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Getting to Know Our New District President4 min read

Rev. David A. Davis was born on September 13, 1957 in Flint, Mich. He is the middle child, having one older sister and one younger sister. He grew up in Grand Blanc, as did his wife Sallie. Davis says his wife’s family always went to church, whereas his didn’t go very often. But there was a really great youth director who got him far more involved in the church and would eventually encourage him to become a pastor.

Davis started college at Central Michigan University but, he says, “I was having such a good time my freshman semester and acting as lost as all of my friends, and I knew I wasn’t lost. So I had to get out of there.” Back in eighth grade, Davis had toured Concordia with his youth group, and when he was in high school the youth director suggested that he should go into the ministry. After his freshman experience, Davis continues, “I said, ‘I don’t know what it means to be a pastor, but I’ll go down and give Concordia a try. And I’ll just take it a quarter at a time, and see where that leads.’” Davis started at CUAA and Sallie came after she finished high school, not because he was there, but because Concordia was her school of choice.

David and Sallie started dating during their CUAA years and got married in 1980. They have four grown daughters, three sons-in-law, two granddaughters, and two grandsons.

Davis earned a B.A. from CUAA in 1979 and an M.Div. from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. in 1983. Other academic pursuits include Classical Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. and Governance and Executive Training through the Pastoral Leadership Institute. Since his ordination, Davis served as pastor of four different congregations, all in Michigan: St. Matthew, Spring Lake; St. Paul, Trenton; Immanuel, Grand Rapids; and St. Luke, Haslett/Lansing.

Davis has served in various leadership positions in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, planted congregations, developed multicultural ministry, led non-profit governance seminars, developed mentoring processes, wrote leadership development materials, and facilitated meetings and retreats. He has authored a book, Toward Significance: A Guide For Pastoring Well, and has a blog with the same name (towardsignificance.com/blog). He also produced a 12-month leadership development resource to help pastors raise up 8 to 12 laypeople by spending a year with them, reading and discussing assigned texts. The program is called Leadership Pathway.

Davis served as Michigan District vice president for 13 years, and as a member of the Board of Directors for several years prior to that, which means he’s been involved with the District for half of his ministry. He says, “Somehow I don’t mind meetings. I just like to keep them moving.”

Davis’ main hobby is spending time with his family. He also plays the tuba, likes to read, and says he’s a terrible golfer.

An area of ministry near and dear to his heart is getting people to read the Bible: “I think there’s power in the Word. Keith Minda (Commissioned Emeritus who served at Peace, Saginaw) said, ‘To have a passion for Jesus is to have a passion for His Word, because that’s where we find Him.’” Davis is also passionate about church planting/moving ministry forward, leadership development, and building up brother pastors.

When asked what the District should expect for the next 3 years, he said, “I think we’re on the right path: People of Hope, Great Commission, Great Compassion, Healthy Congregations, and Healthy Workers. I think we also have to respond to the lack of workers.” He outlined his goals as follows:

  1. Build an ethic of being in the Word;
  2. Leadership development, building on what is already happening;
  3. Church planting and revamping: “I don’t like the idea of closing buildings and selling property. I think we need an incarnational presence—not saving the building, but having a presence. That’s ministry revamping.”
  4. Parochial education 2.0: “How can we support the homeschoolers more, and how can we support the public students more? Christian formation of the children is something we have to look at.”
  5. All of the above have to be connected to our communities.

Welcome, President Davis! We look forward to working with you.

Photos by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS

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About the Author

Elisa is a staff writer, copy editor, and photographer for the Michigan District, LCMS. She is married to Rev. Dr. Charles Schulz (Concordia University Ann Arbor) and they have three children.

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Karl Wm. Koch - October 12, 2022

Thanks for providing this response. I definitely want to connect to the Michigan District and to its new president. I am 89 years old and now fully retired but still up and active. I want to share old and new writings with others.

Paul Herter - October 14, 2022

I always like the “back story” or personal history of people and events. This article is one of those…thanks very much! All of our Michigan District DPs served well, but, because Dave Maier and Dave Davis are my contemporaries, I feel closer to them and can relate better to some of our mutual challenges. Welcome Pastor Davis! And God bless your service among us!