Published on January 19, 2022 by Ashley Smith  
meeting new friends at Animate

Samford’s Center for Worship and the Arts (CWA) received additional funding from Christ is our Salvation Foundation (CIOS).  The $900,000 gift will be distributed over three years and will sustain the Center for Worship and the Arts and its important programs to serve the church community.

CIOS initially pledged $300,000 in 2013 as seed funding for the CWA and then renewed their gift in 2016 and again provided additional funding in 2018.  Their total impact by the end of 2024 will be $2 million dollars.

“This gift has given CWA staff much hope and encouragement, as it allows us to consider ways in which we can sustain our work in the long-term. While we believe deeply in the power of intergenerational worship and ministry, we are grateful to have others recognize and appreciate the importance and impact of this work,” said Emily Andrews, executive director of the Center for Worship and the Arts.

The Center is now in its ninth year of operation and has successfully initiated a model of intergenerational worship innovation in congregations where teens and emerging adults are empowered to be principal players in the ministries of their congregations. It is currently focusing on developing resources that can be more widely disseminated among congregations, offering flexible and accessible tools to promote this work in the local church. “Much of this work would not have been possible without the support of C.I.O.S. Foundation,” said Andrews.

Specifically, the new gift will assist with the launch of the Animate+ (“Animate Plus”) initiative, a program that brings the Animate experience to teens and congregations who would not be able to attend the annual, on-campus Summer program. Animate is the CWA’s flagship summer program for teenage worship leaders and their mentors.  CWA will also launch a Student Residency and Faculty Fellows program, “an initiative that will allow us to utilize the assets available here at Samford to develop resources, built out insights, and further expand our reach in the local church,” said Andrews. 

Additional plans include addressing the growing needs congregations face regarding the mental health concerns of teens and emerging adults through enabling partnerships, providing resources and expertise, in a context that utilizes the arts.  CWA will also expand the Online Certificate initiative and Worship Exchange Forum, both of which engage congregational leaders, the Samford community, and the greater public to develop strategic partnerships with expert scholars and practitioners with pointed opportunities for learning and growth.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.