John Thornburg is a fourth generation Methodist minister. His grandfather, Amos, was a noted gospel singer, touring as a teenager with the legendary Homer Rodeheaver, and was a member of the editorial committee of the 1966 Methodist hymnal.
After graduation from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, John served four parishes in the Dallas, Texas, area including an inner city cooperative parish, and, most recently, for ten years at Northaven United Methodist in North Dallas.
In 2001, after 22 years in parish ministry, John pursued a new calling by starting an itinerant ministry of song leading and worship consultation called "A Ministry of Congregational Singing." (www.congregationalsinging.com) He now travels the country leading congregations in singing, and consulting with churches about how to enrich the singing of the congregation.
John is a published poet whose hymn and anthem texts appear in 15 different hymnals, hymnal supplements, single author collections as well as octavos from six publishers. His collaborators include Jane Marshall, John Ferguson, Alice Parker, Austin Lovelace, Gerre Hancock, Craig Phillips, Bruce Neswick, John Yarrington, Amanda Husberg, Thomas Pavlechko, Dan Damon, Joao Faustini and Taylor Davis.
John was invited by the mission director of the new United Methodist mission in Cameroon, West Africa, to assist the music leaders of the 19 Cameroonian United Methodist churches in the production of their first hymnal/worship book. That project began in August 2005 and is due for completion in June of 2008. He is also adjunct instructor in worship and preaching at Perkins School of Theology.
His recent travels have taken him to Boston, Chicago, Winchester, Virginia, St. Louis and Houston. He spent every Wednesday this past summer at Lakeview Assembly in Palestine, Texas, teaching youth and children some of the Christian songs of Africa, Asia and South America.
He is currently living in Morgantown, West Virginia, where his wife, Beth, is a visiting professor at the West Virginia University School of Law. They will return to their home in Dallas, Texas, when the visiting professorship is over.
He was born in 1954 in Southampton, New York, has one daughter, and his hobbies include photography and gardening.
"I love to work with children and youth because of the freshness of their questions and their enthusiasm. I love to teach songs to youth and children because it stretches me to understand what makes people love music in the first place."