By Sarah Whitman
The new assistant pastor at Zephyrhills Wesleyan Church has a familiar face. Jonathan David, 23, is the son of senior pastors Dan and Patty David. Jonathan recently earned a Bachelor’s degree in church ministries from Southeastern University and is pursuing a Master’s in contemporary theology. He is excited to be interning at his home church where, he said, learning from his parents is the best education he’s had yet.
It seems the call to ministry runs in the family.
Q: Dan and Patty, what is your background? Where did you grow up and did you grow up in Christian homes?
Patty: Dan grew up in a Christian home in Michigan. I grew up in New Jersey. My parents weren’t saved until I was 18. Soon after, I gave my heart to the Lord.
Q: When did you first feel led to pursue a career in ministry?
Patty: I went to college to study math and chemistry and I felt God calling, so I transferred to United Wesleyan College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Dan: I was an electronics and engineering major but I was really involved in church activities and youth ministry. I felt called to finish school to become a pastor. I went to United Wesleyan my last two years.
Q: How did you two meet? When were you married?
Patty: We met on a group date to Pizza Hut. We were married in 1982.
Q: Where did life take you after graduation?
Patty: Our first year out of college, we spent a year interning in Iowa. Then we went to Wisconsin and were pastors at a small church that had 11 members including the two of us. We were pastors at a couple other churches in Michigan and then we came to Florida.
Q: What brought you to Florida?
Patty: We felt our hearts pulling us here to Zephyrhills. The people here needed us and we needed them. We love living here.
Q: When was Jonathan born? Do you have other children?
Patty: Jonathan was born in 1987. We also have a daughter. She was born in 1988.
Q: Jonathan, growing up in the church did you always see yourself going into ministry?
Jonathan: No. Growing up I saw what goes on and how much work it takes to be in the ministry. When you’re a pastor, your life is not your own and I didn’t think I wanted that life for myself. When I was 18, I felt the call and it was hard for me to make the choice, but I definitely felt God calling me to be a pastor. God was persistent and I submitted.
Patty: Going into ministry isn’t really something you decide to do. It’s something on your heart and it can be a painful choice because you give up other things, but in the end you get so much more than you are giving up.
Q: Jonathan, how did you end up back at Zephyrhills Wesleyan?
Jonathan: I graduated from Southeastern University last May and then I did an internship in Texas. When I came back home, I hadn’t found another job yet and my parents said they could put me to work. I started here in April.
Q: What are you learning from your parents?
Jonathan: I’m learning everything they know and that’s quite a bit. I’m learning what it takes behind the scenes to run a church.
Q: Now that there are three qualified pastors, who speaks on Sundays?
Patty: Well, the way we pastor is Dan and I both preach every Sunday morning. We do a tag-team approach where I’ll preach the first point and then Dan will preach the second. Jonathan preached Mother’s Day when we were away. He’s there to fill in for us.
Q: What is it like having Jonathan working at the church?
Patty: It’s exciting. He’s a great kid. He’s good natured and easy to work with. He’s younger so he brings some fresh insight and ideas. Now, we all bounce ideas off one another.
Q: Jonathan, what are your goals?
Jonathan: I’m up for a paid position in Lakeland and we’re praying about it, that God will take me where I’m supposed to be. We know God will provide.
Zephyrhills Wesleyan Church is at 38924 Central Ave. Service times are 8 and 10:30 a.m. Sundays, with a special evening service at 6 p.m. For information, call (813) 782-7510.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.