Pass takes on role of worship leader at CUMC

By Amy Wagner

Contributing Writer


“Worship is a relationship with God.  Worship is an expression of Him.”  – Denise Pass, contemporary worship leader at Culpeper United Methodist Church

Culpeper United Methodist Church has joined forces with a sought after speaker, worship leader, song writer and recently published author whose vision includes transforming Sunday morning worship into a more openly expressive relationship with God.  Denise Pass began her journey with CUMC on January first of this year as the Praise and Worship leader for the 9:29 a.m. service.

Pass came to CUMC during a time of transition.  Two new youth leaders arrived late fall of 2017 and the church body had been undergoing a leadership transformation that recently led to hiring of an Executive Director.  Pass is not disheartened in any way however, noting that her acceptance at CUMC was a calling from God.  “I believe every church has their seasons, challenges and victories.  I had been praying to be sent somewhere if that was His will.  I am amazed at the graciousness of people at Culpeper United Methodist” Pass said last week.

Pass served nine years in a worship leader role at New Life Community Church in Louisa prior to this appointment.  “I felt a nudging from the Holy Spirit to move on,” said Pass who felt led to allow someone else to step into her previous position.  Following a personal crisis in 2007 that dramatically affected her life Pass found healing and restoration and uses her ministry and songs to speak to others and lead them to God’s truth.  “God has brought her through a lot and she is in a place to be able to minister to others in their pain to bring a deeper level of healing and hope,” said lead Pastor Randy Orndorff who is excited about the talent, gifts, passion and experience Pass brings to CUMC.

Pass describes herself as “the real deal” using words like authentic, humble and passionate.    A meaningful worship experience is important to Pass.  “I could never have the power to lead someone to God – it’s their choice.  If I can provide authentic space where they can meet God, I want to do that.  In church we can often be silent and I want them {congregation] to know that worship is a relationship with God.  Worship is an expression of Him,” she said recently.  Orndorff said Pass “not only moves us to worship through songs and scriptures on Sunday mornings, but to go live it out in our homes, community, schools, work places and neighborhoods each day”.

Pass lives in Unionville with her husband Clay and they have five children.   Pass has recorded several CDs including Praying for You, recorded in Nashville in 2005, and most recently Seeing Deep, in 2015.  A published author with the Upper Room, Pass recently wrote a book, Shame Off You, which will be published this fall and has a podcast,, starting this month which will address relevant issues, speaking truth with hope.

Pass has a vision for the contemporary 9:29 a.m. service at CUMC.  “First and foremost when people come into church, that they are accepted.  There is a freedom in worship – to clap, dance, be authentic and encounter God.  I hope their hearts are prepared once the songs are done so they can hear the sermon.”  As far as the team, which includes other vocalists, instrumentalists and audiovisual people, “that they would be greatly encouraged”.   “It’s not just singing a song.  I want to live these lyrics together; it unifies the church,” she said.

Pass invites women to attend a women’s retreat at CUMC February 23 – 25 where she will be the keynote speaker and worship leader.  More information about the renewal conference can be found on the church website at