When Church Planter Josh Dupiche arrived at Hope Church, Milford, DE in 2020, he discovered that one of his big weekly tasks would be finding music on YouTube for the weekly worship gathering. He says, “It was painstakingly difficult finding the right songs with video that made sense for our context. It didn’t make sense to see a large band playing before a large crowd when we were just a handful of people. Sometimes I would find a great song and then the singers would speak in tongues during a slow section so we didn’t want to use that either. Also, the sound quality on a computer or phone did not always translate well to the monitor we used for Sunday worship. What seemed really loud at home would come out super quiet on our church televisions which was awkward to sing along since not many people wanted their voices heard when singing in a small group. Getting a song took HOURS! I had to sort through video after video until I found something usable. The whole thing was difficult for me, not to mention for people visiting.”
Josh Dupiche and the group at Hope Church in Milford, DE began to pray for the Lord provide another solution for musical worship on Sunday mornings. The answer to prayer came in an unexpected way.
One morning the computer software crashed during the worship service. They expected a video to pop up for the last worship song but there was only a blank screen. In the moment, Darreus McCrae stepped up and led the song acapella. It went well! That was the moment Josh Dupiche knew God was going to put together a team.
Darreus and Maria McCrae have been such a faithful part of Hope Church since the beginning, serving in so many ways. Darreus currently serves as one of the strongest vocalists on the team. His wife, Maria, also stepped out in faith to help the worship team. She has remained faithful from the start, learning new songs, stretching herself to sing and hit notes that she doesn’t always feel comfortable with.
Bryce Evans plays guitar and is the lead for the worship team. Before being on the Hope Church team, he never sang in public and didn’t think he should or could. But he stepped out there, ready to make a fool of himself, only to grow exponentially and to quickly become one of the team’s strongest vocalists. He was genuinely surprised and praised God for what HE did.
Robert Ruggiero is the bass player. When Robert started attending church, Bryce got to know him. One day Bryce called Josh and asked, “how would you feel about Rob practicing with the worship team?” Josh wasn’t sure because Rob hadn’t made a profession of faith but he had consistently showed up at church and events so Josh said yes. Rob showed up for practice, did great, and faithfully practiced with the team. During this time, he asked more questions about faith. He shared with Josh and Bryce and others how He felt God was working in his heart. In the midst of that, he participated in Sunday worship and it went well. Shortly after, Robert made a profession of faith. He was baptized recently at Broadkill Beach.
Severen Godwin plays the keyboard. Severen has proven himself to be a very important part of the worship team. Initially, he wasn’t that involved or consistent with church life but over the last year God has worked in his heart. He has grown and continues to grow musically and personally. The first time he played on a Sunday morning everyone had compliments. He really helped fill up the sound.
Rous is the newest vocalist. She always had a desire to sing but her work scheduled never allowed for it. Once her schedule changed, she jumped right in and has been a blessing ever since. She continues to receive compliments for her voice. Hopefully in the future, she will lead some songs and help bring in some new songs.
Growing in Love
Starting the worship team has caused the people at Hope Church to grow in love. How so? Josh says, “Imagine having to lead inexperienced singers and musicians. The stress, the lack of understanding, the need for honest but loving feedback. It’s very hard to tell someone who is volunteering to make a fool of themselves for Christ that the last note needed ‘refinement’ (and not the spiritual kind)!” Learning how to work together in love has been a great reflection of God’s love.
Growing in Faith
The musical worship team has also caused growth in faith. Josh says, “As we build this team, we are pursuing biblical values. We think worship is not just to honor God but a way to teach each other about God, to encourage each other, and help our faith. Because of these values, we pray together and for each other. We are careful about what songs we pick, and we do our best to help lead people to focus on Jesus and not our team on Sunday morning. Because of this focus, the members of the team have to think about the songs and how to present a short intro, or devotional, before the song to help people engage. I wish we were perfect. We have all the struggles you can imagine, but we continue to strive. Keep praying for us, we absolutely need HIS help.”