Statement of Testimony

In late December of 1961, one month before my seventh birthday, I remember vividly laying on a pew with my head on my mother’s lap during the end of Hugh R. Bumpas’ morning sermon at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. As Brother Bumpas closed and began the invitation, I remember him saying something like “you need to come forward today to go to Heaven… otherwise, if you died today you will spend eternity in Hell.” To this six year-old child, that didn’t sound like a good place to spend eternity, so I told my mom that I needed to go forward and ask Jesus into my heart. We weren’t too far from the front, so it wasn’t a very long walk… but my mom went with me and I talked to the preacher, then went into the chapel where I talked with another man. I don’t remember what all was said or any Bible verses that were shared… all I knew was as honestly as a six year old can do it, I asked Jesus into my heart.

Believing at such a young age would cause my own spiritual journey to have some rough turns of unexpected doubts and things to work through. Even today, a part of me inside shudders when I hear an evangelist go after anyone that has any doubt, causing more people to get ‘resaved’ and add to their doubt. It seems that the proper thing to do is to help them realize that God doesn’t go back on his promises and encourage them to a stronger level of discipleship rather that make them go back over ground they’ve already gone over. I am awestruck at how a young child can make such an important, everlasting commitment at a young age without knowing about redemption, justification, consecration and all those other big seminary words. But Jesus did tell us that unless we come to him and believe ‘as a child’ no one can enter the kingdom of heaven… and I believe that.

Early in my teenage years, I encountered several audio and visual aids that really helped my journey take off and soar. The first came in the form of a movie entitled “King of Kings”, starring Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus. Content and accuracy were pretty bad, but it still allowed me to escape to the lands and time of Jesus and see the black and white type come alive for the first time. Then came a youth musical called “Celebrate Life”. Not only did I see the drama, but I participated by portraying a disciple of Jesus and had to memorize choice parts of scripture which are still very much there today. Here is one of the clearest arguments why we learn scripture songs and memorize youth musical presentations… His word does not return void – and we benefit from hiding his word in our hearts!

I had the distinct pleasure of knowing personally a tower of a church music legend, Gene Bartlett. That relationship began one summer day while I attended camp at Falls Creek Assembly in Oklahoma. During one of the band rehearsals, Gene came into the room with his pianist to preview the Andre Crouch song ‘Gonna Keep on Singin.’ Much to his displeasure, the instrumental arrangement was not the same as the choral one, and Gene was rather perturbed and stormed out of the room. After looking at it, I went to Herb Moring, the band director, and told him that I could fix the problem… so he promptly took me over to Gene’s office in B.B.McKinney Chapel. There I stood… a young teenager… right in front of the giant with my knees shaking. He looked up at me over his reading glasses, handed me a wad of manuscript paper and told me to get started!

Well, I worked hard for two days, non-stop, and then showed up with parts to rehearse. They worked, and Gene really liked it – so much so that he used it for the remaining three weeks of camp as the second theme song. Months later, I got a phone call from Gene’s secretary, Mary June Tabor who invited me to come to the Baptist Building and meet with Gene. What an honor! But what was even more amazing is that after visiting him for about 30 minutes asking me to do some more work for him, Mary June handed me a check for $100 on my way out!

In the years that followed, all the way to Seminary, he thought of me often and would call to invite me to come to recording sessions in Dallas, gatherings in his home, or visit him at his home church, Trinity Baptist in Oklahoma City. God put Gene in my life to call out that gift in me to write and arrange music… and oh what a profound influence Gene Bartlett had on my life!

I felt God’s call into my life to go into full-time Christian ministry as a senior at Southwood Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. But despite that call, I decided rather to go to the University of Oklahoma as a Computer Engineering student. During that first year through a variety of circumstances, it became pretty clear that I was not doing what God wanted me to do, and I transferred to Oklahoma Baptist University as a Music Education major.

At OBU, I was surrounded by some of the nations leading educators that filled my mind with the know how to use what God had placed inside. And I also found my first ministry position at Calvary Baptist in Shawnee to practice what I was learning. God also blessed me with my work with youth there, beginning with 4 girls in a church of around 120 people – ending with a youth choir of 50 in a congregation of 300.

Seminary was a bit of a let down for me, after being around the incredible professors at OBU. God led me to Travis Avenue to be an instrumental assistant there as well as actually taking my first teaching job at Dunbar Middle School as the band director. I stayed at Dunbar for two years, moving from a very tenuous beginning to a very successful second year. Soon after that I received my first call to a full-time church position at First Baptist Church of Atoka.

For some reason the Lord wanted me to go through the firestorm of Atoka. From the very beginning I was faced with having to work around a very controlling Pastor who over-compensated his smaller stature with a domineering nature. After growing a quality music program through three years of hard work, he told me while I was on vacation that the church was asking me to leave without any kind of pay or severance.

He had become so angry that we had a higher attendance for a Christmas Pageant of three successive nights than an all week Pastors Conference he had organized… and because of that he told the membership that it had been discovered that I had mishandled some money. That was a tough time in my life. I was very distrusting of any kind of church work, and it would take me some time to get back into it. By the way, that Pastor was eventually found guilty of fraud himself and kicked out of Oklahoma Baptist life for his criminal actions.

After Atoka came several years of searching. I went back and forth between teaching and interim work in the Tulsa area, centering my work at First Baptist. I was hired at Metro Christian Academy, a large Private Christian School to teach Junior and Senior High choir and band… and after a promise that the administration made to spend some money on instruments and uniforms went sour so the football team could have a new stadium and brand new equipment… I left. I went back to working at hotel work like I did in Ft. Worth as a Night Auditor and continued to work consistently as an interim Minister of Music.

I climbed the ladder quickly at the Sheraton in Tulsa, so much so that after two years I became the Assistant Manager, in charge of Front Desk and Rooms operations. It was while there at the Sheraton that I received word from some friends that Trinity Baptist in San Antonio was looking for an Associate. Some months after making contact, I was selected for the position.

I have had such a wonderful experience at Trinity. After having gone from position to position, never staying more than three years anywhere, to have been at Trinity for 10 years is simply incredible. I have gone from working at first with only the Middle School choir which had only 8 my first year to having also the High School choir with a combined membership of over 100 at my departure from Trinity.

I have taken the Reflections Middle School group on 9 summer mission trips within the State of Texas, and the High School choir, Mainstream, on 4 summer mission trips within the continental US. I have also had the opportunity to assist the International mission trip and go to England with students.

In the short time that I have been away from Trinity, some huge things have happened in my life in which I am so grateful to God that he has once again found favor with me. I married Jennifer, the love of my life, on February 17, 2001. Both of us have gone through some trying times in previous marriages, but to know that God has brought us together is beyond belief. We can’t conceive why bad things happened to us; they weren’t from God as James tells us. But we worship a God of second chances… a God that can take something meant for bad and turn it into something better than good.

And if that is not enough, God has blessed me and Jennifer even more with a daughter, Jadyn, born on April 5, 2002. I am now experiencing a beautiful peace and joy in my life that I only could only dream of before. God has been extraordinarily good to me, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I heard something way back at OBU that has stayed with me... “Education is the residue that is left over long after the facts and figures have been forgotten.” The focus of my ministry so far in my life, as best as I can tell, has been to help our young people form into disciples that will follow the Lord to whatever ministry he has for them to do.

Long after they have forgotten most of the words to the songs, and the lessons and materials of the day camps they have taught for so many years of mission trips, and even the faces of the many children that have accepted Jesus because of their work… they will have the ‘right stuff’ that remains to guide them for the remainder of their life-journey. Thank you for your interest in this resume. I will join you in asking our God, who promises to provide us wisdom if we ask, to give us clear direction for the choices that must be made. I have learned through the last several years the importance of going where God is doing a work, and being ready to serve him whatever the call. God bless you in your search. Don Doss

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