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Music Made A Difference

April 14, 2008

The 1990 Oklahoma Baptist University graduate led OBU students in worship and shared his testimony as part of OBU's Stepping Stones Chapel series.

Engle who grew up in San Francisco never knew his father, and his mother died when he was 11. He moved to Oklahoma to live with his grandparents, but when he was 14 they no longer could care for him. He eventually checked himself into an Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children campus.

"Life was basically miserable and I was constantly afraid," he said. "I was consumed with thoughts of what was going to happen to me. I felt alone, unloved, and unhappy."

While living at the children's home, one consistent element of Joel's life was involvement in a youth choir at church, as well as choir at school. When he was 16, Joel met Dale and Nadine Engle.

A bond formed, and he became part of the Engle family. It was a landmark year for Joel. It included his realization that Christ was the only one who would never leave him.

Joel went on to study music and theology at OBU, where he met and eventually married his wife Valerie.

He has toured with Dawson McAllister student conferences, playing in front of crowds of nearly 500,000 people each year. In 1997, Joel and Valerie started Spin360, a modern worship resource providing worship leaders with songs, chord charts, sheet music, and other ministry tools. Currently, more than 9,000 churches worldwide utilize Spin360.

Engle has appeared at many camp assemblies, conferences, and outreach opportunities with the Billy Graham Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Student Life. He frequently leads worship at Falls Creek.

OBU's Stepping Stones 2007-08 Chapel series is based on Richard Foster's acclaimed book Celebration of Discipline. Each week, speakers address the spiritual disciplines during the university's weekly chapel assemblies.