Director of Ministry Resources
Daniel Nott is executive director of ministry resources for Awana. He oversees the development and marketing of programs and products for ages 2 to 18 with the purpose of influencing young people to know, love and serve Christ. His team’s impact is significant; in a given week, 1.5 million children and youth participate in Awana programs at more than 12,000 U.S. churches.
Raised by a single mother, Daniel now rears his own children with his wife, Julie. His varied life experiences have instilled him with a special passion for parenting, church ministry and connecting parents and the church to transform kids’ lives.
“I’m interested in practical, pragmatic parenting,” Daniel says. “I want to be a contrarian to modern wisdom. Parenting takes sweat, blood and tears. It’s hard. I don’t think you should beat yourself up over not doing family devotions every day, for instance. Parenting is not a simple formula. We make mistakes. It involves lots of prayer, persistence, forgiveness and, of course, God’s grace. But it’s incredibly worth it.”
Daniel was the youngest of six children in his family growing up in Minnesota and North Dakota. His mother was a devoted Christian who needed to rely heavily on her local church to help train her kids spiritually.
“Mom is my hero,” Daniel says. “When the church was open, we were there.”
Without a father’s direction, Daniel received mentoring from several men at his family’s church over the course of his childhood. A youth pastor played a critical role in guiding Daniel through a rebellious period in high school.
Although he trusted Christ for his salvation as a child, Daniel wasn’t actively pursuing a relationship with God when he got married and started his own family. But after deciding to check out a nearby church, Daniel met the pastor, who eventually brought him to commit his life to following Christ. Through the counsel of a mature Christian at the church, Daniel grew as a believer, husband and father. He also sensed God calling him to devote his career to full-time ministry.
Daniel soon established church ministries for men and for people experiencing a career transition. He also had to deal with two personal trials. His brother committed suicide, and Daniel himself overcame a near-fatal bout with Crohn’s Disease. He then entered full-time ministry with Awana in 2004.
“I have a real desire to try to help people because of what people did for me as I went through various challenges over the years,” he reveals.
Because he was raised without a father, Daniel aspires to lead Awana in empowering parents as the primary spiritual influencers of their children. Daniel currently presides over Awana at Home, a new program that equips churches to support parents in training youth spiritually. He additionally serves as an Awana leader, small-group teacher and summer camp volunteer at his church.
Champion for parenting
Daniel’s upbringing and his lessons learned as a father and in full-time ministry motivate him to encourage and empower parents to lead their children’s spiritual development.
“I come at fatherhood differently because I didn’t grow up with a father at home,” Daniel explains. “And I feel like God has gotten my wife and me through a lot of bad experiences to teach us the Bible’s approach to parenting.”
Since he didn’t have a father after whom he could model his own parenting style, Daniel understands the challenge that countless dads are confronting, as well as moms. He knows that teaching biblical truth and character to our kids in today’s world isn’t easy. That’s why Daniel’s parenting approach is less philosophical and more grounded in the realities that 21st-century parents are facing.
Advocate for the church-parent partnership
Research shows that the majority of children raised in Christian homes are leaving the church after high school at alarming rates.
But over 90 percent of Awana alumni surveyed nationally in 2007 say they continue to regularly attend church, maintain biblically based beliefs and practice their faith through prayer, Bible study, service and other activities. They credit consistent, long-term biblical education combined with vigorous parental involvement.
“We need to get pastors to make it part of their DNA to connect parents and the church and to equip parents spiritually,” Daniel notes. “Parents need to lead their children’s spiritual training, and the church needs to support and encourage parents in this crucial endeavor.”
Daniel’s ministry resources division has developed fully integrated programs for ages 2 to 18 and a family ministry to support parents and churches’ investment in young people’s spiritual future.
Voice for raising modern-day Josephs
Daniel co-authors a blog called “Raising a Modern-Day Joseph” borne out of the Modern-Day Joseph initiative. The blog offers ideas and guidance for those concerned about the spiritual future of youth and committed to training spiritually strong kids for life.
“I don’t have the typical background for speaking on how to be a great spiritual leader in the home,” Daniel says. “But God has taught me some key truths and lessons over the years, some the hard way. I think I can help others who, like me, love their kids, love all kids and want kids to value Jesus more than anyone or anything else in life.”
Devoted volunteer in church youth and children’s ministry
Daniel practices his convictions. His four children, ages 11 to 17, have each participated in Awana. He is also an Awana leader, small-group teacher and summer camp volunteer at his church. He is currently collaborating with the children’s pastor at his church on ways to better connect the church and parents in spiritually developing kids.
“If God has gifted you to serve in ministry to children or teenagers, go for it,” Daniel says. “Kids desperately need spiritually mature and gifted adults to pour His truth and His love into them. I absolutely love it.”
Daniel and his family live in suburban Chicago.
Leader in the corporate and ministry arena
Daniel has expertise in organizational development, leadership, innovation and research. As Awana executive director of ministry resources, Daniel oversees the publishing and communication model responsible for defining, developing and marketing core programs and messaging. Daniel also spearheads the efforts of Awana to impact the world in an ever-changing marketplace. This was highlighted most recently by his direction over Modern-Day Joseph.
Daniel first joined Awana as international HR manager, directing the hiring, recruitment and training for the Awana global field staff and later as director of organizational development. Before entering full-time ministry, Daniel honed his leadership and managerial skills in the corporate business world as general manager and HR manager at a large software company.
Prior to joining Awana, Daniel served on staff at Christ Community Church in suburban Chicago. He conceived and launched a career transitions ministry serving 500 people through workshops, small groups and published materials.
How to contact Daniel
To schedule an interview, contact David Bunker at 630.540.4695 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.