Little did Daniel know that a trip to church camp in the small town of Gerty, Oklahoma at the age of 13 would forever change the trajectory of his life. After all, the only reason to go to camp was to have fun in the water and hang out with friends. Giving his life to the Lord was nowhere on that list.
However, God had different ideas for Daniel. God knew that the call would need to be clear and compelling, so one night Daniel went to worship and sat on the back row, never intending to be engaged in the service. As the preacher began to speak, something she said caught his attention, and he began to have visions, thoughts and dreams of himself standing at the pulpit and preaching.
When he got back to his cabin, instead of jumping in to an ongoing raucous pillow fight, he sat on his bunk bed trying to make sense of his experience. As any 13-year-old might do, he opened the Bible and randomly put his finger on a Scripture, hoping for some confirmation of his experience. His finger landed on Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” To him, this was an overwhelming affirmation of his call, so he shared his experience with a youth director.
While he woke up the next morning feeling doubtful, a series of signs throughout the day and the morning devotional spoke to him so strongly that he could no longer ignore God’s calling on his life. His home church in Burleson, Texas supported this young teen’s decision and gave him many opportunities to lead and grow in his faith as a student.
When it came time to go to college, he headed to Texas A&M for a degree in Communication. While in College Station, he and his future wife, Alex, started attending church at Christ UMC where he found a supportive community who hired him to help with adult discipleship and college ministries.
He was soon accepted at Duke Divinity School to begin his seminary studies, and he and Alex were married right before they left for Duke.
After graduation from Duke, they returned to College Station and Christ UMC as a Pastor of Young Adults and Families. While getting to know the young families of the church, Daniel came to believe that “to reach the next generation for Jesus, we as Christians must stay true to our orthodox faith but be willing to pivot in new and innovative ways.”
His passion is figuring out how to grab the hearts of his generation in ways that work for them so they, too, can experience the life-changing love of God.
Daniel and his wife Alex have two young daughters, Graysen and Camryn.