During the hiring process, it became apparent that our long-standing partnerships with groups like Flourishing Leaders and the Wellbeing of Pastors Initiative funded by the Lilly Grant are vital elements for the care and formation of our pastors. Vineyard USA has decided to start with a period of exploration around how partnerships like these will be further embedded in this next season. We have asked Danielle Pathak, in consultation with Kris Miller (who leads Flourishing Leaders and is the program director for our Lilly Grant) to spend the next 9-12 months architecting the next steps for Pastoral Health and Development for Vineyard USA.
Danielle will serve on the National Team as our Interim Associate National Director for Pastoral Health and Development during this period.
Danielle Pathak is the Interim Associate National Director for Pastoral Health and Development. Danielle grew up in Columbus, Ohio and started attending the Columbus Vineyard as a young teenager. It was there that she learned to love the Church and started to gain invaluable experience in loving and serving the people around her. It was also in this season that a pastoral ministry call began to develop for Danielle.
Danielle attended Ohio State University and graduated with a BA in Human Development and Family Studies. She attended Vineyard Leadership Institute in Columbus, Ohio for theological training before church planting in Denver with her husband Jay and a small team in 2001. After several years of building and developing the Arvada Vineyard and also having her daughters, she became the Staff and Spiritual Formation Pastor for the Mile High Vineyard, a family of neighborhood churches in the Denver area which includes the original Arvada Vineyard. She formed a deep conviction that a pastor’s life must be cultivated and intentionally tended to, with a contemplative, wholistic yet mission-oriented framework. This conviction has shaped her leadership and calling.
She completed a certificate in Spiritual Direction in 2013 from Sustainable Faith, took on additional training in Family Systems work, and most recently added a certificate in Spiritual Formation and Leadership in 2020 from the Transforming Center in Chicago, IL.
Her true joy in this life outside of her faith is her family, her husband of 23 years, Jay, and her daughters Jasmine (age 17) and Sofia (age 14). They thrive when traveling the world exploring new places, cheering on the sidelines of a soccer game, or spending a weekend in the beautiful Rocky Mountains! The Pathak family life is busy and full and exactly right for this season.
For the past 20 years I have experienced all the highs and lows of being a local pastor. There has been personal joy in building a church and sharing Jesus with people, seeing their lives transform. But there is also accumulated pain in the changes and losses, the betrayals and disorientation that comes over time. I could give you a million stories! THIS is the tension of leadership that we all share and it can come at quite the cost to ourselves and our families. In this Pastoral Health and Development role, I want to work with our SRL’s, Regional Leaders, and Area Leaders through partnerships like we currently enjoy with Flourishing Leaders to continue to provide intentional spaces for our Vineyard leaders to heal and reflect as well as discern and celebrate. We are all in this together and I hope to strengthen the support systems for pastors and their families so that we know we are not alone
Leadership is a special calling, one that we know is not for the faint of heart! In a church context, there is so much work that seems to never end and what happens is the quality of the leader’s life suffers under missed expectations and ridiculous demands. We are living in a unique cultural moment right now as well where a spotlight is highlighting these gaps for all to see and judge. The main role of the Associate National Director for Pastoral Health and Development will be to provide guidance and support for the wholistic care of the leader and their family as they face the demands of ministry. We must prioritize the health, wellbeing, and vitality of our leaders as this will directly influence the church cultures that we are building.
It is a true gift to be able to have a National Team to work with. Jay and I have always felt that building and working with a team has been a strength of ours over the years, so it’s exciting to start building a new National Team, each specifically positioned in their unique area. They will need prayer and support especially in this next season as we start to architect the new and preserve the treasures of the past. I am so personally grateful to Phil and Jan Strout and the Executive Team for making the decisions they did to create a way forward.