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South Shelby Baptist teen uses musical talents to glorify Godcomment (0)

December 13, 2012

By Julie Payne

South Shelby Baptist teen uses musical talents to glorify God

It’s not every day — or most any day, really — that you see a 12-year-old serving as a church’s assistant pianist. But then again, Austin Foster, now 17, isn’t your typical teen. 

At 12 years old, Foster wasn’t just playing the piano at his church, South Shelby Baptist Church, Shelby. By that time he had picked up several other instruments as well.

In fact he can play the drums, bass guitar and acoustic guitar — and then there’s the trombone he plays in the school band at Shelby County High School in Columbiana.

While this would be considered an exhausting list of musical accomplishments for almost anyone, there is yet one more instrument to add: his voice.

Foster sang his first solo when he was just 4 years old and has been singing ever since. “I love gospel music — gospel music is really my life,” he said. 

Foster comes from a musical family. His grandfather Roland Foster, who served as a pastor and now serves as a supply preacher, and his parents, Ron and Kim Foster, have each been influential in his musical upbringing, he said. Ron Foster, who once served as the minister of music at South Shelby Baptist, hosts a Sunday morning radio show on 104.7 WZZK known as the “Sunday Morning Gospel Jubilee.” 

Foster was saved at 8 years old during Vacation Bible School at New Bethesda Baptist Church, Chelsea, which was the first church his grandfather served as pastor, he said. 

“What [Austin] sings about, what he plays about, he lives,” said Tom Minor, pastor of South Shelby Baptist. “This kid is sold out to the Lord and he has but one purpose — [and] that is to glorify Jesus.”

Foster has served as the primary pianist for South Shelby Baptist since he was 15. In all his years as a pastor, Minor can’t recall having ever seen someone like Foster. “I’ve never seen a young man who had [the] courage to stand up and do that kind of thing, but Austin does,” he noted.

And Minor isn’t the only one who has taken notice of Foster’s musicality. He said that several visitors at South Shelby Baptist have approached him over time and said they haven’t seen anything like it, either. “Austin is a music prodigy,” Minor added. 

So far Foster has recorded CDs and just recently signed with Serenity Records. He is currently working on a single, “I Agree With the Blood,” which should be released to radio sometime in early February 2013.

“I am super excited,” Foster shared. “And you know, God works in mysterious ways. I never imagined I’d be singing with a record label at 17 years old.”

One of Foster’s musical highlights thus far was singing with his “favorite singer,” Michael English. The opportunity happened a year and a half ago during a concert at Bethel Baptist Church, Columbiana — the same church where Foster sang his first solo years ago. The two sang “I Bowed On My Knees and Cried ‘Holy.’”

It was that same evening that Foster had an epiphany — that he could “be himself” musically. Before, he had tried to emulate other singers, he said, but that night he came to the realization that he could have his own style and worship God in his own way with the music he sang.

When asked what he would say to his peers who are interested in pursuing a path similar to his, Foster’s message is one of encouragement. 

“I would say don’t let age get in the way of what you want to do — [your] hopes and dreams,” he said. “With God all things are possible … no matter how old you are.”

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