Meet Our Team

Find information on the key team members that serve at each of our three campuses. 

  • Pastor Darrell Koop

    Lead PAstor

    Howdy! It’s an honor to be the pastor of this great church. Niki and I moved to Williamson County in 2000 to start this church in our living room. We have three kids: Kaleb, Noel, and Danielle. I’m an Aggie (class of 1990) and later went to seminary at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for a Master of Divinity with Biblical languages. I love turtles and landscaping. Niki is a physical therapist. 

    I hope to meet you in person on Sunday!

LEANDER CAMPUS LEADERS

  • Clay Martin

    Executive Pastor | EMAIL CLAY

    My wife (Lauren) and our 5 children have the honor of serving this church that we call home.  Originally from La Feria, a small town in South Texas, I moved to the Central Texas area some 25 years ago to attend UMHB. Since then, I have served as both a volunteer and various staff positions within ministry. God has given each of us spiritual gifts that we are to use in service of the body of Christ (the church). Please contact me so that we can discuss ways that you might utilize your talents and willingness to be God’s hands and feet to our community.

  • Branon dempsey

    Worship Pastor | Email Branon

    I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Heather, and we have two children. I am a singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist and drummer and I have a Masters in Divinity in Worship Theology & Worship Arts and a Bachelors of Music in Composition & Performance. I am the Founder and CEO of WorshipTeamTraining.com and Worship Team Training University (wttu.co) and I have over 20 years of leading worship and teaching worship theology, music and songwriting for churches. If you have vocal or musical talent, or are interested in sound, lights, video or presentation, please contact me! We would love to have you join our Worship Ministry!

  • LAUREN MARTIN

    Director of administration & education | Email Lauren

    I am a mother of 5,  graduate of the University of Mississippi (Go Rebels!), with a varied career in public service and politics. My husband (Clay) and I have had the opportunity to serve in numerous church volunteer and staff roles.  I personally found a stronger calling to full time ministry during my time as a youth group leader for early teen girls.  I am excited about what God has instore for our church family and the surrounding communities and would love to have you join me in any serving capacity that God has placed on your heart.    

  • Jimmie Willingham

    media pastor | Email jimmie

    I have been called to ministry and moved from south Texas to join Darrell and his family in starting the church in 2000. I am married to Sasha and have one son, Charles. I create our series artwork and other media, play bass, acoustic guitar, and sing on the worship team. I also provide technical support and help with building maintenance. I’m also an Aggie. Come and worship with us on Sundays!

  • Bonnie bennetsen

    operations director | Email Bonnie

    I’m married with two children and we attended the very first service at Upwards Church. I have been in administrative management for Christian organizations since 1992 and have been an administrator with Upwards Church, providing support for all 3 campuses and Upwards Preschool since 2003. My passion is to use all my abilities and talents for God’s church. I play keys and sing on the worship team and also lead the Connection Center & Cleaning Ministry Teams. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me!

  • Tessa Goryance

    administrative assistant | Email Tessa

    I am married to John. We have been church members since 2011. I lead the Cafe Ministry and also provide administrative support by following up with our guests, updating our database, accounts receivables, and much more. I have also led our Mission Teams on several trips. I love my fur babies and live music. If you’d like to serve in our cafe, please contact me.


  • PASTOR ANDY EDSON

    Jarrell Campus Pastor

    I have been doing full-time ministry since 2015, and I lead the men’s Connect Group. My wife, Lisa, and I have 5 grown children and our hearts are for families. I work full-time as a licensed counselor. I would love to see you on Sunday and do life with you!

Jarrell Campus Leaders

  • LISA EDSON 


    WORSHIP MINISTER | Email Lisa

    My deep passion for music has led me to serve on the Worship Ministry Team, where I have been serving since 2002. I enjoy leading a wonderful team of talented musicians and feel truly blessed to be called to this ministry where we can come together in unity to glorify our God. If you would like to be a part of this wonderful ministry, please contact me!

  • CHERYL RAEKE 


    CHILDREN'S MINISTER | Email CheryL

    I am married to my best friend, Charlie. We have 2 daughters, 4 grandsons, 3 dogs, and many goats. Church has always been an essential part of our family life. I joined the Children’s Ministry Team when we first joined the church. I feel called to share the love of Jesus and God’s word with our children. I became the Children’s Minister in 2013. My favorite scripture is Proverbs 22:6. We have an awesome church family and hope you will join us for worship.

  • DANI SYBERT 


    YOUTH MINISTER | Email Dani

    I attended Anderson University to study Christian Ministries in 2006. Since then, I have been involved with youth in one way or another, both as a minister, with young life and even coaching sports teams. As a wife and mother of two, I feel so strongly that God has called me to this particular area that I gave up my occupation in daycare to be available to my family and the youth group. I hope to see you on Wednesday!

  • DANE & TAMARA BASHAM

    FACILITIES MINISTRY | Email the Bashams

    My husband and I began repairing and maintaining our church building to serve God with the gifts He gave us. We have three children and enjoy helping with the Children’s Ministry also. If you’re a handy person and would like to help keep our facility maintained, please contact us.

  • Pastor Albert Miller

    taylor Campus Pastor

    Born and raised in Seguin, Texas I grew up attending what some would call “small town” church. There was a time in my life where I separated myself from the church. Trouble came my way (yes – I cried sometimes), yet God never left my side. He walked with me, He talked to me, and at times He carried me. I finally heard and answered His call in 1997 and have been preaching the Gospel since. Some view me as “old school,” yet my inner man is being renewed day by day. My wife and I joined this church family a couple of years ago and enjoy being part of the Upwards movement. I look forward to meeting you on this journey.

Taylor Campus Leaders

  • KEVIN & HEIDI KELM

    GREETING & FACILITIES | Email the kelm's

    We have been married almost 29 years. We have three wonderful daughters: Tucker, Jentri, and Autree. They keep us extremely busy! Kevin and I both have a heart for serving. We prefer being behind the scenes, but we help out wherever we are needed. If you visit us you can find Kevin’s smiling face greeting on Sunday mornings.

  • Richelle Lenoir

    Worship Minister | Email Richelle

    I grew up in Mississippi and gave my life to Christ at the age of 9, when I learned that knowing about God was totally different than having a personal relationship with him as Savior and Friend. I earned a BA in music, with an emphasis on piano and voice, but I play many instruments as well.

    I have both served and lead worship for over 10 years. God called me to Central Texas in 2019, and I intend to build His kingdom at Upwards Church in Taylor. I look forward to growing with God’s people! If you are interested in joining our Worship Ministry Team, please contact me!

  • Chief & Toni Mace

    Children's Ministries | email THE MACE'S

    We have been serving in children's ministry as a team for over 16 years. We believe real faith begins with an understanding of who God is and how much He loves us. As parents of five children and grandparents to eight grandchildren, we believe kids are extremely important within the body of Christ, and equipping them to learn about and grow in Him is central to our ministry. We are committed to teaching and loving children, and helping them to know, love, and serve God! If you'd like to serve through our Children's Ministry, please contact us!

TEACHING TEAM

In addition to Pastor Darrell, Pastor Andy, and Pastor Albert our weekend teaching also includes the following pastors:

  • Pastor brian shanklin

    rotating teaching pastor

    I am a teaching pastor, and I travel and speak at all of the church campuses. My father was a pastor, and I was definitely the prodigal son. I promised to never be a pastor, and tried doing life my way, but God had different plans. I have a passion for God, God’s Word, and teaching and learning His Word and His Truth with others. God has truly blessed me with an amazing wife, Jennifer, and 4 great (yet a little crazy) kids. I am a full-time HVAC contractor in my real life and the greatest ministry is the day-to-day life we share with others. We would love for you to join us at Upwards Church, where Jesus is King and Lord of Lords, God’s Word and Truth is spoken and shared, and the people are real, not fake! Hope to see you soon!!   

  • PASTOR LEWIS ALEXANDER

    Rotating Teaching Pastor

    Howdy, I’m Lewis Alexander, one of the teaching pastors at Upwards Church! I grew up on a small Central Texas farm with chickens, pigs, goats, cows, rabbits, horses, raccoons, dogs and cats. I never imagined that I would be living part time in Central America on the beach, commuting monthly to work and church. For work, I get paid to teach people how to love each other! As a volunteer, I get to teach people how to love the Lord, His Word, His people and His Mission. Please join me on Sunday mornings at one of our 3 locations.