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Daniel Thomas

    • Graduation Year: 2009
    • Major: Business Administration
    • Hometown: Mountain City, Tenn.
    • Activities: Reading, hanging out with my kids & wife, coaching
    • Interests: Exercise, motorcycles, Alabama football

Favorite quote(s): “Do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with God.”
“At places where intense innovation happens, they often combine people who know too little with people who know too much.”- Bob Sutton
Favorite book(s): Spiritual Leadership-J.Oswald Sanders, The Secret-Mark Miller, Return of the Ragpicker-OG Mandino, Amplified Leadership- Dan Reiland
Favorite music: Pentatonix
Favorite movie(s): Rudy, Courageous, Facing the Giants, Lord of the Rings, Narnia
Favorite past-time: Hanging with the kids & wife, reading, exercise, walking the do

Why did you apply for King’s College Dream contest? Initially I was encouraged and inspired by my wife to do so. She had heard of the contest. It was the day before the deadline when she finally talked me into it. I entered the contest as many others did with the hopes and dreams of completing higher education believing that it would open up doors in our respective careers. However I also wanted to take what I learned through the program and overall experience and use it to impact the lives of others in a positive way. Like many, I also hoped the experience would inspire my family members and others to pursue their dreams as well.

What was it like to win the College Dream contest? Winning the College Dream contest was like hitting a hole in one on a par 4 hole in the game of gold. When I came home from work one day and my wife meet me at the door to let me know that I was one of five finalists in the contest, I was shocked. I was even more shocked with I learned that I was the recipient of the College Dad Scholarship. I felt inspired and overwhelmed with joy. I also felt humbled… because I knew that I was no more deserving than any of the other finalists. For whatever reason that I’m not privy too, God decided to allow me the scholarship & opportunity and for that, I am grateful.

How has winning the College Dream contest affected your life? It has not only affected my life, it has affected the lives of my family and others around me. The lessons I learned through the experience and education I have gained have equipped me to pursue my dreams. However it wasn’t only about pursuing my own dreams, it was about taking what I learned and impacting the lives of those around me. I received skills and inspiration to pursue my dream of owning a restaurant as well as investing in the lives of others.  

Why did you choose King? Because my wife encouraged me to apply for the College Dad Scholarship. I wish I could say it was because I knew of the great academic credentials and of King’s reputation. However, the simple truth is because my wife encouraged me to.

What did you like best about King? I liked the interaction with the professors as well as the great people I meet. While I haven’t stayed in touch with them all, I have been able to stay connected with a couple of them. Dr. Paul Percy was a professor of who taught one of the business classes. I loved the fact that he not only brought theory to the classroom, but real life application and experience from the business world.

If you have taken college courses or have received a degree prior to entering King’s GPS program, list the school and area of study (or degree/major/concentration). I only attended a couple semesters at a community college, a few courses through Moody Bible Institute, and another couple of classes through V.I. No degree was earned before completing the GPS program at King University.

How have things changed for you beginning your degree program at King? Have you progressed in your current career or will this degree possibly lead to a new career path? I did progress in my career that I was in when I entered the program. When I entered the program, I was in restaurant management with a Global Quick Service Restaurant while also being a pastor for a church in Johnson County.

After my first semester at King, I had the opportunity to take over a Coffee House in Mountain City. I suddenly found myself to be a husband, father, pastor, business-owner and college student all at the same time.

While in the GPS program I had the opportunity to develop a board of advisors of local business owners and clergy who worked together to oversee a Women’s Care Center to Mountain City (AAWC). After serving on the board for about a year, I transitioned off the board as others continued to build and manage the center.

Since completing the GPS program, I have left the restaurant and entered into full time vocational ministry. I have served as a Small Groups Pastor, Leadership Development Pastor and now leading the Adult Ministries (discipleship process) for Highlands Fellowship. I also have the privilege of overseeing our Leadership Development programs: The Exchange, Summer Internships & Church Residency. I love connecting with the business community as well as investing in the next generation of young pastors & ministry leaders. I have also become a Certified Christian Leadership Coach, and utilize those skills to develop Small Group Leaders, Interns and Residents.

Also because of the ministry I’m involved in with HFC, I have been asked to serve in a volunteer role for the Small Group Network. I have the opportunity to serve pastors through out Delaware, Maryland, VA, WVA, NC & SC who desire to connect with other pastors and ministry leaders who are leading small group ministries within their church.

I do believe the knowledge and experiences I learned through the GPS program have greatly benefited me in being a successful husband, father, pastor and business owner.

What advice do you have for other working adults considering the GPS program? Be pro-active rather than reactive as it relates to your time. Plan your schedules and make sure that you put family time on your calendar. Be prepared to make sacrifices. We all will sacrifice something, make sure that you don’t sacrifice what really matters. Don’t procrastinate!

What reaction did you have from family and coworkers when you went back to school? They are the reason I was successful. I could not have done it without the support of family and those around me.

How did the GPS program class schedule worked for you – 1 night/day per week for approximately 16 months? The GPS program schedule made it possible for me to continue to advance my career and balance a ministry and family. I could not have completed my degree otherwise.

Does your class schedule allow you the freedom and time to manage work and family responsibilities well? The class schedule did allow me the freedom to manage work and family responsibilities well.

What was your favorite class? It was a Life Skills class, taught on a Saturday. The idea of the class was finding ones voice-vocation. We identified the differences of a career and a vocation. We also talked about the stewardship of our communication and relationships. We also studied a John Maxwell book “The Art of Balance” in one of these classes.

Who has influenced you the most? My wife Tia and mentor Bill Edmonds.

What is your favorite memory of King? Interacting with the other adults who were in the same situation as I was. Just knowing that others were making the same sacrifices and hectic schedules as I was helped me to know I wasn’t alone. Looking back now, that was a very good support system.

What do you think sets King apart from other schools? The ability or wisdom to see the need for a program such as the GPS which allows working adults to complete their education while being able to balance current work and family responsibilities.

If you have completed you bachelor’s degree with King since winning, have you considered continuing with your education (i.e. master’s degree)? If so, where and what degree program? I have considered it. I may enter a Masters of Business Administration, Apologetics or Leadership program. I believe the knowledge and skills that I would learn in any of those programs would continue to equip me as I invest in the next generation of leaders and impact the lives of others around me in the communities I have the privilege to connect with and serve.