Upper Room Worship experience geared toward young adults

Published Jun 27, 2014 at 11:23 am (Updated Jun 27, 2014 at 11:23 am)

Young Christians in the Pittsburgh area now have the opportunity to experience worship in a whole new way, thanks to the team at Upper Room Worship, who have been planning and developing a modern worship celebration since the beginning of February. Forty-five people attended the team’s debut in Brookline on June 22.

“We have always felt like the young people of Pittsburgh have been under-served by the churches, so we set out to create a worship experience that was completely different from your grandmother’s church,” said B.J. Collins, a long-time interdenominational church worship leader, music director and Christian rock singer. Collins has served as a musician and worship leader in Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Alliance, Full Gospel and independent churches. While he played a major role in the founding of Upper Room Worship, he won’t be leading the band on Sunday nights. “Right now, the oldest musician in the Upper Room Worship band is 23 years old, and the worship leader is only 22. But, that’s how it should be in a young ministry, with young people in the lead,” Collins said.

Members of the band rotate from week to week and include Bo Collins, 22, of Bethel Park, who is the worship leader, bass guitarist and co-founder of Upper Room Worship; Zac Reitmeyer, 22, of Jefferson Hills on drums, keyboard and banjo; Steph Dormihal, 19, of Buena Vista, vocalist; Aric Orr, 23, of West Mifflin on guitar; Matt Fahringer, 22, of West Mifflin on guitar and keyboard; Travis Butler, 19, of Bethel Park on drums; Colin McBride, 23, of Peters Township on drums; Jason Wavle, 22, of Jefferson Hills plays guitar and also sings; Chelsea Sobotor, 23, of Bethel Park, vocalist; Sam Robbins, 18, of Jefferson Hills, vocalist; and Mike Fisher, 22, of Glassport on drums and guitar.

While modern worship music is a major part of the soon-to-be-launched program, Sunday nights will also include the presentation of spoken messages that are relevant to the lives of young Christians. Among the planned speakers for Sunday nights are elders of Christian motorcycle clubs, professors from Christian universities, former and current youth group leaders from area churches, local business entrepreneurs who have built their businesses using Christian principles, musicians from successful Christian rock bands, and a man whose personal ministry to others began while serving 18 years in a Federal prison.

“We want to keep it fresh from week-to-week and keep the young people engaged,” said Mark Lazzaro, director of Pittsburgh’s Upper Room Group. Lazzaro’s group has been performing re-enactments of Christ’s Last Supper all over the region since 1978, and the founding of Upper Room Worship is the result, in part, of the Christian group’s desire to do more to reach out to the young people of Pittsburgh. Because the original last supper took place in “the upper room,” each meeting on Sunday nights will also include a communion time where participants will symbolically serve the bread and wine to each other.

Upper Room Worship is not a church in the traditional sense, nor does it own any property. The organization is a nonprofit, but is not incorporated like a church, and the facility on Brookline Boulevard is owned and shared by another partner in their mission, GracePointe Church, which meets in the same room on Sunday mornings. The meeting space is set up perfectly for the kind of atmosphere they are trying to create, with comfortable seating, theatrical lighting and effects, HD projection of images, words, and multimedia on an oversized screen and a state-of-the-art sound system to help make the guitars, drums, keyboards, voices and other instruments sound their very best.

The programs are designed with young adults in mind, but that doesn’t mean that people of all ages aren’t welcome. “It’s for people who are young, and also for people who are young at heart, and that includes me, even though I’m turning 53 this year,” said B.J. Collins, who describes himself as an “Eight-track rocker in an iPod world.”

Upper Room Worship meets at 6 p.m. every Sunday night at 1462 Brookline Blvd. “Afterglow” musicians fellowship and jam session with snacks, drinks and an open stage for all Christian musicians to participate will immediately follow the worship time. For more information, visit www.UpperRoomWorship.com, call 412-502-5052 or email Team@UpperRoomWorship.com.

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