- Faith & Family
If Rev. Marc Cooper, 41, of Upper Room Ministries had not been called by God to become a pastor, he might have easily became a successful full-time music producer. In 1995, while signed to Savoy Records, he created the Stellar Award-winning Miami Mass Choir. Along with the Miami Mass Choir, he and First Lady Joy Cooper, blessed our community with the Gospel classic “What God Has For Me, It Is For Me,” not too long after the group was founded.
“God gifted me with music,” Cooper said.
He used to serve as the minister of music, under his father, the late Elder Lenwood Cooper, and associate pastor under his mother, the late Mildred Cooper, but after their passings he pressed towards a higher calling to lead God’s people as pastor in 1998.
As pastor for the last 12 years, Cooper has changed the church’s name from Cooper’s Temple to the Upper Room Ministries. He also expanded the church’s territory and built a new edifice, all while watching the church’s congregation grow.
“It’s been a wonderful ride,” Cooper said. “God has prepared me for the job.”
Cooper said the church’s mission of ministry is to reach out to the lost, bring the unbelievers into God’s family, create a home for fellowship and to give instruction for Christian living.
As a younger pastor, Cooper says he believes it enables him to remain relevant to the current generation. But there is a nice variety of ages amongst the 750+ people who are apart of the congregation.
“We’re a contemporary church that is also traditional,” he said.
Under Cooper’s leadership, the church has started many outreach ministries, including evangelism, intercessory prayer, health fairs, tutoring and mentoring services.
The church’s newest ministry is the Upper Room Children’s Academy, the church’s daycare, which has recently opened for children ages 3-5. The academy offers a Christian-based curriculum with a focus on academics.
Cooper says his passion for music shows at his church services, even though after first becoming pastor of the Upper Room he halted his involvement in the Miami Mass Choir to focus on the ministries’ needs. However, over the past two years, he has been leading the Miami Mass Choir again. Cooper is a producer of the “Free Gospel Sundays” series at the Adrienne Arsht Center, which has allowed him to work with several well-known Gospel artists, such as Shirley Caesar, Cece Winans, Kurt Carr, Vickie Winans, Rickey Dillard and others.
Cooper said he is very involved in the music department and First Lady Cooper is one of the praise leaders.
“We’ve been known to be a church where you can get a Sunday morning concert,” Cooper said. “Every sunday.”
By Malika A. Wright