In 2008, we began the work that has come to be known as The UP Project. The three of us (Andy Cisneros, Julie Driskill, and Graysen Pack) felt a calling to provide opportunities for the young adults of the General Conference to experience the richness that can be found in a life that is devoted to service in the love of Christ. As UP began to pursue this idea the individual callings that UP each possessed became the three pillars that form the core of what the UP Project is today.
The UP Project helps students and young adults achieve a better understanding of who God has created them to be. We help them to discover how their mind works and the many wonderful strengths that each of them possesses. Next, we look at the larger communities in which we are involved and the very present and earthly needs that exist within those very communities. As we look at the social justice issues of our day, we also look at how Jesus calls us to respond to these problems. We then take a 40,000 foot view of what a Christian life might look like if it embodied the values of Christ-like love towards those in our community in a way that utilized the very strengths that each student has been naturally given.
The UP Project aims to give students one week to truly live into this kind of life and to embody this kind of radical love. However, UP is not and must not be considered a one week commitment. While use week long trips to educate and immerse students into an active life of Christian service, our aim is to provide them with the tools and the desire needed to follow a life long pursuit of such service and love. This year long commitment can be seen in our growing network of Ministry Partners across the COG Conference.
As students leave the UP Project, they become partners with UP in their local congregations. This allows the passionate and committed young adults across our denomination to discover new and innovative ways to impact their communities by communicating with other young adults like themselves. Through the combined efforts of the yearly mission trip and the continued networking of our Ministry Partners, we are walking with a new generation of leaders in our conference to pursue a life of radical love.
Andy Cisneros, Co-founder
Andy is the leader of the Pillar of Christian Vision. Andy leads the educational program for second year students. His main teaching responsibility is the exploration of Spiritual Giftedness. He guides students through understanding what spiritual gifts are, their purpose and function, and what gifts each student holds.
Julie Driskill, Co-founder
Julie is the leader of the Pillar of Self-Awareness. She oversees the execution of the first year program for new students. Her main responsibility is the cultivation of awareness in first year students of themselves and others. This involves the Path4Teens educational program, individual guidance, and group devotional sessions.
Graysen Pack, Co-founder
Graysen is the leader of the Pillar of Social Justice. Graysen teaches third year students in an advanced class and guides the work aspects of first and second year students. His main responsibility is to open the eyes of students to the immediate social needs that the church is called to minister to.
Dan joined the UP team in 2011 as the Logistics Coordinator. As a central member of the team, he takes the team's vision for what we want to accomplish and partners with others to make sure it happens. Dan is also our financial coordinator. Outside of his work on the UP team, Dan is passionate about God & Jesus, his wife Rachel, their two little munchkins, and pastoring a church in Troy, Ohio.
Glennis is often the glue that holds our days together. Whether it is whipping up a quick lunch for us to eat on the road or a late night run to the store for the next day's suppplies or teaching the students the best way to paint trim, Glennis is an integral part of the UP Project team. Her ability to improvise on the spot and her keen eye for reaching students make her a key part of the UP Project's mission.