Jesus’ mission carries on in the life of a student beyond graduation. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary this year, we’re catching up with some of our alumni and celebrating how they are living lives on mission as they continue to follow Jesus.
“So, why do you want to be a doctor anyway?”
The question seeped into Daniel’s heart, itching at his soul. He was on his first mission trip with P2C in East Asia after his first year of university and was seeing God at work in the nations in powerful ways. What was God’s will for his future? Was it for him to follow his plan to become a doctor?
The seemingly innocent and generic question asked by the trip director Josh Wong, launched a process of God’s conviction and calling in Daniel’s life. Daniel came on the mission trip asking God to direct his life and future. Even though he had developed long term plans to become a doctor, God was inviting Daniel to let that go. Instead, God was calling Daniel to serve him with his entire life in ministry.
Specifically, pastoral ministry.
From Korea to Nashville
Daniel’s journey into pastoral ministry started after he and his wife, Christina, graduated from their undergrad degrees and began seminary. From serving at a church in Montreal, he was invited to live and minister at a megachurch in Korea and thought they would stay there permanently. When Daniel experienced a sudden transition and shift in ministry, his family found themselves back in Canada serving in Edmonton.
“I’ve seen God’s faithfulness over and over. I had a master plan of what our life would look like and now it’s radically different. It’s amazing to see a life of faithfulness – being faithful to the Lord and what he has set before you – how God honours that.” – Daniel
Now living in Nashville, Daniel works with LifeWay as the Director of Church Multiplication (overseeing resourcing church leaders in church planting, multi-site and multiplication), along with serving as the teaching pastor at his local church. It was his early involvement leading campus ministries with P2C as a student that helped prepare him to lead churches and minister to pastors across the world.
Daniel maintains an emphasis in ministry for evangelism and discipleship, even for top-leader pastors: “The best pastors know how to lead and disciple, spending time with leaders and the lost. It’s sad when pastors don’t develop their time with unbelievers and do evangelism.”
No Silver Bullets
A recent personal and ministry highlight for Daniel has been publishing his second book No Silver Bullets this year. Have you heard of it?
Although it’s targeted towards church leaders there are huge takeaways for ministries like P2C-Students as well. One of the main ideas of the book is that often we teach the way we’ve been taught. Unfortunately when it comes to leadership many churches (and ministries) view discipleship as a study or a program for a student or person to ‘do’, to become ‘discipled’. It becomes easy to propagate a consumerist mindset if we offer discipleship as something to be consumed.
Instead Daniel points readers to the idea of developing themselves as self-feeders—to cultivate a lifestyle of learning and continually growing, discipling, and being discipled by others.
“The process of maturity isn’t a silver bullet where if you do this, this, and this, you’ll be fully mature. On the flip side it’s not completely organic either where there is no process. If you help people develop as learners and self-feeders, you’re teaching them what they need to know and putting them in the environment to help them be a life-long developer and disciple.” – Daniel
“Lord, here we are: send us”
For Daniel and his family the theme of God’s faithfulness mixed with their surrender to serve him has been their rock in challenges and uncertainty.
“Over the years of ministry, I’ve gone from not knowing where our next paycheck would come from and seeing a box of apples show up on our door in Korea. We were able to share that with others when we didn’t have enough ourselves. Or when we’ve seen secret deposits in our bank account. From when we were part of P2C to now, our life has always been about “Lord here we are, on our knees, send us.” – Daniel
What does it look like for God to be faithful? In Daniel’s life was God only faithful when he led a ‘successful’ ministry in Korea? Or when God provided food and resources when his family needed it desperately, or even in Daniel’s new position in ministering to church leaders? Is God faithful when circumstances ‘work out’?
God IS faithful in those moments, but he’s faithful in so much more.
God was faithful when Daniel and Christina got redirected in ministry and returned to Canada. He is faithful in the burden of ‘lack’. In the challenges of parenting or managing lives with uncertain futures. God is faithful when our plans don’t work out.
God is faithful to Daniel, not because he chose to go into ministry, or in viewing his life as good or bad, but because of who God is. God’s faithfulness is grounded in God’s character and promises found in the Bible and that faithfulness becomes our rock to cling to.
Daniel continues to cling onto the rock of God’s faithfulness with joy and eager expectation of more to come. Will you as well?
Listen to Daniel’s keynote talk at our P2C PLUS Conference 2017 here.
Daniel and his wife Christina (a Carleton P2C alumni) have recently started a podcast on marriage, parenting, faith, and everything inbetween. Listen to the IMbetween Podcast (imbetween.org).