Meet Our Team

Find information on the key team members that serve at each of our two 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

  • Toni Mace

    Children's Ministry &

    Upwards Preschool Director (Leander)

    I have been serving in children’s ministry for over 16 years. I believe real faith begins with an understanding of who God is and how much He loves us. As a parent of five children and grandparent to eight grandchildren, I 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. I am 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 or work at the preschool, please contact me!

  • Ashley Burtt

    Youth Ministry

    I am married and have been blessed with one daughter. We are proud members of Hippo Nation, where we live and work. I spend my weekdays working as a Reading Interventionist at Hutto Elementary. I have been in education for 13 years and truly have a passion and heart to help children and youth learn and develop strong moral values. I am super excited to be able to continue God's calling for me by serving as the Youth Leader for the Leader campus. It is very important that youth know what the Bible says so they have a firm foundation,  grow and become more Christ-like, and to share, serve and live out their faith. Please contact me if you have youth or if you would like to serve them by joining our team. "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

  • Karina Sosa

    Worship Administrator

    I have been with Upwards Church for over 15 years, serving on the Worship Team, Creative Team, and Prayer Group, among other ministries. I started working with Upwards Preschool in the spring of 2019. I also work part-time as a real estate agent with RE/MAX Capital City. I have volunteered with Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and PTA. I have lived in the area for over 30 years, and I am excited about what God has in store for our church family and the surrounding communities. If you are interested in serving on the Worship Team, please contact me!

  • JanE Goolsby

    Greeting Ministry

    God led my husband, Allen, and I to visit Upwards Church and we joined in April 2021. I'm a mimi to three grandbabies, and feel so blessed to be close to our two sons and daughter-in-laws. I'm honored to lead the Greeting Ministry and also serve on the tech, cleaning, and offering ministries. We love our church family and serving one another. If you feel led to serve on the greeting team, please let me know. "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." 1 Peter 4:10

  • Allen Goolsby

    Safety ministry

    My wife, Jane, and I are blessed with two sons and their wives, and three beautiful grandbabies. We love spending as much time as possible with our family! I enjoy leading the Safety Ministry and also serve on the Facility/Landscaping Ministry. If you have a calling to guard and protect God's people, please let me know. "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood." Acts 20:28

  • CHief mace

    Facility & landscaping ministry

    My wife and I live in Granger and I recently retired after 46 years in Law Enforcement. I began serving in the Facility/Landscaping Ministry because I feel it's important to maintain that which God has blessed us with. If you are interested in joining our team, I would love to visit with you!  

  • Bonnie bennetsen

    operations director

    I’m married with two young adults and we attended since the very first service at Upwards Church in 2000. I have been in administrative management for Christian organizations since 1992 and have been an administrator with Upwards Church, providing support for our campuses and Upwards Preschool since 2003. My passion is to use all my abilities and talents for God’s church. I  lead the Connection Center Team. If you are interested in a serving opportunity, please contact me!

  • Tessa Goryance

    administrative assistant

    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.


  • Jennifer Shanklin

    Cleaning Ministry

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  • Brian shanklin

    Rotating Pastor

    I am a teaching pastor and I travel and speak at both 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, learning, and teaching 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 fulltime 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!!

  • Lewis Alexander

    Rotating 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 2 locations.

  • Michael arce

    Spanish pastor

    It’s a privilege to be the pastor for the Spanish-speaking community. My wife Yvonne and I came to Texas with our children Widamys and Michael in 2003 through the United States Army. I love encouraging people to live up to their God given purpose. I also enjoy traveling to learn about other countries and cultures. We would love to have you join us during our Sunday service or our en Espanol connect group!

  • Alcoholics anonymous

    CONTACT GROUP LEADER

    Join us on Wednesdays at our Jarrell campus from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM for our AA recovery group meeting. Find hope, healing, support, and growth.

Jarrell Campus Leaders

  • CHERYL RAEKE

    CHILDREN'S MINISTER

    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.

  • paula Neal

    Worship Administrator

    I love serving with our worship team and leading others to worship. If you have a musical, vocal or technical talent, please contact me to join our Worship Team! 

  • DANI SYBERT

    Upwards Preschool Director (Jarrell) & YOUTH minister

    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 three, I feel so strongly that God has called me to this particular area to lead a preschool ministry as well as a youth group to minister our children in knowing Christ. Please contact me for more information on our Jarrell Campus preschool or youth group!

  • DANE & TAMARA BASHAM

    FACILITIES MINISTRY

    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.

  • jennifer gadison

    outreach Ministry

    I love reaching out to others in our community, serving them, and inviting them to know Jesus! If you would like to join me in our local outreach ministry, please contact me!

  • PHIL sybert

    Safety team Ministry

    It is important to me to keep our church family safe while we are serving others and worshipping God! If you are interested in joining our Safety Team, please contact me.

  • Gary Gadison

    Landscaping Ministry

    I’m married to Jennifer, and we have four wonderful children and a lovely granddaughter. Following my military career in the U.S. Marines, my family returned to Central Texas. I’m involved in the Landscaping Ministry at Upwards Church. I feel that a first impression is everything, and I strive daily to ensure that God's house and all what we've been blessed with is always presentable. If you would like to be part of our team, please let me know.

  • Will Mackin, Sr.

    Greeting Ministry

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  • Mark Garcia

    Connection Center Ministry

    My wife Bea and I found Upwards Jarrell in 2021. We love the family atmosphere and are grateful for the opportunity to serve. I worked in the Healthcare field in various roles for 19 years (most recently as a Physical Therapist Assistant), before venturing out to serve my community as a fitness coach. We have 4 dogs now, and hope to have as many as 5 kids, God willing! I serve as the Connection Center Ministry Leader & Couples Connect Group Leader. Please let me know if you'd like to greet or assist our guests at the Jarrell Campus!