Worship ministry UPPERROOM independently releases its third recording, Moments, May 18 with global distribution for the first time through The Fuel Music. This new five-song digital album is collection of songs curated out of the ministry's Prayer Room that have since went on to inspire not only the members of UPPERROOM, the church in Dallas' creative Design District that started in 2010, but millions more around the globe.
Called to gather the Lord's people daily for corporate worship, praise, thanksgiving, adoration and intercession through song and scripture, UPPERROOM opened its doors without much fanfare. Today, people around the globe are singing their songs and around 100 vocalists, songwriters and musicians contribute their talents to leading people in worship three times a day, six days a week.
"We really wanted to love Him well. We wanted to set a table for Him," says UPPERROOM Pastor Michael Miller. "God has brought some of the most gifted musicians, singers and worship leaders just to help steward this vision."
Among those gifted creatives are Meredith Mauldin, who leads UPPERROOM's songwriting efforts, and Elyssa Smith, who leads worship at the church's second location, UPPERROOM Denver.
"The power really comes from the Prayer Room," Mauldin says of their artistic inspiration. She leads a writing intensive once every three months, gathering UPPERROOM's songwriters in one place to expand melodies and lyrics, often spontaneously birthed in worship. "Basically, what we're doing is stewarding the songs that we're getting in the Prayer Room."
Although UPPERROOM has been leading people in worship and prayer for eight years, it was only recently that they began to release their music to the culture at large. Much like dripping medicine from an IV, they slowly began to quietly drip organic moments from their worship sets on YouTube.
"We have a unique worship culture. We've been experiencing it for a long time," Miller shares, "but we hadn't put anything out there, so we decided to prayerfully start releasing these moments, which were just nights of worship from our services. We put those online, and they really went viral."
One of those viral videos propelled a song Smith wrote to new heights, and all around the world, in an unexpected fashion. During a set with her brother and one of the Prayer Room directors, she spontaneously began singing what would become the chorus to "Surrounded (Fight My Battles)": "This is how I fight my battles. It may look like I'm surrounded, but I'm surrounded by You."
Multiple Grammy Award-winning Michael W. Smith heard the song after his producer discovered it on YouTube and decided to record it as the title track for his 2018 live worship album. Shortly after its release, he performed the song live on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"We didn't really do anything; and the Lord, He's just breathing on it," Smith says of the song that bears her name. "We're just so humbled by the whole thing."
A broader glimpse of UPPERROOM's heartbeat can be heard on the collective's aptly titled Moments, a collection of live 'moments' recorded during spontaneous worship in the Prayer Room. The songs showcase instances of authenticity and surrender and are a poignant snapshot of what's been taking place behind closed doors in Dallas for some time. It's just that, now, the world is taking notice.
"I think the title of the album is really indicative of the heart behind the project, which are these moments of a community that's living this lifestyle around the presence of Jesus," shares Miller. "We really are just capturing moments from our community that we feel like the Lord is highlighting."