Graceland has been home for Daniel Rose, the Campus Ministries intern, for the last seven years. Daniel will be leaving us in late February to take on a new adventure in Portland, Oregon. Coming to Graceland in 2010 as a Music Education student, Daniel had plans of becoming a band teacher one day. Plans changed, as they do for many college students, and Daniel dropped the education part of his program, majored in music, and picked up minors in Human Services and Church Leadership. He is now perusing a career in ministry. A diehard man of Cheville, Daniel has seen and done a lot here at Graceland in his seven years. I was excited to get to interview him before his departure and ask him a few questions about his time at Graceland and his new job.
Q: What will you be doing at your new job?
A: I am the new young adult minister. The congregation I am going to wants someone who can engage with a younger audience, people who are just starting out having kids, people our age, and really just young adults in general. In addition to that, they are wanting me to engage with the youth, as well as any of the other ministries that will be happening at the congregation. We are definitely focused on young adults.
Q: So, what led you to this job in Portland?
A: It’s kind of a long story! I think the past decade of my life I have kind of gradually discovered that this is a sincere passion of mine. I think I have always been really inquisitive about theological things, but it was always met with a sprinkle of angst. So, theologically, most of my life I was frustrated and really angry, but that anger kind of shifted as I started engaging with different internships and seeing the depth of Christianity. Just the insane life changing nature of the Gospel, which I know makes me sound really Jesus-y. That may be off-putting for some people, but I have just seen people’s lives do really big turnarounds. From that point, my angst and my frustration with theology shifted into something a little more tangible, something that clicked. I began looking at it in a more healthy way. From there I got involved with Campus Ministries. I was the first Safe Ride coordinator, I was chaplain a couple of times, then I did Afterglow coordinator. Then from there, I realized that the internship was the job I wanted to do because I really wanted to go to seminary and learn the skills to talk about theology and ministry. From there this position just opened up and Mike (Hoffman) told me about it. It has really been a dream come true, a perfect gig. I can’t imagine a better situation.
Q: What have you liked most about you job here?
A: I really enjoyed that environment here is so different when you aren’t a student. Initially, that was one of the biggest hurdles I had to go through. That transition from student to employee was bizarre, but I have grown to really like it. It makes Graceland feel completely different, and it has allowed me to take a step back and observe the things that I had gone through here. Now I can offer support to students who are going through the same things. That’s the thing I have enjoyed the most here, is getting to relate to the students in a different way than when I was a student as well, getting to engage with the community here in ways I hope are helpful.
Q: Can you tell me about being the first Safe Ride coordinator?
A: So I think Safe Ride initially came about mostly through the work of Melanie Grimes. She really pushed for this program to exist and it was always tricky to figure out where and how we could make this program exist. Then there was a really tragic car accident on campus that led us to a point where we said, “What can we do about this and how can we make something this painful never happen again.” From there I applied to be Safe Ride coordinator and it was really a challenging experience for me because it was such a fledgling organization. It was such a small new thing that there were a lot of stigmas involved because Campus Ministries was running it. It isn’t specifically advertised as a program for people consuming alcohol, but it is certainly something that is beneficial to people who might otherwise be driving drunk. It’s odd because the stigma in my mind was that people thought campus ministries was going to judge them or not be okay with picking them up, so it was hard to get the program off the ground the first few years. I don’t think it was the fault of the coordinators, it is just a hard thing to sell, but since then the program has become a staple at Graceland. When I came into the position it was hard to go several weekends when no one would call, so it is good to see the percentage of people using it now compared to then. It was rewarding, though, because it was a very tangible expression of love on campus.
Q: Going from that to your participation in Afterglow, how did you get involved?
A.: My sophomore year, in 2011, I was asked by Daniel Harman to come and play bass for the Afterglow band. I participated in it every year since then, six years, which is really crazy. I took over as Afterglow coordinator in the fall of 2014, and from there I think I graduated, but I was still involved as an intern. I have enjoyed it. It is a really meaningful worship experience. A little more laid back than Sunday morning, which is really nice to try and expose potential speakers to speaking in general. My mindset as coordinator was that I wanted to invite people who might recognize that this is something that they care about if they had the invitation.
Q: You had told me before that in your interview for the job in Portland that they seemed really interested in Afterglow. Can you elaborate on that?
A: I am not certain, but they did ask me what it would take to make an Afterglow style service for that congregation. I just kind of lit up, because that is awesome, right? I don’t solidly know what their expectations are, but it sure does feel like they are interested in the music stuff I can do. There is an interest, but the specifics of it I am not sure.
Q: What are some of the good things and some of the lessons you learned at Graceland that you will take with you to your new job?
A: The most significant lesson that Graceland has taught me is to be present. I struggled with this in my first few years here. My mind was somewhere else. I wanted to be home, and I missed Alabama. Looking back, I missed so much and so many opportunities to connect with people in a deeper way. Hindsight is 2020. Graceland taught me it really is important to stay present and to take advantage of the types of relationships you can build here. Had I had a different head space coming in I could have had a totally different experience my first couple of years. Moving on I guess I want to take that to Portland. I want to be aware of this new congregation. To be aware of what they are wanting. To be aware of where they sense God in their live and their community. I want to maintain a healthy headspace so I can engage with those relationships in a way that will foster growth and spiritual development. I am really young, man, so I certainly have mountains of stuff left to learn. I am really excited to go into a new place where I can learn and grow.
Q: So what are you most excited about in terms of Portland?
A: I am really excited because this is so very abrupt in some ways. I have got to put off being an adult in some ways. Most people graduate from undergraduate school and step off the deep end into adulthood and a job. I got to kind of pump the breaks a little bit and sort of ease into the waters of adulthood. I wasn’t certain what I was going to do after this internship and then this position opened. It is actually cutting the internship short, so it feels abrupt. I wasn’t really processing it quite fully until it started to happen. I guess what I am really looking forward to is the fact that this is really the first step in really a new chapter for me. I have been at Graceland since I was 17 and I am turning 25 in July, so I have been here a long time. That’s not a bad thing, but this is a substantial change. I am really excited and really scared, but I’m excited for what that means. I am excited for the mystery of it all.
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