Marcia McFee, PhD

Ford Fellow at the
SFTS Center for Innovation in Ministry

Montgomery Hall, Room 202

PhD, Graduate Theological Union
MTS, Saint Paul School of Theology
BS, New York University

Dr. Marcia McFee is a professor, worship designer, author, preacher and ritual artist. Drawing on a first career in professional dance and musical theater and equipped with a Master’s in Theology and a PhD in Liturgical Studies, she understands the role of any worship artist in the church as that of creating extraordinary portals through which communities journey with the Spirit. The task is at once deeply theological and wonderfully artistic. Connecting worship professionals and volunteers to their passion and depth of spiritual leadership is her aim in teaching and consulting as well as equipping them with skills to carry this out. She travels extensively, teaching workshops, as guest lecturer at over 10 seminaries, and holding worship planning retreats. Dr. McFee has designed and led worship for regional, national and international gatherings of several denominations for the last 20 years, including two United Methodist General Conferences. She is the Creator and Visionary of the Worship Design Studio, an online experience of coaching, education, inspiration and a design application that currently serves over 700 congregations. She is the author of The Worship Workshop–a workbook for worship teams and, as an avid skier, wrote Spiritual Adventures in the Snow: Skiing and Snowboarding as Renewal for Your Soul. Her latest book, Think Like a Filmmaker: Sensory-Rich Worship for Unforgettable Messages, has become a best-seller and is utilized by churches all over the world.

Classes Taught

Vital Worship for the 21st Century, Fall 2017


Think Like a Filmmaker: Sensory-Rich Worship Design for Unforgettable Messages (Trokay Press, 2016)

Worship Design Studio 6-issues series of articles, Worship Arts: A Periodical of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, Sept, 2009-Sept, 2010

Spiritual Adventures in the Snow: Skiing and Snowboarding as Renewal for Your Soul (Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2009).

Primal Patterns: Towards a Kinesthetic Hermeneutic Proceedings: North American Academy of Liturgy Journal, 2009, 136-157.

‘I Was There!’ A Story of Being the Body Liturgy: A Journal of the Liturgical Conference, Volume 23, Issue 2, 2008, 3-9.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Liturgy in the Fissures of Community – Liturgy: A Journal of the Liturgical Conference, Vol 23, Issue 4, 2008, 45-50.

The Worship Workshop: Creative Ways to Design Worship Together (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002)

Ritual Formation: Liturgical Practices and the Practice of Peacebuilding in Tom Porter, ed.

Ten Steps toward a Dancing Congregation in C. Michael Hawn, One Bread, One Body: Exploring Cultural Diversity in Worship, (Bethesda: The Alban Institute, 2003).

Dance and the Church [interview] in Tex Sample, The Spectacle of Worship in a Wired World: Electronic Culture and the Gathered People of God, (Nashville:
Abingdon Press, 1998).

On the Verge: A Closer Look at Blended Worship The Church Music Workshop, May-August, 2003.

Worship in the 21st Century: A Case of Redemptive Lying Worship Arts, March-April 2001.

Contributor of liturgy to Shaping Sanctuary: Proclaiming God’s Grace in an Inclusive Church (Chicago: Reconciling Congregation Program, 2000).

Teaching Philosophy

As a passionate proponent of sensory-rich worship that draws on the latest in cognitive science and learning styles in order to create unforgettable messages, I also believe that my teaching of those principles must also draw on this research. Nurturing an insatiable curiosity for the field of liturgical studies in all its aspects–theological, historical, theoretical and practical–is also essential as students develop an interest in something that many of them will be attending to every week for the rest of their vocational lives. Finally, I believe that every field contains possibilities for interdisciplinary exploration and I’m constantly searching for connections between worship design and leadership and fields such as cognitive and neuroscience, kinesiology, anthropology and the latest in education.

In her own words

Adventure is high on my list. it has led me to live all over the world and create or choose “mobile” and “virtual” modes of teaching in order to reach as many people as possible. A spiritual practice of mine is skiing (hence 11 years living in the Sierra mountains) and for two years, I lived full-time in an RV going to all my teaching engagements because I got tired of hotels and airports! I’m so excited to be making SFTS a longer “pit-stop” in the adventure!