Behind the Scenes of The Gospel Project: Meet Daniel DavisMonday, February 18, 2013
In my work at LifeWay, I focus primarily on The Gospel Project. We’ve been excited to watch the launch and progress of this new curriculum. (A recent report showed orders at 3x the number we’d expected!)
The best part of it all is the distinct privilege of working with a dedicated team of gifted individuals. Someone recently asked me how many people are on “the team.” Because the number of people working on this resource is so large, I didn’t know how to respond.
When it comes to The Gospel Project for Adults, I work primarily with Daniel Davis. Daniel spends most of his time behind the scenes as the production specialist, editing and shaping every session so that it looks good on the page and delivers on our promise of providing content that is rooted in Scripture and focused on Christ. He is also a family man with a heart for adoption, and a churchman who serves his congregation faithfully.
Today, I’ve asked Daniel to join me on the blog for a conversation about his ministry through The Gospel Project.
Trevin Wax: What was it that first interested you in writing and editing at LifeWay?
Daniel Davis: I was in seminary when the thought of editing began to grow in my mind. I am very much an introvert, so I often struggled to see myself leading in ministry areas that involved being “up front.”
Somewhat aimless through my college and seminary years as to what ministry I might fulfill, one of the things I enjoyed most was writing papers. I would generally get positive comments on my work, though I had plenty of room for improvement. Some comments here or there from a professor, grader, and my wife were encouraging toward the thought of working with words.
Over time, I began to ponder the role of editing as a ministry, not just a job, even as one that has a wide scope of influence and serves a multitude of churches. When our first child came along, I needed a full-time job. I found one at LifeWay and eventually hoped to move into editing, which happened in God’s perfect timing.
Trevin Wax: What is your favorite part about working on The Gospel Project?
Daniel Davis: I work on The Gospel Project for Adults, and I really enjoy my responsibility of making sure that we are accurate in what we communicate and that we are faithful to God’s Word. It is my aim to remove all distractions (misspellings, poor punctuation, unclear statements) so that God’s gospel message of Jesus Christ shines forth all the clearer.
I have also enjoyed immensely the challenge of taking The Gospel Project content and producing the iPad app.
Trevin Wax: Let’s talk about that for a moment. You are one of the people at LifeWay who pioneered the development of new, digital formats for The Gospel Project. Tell us about the creation of the iPad app and why you’re excited to see it available now.
Daniel Davis: I’m glad you say “one of,” because I get the privilege to working with amazing folks who make my part of the work look really, really good.
The Gospel Project iPad App excites me because it takes the excellent content of The Gospel Project and immerses you in it.
One of my goals with the app is to provide users with more—more than we can do in a print piece alone. I get to pull together important information from scholarly resources and the Bible and then present them in a way that catches your eye and sticks in your head (at least I talk with our awesome designers about how to do the presenting part).
The interactive features help to make sense of the content communicated in The Gospel Project; they are not just to look good but actually to teach the information.
For example, our “Emmaus Road” feature in the volume 1 app is built off of Jesus’ words to the disciples in which He explained His death and resurrection from the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:27,44). These being the divisions of the Hebrew Old Testament, we connected OT prophecies about Jesus’ death and resurrection in these sections of the Bible with New Testament passages that clearly show Jesus as their fulfillment. The look of the feature as a circle with each segment pointing toward the center communicates the truth—one of the central purposes of The Gospel Project—that Jesus Christ is the focus of all of Scripture.
Truly fun stuff to be a part of, and a sacred responsibility to steward God’s message well!
Trevin Wax: You and your wife, Christy, have adopted three children. Tell us a little about how God gave you a heart for adoption.
Daniel Davis: Christy and I have always wanted to have children. Before getting married, we often talked about our delight in having a big family (I’m from one). Yet God’s good plan has involved blessing us with children through adoption rather than the conventional way.
The struggle with infertility was a heavy burden for us—often experiencing the conflicting senses of joy and pain at the wonderful news of God’s blessing other couples with children while our own desires went unfulfilled. My wife was quick to move on—adoption. In time, I was able to join her in that move.
Seven years later, we are now blessed with Hannah, Benjamin, and Malachi, all adopted (we’re looking forward to Malachi’s adoption day in April!!). Each has their own unique story of becoming a part of our family, and each one is a reminder of God’s loving kindness and faithfulness. Experiencing adoption firsthand as a parent has made me glory all the more in my Father who has adopted me in Christ.
In God’s infinite wisdom, He has redeemed our struggles by giving us opportunities to comfort couples experiencing infertility, to help guide some on the path of adoption, and to give testimony to God’s faithfulness and grace (once even to a birthmother who changed her mind while we were with her in the hospital). Infertility and adoption are never easy…but by God’s grace in our lives, they have been good because He is good.
Trevin Wax: Do you teach The Gospel Project?
Daniel Davis: While I’m an introvert, God has still called me to serve His church in public ways (that I delight to preach His Word on occasion at my church is a testimony to God’s faithfulness to equip us with His gifts for service). I’m the student pastor at my church in East Nashville.
I teach The Gospel Project for Students with our student group of mostly middle-schoolers during Sunday School. We rarely get through point two because they are so often asking questions about any number of topics and chasing rabbits.
But taking the long-view of ministry with these students, and knowing The Gospel Project is simply a tool in the hands of teachers as they show love to their students, I strive to be flexible—to address their questions as appropriate and always to point them to Jesus—the essence of The Gospel Project.