My name is Daniel, I was born in 1979 in South Carolina. In 1998 I joined the military and spent ten years in Virginia with many deployments to overseas locations. Like many people in the south, I grew up in a baptist/non-denominational local church and was baptized at an early age, which seemed like the thing that everyone was doing. For myself, along with most others, Sundays and Wednesday’s became church day, the days when everyone did right, leaving five others days to do what I wanted.
Being in the military and deploying to many times to overseas locations, I have seen many things, different religions, customs, social interactions and most prevalent how quickly live can be taken away and how random death can be. While not the best of stories about finding the Lord, the fear of random death will make you think and reflect. While running around in circles during this reflection many times I was pulled to, then from, then back to God with the assistance of a very patient military chaplain.
1. I am currently residing in South Carolina, which presents an extremely permissive environment for ministry, especially the southern baptist denomination. With a church on just about every other street, it is not difficult to find one you are looking for.
2. As mentioned above, a final decision to approach God stemmed from constantly witnessing death and its randomness. While some people will think fear is not a way to truly come to God, this fear speared my search for what everything means. Answers to questions like, why are we here and what is this life all about, why is death so random and why did the person beside me die while I did not. These types of questions require thought and searching and wondering what life had in store for me because I was spared death this time.
3. My dream for a ‘ministry’ is more of a one on one basis with people in need. Much how the chaplain listened and guided me through my search, waiting until I was ready in my own mind to receive what he had to say. His actions spoke volumes to me, while some people dream of leading a mega-church on television, my experience was via a one on one engagement and this is the way I feel will give a person a true experience to receive God. Our relationship with God is a one on one basis and this is how I want to present it to the next person in need.
4. The word I would most identify with would be ‘small group leader’. While leading hundreds to the Lord at a time would be great, it is that personal one on one interaction that allows people to help others grow in their walk.
5. The experience that lead me to pursue a ministry is my own search. If I had the fear of death because of my surroundings, then other people probably did too. If I was searching for answers, then other people were too. If I found my answer and knew what other people were going through, I would be able to render assistance just as I was assisted.
6. While most people would not see many obstacles to ministry in the United States, the fact that long established churches are everywhere means a vast majority of the people in the area have already heard about God and for whatever reason have turned away from the message. These types of people pose a challenge, because before you can give them the message you will first have to break through the preconceived thoughts they have already formulated.
7. I have recently moved to my current location and while my family has visited several local churches, we have not yet chose one to call home.
8. My wife is supportive and understanding of my pursuit of a small ministry to help those in need.
9. CLI’s offer of a scholarship while providing high quality curriculum allows me to get the training I need without having to worry about how and where the money would come from to pay for the education. Additionally, with CLI being a non-government university I know that I will be receiving an education directly from the Bible uncensored by the government.