Night of Worship brings Christian UNG students together through music

Hoag Auditorium was transformed into a sanctuary Feb. 18 by a group of University of North Georgia students who all had the same goal in sight.

Around 300 students gathered for the second meeting of Night of Worship, or NOW, a new club on the Dahlonega campus.

A band composed of nine musicians performed 12 songs with the intent of worshiping the God of the Christian faith.

Ryan McCain, center, and Oakley Thurmond, right, perform at NOW’s second meeting. (Photo by Graham Durham)

NOW’s mission statement, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him,” comes from the book of John in the Bible.

“What we’re doing feels so good because everything has just fallen into place,” said CJ Harman, a sophomore business administration major, on behalf of the entire NOW leadership team. “It feels like we’re supposed to be doing this.”

The band and the leadership team around them get together every week to pray and prepare themselves for performance, which includes things like picking the songs for that week’s setlist and other business matters such as  T-shirt prices, said Harman.

“Song selection is an intense process,” said Ryan McCain, a sophomore premed student who is one of the lead singers. “We really try to make every playlist one that is balanced with songs that a majority of the congregation will have heard before, while at the same time introducing a few that maybe aren’t as well known.”

NOW is something  the leadership team had been thinking about doing ever since they became students at the UNG.

“We did a small Bible study called CIC, or Christ in the Commons, last school year,” said Harman. “Over the summer, I was just really wanting to provide a place where people could go and worship, no matter what ministry they were involved in on campus.”

Harmon met up with his friend, fellow UNG student, and sophomore sociology major Graham Durham over the summer where they first started piecing together what NOW would become.

“I talked to Ryan and he was more than excited to get a band together,” Durham said. “After that, everything just began to fall into place.”

NOW had its first meeting on Nov. 12, 2017. That meeting also had around 300 people at it as well, said NOW leadership team.

The NOW leadership team plans to expand the group’s focus beyond music in the coming months.

“We also hope by fall of 2018 we are able to start an outreach team that works on projects around Dahlonega to give back to the community that gives so much for this school,” McCain said.

As long as NOW continues to have a positive impact on campus, the plan is to keep growing, said McCain.

“We just want students to feel refreshed and loved by not only the people around them, but by Jesus as well,” Durham said. “Whoever is drained can come and feel loved.”

The NOW leadership team hopes to have a campus-wide meeting every two months. The next is scheduled for April, though there is no assigned date yet.

“I pray that what the NOW leadership team portrays is not that we are trying to put on a show that catches peoples’ attention for the time being but that we put the spotlight on God,” McCain said. “The church isn’t a museum of saints, it’s a hospital for sinners.”


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