an • i • mate
1. to give life to; make alive: God animated the dust.
2. to make lively, vivacious, or vigorous; give zest or spirit to: Her presence animated the party.
3. to fill with courage or boldness;encourage: He animated the weary troops.
4. to move or stir to action; motivate: She was animated by religious zeal.
5. to give motion to: The leaves were animated by a breeze.


What is Animate ?

Animate is a course about getting closer to God, rediscovering God, sensing and serving God. Animate was developed in 2009 by Woodland Hills Church. The following introduction is taken from the Animate course study guide.

Somewhere along the way western Christians seem to have forgotten how important our imagination is to our walk with God and our mission to the world. In fact, in some circles Christians have become down-right paranoid about the imagination. It sounds to them like 'new age' spirituality. This neglect and fear is both tragic and unnecessary, because, as you'll see through this series, the use of the imagination in our relationship with God is deeply rooted in Scripture and the Church tradition. Not only this, but the truth is that the imagination plays a vital role in how we experience God, ourselves and others. It is, we believe, the 'inner sanctuary' where we encounter God most deeply.

One of the main reasons God doesn't 'feel real' to people is because they don't know how to allow the Spirit to use their imagination in times of prayer, worship, Bible-reading and everyday life. This sermon series, together with this booklet, is designed to help people discover the beautiful transforming power of a Spirit-inspired imagination. I encourage you and your small group to fully commit yourselves to processing this material. Written by my friend and colleague Terri Churchill, the readings and spiritual exercises in this booklet are among the most anointed I've ever found. My own small group has already gone through this material together and found it to be absolutely transforming on an individual and group level. I have no doubt that you will discover the same.

As we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we are transformed from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:17-4:6).

Let's open ourselves up and be transformed!

Greg Boyd
Senior Pastor, Woodland Hills Church


Why is OCF running Animate courses ?

Our objective this year is for everyone to connect with God. For many of us this can often seem to be easier said than done. Real life seems more real to us than our spiritual life. We need to make our spiritual life more real and transforming. To do this we can try harder, we can wait on God and we can immerse ourselves in more information (books, sermons, bible passages). Undoubtedly there is truth and merit in each of these approaches. Unfortunately, on their own they often fail to deliver real transformation in our lives. We're called to be joyful, confident, passionate people but the reality often falls short.

The premise of Animate is that we are missing a vital piece of the puzzle. God designed us to use our imagination when we spend time with Him, worship Him and study His Word. Some people have never done this. Some people do this occasionally but often feel guilty about it. Some people do it all the time and assume that everybody else does the same; these are often the prayer warriors and passionate worshippers. For centuries Christians used their imagination in their walk with God and this can be seen historically in the tradition of cataphatic prayer. However, during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the influence of the Scientific Method, the Age of Reason and the Age of Enlightenment came to dominate western culture and the cataphatic prayer tradition was lost.

The Animate course guides us through the use of our imagination in our walk with God today. The course explains the biblical basis for imaginative spirituality and provides guided individual and group exercises to put the biblical principles into practice. It is our experience that the use of imaginative spirituality connects us with God in a powerful way.

If you'd like to know more, or sign up for a course, please see Karl or Ruth.


Animate Course Details

The course runs over six weeks. Each week you will watch a one hour sermon DVD at home and then practice some individual exercises two or three times during the week. At the end of the week, you will meet with your group for a two hour session where you will discuss your experiences and then join in a group exercise.

Animate Course Resources

All course materials are provided free of charge by Woodland Hills Church. You will be provided with a course pack during the first group meeting which will include all necessary materials. In addition, you may download these and other resources via the Animate page on the Woodland Hills Church website.


4/19/2009 What a Surprise Animate Course Week 1
4/26/2009 Flesh and Blood Animate Course Week 2
5/03/2009 Holding up Your Body Animate Course Week 3
5/10/2009 Forming Me Animate Week Course 4
5/17/2009 Clever Disguises Animate Course Week 5
5/31/2009 Animate Wrap Up: Is it Just Me? Animate Wrap-up 1/3
6/07/2009 Animate Questions: Getting Life Animate Wrap-up 2/3
6/14/2009 Animate: Final Questions Animate Wrap-up 3/3

For each week you can download study notes, sermon notes, sermon video and sermon audio.

Woodland Hills Church also has a YouTube Channel. This channel includes many short clips from Question & Answers sessions that Woodland Hills run from time to time. These are all very helpful and some clips are specific to the Animate course.

In addition to the Woodland Hills resources, Ruth at OCF has provided the following transcripts of each talk:
Week 1  Week 2  Week 3  Week 4  Week 5


Participant Feedback

"Helped me revisit and restore my personal walk with God."
"It helped me understand prayer more, it's a lot easier than regular prayer. It gave me food for thought and good tools to use in the future."
"It has totally renewed my walk with God. I feel I now have a real one-to-one relationship and KNOW He loves me not just hope He does."
"Fantastic course, can't recommend highly enough. Everyone should do it!"
"All aspects of course were very well delivered. Material I believe to be indeed profound & life changing once applied."
"Found group meditations surprisingly effective - disciplines you to do it! Should be integrated into church life if not already."
"Great tool which has helped me."
"Everyone should do this course!"


Art reproduced by permission of Dale R. Johnson,

All other Animate course materials and references are the copyright of Woodland Hills Church.


Ormskirk Christian Fellowship