Meet The Pastors

Dustin Woods

Lead Pastor

Dustin Woods, Lead PastorFamily of God,

I wish that I had enough space on this page to take the time and share with you the beautiful portrait God has painted in my life. It is a book that I could not have written because it is a path that I would not have taken. However, through the prodding of the Holy Spirit, God has led me into the place in this world that He has designated for me since before the beginning of time. I am thankful that He can laugh at our plans and all the while lead us into the purpose that He has for us.

God led me to Grace Bible Church in 2008 to be the Director of Student Ministry. During this time, I continued touring with my Christian Rock band, Love Like Gravity, while also pursuing my Bachelors and Masters degree in Business Administration. Upon completing this education, the Lord stirred in my heart and initiated my “exit” from the music business. He had other plans. Shortly following my exodus, God brought me into the Executive Pastor role at the church in the Spring of 2012. In the Winter of 2013, our former Lead Pastor stepped down. Under the leading of our Lord, the direction of our Elder Board, and the counsel of an appointed group of advisors, I was called into the Lead Pastor Role.

The journey that the Lord takes us on is extraordinarily challenging and undeniably worth it. The good news in all of this is that He walks before us and holds our hand every step of the way. We just have one simple, yet massively crucial, incredibly challenging and astoundingly intricate task. This very task has caused wars, healed the lame, caused blind men to see, opened the hearts of the unbeliever, and even shaken the very foundations of the world. What He wants from us, I mean really wants from us, is for us to stick with Him. All the power is in Him and comes through Him. We are just plainly given this charge: be a branch, because “I am the vine and apart from me you can do nothing.”

As a church, I believe our mission is clear: To know Him and to make Him known. We are and will be a church committed to making disciples who make disciples. We will continue to walk in faithfulness to God’s Word, to love like Jesus, to be a hospital for the spiritually sick, and to be a training ground for those on the journey of which God has called us all.

 

Frank Derrick

Journey Pastor

Raised in an Education Pastor’s home, God saved me as a ten year old boy. I was discipled as a teenager, and came to grips with the lordship of Christ at age 16. God then called me into full-time ministry while a senior at the University of Florida. Though most of my experience has been with students and their families, I have always felt the Gospel was my calling and full-time ministry the vehicle to living out that calling. After growing up in Orlando, Florida, I attended Valencia Community College and earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1978. Two years later, I graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Public Recreation. I then moved on to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, where I received my Masters in Religious Education in 1985. I have 30 years of ministry experience, 27 as a youth pastor and 3 as a church planter.

My wife, Connie, and I will have been married for 30 years this December 30. She is my best friend, helpmate and ministry partner. She is a gifted teacher, tireless worker, lover of God’s Word and of His people (especially little ones). We have four grown children: daughter, Jenny, who is married to evangelist/campus minister Josh Pilgrim and lives in Rome, Georgia; son, Sandy, who is married to Lindsey and is father to our first grandchild, Ellis (10 months old) and lives in Nashville; our son, Ben, currently a collegiate at Polk State College; and our daughter, Joy, who is currently assisting with a church plant in Delaware, but coming home this fall to attend South Florida State College.

My ministry responsibilities focus on five main “team” efforts. I say “team” because one ministry “professional” is unable to accomplish everything God designed for an entire church body to accomplish. The five areas needing this team effort are:

Small Group Ministry- Meeting in small groups in homes, on campus, etc. Why? Because the larger we grow, the smaller we must become. Connection is vital.

Leadership Development- Develop team leadership (Deacons, Counselors, Small Group Leaders,etc.) Why? The Church will only be as strong as its leaders.

Discipleship- Providing multiple avenues for spiritual growth, focused on the basic disciplines of Bible study, prayer and witnessing. Why? We need to make disciples who make disciples.

Counseling- Continue to expand and train willing and able Believers who can counsel Biblically those in need. Why? Because hurting people need God’s healing touch to be healthy and whole, and in turn help others.

Pastoral Care- God has gifted our Deacon body and others in care and service-type ministry. When everyone serves, the Body of Christ is strengthened. Why? Ministry isn’t restricted to a few, but open to all who want to serve Christ.

I’m excited about the Journey…as we journey together!  Bro. Frank

 

John Bender

Executive Pastor

IMG_1746KGreetings Family,

One of the hardest things for me to do is talk about me, so writing this bio has just been crazy. God has done an amazing work in my life over the past 17 plus years. Saved as a young adult, I could not wait to return the favor, as if I could do so. God has placed many wonderful folks in my life to help guide and direct me through this path called life, and I am eternally grateful that He has shown me that favor. God has orchestrated my life in such a crazy way that it could only be Him. Meeting my lovely bride at Wal-mart for instance (not as a worker but a shopper), to the path of provision He has placed us on ever since, His great plan for our family has been amazing to watch unfold. God introduced my family and I to Grace Bible Church in 2005. We had been away from church and corporate worship for a couple of years and felt that church, as a whole, was just not for us. God once again placed the right  people in my life to show me what was missing. Immediately, we felt right at home and had a fresh experience with the church and God’s people, but I was still skeptical (typical human response). I prayed and told God how great the church was and how much my family and I loved it, but I just missed singing hymns. Well, we went back the next week and wouldn’t you know it. The first song (you guessed it) was a hymn! I chuckled and said “OK God, I hear you,” and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Kendal Sheen

Next Generation Pastor

Sheen Family2“For such a time as this!” The Lord has such grace and mercy on each of us. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God. Raised as a pastor’s son, I heard and saw what the world had to offer by my teen years. Growing up in the simplicity of the country and farm life, I didn’t know much about the outside world. Once I got a glimpse of what was out there, I had prodigal son tendencies.

I was able to attend Bartlesville Wesleyan College in Oklahoma and play basketball and sing with the school vocal team. I made some poor choices during that time and was only able to attend the school for a year. It was a very hard time in my life. The Lord opened a door for me to work at Spring Hill camp in Evart, Michigan for a few years. It was there that a friend told me about getting my life in order and he spoke truth in to my heart.

Years past and I began to lead a band in Michigan playing biker events, parties and such. During this time I knew I was to become a pastor and serve the Lord. Music and motorcycles are a big part of my life. After serving in the Methodist and Nazarene church as a youth leader, I became the youth and music pastor at Kilpatrick Church in the Lake Odessa are of Michigan in 2009. I had the amazing privilege to serve in that community and church for five years. During this time I was able finish my schooling to become a pastor from Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, Michigan.

I met my perfect partner for life in my wife Deanna. She is the Lords creation to fill me and the areas that I struggle with in life. We have been married since March of 2000. We are both pastors’ kids who are now raising our four children Evelyn, Bronson, Maycee and Gibson. Each of them has their own unique personality. They each bring joy and help us learn patience every day of the year.

As the Next Generation pastor the Lord has us in Sebring, Florida “For such a time as this!” We want to serve our church family and reach the community to show the love of Jesus Christ. I want you to know that if you open your heart and mind to search, you will begin to find the answers. The struggles will still come and life will continue day by day, but with HOPE you get to see things in a different light. I would be honored to talk to “YOU” about a life with Jesus Christ. If you want, grab a Bible (I prefer the N.I.V. version) and open up to just pasted the middle to a book called John and begin in Chapter 1 with verse 1. No matter who you are, what you have done, rich or poor, your beliefs, way of life… God loves you!