Dr. Steven R. Laufer, Senior Pastor
Dr. Laufer holds a Ph.D. in Old Testament Studies and Biblical Hebrew from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has two sons: Noah, age 20, and Sam, age 18. He has taught in ministry settings in Thailand, Honduras, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, and Colombia, as well as teaching as an adjunct for Truett Seminary at Baylor University. Steve is a fan of music, sports, pop culture, food and drinks, travel, and generally squeezing as much out of life as possible. He plays beach volleyball, fly fishes, watches Netflix, loves the theater, is a perpetual reader, and is constantly trying to find ways to make the faith of the Bible understandable and applicable to modern, secular society.
Greg Stahl, Associate Pastor
What do you do to refresh your soul?
I enjoy reading and listening to baseball games on my iphone. I played baseball a lot with my brother growing up and listening to a baseball game on the radio fills my heart and mind. I also am blessed to be able to sing in a wonderful chorus, The CenturyMen. I love being part of a group that makes music and speaks with such depth and power about the God we serve. The men in this group are my closest friends, brothers and mentors.
Please share a little about your family, education, and how long you've been here at ROBC.
I joined the staff of ROBC in November of 2008 and have served churches in Texas and Louisiana for 35 years. My home town is Austin, Texas and I attended the University of Texas (Hook’m) before graduating from Howard Payne University (BME). I met and married Deborah while we were both attending Southwestern Baptist Seminary where I received a graduate degree in church music (MCM). We have been married for 40 years. As a couple, our favorite things to do together are to go to movies and travel.
Christian Johns, Minister to Youth/Students
Share a bit about yourself.
I grew up just south of Houston in Texas City. My father was (and still is) the youth minister at First Baptist Church there in Texas City. Some would say that my ministry started way back then with the hours I put in constantly at the church. I received my undergraduate degree in Finance & Accounting at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX and followed that up with a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. A few things I enjoy doing are going to concerts, musicals, and sporting events! I am a huge Houston Astros fan, so it is great to be back in the area where there are others like me!
What do you enjoy most about youth ministry?
Youth ministry is great because I get to hang around with students all day and pour into their lives. I mentioned above how I enjoy going to concerts, musicals, and sporting events, and I didn’t just mean professional ones! I enjoy seeing students who are passionate about what they do. My hope is to ignite that same passion for Christ in these students. The youth ministry of today is soon to be the adult ministry of tomorrow. Eventually, these students will be the ones to lead our churches in both ministerial and layperson roles. My desire is for these students to build a solid foundation of faith and community that will carry them through their whole lives.
Cheri Pemble, Pastoral Administrative Assistant
Cheri Pemble joined the ROBC staff as the Pastoral Administrative Assistant on June 22, 2019. You may recognize her from the ROBC Sanctuary Choir. Her 35+ years of administrative experience in the Houston metro area in both privately and publicly-held businesses are a great asset in the ROBC office. Cheri has also served in leadership roles in Baptist churches in the area in administrative positions, as well as music and children’s ministry. She enjoys spending time with her family, watching baseball, and gardening, which she calls “dirt therapy”. Cheri is married to Roy, and they have one son, Ryan, and two grandchildren, Collin and Kelly. Stop by the church office and introduce yourself to her!
Liz Thornton, Financial Secretary
What are your main responsibilites at ROBC?
As Financial Secretary I am responsible for administering the contributions, making deposits, processing invoices, preparing payroll and providing monthly and annual financial reports.
What year did you start working at ROBC?
I started working for River Oaks Baptist Church in February of 2010.
Tell us about yourself, your family, and what you enjoy doing in your free time.
I have a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Texas Secondary Teaching Certificate. My husband John and I have two children. I enjoy gardening, sewing and cooking.
Amy Lee, Receptionist
What are your responsibilities?
In addition to being the Receptionist, I am also a Children's Ministry Assistant. I'm also involved in a majority of the day-to-day functions of the church and the mission.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I first came to Houston in Fall of 1979 as a Chinese refugee from Cambodia with my mom and two sisters. We moved to Orange, TX for about a year, then moved back to Houston. I graduated from the College of Business Administration at the University of Houston with a Bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems. I've been here at ROBC since the Chinese Mission first started in 1982. Clifford and I met at this church and we've been able to serve together both here and in other mission fields. We have been blessed with 4 children who have also been involved with our ministry. Some of my hobbies include trying new recipes, helping take care of children and the elderly, creative crafts, watching musicals, and going to games and performances of my children.
Clifford Lee, Pastor to Chinese Church
What do you like the most about being a minister at ROBC?
I have always been aware of ROBC as a supporter of missions since the mission church I grew up in, Chinese Baptist Church, was a recipient of that support. Now I serve as pastor of River Oaks Baptist Church Chinese Mission. Our original mission outreach was to the Southeast Asian refugees and more specifically to the Teo Chew speaking Chinese. We are still the only Chinese Baptist church in Houston that ministers specifically to this group. As the generations continue to grow-up in the church, we are reaching more 2nd and 3rd generation children and young people. We are also expanding our reach to other groups. We are aware and thankful of continued support and partnering for these ministries by the loving members of ROBC.
Please tell us a little about your family and background.
I am blessed to have met and married my wife, Amy, while serving at this Mission. She has been involved in Children’s Ministry at our Mission and ROBC. I am blessed with four children who have also been involved in service to God at this Mission and other places. My past work in medicine, banking, sports, security, sales, photography, music, and other things have given me opportunities to learn how God works in many ways and many places. My opportunities to serve in other countries like Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Korea, Indonesia, and others, have given me a heart of how much God wants us to reach the world with the message of Christ. I look at every day to be a blessing from God and desire to continue in service to Him.
Kathleen Wilkins, Organist
What are your main responsibilites at ROBC?
As part of the worship team, I am the organist & pianist for the Sanctuary choir and ensembles during Sunday Worship and holiday services. I also provide music for weddings, funerals and other special events.
When did you join the ROBC family?
In 1984 I joined the church as the Organist & Music Associate.
Please tell us a little about your family and background.
I received my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music/Organ Performance from Stephen F. Austin State University. My husband of 30+ years, Pat, and I have two daughters and 3 grandchildren.
Sarah Spencer, Pianist
Sarah Spencer began her piano studies at age five, and by age seven was winning numerous local and state-level competitions. At the age of ten, she gave her first live radio recital on “Spotlight Presentations” over WGMS-FM in Washington, DC, and she made her orchestral debut at age twelve with the American Youth Symphony Orchestra. She received her bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Dr. Nelita True, her master’s degree in piano performance from Rice University as a student of Mr. John Perry, and her doctoral degree from Rice University as a student of Mr. Brian Connelly. Praised in the Houston Chronicle as a pianist of “great strength and intensity,” Dr. Spencer’s most recent concert appearances include the Westside Houston Piano Recital Series, the Third Millennium Concert Series, guest soloist with the Fort Dodge Area Symphony, a recital at the Newberry Opera House, and several recital broadcasts on “The Front Row” over KUHF-FM, Houston, Texas. In addition to her solo performances, Dr. Spencer collaborates frequently with faculty and artists from the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Southern California. A versatile pianist, Dr. Spencer can be heard performing for Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars, Broadway Across America, Opera in the Heights, Houston Sings, and the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Dr. Spencer worked as a full-time professor of piano at San Jacinto College for twenty-three years. Originally from the Washington, DC area, Dr. Spencer makes her home in Houston with her husband, bass-baritone Joseph Rawley, and their daughter, Susannah.
Leanne Reynolds, Head of River Oaks Baptist School
Why should a family enroll their student at River Oaks Baptist School?
We provide a superior education, a strong and competitive athletic program, a creative and thriving arts program, and a loving and nurturing environment where successes are celebrated. But, we do so much more than that! Our mission is to prepare students to meet life’s challenges and lead tomorrow’s world through a superior educational program undergirded by faith in Jesus Christ and Christian principles. Everything we do is guided by our faith in Jesus Christ, and it is our job to share that faith with our students. River Oaks Baptist School offers families the whole package.