Dr. Howard Harden, Senior Pastor

Dr. Howard Harden began serving as pastor in July of 2003. He and his wife Joy have four children, Brenda, Jesse, Rachel and Levi. He's an alumnus of Samford University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he completed the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees. He holds the distinction of being the only gringo on planet earth who listens to Christian Reggaeton. If you would like to submit any parenting advice, email him at



Joe Friman, Minister to Students

Joe Friman began serving as Minister to Students in May of 2005. He hails from LA (Lower Alabama) and is a proud alumnus of UM, which in this case stands for the University of Mobile. He is married to his wife Kelly and is the father of three daughters, Jenna, Emily and Zoe. He has a slight case of melissophobia, but we're praying for him. You can contact Joe at




Pam Helms, Minister of Music

Pam Helms has served as our Music Minister for over two decades. She was born and raised in the city of Homestead and in First Baptist Church. She is the daughter of Russ Philpot, who is our Minister of Senior Adults. She is married to her husband Benny and they have two beautiful daughters, Brittany and Natalie, as well as five grandchildren. Pam lives in order to destroy the stereotype against red-heads. She can be reached at



Russ Philpot, Minister to Senior Adults

Russ Philpot is our minister of senior adults and has served at First Baptist since 1960. He married his wife Doris in 1956 and they have three children, Pam, Ralph and Jeffrey. He went to MiddleTennessee State University and Florida International University. He enjoys fishing, camping, puzzles and traveling. He has been to all fifty states and can tell you anything you want to know about any of them! You can contact Russ at


Gabriel Demosthene, Haitian Mission Pastor

Gabriel Demosthene began serving as pastor of our Haitian mission in March of 2010. He is married to Neslyne and they have eight children: Deison, Gab, Gabrielle, Galielle, Gaeldesth, El-Gabraid, Gameo and Nesbrielson. Gabriel was born in Haiti and has a passion for reaching the Haitian/Creole population in South Florida. He also claims to possess the world's coolest birthmark.



Cindy Castro, Administrative Assistant

Cindy Castro has served as our lead administrative assistant since 2008. She was born in Lansing, Michigan and does not miss the winter. Cindy and her husband Gilbert have four grown children and seven grandchildren. An avid chef, she recently completed her lifelong goal of mastering every ethnic cuisine. For free recipes, you can contact her at



Joan Maydak, Administrative and Student Ministry Assistant

 Joan Maydak serves as administrative and student ministry assistant. She is from Greensburg, Indiana, but has been in South Florida since she was ten years old. She has one son and two grandchildren in North Carolina. She has an adventerous spirit, a passion for roller coasters and somehow manages to fit right in among teenagers. She can be contacted at