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2015 Young Alumni Achievement Award - Daniel Bishop


Living his purpose one step at a time

If you visit Daniel Bishop’s staff page on The Grove Community Church web site, you’ll learn that his favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” At age 31, Daniel is poised to become the Senior Pastor of one of the largest churches in Riverside upon the retirement of current Senior Pastor, Tom Lance. You might think this must be a very ambitious young man, but Daniel is simply allowing the Lord to direct his steps.

Daniel has called the Grove his church home for more than 20 years. He began attending as a young boy with his family, and then after graduating from CBU in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Theology, he was asked to serve as Youth Pastor. After 8 years in this role, Daniel assumed his current role as Lead Pastor.

But none of this was Daniel’s plan as a youth. “I didn’t want to go to CBU,” Daniel admitted. His plan was to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to study landscape architecture. “It was my dream job to work at Angels Stadium, and to be in charge of the grass,” he recalled. “I didn’t get in to San Luis Obispo, and I was devastated.” But it was also around this time that God started directing Daniel’s heart toward ministry.

“My parents and my youth pastor had told me I should think about going into ministry, but I just really didn’t want to do it,” Daniel said. “But then I took a friend of mine to camp and he ended up accepting Christ. Just the thought that I could be part of an eternal difference in his life, and other people’s lives, I thought maybe this is something I should look into.”

The timing could not have been more perfect, as CBU was launching its new BAT (Bachelor’s of Applied Theology) program that same year. “I grew up in Riverside so I really wanted to go somewhere else,” Daniel said. “But then I met with Dr. Dan Wilson, who was the program dean at the time, and he was awesome. So I though I’d give it a semester.”

“My first two years at CBU were tough,” Daniel recalled. “I didn’t know a lot about the Bible. I’d gone to church my whole life, but I just wasn’t as smart as everyone else in the group. It was a little intimidating.” During his sophomore year, Daniel joined the CBU soccer team. “I loved playing soccer, and by the end of my sophomore year, I had fallen in love with CBU.”

“Actually, I fell in love with the teachers – that’s what I loved about CBU,” Daniel continued. “I trust them so much, and I thank God that in His sovereignty He brought me to CBU to learn under them. They’re humble, they love the church, they love the Lord, and I couldn’t have picked better people to learn under.”

While Daniel’s education at CBU did a great deal to prepare him for a life in ministry, he still had some very important things to learn. “I knew missions were important to God,” Daniel said, “but I didn’t have the heart for missions that I knew God desired me to have.” Aware of this struggle Daniel was experiencing, one of his professors suggested that there’s one sure way to change his heart toward missions.

And so once again, Daniel’s steps were directed to an unexpected place after he graduated. Through the leadership of the Grove, Daniel was connected with a missionary who had been working in Chile for 25 years. Daniel spent the next year serving alongside him to nurture and equip local churches in Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. “I fell in love with the local churches, and I fell in love with missions,” Daniel said. “In fact, I almost stayed. I got to see the gospel being shared and people believing. I got to see that the church really is God’s tool to reach all people.”

After completing his year in Chile, Daniel was welcomed back by the Grove, where his position as Youth Pastor was waiting for him. It was also at this time that Daniel met his wife, Natalie (2009 CBU graduate), and the couple have worked side-by-side at the Grove ever since. “I am who I am because of my wife,” Daniel said. “We’re a team in this. She helps me so much and I wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for her.”

In addition to his Lead Pastor role at the Grove, Daniel serves as an adjunct professor at CBU, co-teaching a course on the Philosophy of Youth Ministry alongside Dr. Dan Wilson.

And in the next few years, Daniel will likely become the next senior pastor of the Grove. “It was never my dream to be the senior pastor of this church,” Daniel said. “My dream was to work at Angels Stadium mowing the lawn! But today, I just want to be faithful with where God has me. I would love to serve here and have my family here for the rest of my life, if that’s what God wants.”

Date:08/18/2015Written By:Alumni RelationsCategory:Alumni Stories