Seasons are changing, and springing forth this March is the new Upper Room team that took the stage for the first time Sunday, March 17. Graduating members of the previous team, Nathan Blake, Bryce McGarvey, Olivia Kelley, Christine Dawson and Allison Risinger were sent out by the entire congregation gathering to lay hands on them in prayer at the Upper Room service Sunday, Feb. 24. This gave the new band of seven just a few weeks to practice and bond before their debut as leaders of the worship service. Sarah Long, sophomore nursing major and the newly appointed leader of the Upper Room team, was excited by the unique dynamic of the new team. Five out of its seven members are new to the Upper Room stage.
“It’s so cool to see,” Long said. “Even though a lot of these people don’t know each other, they’re really just bonding right away, and I feel like we are already kind of unified as a team.”
Long described the thorough and somewhat intimidating process of applying for new positions.
“Ultimately the Lord is in control, and he is going to hand pick whoever he wants in positions, and that is so comforting to me,” Long said.
Sophia Kipe and Rachel Sanders are two of those who were chosen. One of the newest positions available was prayer coordinator. Sanders was immediately drawn to this unique and emerging title.
“I thought it would be a cool opportunity to make it my own and let it evolve into something with people,” Sanders said. “I’m really excited to connect with other people who attend upper room, who I normally wouldn’t be able to.”
For Long, taking steps towards the future is a representation of the common theme of growth within the upper room ministry.
“My vision personally would just be growing the outreach, growing the evangelism and growing the Christian community,” Long said.
Long would like to see growth through Upper Room but also by encouraging people to branch out with things such as worship nights and other less formal faith-based events.
Kipe plays guitar and is a vocalist on the team. Worship has made up a significant portion of her testimony, as she was challenged unexpectedly to step up and lead worship services in her hometown at both school and church.
“I was really scared at first, but then I realized leading worship was one of my greatest passions in life,” Kipe said. “I realized these gifts I didn’t even know I had. I realized what it really meant to have my affections for Christ stirred.”
Kipe also shared one of her favorite quotes regarding the ministry of worship as a whole and one which she applies to upper room. The quote she likes by John Piper reads, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.”
Kipe is thankful for the many steps of growth that worship has nourished in her faith.
“I fully realized this passion that I have, and when I am pursuing that, I feel so satisfied in the Lord, and I know it is so glorifying towards Him,” Kipe said.
Upper Room services are held every Sunday evening in Roberts Chapel starting at 8 p.m.