Dana loved God’s word to the point of frequent tears. He loved sharing his heart for Jesus with all who knew him. His music was all about reaching the heart of the 10 year old boy with the hope he would know Jesus for his lifetime.
Dana Key was part of the band “DeGarmo and Key” for over 25 years. In 1982, when I was first building a foundational relationship with Jesus the lady who was influential in guiding me to my own salvation gave me a tape of DeGarmo and Key. She said it was an example of the freedom in Christ to find new ways of worship through contemporary Christian music.
Are You Ready? 1985
Going forward to about the year 2000, standing in my office, was Dana Key. He was about to lead a chapel service for some of the men and women who were involved in Love In Action. I told Dana about my first Christian tape from DeGarmo and Key. He was humble in his response but I hope it was encouraging to him to hear how he not only influenced me, but thousands of others like me through the years.
Several years later I had become a part of the church where Dana was the pastor. I was in his office seeking the Lord with him for my personal future. He was very encouraging towards me in my life and spoke clearly of how he saw my gifts and the way they could be used.
Dana was one of my most significant friends and confidants during a very stressful time of ministry transition in 2008. I’ll never forget seeing him laying prostrate before the Lord praying on my behalf for wisdom and insight.
Under Dana’s leadership, The Love Of Christ Church gave me the opportunity to build the foundation of teaching material that later became the Journey of Thomas! It was largely through his encouragement and provision of opportunity that I have come to where I am today in ministry. He encouraged me to write the book I am working to get published from The Journey of Thomas material.
The last few years has been seriously challenging for Dana – in his health, trying to lead a struggling church, and keeping the gospel of Jesus Christ on the forefront of his life. Dana has now fought the good fight of faith and is celebrating his eternity with Jesus. He is among the Great Cloud of Witnesses that will welcome me into heaven when I get there.
Thank you Dana Key for making a difference in my life. I will not forget you.
Grace Rivers Development
Today I am preparing a brochure for the Family Freedom Event to occur in Clinton MS. I am so thankful that God has given us this wonderful opportunity to minister to families. I am somewhat taken aback by the business of October. I have five weekends in a row booked with speaking and conferences. I’m really looking forward to all of these diverse events to share God’s grace with those whom I will be connecting with.
I had excellent meetings with Central Church leadership as well as The Love of Christ Church leadership this past week. Both churches are very open to the potential of working with Grace Rivers within their church families.
I have had positive responses from six men who have welcomed the idea of becoming involved in Grace Rivers as a “Steering Committee”. The responsibilities of this committee will be to assist in establishing Grace Rivers as a ministry.
These men come from a diversity of vocational experience, church involvement and history with me personally. I chose men that I know well enough to trust their godly character. But these are men I am not regularly socially involved with which allows for a healthy potential for accountability in this very important process.
We have had our first meeting which was very exciting and productive. The group connected very well and offered some great feedback and ideas. We spent the majority of the time just getting to know more about the mission of Grace Rivers and laying out the initial foundation for a leadership structure and our initial statement of Core Values.
I have certainly learned through the years the incredible significance of both of these structures. I also know all too well the struggles that can occur when they are not clear and understood by the leadership of a ministry. It is my hope to build into the very foundation of Grace Rivers both of these documents.
We have also begun to search for legal advisors regarding establishing the corporation and non-profit paperwork. This is a very serious process and needs incredible wisdom since it will dictate now and in the future how we will operate and function from a legal standpoint.
I have had several wonderful conversations this week with people who want to be intimately involved in Grace Rivers Ministry. Some have said they want to promote GR in their own churches and cities. I have also heard from some who want to help facilitate conference events. I am very encouraged that God is sending people from afar and near that are really excited about the potential of Grace Rivers Ministry.
I have to run to keep up with God on this. He has set something in motion I find very surprising some days.
Please pray for:
• God’s direction for ongoing meetings with Central Church and TLC
• God’s covering and anointing on the Steering Committee
• Development of Core Values and Leadership structures
• For divine selection of legal advisors who are proficient with non-profit corporation development
• God’s development of the GR Team
• My preparation for all of the events coming up
This past weekend GR facilitated a Family Weekend Workshop. We worked through our home church, The Love of Christ Church to accomplish this awewome event.
We had about 20 people who came to us in varying ways. One couple happened to visit our potluck last Wednesday evening at church. They were invited to attend by one of our church Elders. They quickly signed up for the Workshop. I can honestly say that there was no question that God brought them to the weekend! I wanted to share with you some of the comments.
Being transparent with our feelings is very healing!
John has a God-given gift and calling for this
John has a wonderful ability to get to one’s lifelong hurt. I began to heal this weekend.
Thank you so much for coming to share with us. You’ve changed the course of our family.
My pastor sent me an e-mail with the following comments:
John, I have spoken with several people that attended the Family Weekend Workshop. I heard people describe the weekend using phrases like “life changing, amazing” or “I wish our whole church could do this.” I have asked several of these folks if I can record their testimonies so that we can use them in the future to spread the word. I hope that you are greatly encouraged by this awesome success and please forward this email to all of “Smidites” so that all of us can celebrate this victory. We need to be praying for the means and opportunity to expand this ministry and perhaps plan to do it again as soon as you are able. John , we are so honored to have you as our partner. I think we are seeing the birth of a powerful ministry. -dana
I am truely blessed to see what the Lord is doing as HE leads me into this new life of ministry.