In the late ’90s, Jason Daye was close to completing his bachelor’s degree in biology. On course to complete his childhood dream of becoming a doctor, he’d already been accepted to medical school.
Everything Daye had planned was coming true. The only problem? It didn’t feel right.
“At Trevecca, I was studying pre-med and wrestling with God because I sensed He was calling me away from medicine and into ministry, but I didn’t want to do that,” Daye said. “God really got a hold of my heart. My call was a much of a call away from medicine as it was a call to ministry.”
Daye even left Trevecca for a while, enrolling at a state school in his attempt to “run from God” and His calling.
“When I left, I remember that I had this craving to need to be in an environment where God mattered and where there was dialogue and conversation about how God was at work in our lives today,” Daye said.
Daye eventually returned to Trevecca, completing his degree and confronting God’s call on his life. He earned two degrees from the University, a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2000 and a master’s in religion in 2002.
Looking back now, Daye can clearly see how God was at work in his life during that time, even if he didn’t recognize it back then. One of the ways God was at work was through Daye’s class schedule. After testing out of several required classes, Daye found himself with a number of credit hours he needed to fill in order to graduate.
That’s how he ended up in his first religion class, Daye says.
“I had tested out of a lot of classes, so I had a bunch of ‘free’ credits,” he recalled. So, I took a [religion] class with Dr. Tim Green—and that changed a lot of things. After that, I took every class with Tim that fit into my schedule.”
In those classes, Daye says Scripture started to become alive to him—and the more religion classes he took, the more wanted to take.
“[Pentateuch] was the first class I took with [Dr. Tim Green], and it just blew my mind about Scripture and how rich and real it was,” Daye remembers. “It just took me to a whole other place and made me hungry for more, which is why I took many more religion classes when I wasn’t even thinking about doing anything in ministry.”
Daye continued to wrestle with his calling, though. Everything had fallen into place, just as Daye had planned, for him to fulfil his dream of becoming a doctor. Yet there was still this niggling sense that Daye couldn’t escape, this feeling that God was calling him to ministry.
Daye eventually reached out to pastors in his hometown of Naples, Fla., and asked them about their experiences of being called into ministry. These weren’t close family friends or even people Daye knew; he just knew that he couldn’t ignore what God was doing in his life any longer.
“I came to a decision point with God: You will choose to do your own thing or follow the call I have for your life,” Daye recalled. “I knew I had to relinquish control to God, which honestly was a challenge for me. I tried to negotiate with God, but ultimately knew I had to surrender my ambitions and follow His lead.”
Daye said he didn’t feel particularly called to be a preacher, so when Green told Hendersonville, Tenn., church looking for a youth minister to contact Daye, he was a little surprised.
“They offered me a position,” Daye said. “Monica (Daye’s wife) and I prayed about it. We’d been married maybe a year and didn’t feel peace. So, I told them no.”
Monica, a 1998 graduate of Trevecca, and Daye had married during Daye’s junior year. Several months later, the church called Daye again and extended the offer again. Feeling like it was where they needed to be, the couple accepted.
That was the beginning of Daye’s ministry career, which hasn’t always taken the traditional path. While Daye has served in various lead ministry positions at churches, he has also worked in marketing and communications. Daye isn’t afraid to take ministry beyond the walls of the church and currently serves as the vice president of mobilizations at Outreach, Inc., in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“People from all backgrounds follow me on social media,” he said, “people I’ve never met. They message me, and I have the opportunity to talk to them. So many times, they appreciate being able to have a conversation with someone who is willing to listen and care and still share beliefs.He is also the host of Outreach’s ChurchLeaders.com podcast for ministry leaders, a role that gives Daye the opportunity to continue mentoring fellow pastors, encourage believers and reach out to non-believers.
“Personally, I hope that in my encounters with different people, that those who are far from God, those who are caught up in other belief systems or have a negative view of the church,” Daye continued, “that my encounters with them would lead them to consider the hope and truth of Jesus.”