Branching Out and Connecting with Your Community4 min read

The following is a summary of an interview with Peter Prochnow, the Local and Global Worship Arts and Community Engagement Director for the Michigan District, LCMS. You can listen to the full interview at

Prochnow grew up in the LCMS, the son and grandson of Lutheran school teachers/principals. His father and grandfather were also church music directors, which allowed him to grow up in a musical environment. Peter served at Zion, Kalamazoo as Minister of Music Outreach and at St. Luke’s, Oviedo, Fla. as Director of Worship arts. He also taught at Concordia University Ann Arbor and Concordia University Nebraska, Seward. He says he grew up wondering whether “there might be some other things we could do in our worship that are in our community, specifically talking about the messengers* that are around us. And so, I started working in the early 90’s on a service downtown Orlando, Fla., with jazz and reggae and Latin messengers, just taking public domain hymns and doing some format changes. And that went really well for many years, until that community or that environment changed to other messengers.”

What does the Local and Global Worship Arts and Community Engagement Director do? Prochnow answers: “I’m here to help enhance worship and assist in whatever is needed at the local church.” When he visits a church, the first thing he does is ask whether the congregation knows its neighbors and the businesses around them: “God so loved the world, not just certain sections of the community, so how do we get out there? That will really align with how we worship and the messengers that are there, which could be anything—from classical to bluegrass to jazz or even a mix.”

When a church needs help with finding musicians, Prochnow tries to connect them with what’s already in the community: “If you find a musician or an artist that’s willing to work, honestly, it doesn’t have to be a Christian at first. It can be somebody that you’re starting to connect with.” He also helps with resources like media, learning a new style, online worship, and sound. If he can’t personally help, he has connections to other resources within the District or even outside.

Another aspect of Prochnow’s job is The Hymnal Project, a resource that takes hymns that are in the public domain and sets them in a different style. The project offers lead sheets and music videos that can assist in worship. This resource was particularly useful during the COVID-19 lockdown, when many churches started livestreaming. Churches around the world (30 countries so far) have been utilizing this free resource since 2020 as well.

The Hymnal Project continues to develop, and Prochnow says they are starting to work with more of the District’s worship leaders and musicians and adding many styles. This resource can be accessed by visiting

Another project that Prochnow is working on is Living Water, a recording of the New Testament in song. This resource is produced by Lutheran Bible Translators (you can learn more about it at Because they started working on this project while Prochnow was serving at a church in Florida, he was able to enlist top Disney singers, as well as Khristian Dentley (from Take Six). Prochnow creates music that resembles a film score, and the singers sing each chapter of the New Testament, word for word. This project continues to develop, with exciting ideas coming up, according to Prochnow. This new way to experience Scripture is also free. You can access it at

When a congregation requests Prochnow’s help, he will come visit and get to know them, asking what their worship needs are and helping them network with local resources. To get a hold of Prochnow, send an email to or call him at 734.665.3791. Prochnow says once you contact him, he will get out to your church as soon as he can to meet with you and, if you have some needs that the District can help with, he would be glad to visit regularly and make that happen.

*Prochnow defines messengers as sound, visuals, and styles that carry a message. “The messengers in the communities where we are called to serve are a gift from God,” he says.

Photos by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS

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This blog was published by the Communications Department of the Michigan District, LCMS.

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