Music Ministries


Rev. Stephen Goldsmith

Stephen Goldsmith is a husband and father with a passion for creating bridges that help others reach their greatest potential.  Prior to being appointed as the Lead Pastor of Journey of Faith UMC, Stephen toured as a professional musician with noted Gospel Music artists including Fred Hammond, Donald Lawrence, Yolanda Adams, Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child), Marvin Sapp, and more.  Stephen received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Audio Acoustics with an emphasis in Audio Recording Engineering from Columbia College Chicago and possesses 20yrs of music production experience.  In addition, he has gathered 34yrs of experience as a worship leader with a passion for facilitating worship that meets traditional and contemporary preferences.

As a veteran worship director, I will work with leadership teams to develop and employ practical methods for fruitful worship ministries.  Thus, fruitful worship ministries incorporate music ministry that is contextually fruitful.  The pandemic forced a great majority of congregations to develop online worship experiences.  Having a production background afforded an opportunity to identify necessary equipment for our audio/visual team at Journey of Faith to improve our online presence as a result.  Moreover, as a ministry specialist, I have an opportunity to help our sister churches identify practical marketing and branding strategies, radical hospitality, and mission-minded community engagement. 

Virilene Freemen    

I received my Bachelor of Music Education, 1959, Southwest Texas State Univ. (Tx. State) and Master of Music, 1972, Univ. of Houston Post Graduate studies at Columbia Univ. Teachers College, New York City. As a Certified Consultant, International Piano Teachers Foundation my experience has been: Choir Director at Angleton FUMC 1979-1982 (adult choir, youth choir, 2 handbell choirs) Choir Master at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Angleton, 1982-2003 (adult choir for both English and Spanish Masses, children's choir; organist, pianist) Interim Choir Director for traditional services at Bellaire FUMC 2011-2012 Music Director of Traditional Worship at Huntsville FUMC, 2017-present (adult choir; oversee Handbell Choir and children's choir) Consultant for International Piano Teachers Foundation (teaching certification classes for piano teachers) Participating member of the National Pastoral Musicians Foundation, 1083-2003 Taught elementary music classes: Columbia-Brazoria ISD, Danbury ISD, Our Lady Queen of Peace Associate Prof. of Music at Alvin Junior College, 1970-1972, and at Brazosport College 1972-1979.

Participant as a choir member: Performed in Carnegie Hall (twice) Performed in Italy: at Assisi, Florence, and Rome (sang for Mass at St. Peters with Pope John Paul presiding) Performed in Berne, Switzerland, in a 4-day international festival; concert with Sir David Wilcocks conducting. Performed with the Houston Masterworks Chorus for 5 years, including a concert in Mexico City. Texas Conference Choir Clinic at Lakeview, most years since 1979

I have a heart for God, for worshipping and serving Him, and for helping draw people closer to the Lord

I have a heart for helping people improve their skills and to see their music-making as a ministry. Over the years I've directed adult choirs, youth and children's choirs, and Handbell choirs. I've participated in Texas Conference Choir Clinic at Lakeview for many years, an annual event where my youth and adult choir members have experienced new skills, creative opportunities, great inspiration, and became stronger in their service in their church.

Rev. Dr. Craig Gilbert

Rev. Dr. Gilbert is currently the Pastor of Worship at Friendswood UMC. He has provided guidance to almost 50 churches in the Texas Annual Conference in his role as worship consultant. Craig was the Worship Director for the TAC for six years, planning and leading worship for the annual event. He has also worked with many churches across the country, as well as personally instructing over 5,000 worship pastors and worship leaders from across the globe on a variety of congregational worship issues. His book, Launching a New Worship Community, was released by Upper Room Books in August of 2021. Craig works closely with Discipleship Ministries and Path 1 Church Planting to help UM churches around the country with developing, designing and launching new worship services, re-imagining, and re-launching existing services and even planting new churches. Craig is a national faculty member of the National Worship Leader Conference, member of the Advisory Board of Worship Leader Magazine, former contributing editor to Worship Sound and Song Magazine. 

Music matters to an engaging worship experience! That is not news to anyone. But getting those results can seem difficult to some churches and in some ministry settings. Rev. Dr. Craig Gilbert brings almost 30 years of church music and teaching experience to help your church find the answers you are looking for. From traditional choral and instrumental music to the most cutting-edge musical offerings (EDM anyone?) and everything in between, Craig can help your church navigate through whatever may be holding you back from reaching the musical levels you are seeking. No question is too small, and no project is too large.

Erik Henson

I am a lifelong follower of Christ, cradle Methodist, husband, father, musician, teacher, bookworm, and all-around nerd for telling stories through media. My fundamental aim on Sunday morning is to let absolutely everyone who comes through our doors know that they are welcomed, wanted, and loved, and there is nothing they can do about it. My goal in working with volunteers and small group members is to remind us that we are disciples who are called to make new disciples, and there is much we can do about it. I am passionate not only about answering my personal call to ministry but equipping others to answer their call to active discipleship too.

The bulk of my time in music ministries has been spent working with praise bands, and students, however I have also spent plenty of time directing instrumental ensembles and choirs. I have experience leading both traditional and contemporary styles of services and have been part of a team that launched a great Spanish language service. Music ministry is about using music as a mode of ministering first to the leaders on our teams and allowing those leaders to minister to our congregations.                                                             

Rev. Russell Martin     

My name is Russell Martin, and I am here to equip, encourage and empower you for ministry any way that I can. I know that ministry was not easy before the past few years, and now it seems like it is even more challenging. But I believe you have been called to be a light in whatever context you find yourself, and I want to help you burn even brighter.

I currently serve as the lead pastor at Lake Houston UMC in Huffman, Tx. I am a local licensed pastor and a certified candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church. I currently attend Asbury Theological Seminary, and I am working toward my MDiv. Additionally, I am a certified ministry coach through the National Association of Youth Ministry Certification.    

Over the past 25 years, I have worked in the United Methodist church mainly in student ministry, contemporary worship, missions, communications, technology, online ministry, and leadership development.

Rev. Mark McClanahan    

From the time I was a teenager I have led small groups and congregational singing with my guitar. My experience includes Sunday service, VBS, summer camp, preschool chapel,
nursing homes, praise bands and some choir. In addition to singing, I play acoustic and bass guitar. I have served Longview, Greggton UMC, Linden UMC, Van UMC, Normangee, First UMC and Flynn UMC.


Rev. Luis Ramirez

Pastor Luis was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela. He is a graduate of the Moores School of Music and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston where he studied Opera Performance, Italian and Spanish. He received his Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Pastor Luis has been active in ministry and in the community through Walk to Emmaus, Kairos Prison Ministry International, United Way, Meals on Wheels, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, SHSU Charter School, UPWARD™ Soccer, Spring ISD Ministerial Alliance, Northwest Area Assistance Ministries and UM ARMY.

In the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, he has served as the Founding Pastor of Misión Milby UMC in Houston, as the Associate Pastor at Servants of Christ UM Parish, also in Houston, and Cedar Bayou Grace UMC in Baytown, and as the Senior Pastor of Cypress Trails UMC in Spring.

While at Cypress Trails UMC, Pastor Luis led a Change Management process that emphasized Community Engagement and Outreach. Over a period of six years, the Church’s congregation accurately mirrored its multiethnic community Demographics. This process included the transformation of the Music Ministries in style and multigenerational engagement, charismatic Preaching, and an emphasis on fruitful Stewardship.

Pastor Luis spurred Cypress Trails UMC’s Revitalization through Fundraising. In six years, he helped raise over $500,000 inclusive of grants, individual gifts, bequests, corporate support and building rental revenue. This caused the Church to reengage its Vision and develop Mission Strategies for reaching the neighborhood.

Pastor Luis has been involved in Clergy Mentorship as a mentor to the Conference’s Exploring Candidates for ordained ministry. He has also mentored the Associate Pastors, Lay Ministers and Staff members under his leadership throughout his ministerial career.

Currently, Pastor Luis lives in Baytown with his wife, Heather, their daughter, Isabella, and their dog, Luna, where he serves as the Senior Pastor of Cedar Bayou Grace UMC

Rev. Cletis Rogers, II

- Intro to basic worship theology

- Building a contemporary worship band

- Generally speaking, I’ve spent the last 15 years serving in diverse youth ministry contexts, and within that, I also served on staff positions that included worship-leadership and audio-video.  I would never ever put myself as the first/best option, but I absolutely love the local church and many of these techno/youthy aspects get overlooked or taken for granted in small church contexts, so I would of course love to be of service to help new ministries get started, or old equipment get utilized in new ways (etc.)!

David Sabom     

A native Houstonian, I grew up on the west side, attended Spring Branch ISD schools, and received my BA from the University of St. Thomas with a major in music.  After about 18 years as a small business owner/operator I entered the nonprofit field, first at Goodwill Industries of Houston, then worked for three nonprofits whose focus was providing free home repairs for low-income, elderly, and disabled homeowners, the last one being U.M. ARMY where I served as Executive Director 2005-2017.  I retired in 2017, but quickly went to work for Disaster Ministries of the TAC doing Hurricane Harvey recovery in SETX and retired again in 2018.

I was a member of a Southern Gospel men’s quartet (The Southernaires) for about 20 years, where I sang and played guitar, performing at local Opry’s, revivals, and church services.  Additionally, I started and led 2 praise bands for start-up contemporary worship services. 

I am married (34 years) to Rev. Sharon Sabom, an elder in the TAC, have 3 adult children and one grandson.   We live in rural Fort Bend County, hobbies include music, photography, bird watching, and feeding the deer.

With my experience in singing in church choirs, Southern Gospel, and praise music, I could offer guidance in evaluating the possibility of music programs given the available talent and level of interest.

Rev. Doug Wintermute  

Rev. Doug Wintermute had a career in marketing and public relations before answering the call to ministry in 2004. He has served small and medium-sized churches in the Texas Annual Conference: Carthage St. Andrews and Murvaul UMCs, associate pastor at Greggton UMC in Longview, DeKalb FUMC, and Jacksonville FUMC. He has been active in children’s and youth ministries and has been a director of the elementary camp at Lakeview Methodist Conference Center for many years. He has a strong passion for sharing the Good News with children and youth in ways that are not boring.

Rev. Wintermute can assist churches with children’s ministries by offering advice and templates for establishing an after-school program, adopt-a-school program, children’s programs, incorporating children into worship, and children’s music programs. He also has experience in establishing and planning programs and worship services for confirmation as well as broadening and enriching music ministries for churches.