What’s a better way to kick off your weekend than a Friday morning chat with your Pastor? I say give it a try. You might be surprised at what you learn.
Rev. Dr. Barry Danylak (or “Apple or Strawberry as my son calls him – confusing fruits”) is a highly educated pastor with a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He’s a social entrepreneur, a voice for Christ ,and an expert in God’s word. I’m sure like me, you probably can’t claim all of these titles for yourself. However, even though these are the gifts that Pastor Danylak has developed through his work for Christ, in a lot of ways, he is just like you and me. We are all created in the image of God, after all.
Remarkably, Pastor Danylak, born “the youngest among Baby Boomers,” as he describes, has never been married. He’s been single all his life, and in a world where so much is based on having some sort of romantic partner, going decades without a romantic relationship would seem baffling or even impossible. Nevertheless, this Pastor is secure in his singleness, and doesn’t see it as something that needs to be fixed, or cured – it’s just one part of his identity.
I met up at a local cafe to chat with Pastor Danylak about his work and his walk with God, to try to gain knowledge and new perspective from him. Pastor Danylak is always eager to dive deep into what the Scriptures mean to him and to share these deep truths with others. He was even willing to share with us at Everyday Christian some of the struggles he faces. While he described solitude as something that comes easy to him, one struggle that he noted was his desire to exercise more spiritual discipline. This was especially challenging to him in the practice of prayer. Have any of you felt that you don’t pray enough, or that prayer can be challenging? I know I have.
“I’m very cognizant of my need to be more disciplined.”
– Barry Danylak
Another area that we discussed was evangelism. Pastor Danylak is not keen on cold calls or street evangelism. He concedes this can feel less like planting seeds in the hearts of people, and more like throwing seeds into the wind. Instead, Pastor Danylak advises us to get to know people first and build a relationship with them. Talk less! For him, all evangelism comes out of seeking to listen and understand, not seeking to push an idea or truth on someone. It’s not a sales call – unless you’re really good at sales, he muses. In a way, the best way to do sales is to meet people’s perceived needs in order to change their life. You come alongside someone and help them see their need for the Lord. This way, you earn the right to support someone in their self-discovery. When it comes to randomly approaching as many people as you can in the street, this could almost be seen as the equivalent of “throwing your pearls to swine.” Not because people are swine, but because if someone is not ready to hear the message, it will simply bounce off them and maybe even annoy them. Unwelcome and unsolicited preaching is taking the precious truth of faith and thrusting it onto people who find it a distraction and a nuisance, and not the living waters of life.
Furthermore, how will you know the impact of your conversations unless you come alongside someone to walk with them? Without this, you may simply be planting a seed that you simply abandon.
Next, we talked a bit about Pastor Danylak’s daily routine. Like many of you, he doesn’t have children to wrestle into school clothes or a spouse to make a million plans with. Instead, he gets to spend each morning in quiet solitude with God. Reading the Bible in Greek or Latin. Yep, this man is fluent in Greek and Latin, and English, and even knows a bit of French and German too. Not gonna lie, I feel like I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
We’ve all got our own spiritual gifts, but in a lot of ways, we are alike to each other. The first thing Pastor Danylak does is read his Greek or Latin Bible over some coffee and breakfast, and the last thing he does at night is shut off the lights. He doesn’t have a big nighttime ritual, he explained, especially because he frequently works with single adults and is often up past midnight completing his work.
Sometimes during the day, he will listen to the radio. For him, news is where it’s at. A.M 660 and A.M 770 are his jam. One thing he noted is that he doesn’t like listening to preaching podcasts as background while doing other things. To him, preaching is sacred communication which must be given our full attention. I’m the opposite. If I’m listening to a Christian podcast, I’m probably doing laundry or something else at the same time.
“When you want to keep aware of the world around you,
you’re always listening to news stations.“
– Barry Danylak
Pastor Danylak’s favorite part of the day depends on the day in question. Usually though, it’s his quiet time eating breakfast reading God’s word in an ancient language.
Next, we got real and dove deep on the Pastor’s favorites. First, his life Bible verse is: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” from Romans 8:31. Doesn’t that just sum it all up? His favorite Bible character is the Apostle Paul. When it comes to music, his favorite artists are Keith Green, from his college days, and Rich Mullins, who also had the gift of singleness. Both died tragically young. He also likes Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman.
“I don’t believe in accidents.”
– Barry Danylak
And don’t forget the hobbies! He’s got a passion for motorcycling, working out, mountain climbing, travelling, reading, and learning. One of his greatest passions, however, greater than music or sports, is the gift of singleness. Even though he admits that there are some challenges, he wouldn’t change it for the world. For example, he confesses that he often wonders whom he can call on in a crisis, explaining that in a good marriage you can depend on your spouse, but when you’re single, that can be a problem. That’s why his mission with SEE Global to help churches redefine the church family is so important. In the church, we are called to be a spiritual family as adopted sons and daughters in Christ, and this takes work and investment. However, being single is a great gift because it’s a freedom like no other. So let’s get together and support our singles!
Don’t miss the next part of our conversation with Rev. Dr. Barry Danylak that we had for The Ambassador blog, delving deeper into the difficult things that come with being a follower of Christ.
For more about Pastor Danylak’s international work with SEE Global: Singles Engaged and Empowered, go here.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Everyday Christian feature article. Please support us by commenting, liking, and sharing with your friends. We want to reach international audiences and help as many people as we can, and one way we aim to do this is by going Around the World in 80 Days for Christian Charities. But we can’t do it without your support, so please check out 80 Days at PHCE.ca. Bring your friends! Many blessings to you today and every day.