Dr. Joe Daniels wants people to be whole.
Dr. Daniels, longtime pastor of Emory United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., will lead a Master Class, sponsored by Wesley Theological Seminary, at the 2019 National Festival of Young Preachers in Atlanta, GA.
Joe has been quite busy lately, as his church is working on a $55 million, 99-unit affordable rental housing, commercial development, and church renovation project. “It’s a daunting project, but at every stage we continue to see God work miracles. It’s God’s project and we are simply following the vision God has given us.”
And what is that vision?
“That vision simply is to help people live a whole life. ‘Whole’ is an acronym that basically comes out of the Greek word for salvation, which means to be healed, made complete, or made whole.
- Well Physically
- Healed Emotionally
- Obedient Spiritually
- Loved Unconditionally
- Empowered Financially
“Our whole focus has been on the totality of salvation for people. Often times the church just focuses on a portion of the spiritual aspect of wholeness but doesn’t deal with wholeness in its complete healing totality. We look at the whole person, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, relational, and financial. Not only can we enjoy the joy of our salvation, but we can also spread that gift in profound ways to make more disciples and apostles of Jesus Christ.”
Ministering in a way that brings wholeness requires an approach that doesn’t allow for a division between evangelism and helping your community outside the church.
“We have to find the balance between soul justice and social justice. Soul justice people just focus on how do we remove oppression and usher in peace for one soul. But justice can’t happen unless there is social justice as well, and that is desiring the same thing for others.”
“We often struggle when people take one side or the other. People focus on the soul or they focus on the social, but it has to be both. You can’t focus on one and ignore the other.”
Dr. Daniels has been at his church for 26 years, and he has learned a few things since year one.
“I remember starting out, I was like ‘Let’s go!’ In the first year, I was gung-ho, I was excited, I was enthusiastic, I felt like I had the answers, I felt like I knew what to do and where to go. I think now, more than any other time, I realize just how amazing grace is, and just how daily I am dependent on God’s grace, and how daily I can’t do anything unless God makes it happen.”
Over the years, that realization brought humility and an increased openness to learning.
“In year 26 I realize there is so much more for me to learn and I am still growing. I am utterly dependent on the grace of God. I don’t move as fast as I used to move in a spiritual sense. I understand more the power of waiting on God and knowing that nothing happens unless God, in God’s time, causes it to happen.”
He has advice for young pastors: slow down.
“We tend to start out in the first year thinking we can save the world, that we have all the answers, and that we have to rush to make this thing happen quickly. The reality of it is God doesn’t work that way. Yes, God does things immediately, but God often does things over time, so we have to go through many steps in order for there to be testimony.”
Dr. Daniels’ class will aim to help young pastors and preachers look at their communities as a place where the kingdom of God needs to be built and grown and where service needs to happen, and that in doing that, ultimately our congregations will grow and be blessed.
“I’m really excited about it because I believe that it forms a basis for how one can discern call and discern who we have been called to serve, and then be able to gain tools during the class that can help us begin building on growing in ministry and growing the community. I want Young Preachers in the class to learn how we can be whole ourselves while helping a community become whole.”
More about Joe…
Dr. Joseph W. Daniels, Jr. is a husband, father, pastor, author, prophetic imaginer and leader of a Relevant, Enthusiastic, Authentic and Loving church movement. Joe has dedicated his life to growing the kingdom of God as Lead Pastor at Emory United Methodist Church (since July 1992). During his leadership at Emory, the congregation has grown from an average of 55 people in weekly worship attendance to 400 on Sundays. The church is currently engaged in a $55 million, 99-unit affordable rental housing, commercial development, and church renovation project that will provide hope to many individuals and families desperately needing an affordable place to live in a region that is arguably one of the top five most expensive in the country. Emory seeks to be a “Real Church for Real People” and has been acknowledged numerous times for its role in changing lives and changing communities. The church has been awarded the “Kim Jefferson Northeast Jurisdictional Award” for effective urban ministry representing the United Methodist Church and has been selected as one of the 25 Congregational Resource Centers in the “Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century” effort of the United Methodist Church.
Joe holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary (2000) in Washington, D.C. He is also a 1991 graduate of Howard University School of Divinity, and has earned a Bachelor and Master degrees in the areas of Public Communication, Psychology, Journalism and Public Affairs from American University (1982, 1984) in Washington, D.C. He is very active in community affairs, serving as a co-chair of the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) as well as with other organizations and agencies. He also teaches at Wesley Theological Seminary in both the Urban Ministry and Practice of Ministry and Mission programs.
Joe has been called upon for mission service to churches in Zimbabwe and South Africa, providing training for pastors and laity in the area of congregational and community development. Instructing groups on how to establish strong neighborhoods, Joe’s commitment to a spirit of “peace on earth” is not confined to the Brightwood (D.C.) community, the city of Washington D.C. or the United States of America. He fully believes that there can be healthy, wholesome, economically stable families and communities all over the world.
As a sought-after speaker, preacher, mentor and author, Joe inspires and equips others to see the possibilities God has for them and their communities. To that end, he has written three books: Begging for REAL Church (2009), The Power of REAL (2011) and Walking with Nehemiah (2014). He has been happily married to Madelyn since 1985; they are the proud parents of two young adults, Joia and Joey.