Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town in Northwestern Pennsylvania, New Castle, PA. It is north of Pittsburgh.
What was your first job?
My first job was in the locally owned candy store, called The Sweet Shoppe. I packed boxes of chocolates, gift wrapped them for customers and worked the sales counter. It didn’t pay much, but the store owners let us eat as much candy as we wanted. That was a big perk.
Tell us about your time in the business world?
I was hired by Texas Instruments out of college. They came to my campus to recruit technology graduates for careers in sales. My double major was in Computer Science and Mathematics. After a year in the sales training program in Houston, Texas I was sent to Northern California’s Silicon Valley to sell semi-conductors to computer manufacturing firms. This was a very exciting time in the high tech industry. I was employed for five years with T.I. in Sales and Marketing and was promoted as a manager. I learned a lot of valuable skills in Texas Instrument’s management program that I have utilized in the administration of the church.
How did you sense the call to ministry and make the decision to make that change?
I loved my work at Texas Instruments and was good at it. However, I had this nagging, persistent sensation that God wanted my occupation to be in the church. I became highly involved in my local church attending Bible Studies and working weekends at a homeless shelter. I continued to pray for God to guide my path. My husband and I relocated to Dallas, Texas in 1990 with our two tiny daughters. We joined Custer Road United Methodist Church. Our first Sunday to attend worship was during the summer and the associate pastor (a female) preached. It was 1990, and women had been ordained in the United Methodist Church since 1968, but I had never seen a female preach. I experienced this enormous wave of God’s Spirit wash over me. I sensed a deep, profound clarity from God that “this is what I was supposed to do.” There was no denying God’s call on my life to ordained ministry. It was a huge sacrifice for me to leave my job, find childcare and afford seminary. My husband, Deames, was extremely supportive and encouraging. He made plenty of sacrifices all along the way. I could not have fulfilled my call to ministry without his enduring support.
Tell us a little about your husband and daughters?
My husband Deames and I have been married for 27 years. We met at Texas Instruments in the sales program. He is a native of Peoria, Illinois; a Purdue University graduate (B.S. CSEE) and earned an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University. He retired from T.I. after 25 years as a semiconductor marketing manager and is now a franchise owner. He owns five Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in North Texas, three that are fully developed.
We are blessed with three wonderful daughters. Elora is 26 years old. She is a TCU grad and currently in the graduate assistantship program at S.M.U. working on her Master’s in Higher Education. Morgan is 24 years old, she is married to Ryan Kennedy and they live in Seattle, WA. Morgan graduated from Oklahoma State University with an architecture degree and works as a designer at Callison. Her husband Ryan is a State Farm agent in Seattle. Acacia is our youngest. She is 19 years old and is a sophomore at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
What are some things you are most passionate about in your ministry?
I have one agenda – to proclaim Jesus Christ. In all that I say and all that I do, in the things I write and the way I live my life, I hope to proclaim Jesus Christ. I lead the church to do the same thing. When people drive by the church building, or walk down the street, or look at the church’s website, or see our church members out in the community – all that is proclaiming something. I strive for everything to proclaim Jesus Christ.
Additionally, I am passionate about “building” things for God. I am consistently very passionate about building up the church, building new ministries, starting new small groups, building programs for children and youth, building a strong staff and lay team, building up people’s lives, strengthening people spiritually, building strong families, building disciples for Jesus Christ and building new facilities for God to work. All of this “building” needs a cornerstone and the chief Cornerstone that all is built upon is Jesus Christ.
Tell us about your experience with church construction projects?
In my ministry I have been involved with three master plan revisions, five capital campaigns and five church construction projects. At Custer Road UMC I served on the capital campaign committee to fund building a chapel and classroom renovation project. At Christ UMC I was involved in building three phases of their master plan. I came at the tail end of an Adult Education building and served actively building a $7 million Recreation Center and Youth Building. The senior pastor had me lead the building committee and capital campaign project for a $19 million sanctuary which opened in 2009. At First Rowlett UMC we revised the master plan in 2010 and built phase one, a $5 million Youth and Family Building which will open in June 2016.
What is your leadership style?
I have a collaborative leadership style. I am good at building a team. I lead with energy, passion and enthusiasm. I try to connect everything we do with God’s mission for the church. I think my staff would say I am a strong encourager, but I also hold people accountable for their work.
What role does missions play in your ministry?
Missions is what everyone in the church is called to do. God sends us into the world every week to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. I am most interested in partnering with the local community to understand the unique needs of the people who live there. I always say, “The community should be better because the church is here”. I take that very seriously. How are we making the community better? What are we doing to make a difference? How is God asking our church to reach out to love our “neighbors”? Neighbors live nearby, but God also calls us to identify our “neighbors” in distant places – across the state, across the country and across the world.
What do you do with your time outside of work?
My husband and I enjoy spending time together exploring new places. We enjoy art, museums, local festivals and spending time in nature. We mostly enjoy visiting our daughters and being a part of their lives. Personally, I love reading, walking in nature and spending quiet time alone with God.
What do you think your greatest strengths are?
I am very relational and have strong interpersonal skills. I love people, I know their names and I am a good listener. I am a strong leader. I have a knack for motivating an organization to move toward a defined goal. I am good at creating an organizational culture that is positive and inviting. I am an effective communicator.
Do you have one or two favorite songs?
I have many favorite hymns – In the Garden, I Love to Tell the Story, How Great Thou Art, Be Thou My Vision, Here I am Lord.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I am definitely an early bird. I normally wake at 5:00 a.m. to pray, read scripture, journal and then exercise or walk in nature. That is my favorite time of the entire day.
Do you have any pet peeves?
I absolutely hate when you telephone places and have to go through a long list of voice commands. I want to talk to a real person. I love when I call a local church and some wonderful volunteer receptionist answers the phone.
Any favorite TV shows?
I love all the Masterpiece Classics on PBS especially Downton Abbey.
Are you willing to learn how to Call Those Hogs?
Any self-respecting Arkansas resident would certainly want to Call Those Hogs. I have already been offered hog-calling lessons by several apt teachers. I will be calling with the best of them by football season. Woo Pig Sooie!
Where can our congregation send a note of congratulations?
4405 Main Street, Rowlett, Texas 75088
-Dr. Jan Davis
Central’s New Senior Pastor