Photo Courtesy of Word Up
Senior Valentine Douglas found his space to worship within the Pepperdine community as president of Word Up, an on-campus worship night featuring contemporary Gospel music that occurs at the end of every month.
“I think worship is a thing that we do to exalt God, acknowledge God in a way that’s genuine and connect with God,” Douglas said.
Word Up is currently in its fourth year and offers fellowship-type worship for students. Douglas joined it his freshman year. He said the style is similar to the worship and music at contemporary Gospel churches and black churches. Douglas said the night opens with worship to God followed by community time that includes games or fellowship and ends with “the word” for a discussion of the Bible.
“Word Up is fostering a space for people to be able to connect with each other and really be in the space with one another before we dive into the word together, which I think is really critical,” Douglas said.
Douglas said Word Up is an open space for different types of worship that “revolves around the ideas of community and diversity.” He emphasized that there is no right way to worship and that’s what makes Word Up so beautiful and diverse.
“We understand that not everybody worships the same,” Douglas said. “We want to make sure everybody can worship together.”
Douglas said people can be uncomfortable with worship styles different than their own and some people attach stigma to styles that seem strange to them. However, Douglas said people should do what they’re comfortable with when it comes to worship.
“If everybody around me was jumping up and down and dancing and hands are in the air and that’s not what I do, then now I’m somehow worshipping less or if nobody’s doing that and I feel [the] need to do that, I felt like I can’t do that because now I’m somehow trying to get attention,” Douglas said.
Douglas said Word Up is one of his favorite ways to worship because it has made him and others more comfortable with their worship styles.
“One thing God has made clear to me is that when you will open up your space to worship God, then it can create space for other people to do it,” Douglas said. “I think it’s allowed me to not feel concerned about that, about standing out in worship, but to embrace it.”
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