As many of you know, I spent last week in Phoenix, AZ graduating with my BA in Christian Studies. This wasn’t all I was up to. I’ll post more about the trip later, but one of the highlights bears mentioning today. I had the opportunity to meet with Dan Simpson. Dan Simpson is a Neighborhood Minister for Christ’s Church of the Valley in Peoria, Arizona. I had first heard of this church while watching the interviews on David Murrow’s “Why Men Hate Going to Church.” Murrow had the opportunity to interview Don Wilson, the senior pastor, but Don though Dan would be a better choice for me.

Within a few minutes of meeting Dan, I knew he was right. Here was a man who captures the spirit that we are talking about here at Hardcore Christian Men. Dan had limited time to talk with me as he was headed to a bike ride with his wife — 50 miles in Las Vegas. That’s hardcore!

Dan is from Concord, California, but he grew up in Brentwood and then Park City, Utah. He married his sweetheart during his junior year of college. He then became a general contractor with his father. After a stint in Japan, where he helped teach a company how to build American homes. On returning to America, he became a Financial Planner. Dan told me he liked helping people get out of debt. After being successful in California, he opened an office in Phoenix. While in Phoenix, Dan hit a roadblock with his business. He kept attempting to expand, but he couldn’t get another office launched. After much prayer and discussion with his wife, Dan decided to quit his job, shut down the office, and start working as a framer in construction. He was doing this because he felt like God wanted him to be ready for ministry. During this time, he was meeting with Don Wilson every few months. Two days after he made the decision to quit, Don asked him to come on staff at Christ’s Church of the Valley. In making himself ready, he was answered by God.

While he is a neighborhood pastor for CCV, he is the “Token Men’s Pastor” as well. One of his most successful efforts was “The Edge”. With the catch phrase of “Stop living life on pause,” the Edge focused on reaching out to the unchurched. Dan would plan events such as Sky Diving, Rock Climbing, White Water Rafting, and more. The men who came were responsible for bringing at least one unchurched man with them. After a day of adventure sports, the event closed with a quick prayer and Tri Tip BBQ. Notice that I only mentioned a quick prayer. Dan didn’t hit these unchurched men with sermons, he hit them with the fact that these Christian men were tough, energetic, and knew how to have fun. The Edge bore much fruit, with many of the unchurched men joining CCV and being baptized. The Edge is no longer active, but Dan encourages the men of the church to get groups of unchurched men together to do the same kinds of activities.

Dan’s evangelistic talents surprised me, as most men’s pastors are focused only on the men in their church. The focus on the men outside of the church makes Dan unique, and inspiring. Dan told me, “Most Christians live timidly. If we can live boldly and all out, we will get promotions, etc. ” Once we show that Christians are successful, more will come to Christ. He challenges men. When his men are teased or made fun of for their faith, he tells them to challenge the person that is teasing them. Telling the antagonist that they aren’t “tough enough” to be on our team. They then challenge the antagonist to live for someone else instead of themselves. If they can manage that, then they can talk.

In an hour of conversation, Dan Simpson helped me to see a new way to minister to men, reaching beyond the walls of the Church to the men in the community. If you are ever in the Phoenix area, go check out Christ Church of the Valley, and tell Dan I said “Hey”.

  1. Mike says:

    Paul, This is great stuff. I strongly believe that the way we live our lives speak a lot more then any sermon. If we just step out of our shells and show the unchurched how we can have a great time with out alcohol, or foul language or bad jokes their would be a lot more men going to church. If we live by faith and allow Christ to be seen threw us then we will reach so many more then if we only go out on missions once a year.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Paul. i am somewhat familiar with CCV from the past but have not kept up with their “doings” since they moved into their own facility. (Man, that has been a long time). I like Dan’s heart for men. Sort of along the lines of Wild at Heart. Men need challenged. I would be curious why The Edge is no longer a program at CCV. Did they feel it had run its course? Did they decide to stop so they could disciple/mentor those men who did come in? Anyway, thanks for this post.

  3. Jim F. says:

    Enjoyed this a lot and congrats on graduation!

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