Books to help you and your family learn more about God

Books to help you and your family learn more about God

Books for Adults:

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem. Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England: InterVarsity, 1994. A Systematic Theology assists in understanding all of the major doctrines of the Bible. If you wanted to know what the Bible has to say about the Trinity, a Systematic Theology is the tool you are looking for. The following three systematic Theologies have been used almost weekly throughout my ministry. Written at a High School level, Grudem’s Systematic Theology is one of my favorite books of all time. Wayne Grudem’s award winning Theology book has been used by churches throughout the world to gain a better grasp on the doctrines in the Bible. Some of my favorite features of Grudem’s Systematic Theology include: - Questions for personal application at the end of every chapter. - A scripture memory verse for each chapter. - A popular and familiar hymn that highlights the doctrine studied in each chapter.

Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998. Erickson’s Christian Theology is a great companion theology book to Grudem’s Systematic Theology or as a stand alone book on Christian doctrine. Where Grudem focuses more on the Biblical Text to discuss doctrine, Erickson’s book looks more into the history of how the Christian church came to understand these doctrines. Erickson’s book certainly addresses the Biblical text in each chapter, but his inclusion of the historical journey of the doctrines sets his work apart from the others.

Basic Theology by Charles C. Ryrie Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. Basic Theology. Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1986. Ryrie’s Basic Theology was my very first Systematic Theology, and it still holds up as a helpful overview of Christian Theology. Ryrie’s writing is easy for a middle school grade level and his handling of the difficult doctrines are helpful for all Christians.

Books for Children:

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New by Marty Machowski Truth is for kids, not just for adults! So The Ology gives kids of all ages a beginner s theology book to help them understand who God is and how we, as his children, relate to him. Arranged within a traditional systematic theological framework, each truth in The Ology is also connected to the larger redemptive story of Scripture. The doctrine of God, for example, is presented in the larger framework of creation, where the attributes of God are on display and easier to understand. Designed for six-year-olds through preteens, this flexible resource includes built-in adaptations for use with younger or older children, so that entire families can enjoy it together.

Big Truths for Little Kids: Teaching Your Children to Live for God Hardcover by Susan Hunt

Your children are a blessing from God. A gift that brings an abundance of joy and the privilege of teaching them God’s ways. When they’re young their potential to learn is amazing. And because actions and beliefs go hand in hand, the lessons they learn from you now will shape their lives forever. This wonderful book, with its easy-to-use story format, can help you teach the basic truths of the Christian faith to your children. They’ll learn right along with Caleb and Cassie that God’s ways are the best—and that even as kids, they can live for His glory every day.

Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers Set Hardcover – by Joey Allen

This author has spoken at South Orlando Baptist church during the last two years with his wife Christy. Even the youngest believers need a solid grasp of Christian doctrine just as much as adults do. The most foundational teachings of the Christian faith are presented in the Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers series on a level that preschool and elementary school-age children can understand. In simple but precise language, the series teaches God-centered theology. With their charming illustrations, the books make for a fun but educational read. A series of age-appropriate books that teach small children about essential Christian theology

Books for Teenagers:

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith - by R. C. Sproul For those who yearn for a deeper walk in faith, their journey can begin here. Dr. Sproul takes theology down off of the dusty shelves of theological libraries and expounds in clear and simple terms over one hundred major Christian doctrines. He offers readers a basic understanding of the Christian faith that will kindle a lifelong love for truth, which is foundational to maturity in Christ. Here are theologically sound explanations of the biblical concepts every Christian should know, written in a way that we can all understand. Sproul’s homespun analogies and illustrations from everyday life make this book interesting, informative, and easy to read.

Concise Theology by J.I. Packer Theology matters! At last it can be understood easily, thanks to this “layman’s language” approach to biblical belief. Authored by J. I. Packer, one of the premier theologians of Christianity, this summary of Christian teaching covers nearly 100 major Christian beliefs. Brief, easy-to-understand chapters offer precise descriptions without sacrificing depth. Thoughtfully arranged and refreshingly readable, this is a book that belongs on the shelf of every Christian.

A Survey of Bible Doctrine by Charles C. Ryrie A Survey of Bible Doctrine is an easy-to-read, Bible-based overview of the various doctrines of Scripture targeted to the teenager who wants to understand what the Bible teaches.

A Worship Leaders guide to prepare for worship

A Worship Leaders guide to prepare for worship

For pastors and worship leaders, preparing to lead worship each Sunday is both a holy privilege and a tremendous challenge. Having led worship in the local church for over 30 years, this calling has been both a joy and a constant struggle as Satan continually tries to thwart and undermine our heartfelt worship and joy. And here’s the thing; If something is going to go awry in our lives it’s usually (always!?) Saturday night or early Sunday morning. That’s it, like clockwork somethings going to happen to distract, annoy, or confound us. Do I get an amen from all the brothers and sisters? AMEN!

As Christ’s minsters we are “out front” leading others in worship; bringing our grace gifts, skill set, and maybe most importantly, our weakness and continual need for Christ. We’re in the spotlight so everyone sees our best and our worst. Being out front often reveals what’s inside us motivating us, and transparently displays our outer physical selves. In all this, our epic spiritual battle is most certainly a high and holy calling. It’s a privilege to be God’s servant and one which constrains us to ask several important questions as we prepare to lead others:

How can we can best prepare ourselves for such a unique task and how do we keep our own spiritual walk fresh and dynamic week after week, year after year?

Let me share several verses taken from King David I believe can help shed light on preparing for our important ministry task. The Psalmist writes:

Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?

Or who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,

Nor sworn deceitfully. Psalm 24:3-4

This messianic passage points us to Christ the “sinless Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” Yet for our conversation concerning worship leaders, this passage may reveal other truths about our readiness to lead others into a holy environment with confidence, faith, and humility.

Of course sinful man cannot ascend the hill of the Lord and or stand in His holy place apart from regeneration by the Holy Spirit. We are sinners! We must be redeemed, and be born again to approach His holy presence! We must be saved with a genuine salvation by faith in Christ alone and possess a firm biblical belief of His sacrifice on the cross for our forgiveness and adoption into His Kingdom.

Brothers and sisters, before leading worship each week we might all take a sober and reflective moment to examine our lives by the holy standards outlined in this passage.

First, begin by bowing your heads in prayer (a sincere act of humility and submission) seeking God. As we approach Him, we remember our Father knows all things so there’s nothing to hide from His omniscient presence. With that knowledge, we come before Him fully transparent. In His presence we experience His holiness and awesome glory and by effect we begin to see our own sin and darkness. When Isaiah “saw the Lord” he soon saw his own sinfulness in the presence of divine holiness and purity. Isaiah confessed his sin in short order and God graciously offered forgiveness and mercy.  So our best response is to ultimately agree with Him about ourselves and any sin present in our lives. If we do this, we are positioned to effectively prepare our hearts for worship and to lead others in worship.

Honesty is the best policy; but here it’s the only policy, so bring it all to Him if you’re willing to consecrate your hearts for leading worship! He is all gracious and forgiving.

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear;  What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.

We sing this great hymn in worship but do we who help lead others consistently practice it? I hope so!

So…. “Who” may ascend the hill of the Lord?  Or who may stand in His holy place?

How do I do that?

Jesus told a parable about two men who went up to the temple to pray (worship), one sinner and one Pharisee. Jesus described a sinner who would not even lift up his eyes to heaven but beat his breast in genuine sorrow and repentance, this man, Jesus declared, went away justified. This man connected with God on God’s terms of worship. So who may ascend? Only those who are broken, needy, humble, and honest with themselves and God.  Who may stand in the holy place? Repentant sinners confessing their sins, that’s who!

Some of you may ask OK, that’s good for me but how do I help elevate my church to “ascend the holy hill to worship God? Again, I start with myself, the person I have the most control over, and strive to live and model a genuine Christian life; praying for myself and others, that’s how to begin.

Clean hands.

Clean hands are hands that are untainted by sin and our walk in this world. Clean hands are “godly hands” hands set aside and sanctified for “good works”. Hands that do the will of the Father at the impulse of His bidding.

  For our discussion here, our hands may exemplify our “external” life. Pertaining to the external, we see our hands giving and receiving, embracing and letting go, and our day to day hands on ministry serving God and others. Think about it: Our hands and fingers come in contact with: our login to the internet, our smart phones, our banking accounts and pin numbers, TV controllers, the food we eat (amount and quality) and all beverages we consume, etc. This survey reveals a lot about our clean hands and our overall clean life too (or not). Many around us observe the “works of our hands” throughout the week; they see our charity or lack thereof, our living faith or lack thereof, our generosity and good works or lack thereof, our hard work or lack thereof, and our steadfast faithfulness to Christ or lack thereof. So, what have our hands done this past week? As owners of these hands, we get to observe this intimate part of our own external lives up close and personal. Think on these things and strive for clean hands!

The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger. Job 17:9 NLT

A pure heart.

A “pure heart” can then be used to examine our “internal” life. We can examine our inner life, our thought life, our purity and devotion to Christ. We survey our inner connection with the Spirit and all things holy and righteous. Are we abiding in Christ? Is there any root of anger or bitterness? Are there unwholesome thoughts and influences? Is my heart a place where the light of Christ shines and no darkness dwells? You see the heart is a place where our real motives, and quite possibly some hidden things (even from those closest to us), are laid fully bare before His holy gaze. The Spirit likewise uncovers our deepest thoughts, fears, and desires and we are naked before Him. The prophet Isaiah declared “Woe is me!” and David said ‘against You and you only have I sinned”. God’s Spirit will seek to (tenderly) convince and convict us of our sin, that’s His manifest divine operation. Yet it doesn’t stop at conviction only. David went on to confess his sin and pray these words of humble petition: “Create in me a clean heart Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do I have a pure heart? Paul encouraged us with these words:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Who has not lifted up his soul to idols.

This phrase immediately makes me think of the first of the ten commandments (Exodus 20). As sinners we are too quick to allow false gods and idols take over our soul’s affections. This commandment is a dire and direct warning that we would not worship (value) anything more than, less than, other than, God Himself.  No competing interests for our deepest love and affections, no other Gods before the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is a jealous God, jealous for our first and best love!

FYI worshipping other Gods never ended well for the people of Israel and it won’t for us either so let’s not fool ourselves. The Bible demonstrates over and over that the worship of anything other than the one true God of the Bible God leads to despair, darkness, destruction, and death! “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his own soul?” We must be careful to destroy our false gods and idols on the altar of His holiness and offer ourselves up completely as “living sacrifices” wholly acceptable to the Lord. No compromise. Think on these things.

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me. Exodus 20:2-3

Nor sworn deceitfully.

Oh boy here we go. We probably all talk too much, and yet say so very little of importance (Ok, maybe it’s just me). No swearing falsely and certainly no lies or deception. All our conversations should be based on respect for God’s holy name and the dignity of others. We are to constantly strive to speak the truth “in love”. We then consciously avoid conversations, oaths or contracts, where we might speak falsely or swear deceitfully. Instead we seek to walk in our integrity and in the bond of our word to avoid deceit and mistrust. Think on this passage.

“But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; “nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. “Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. Matthew 5:34-47

So there you have it. Clean hands, and a pure heart.  A quick and concise guide to worship preparation for today’s worship leader. When we use these model verses for self-evaluation consistently, they will help and guide us in getting “right” before God. But even in all this we will still fall short of the glory of God. We’re not perfect but thankfully He is and has graciously appropriated His holiness to us in exchange for our own sin! Amazing grace! How sweet the sound! Let’s confess our desperate need for Christ and receive His undeserved grace and relief. Think on these things.

One final thought to consider while we’re on this important subject of worship prep. It may be the most important metric. Our preparation should also include reading or listening to the holy WORD of God. I always strive to read or listen to God’s word before I go to lead worship. It’s a course requirement for worship leaders. As you consider the Psalm 24 passage also consider this passage from John Chapter 15.

Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you                                (John 15:3).

There’s nothing more refreshing and energizing to the believer than being clean. Isaiah said “Here am I, send me” before he knew anything at all about the mission God was calling him to. One minute he was a sinner condemned, unclean the next fully pardoned and forgiven of all unrighteousness! Selah

Of course reading the Word’s not some magic bullet or “holy “formula, but I am certain from this passage that hearing or reading God’s word truly opens our hearts to God’s spirit and voice and has the power to cleanse us for service.

Well known Pastor David Guzik said it this way in his commentary: “The Word of God is a cleansing agent. It condemns sin, it inspires holiness, it promotes growth, it reveals power for victory, and leads us to prayer.

So prepare for worship this Sunday like never before! Ascend the hill of the Lord and help lead others to God!

Richard B. Steele is freelance artist, arranger/composer. He is also full-time Pastor and Minister of Music and has been published in the Church Musician (SBC).  January 29,2017

5 Pastors Worth Listening To

5 Pastors Worth Listening To
  1. Alistair Begg - Truth for Life Ministries - Alistair's Scottish accent and great sense of humor makes him my favorite preacher to listen to. His careful attention to the text along with his insightful explanations will help you to learn key doctrines and the history of Biblical stories with ease. His radio program can be heard daily in Orlando on WTLN FM 94.9 from 12:30-1PM on weekdays. You can also download the "Truth for Life" app in any app store or visit online at All of Alistair Begg's Sermons are free to download and listen to.
  2. Tim Keller - Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City. Tim Keller is today's leading apologist preacher. An apologist is someone who defends the faith against outside attacks. Tim has a brilliance in his delivery and he has had a successful ministry in New York City reaching atheists, feminists, and liberal elites with the Gospel of Jesus.  Tim's sermons can be hard to locate, but you can search for them on Youtube, in Apple's Podcast App, or through Google. 150 of Tim's sermons are available for free at
  3. John MacArthur - Grace to You Ministries - Pastor John MacArthur has had a long and faithful ministry preaching through books of the Bible. John is a clear communicator of Biblical truth and a staunch defender of the Gospel. John's books were a huge help to me during my middle school/high school years and his commentaries on the Bible were very instrumental in my first years as a preacher. I recommend his Study Bible enthusiastically! You can hear John's preaching every evening on WTLN FM 94.9 in Orlando from 6:30-7PM and you can find his "Grace to You" App for free in all app stores. John's sermons are available for free from
  4. R.C. Sproul - Ligonier Ministries - R.C. Sproul is a local pastor who has had a long teaching ministry working through the historical truths and doctrines of the faith. Sproul is the best teacher for tough doctrines, and he has a clear delivery and grasp of the Bible and of church history. I read Ligonier Ministries Tabletalk devotional often and I have read many of Sproul's books throughout the years. Sproul's radio program, Renewing your Mind, can be heard on WTLN FM 94.9 in Orlando from 8-8:30 AM daily. You can also download the "Ligonier" app from any app store and visit for more access to his teaching and preaching.
  5. J.D. Greear - Summit Community Church, North Carolina. Greear is a young Southern Baptist Pastor who has served overseas with the IMB in a difficult country. Greear has a great teaching style and an awesome sense of humor that makes listening to his sermons a complete joy. He is a faithful expositor and a generous pastor, who is helping to plant churches all around the world. You can hear his sermons and learn more about his ministry by visiting

Journey through the Bible this year with Accountability

  If you would like to journey through the Bible this year and see the progress of your South Orlando Baptist Church friends - you can do so using the Bible App by
  1. Download the Bible App for your phone/tablet or go to to start.
  2. Create an account for this award winning platform. It is free.
  3. Once in the app or on the website, touch the "plans" button and choose "discover." Search for "The One Year Bible" and select "The One Year ® Bible" plan.
  4. On the website - click on your account name in the top right of the screen and then choose the "friends" option. In the app - search around in the settings tab for "friends." You can connect to your social media sites and search for your South Orlando Baptist Church friends.

New Sermon Series – God and Money

For the month of January, we will be journeying through the book of Luke and looking at the words of Jesus on money. This series will take a comprehensive overview on our use of finances, with practical encouragement for investing our resources more in God's Kingdom work. Please be in prayer for God to bless our time of study in His Word, and may we all become better stewards of His resources.

2017 Bible Reading Plan

For the 2017 Bible Reading Plan, we have chosen the popular One Year Bible reading plan. This is the most popular plan that has led more people through the entire Bible better than any other approach. Each day provides a reading from the New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. To utilize this plan, please read from the various options below:
  1. Grab a print copy from the office or church lobby (We also have large print available). Place the copy in your Bible and use daily. This approach will allow you to read the plan in a Bible version of your choice.
  2. Use our church app (Available starting on January 1, 2017) Our app is available in all app stores - just search for South Orlando Baptist Church. The One Year Bible plan has been programmed into our church app for daily use. Simply open the app and touch on the day's reading. If you touch on the day's reading, you can touch the audio button on the bottom of the screen and the app will read the day's Bible reading out loud to you. Our app has only has access to the English Standard Version (ESV), an excellent Bible translation for reading and serious study.
  3. Read the plan in the Bible App by Youversion/ This option would allow you to read the plan in a version of your choice. Once in the app, touch the "plans" button and choose "discover." Search for "The One Year Bible" and select "The One Year ® Bible" plan. After setting up this plan, this app will help to remind you when you fall behind and can help you catch up on missed readings.
  4. Download the PDF version of the plan and use on your tablet or phone. Click here for the regular plan and click here for the large print version.
  5. Purchase a One Year Bible on Amazon in the translation of your choice. This gives you a stand-alone print version of this plan that you can use solely for reading this plan. Click on the following links to purchase your copy today: New Living Translation ; New International Version ; English Standard Version ; New King James Version ; The King James Version
Whichever option you choose, enjoy your journey through the Bible in 2017 with your South Orlando Baptist Church family!

Holiday Schedule


Worship Schedule Saturday, December 24th:

Christmas EveCandlelight Service at 6:00 PM

Sunday, December 25th: Christmas: No 9:45 AM Small Group Sessions Church opens at 10:30 AM. Worship Service at 11:00 AM No evening activities

New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1st, 2017:

Regular morning activities

No evening activities

Office Christmas Hours:

December 19th—22nd 8:30 AM—5:00 PM

December, 23rd Closed

December 26th Closed

December 27th through 29th 9:00 AM—1:00 PM

December 30th Closed

-Children’s Choirs-

Building a solid foundation and lasting legacy
I was working at the office late one late afternoon when the phone rang, “Is the choir director there?” a female voice said. She went on, “I’m Cindy and I’m trying to put together a combined Children’s Choir event in the community and wondered if you would be interested.” As she explained further I could sense a real passion and enthusiasm for her vision of working with children’s choirs.
“Sure, I might be interested I said; we have about 50 children in our choir program.” The conversation continued from there with her sharing she had attempted to contact “dozens and dozens” of local churches to share her project idea and I was one of the “only ones” who had even answered (or returned her calls) much less had a children’s choir program. (We live in a greater regional area of well over a million people) She stated a couple of churches had related their children sing occasionally but it was usually seasonal or a pick up choir singing “Jesus loves me”, for a quick and easy service special. As she continued I thought to myself, “where’s the investment in our children learning music and worship.”  Unfortunately, she never followed up with me as I expected. To this day I’m not sure what ever happened with her idea. Later that very week a Church Ministry Journal came across my desk with the article caption on the front saying, “Experts now agree Children’s Choirs build healthy churches”. I cringed. Experts now agree, only now??
I’ve had the blessing of serving in local church ministry for nearly 30 years. From the very beginning of my (our) ministry, my multi-talented wife and I have worked together to help build strong and vibrant children’s choirs in the churches we served. It was not a passing notion or fad for us, but the very life blood of music ministry discipleship and kingdom work. We saw ourselves called to serve as mentors, trainers, and facilitators, to help raise up a new generation of musicians who actively participate in corporate worship. We wanted to see children serving Christ with their gifts and talents and edifying the entire Church. Over the years God has graciously guided and blessed our efforts. We’ve seen many children (and youth) experience tangible musical/spiritual growth and more. More importantly we’ve witnessed the local church being blessed and God glorified!
As I relate the story of Cindy sadly far too many of our church leaders have not seen the priority of this vital ministry in the church. I fear too many pastors have been more concerned with ‘trends” or meeting tight budgets than having a strategic and credible long range plan in building music ministries on sound theology and principle. The Apostle Paul stated clearly that “equipping the saints for ministry service” is the biblical priority of Church leadership.  
If we’re going to build strong healthy churches and equip the saints where do we begin? I ask my colleagues the question: “Where do pastors come from? Do they just wake up one day and say, “Hey, I think I want to be a pastor?!” No! Usually they don’t (maybe some of those I’ve seen on TV, just kidding). For our discussion, I believe it’s a Holy Spirit guided life process. First, most, but not all, come from a godly home with parents who strive to live authentic Christian values each and every day. Beyond this they most often grow up in a faith community (Church) where they attend Sunday school, Discipleship training, Small groups, AWANA’s, and the like. Their life of faith is caught, not just taught, and is nourished through mentors pouring into their young lives the love and mercy of God and most importantly the Word of God. The Holy Spirit does His critical part by consistently calling, wooing, saving, shaping, guiding, and calling out these future leaders of the Church! Obviously God is completely sovereign and by His good pleasure radically calls all kinds of people in all seasons and walks of life but I think the above description is a reasonable example.
Again I ask the question, if we’re going to build strong healthy churches how does this best happen? We’ve just discussed where Pastors come from. So I’ll ask another important question: “Where do our worship leaders/ musicians come from? Do we really need them, our worship leaders/musicians? Hear God’s word on a biblical Music Ministry.
So when David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.   And he gathered together all the leaders of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.   Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and above; and the number of individual males was thirty-eight thousand.   Of these, twenty-four thousand were to look after the work of the house of the LORD, six thousand were officers and judges, four thousand were gatekeepers,
and four thousand praised the LORD with musical instruments,
"Which I made," said David, "for giving praise."  
1Chronicles 23:1-5
…..and he stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king's seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the LORD by His prophets. The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.
2 Chronicles 29:25-26
Note: These passages are not meant to be comprehensive but represent some of the many on music in worship.
I submit we certainly need them as much as we need Pastors, evangelists, teachers, and Deacons, etc. And likewise, do they wake up one day and suddenly proclaim, “I’m going to be a worship leader.” NO, they don’t. In many ways Church musicians and worship leaders are cut from some of the same, but not all, of the holy cloth that Pastors are cut from. In this sense, the best and brightest Church musicians again spring from attending Sunday school, Small Groups, and AWANA’s. These ministries focus on the systematic study of God’s Word, just like the aforementioned Pastors and are critical for well-grounded theologically bent worship leaders.
On this point I want to emphasize that all our worship leaders should be thoroughly and systematically taught theology and biblical worship models (as well as pastors I might add) if they are to lead people to God. Beloved, there are no short cuts to worship leadership, only careful study and practice. The Apostle Paul said it like this: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs!
The overflow of music in worship, and outpouring of glorious praise comes from allowing the Word of God to dwell in us all richly, deeply, and profoundly!                                                   
But here’s where the critical difference comes in. Musical skills and worship leading skills are best learned in the child’s earliest years. They need to be engaged by participating/performing regularly in activities like children’s choirs; singing, moving, listening, playing instruments, reading scripture dramatically, staging dramas, plays, concerts, and the like. Here is the sanctifying “greenhouse” for developing the best and brightest. They need this training to gain the necessary spiritual and exceptional musical skill set to lead others, even the church, before the throne of Almighty God whose praise is everlasting!
Truth: God is Spirit and those that worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and in truth. A spirit of joy and celebration in worship springs from a sure biblical knowledge of God’s love and salvation through Jesus Christ!
For all churches to continue to be healthy and grow we (the Church Leaders) must come together to develop a consistent and viable strategy to develop and train pastors and church musicians before they arrive at seminary! Beloved it’s not the necessity of one or the other; it’s both. Pastors/Leaders, are you listening? You are the ones who are tasked to set the “agenda” and tone for the educational foundations in your churches. Lay leaders, will you stand up and be counted? Will you urge your leaders in theses critical areas of training! Don’t neglect the mantle God has placed on you to lead your church to strength, health, and long term viability!
No argument or discussion exposing a critical need is complete without at least offering a suggested plan of action. Listed here are the basic goals of our own music ministry to children and youth music ministries. I’m sure there are others which are more comprehensive scope and depth but this is a good place to begin.
Commit now to plan on building healthy, vibrant, music ministries and pray to the Lord of harvest for the necessary resources to accomplish it!
General Spiritual Outcomes
By the conclusion of their time spent in S.T.O.M.P. (Special times of music and Praise) choirs at S. Orlando Baptist (K-5th); the following general spiritual outcomes should have been reached by each child.
1.     To have gained the foundations necessary for a genuine conversion experience when he or she is ready for it.
2.     To have developed the ability to participate actively and intelligently in worship and to find joy and satisfaction in worship experiences.
3.     To have gained such knowledge of the Bible and the Christian faith as can be related to his or her daily life experiences.
4.     To have continued the development of attitudes and appreciations that encourages personal growth in areas related to music and church/music history.
5.     To have developed and used in everyday life, habits and skills that help him or her grow spiritually.
6.     To have used his or her talents and skills in ways that will aid and help others worship God and edify the overall church.
Richard B. Steele is free lance artist, arranger/composer. He is a full-time Pastor and Minister of Music and has been published in the Church Musician (SBC)
February 3, 2016

Meet our Candidate for Associate Pastor of Families and Education

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-40-02-am Tom Devine

“God has been so faithful to me over the years, and has opened more doors than I can count. I became a Christian in 2007 as a freshman at the University of Central Florida, and was called to be a pastor about a year and a half later. Every step since then has been taken to grow closer to Christ and carry out the call to be God’s instrument as an influencer to shape the lives of God’s people for God’s kingdom.” Tom Devine


DOB: 03/19/1989

Salvation: 08/2007

Ordination: 09/2013

Married: 04/18/2015 to Carolina


University of Central Florida, Graduated May 2011 Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies,Minor in Multi Cultural Studies, Certificate in Judaic Studies

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Graduated May 2014 Master of Arts in Christian Studies

Liberty University, Graduated May 2016 Master of Divinity with a focus in Theology

What do you see as your spiritual gift(s) for ministry?

I believe that Christians all have a wide variety of spiritual gifts with some shining more brightly than others. For myself the gifts of shepherding, teaching, and exhortation are the most prevalent. Although teaching is my favorite gift to exercise, I do believe that the area that God has gifted me the most is in shepherding students from being new Christians to embarking on a call to full-time ministry.

What is your comprehensive vision for a family ministry?

My vision and model for family ministry follows directly with Dr. Crowe’s Vision 20/20.  A successful family ministry equips small groups with effective and engaging teachers to invest in adults to be equipped with sound doctrine. A successful family ministry equips children to better know the Bible that they may come to know the Lord Jesus who is revealed in all of Scripture. A successful family ministry equips students with the knowledge of the gospel and how it affects their lives, their future, and their friend groups. A successful family ministry equips college students and young adults for their vocations, their marriages and most importantly their relationship with Christ. Lastly, a successful family ministry will create strong avenues for new families to get involved at South Orlando Baptist Church and to be exposed to the gospel.


How does your wife support you in your ministry?

In addition to being my biggest fan and someone that ministers to me in ways that no one else can, Carolina is also a tangible supporter in ministry. At my current church Carolina helps set up the children’s area on Sunday mornings, meets with new families to get them assimilated into the church, and she is great with the students on worship nights and retreats.

What others have told us about Tom:

“Tom is the greatest guy in Orlando that I have worked with in opening up Public High School campuses for Jesus. He has a sincerity and an energy that is unparalleled. I am excited at the prospect to have Tom’s help in opening up Freedom High School!” Kirk Freeman, Orlando Director of High School Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ).

“Tom has been successful in everything he has participated in. He has a heart for evangelism and he makes that apparent in all that he does. He brings the energy where and when it is needed. Tom’s a man of strong faith, an excellent recruiter, trainer, learner. I can’t say enough good things about him!” Charlie McDonough, Student Pastor at CrossLife Church.

“Tom’s relationship with the Lord will show up in all he does. Once Tom senses a student is lost or not a Christian, Tom will go out of his way to strike up a casual conversation and ask a few questions and listen and then bridge the conversation to the Gospel.” Rick Ray, Executive Pastor of CrossLife Church, Orlando.


Meet and Greet with Tom Devine:

Sunday Night, September 11, 6:30-7:30PM, Church Sanctuary

Student Ministry Meeting with Tom Devine:

Wednesday Night, September 14, 6-8PM, Oasis

Student Sunday School Meeting with Tom Devine:

Sunday Morning, September 18, 9:45-10:45 AM, Oasis

Tom’s Church Testimony:

Sunday Morning, September 18, 8:30AM & 11AM services, Church Sanctuary

Church Vote:

Sunday, September 18, After 11AM service, Church Sanctuary

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