and housing for three nights are paid per person

After you register you will book these through Lake Junaluska directly:

Private Room ~ $495 housing and all meals

Shared Room ~ $305 housing and all meals

$25 commuter rate (one time fee if not staying at the Lake Junaluska hotel)

These planning retreats sell out quickly! So don't wait - register now!

Refund policy: Refund of the program fee only (housing and meals are arranged through the retreat center and are subject to their cancellation policy) minus a $50 processing fee are available within 30 days of the event. Program fee can also be used for a one-year subscription to the Worship Design Studio online in lieu of a program fee refund.

Questions about content?  E-mail Dr. Marcia at marcia@marciamcfee.com

Questions about registration?  E-mail Mark at mark@marciamcfee.com

or call 888-725-1804

If this year doesn't work for you but you'd like to be on our e-mail list to hear about other opportunities and receive occasional worship resources please sign up on our e-mail list HERE and we will send you a FREE nine-week webinar series from Dr. McFee!