Staff Spotlight: Donny Tapie

 

Getting to Know You:

I was born in Orlando, Florida and grew up in a small two bedroom duplex for the first 18 years of my life with my amazing mother, Rosanne, and my two older brothers, Nick & Matt. There’s about 4 years between my brother Nick and I and about 4 years between Nick and Matt but even so, we’re extremely close, like best friends, and I love to spend time with them! My brothers and I shared a room which forced us to resolve conflict and I believe had a big part in the depth of our relationship which I enjoy today. On the other side of the duplex lived my Grandmother and Grandfather, Nicholas & Josephine Montana. I have extremely fond memories of my time in that home.

I attended University High School and graduated in 2004 and then went to Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX and pursued a degree in Biblical Text with a minor in Chemistry. I graduated in 2010 as I took an extra 2 years to complete the requirements needed to apply for medical school but the Lord had a different path for me! I moved to Dallas in March of 2011 so I could be closer to my beautiful and Godly wife Meredith, whom I was dating at the time, and we’ve been here ever since.

During one of the initial weekends I came to Dallas in September of 2010 to see Meredith, shortly after we began dating, I went to an Antioch Lifegroup with her, and that became our community over the next few years as we dove into community at Antioch Dallas, got engaged, married in December of 2011, and began our family here in Dallas. In 2014 we had a beautiful baby girl, a gift from God, by the name of Adelae Josephine Tapie or Addy, as we most often call her. The thing I love most about that time is that it was all done while in close knit community and it was and has been so rich!

I first heard of Antioch churches through our, at the time, Associate College Pastor at Beltway Park Baptist Church which is where Meredith and I attended, led lifegroups, and served in other leadership roles. That Pastor’s name was Jeremy West! Yes, the same Jeremy West who is now our Worship Pastor here at Antioch Dallas. Such an amazing thing to now get to work with him side by side!

What role do you serve on? What do you do on a weekly basis as a part of that team?

I serve on the Pastoral Leadership Team here at Antioch and I oversee the Lifegroups that mostly consist of families here at Antioch. I also serve as the Children’s Director for our Sunday Children’s Ministry. On a weekly basis, I do a number of things but most of my time is dedicated to meeting with the leaders of the Lifegroups, our Section Leaders of those groups, and discipleship with a number of other individuals. I also spend lots of time connecting with new visitors in the church and helping people to get plugged into our awesome Lifegroups! I love that part of the job because being a part of a close knit community that loves Jesus has changed my life so I always look forward to and find it a privilege to help others find the same thing. Regarding Children’s Ministry, during the week I’m doing anything from vetting new volunteers, following up with new families, providing vision and direction for that ministry as a whole as well as constantly trying to find new ways to improve what we do. When Sunday comes around you’ll find me by the check-in stations connecting with the families of the Church and floating throughout the halls helping everything run smoothly and safely. In the morning before Sunday service I also lead a meeting for our kids volunteers to envision, encourage, and equip them to remove as many obstacles as I can. I love that part of the job because when I can do that it frees up our people so they may fully focus on Jesus and seeing him lifted up and glorified in our Kid’s Ministry so that our kid’s lives will be changed!

Why did you want to serve on this team? Why is this role important?

I love seeing God change people’s hearts and minds. I love it when I’m meeting with a person and I see the light go on and for, maybe the first time, they really feel or experience the love of God...it’s incredible and it’s a privilege to be a part of that. This role is important because, before I worked for Antioch, I worked in the business world and I desperately wanted and desperately needed men of God to pour into me. Jordan Ogden (our previous Senior Pastor now sent out to Michigan), Joe Paolino (one of our current Pastoral Staff), and Zach Daniel (our current Lead Pastor) took the time to meet with me, encourage me, disciple me, and pour into me in ways which have significantly changed my life. So, having the privilege to do the same for others is humbling and I can’t imagine a better way to spend my time here in Dallas than by giving away what Jesus has so freely given me!  

How have you grown in your faith through being on staff?

I’d have to say that the most significant way that I’ve grown in my faith is seeing change in people’s lives and hearts...real lasting change...from their old ways to God’s ways and how that change doesn’t come by wise words, good advice, or my efforts but it only truly comes when they experience and grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus. It’s helped me to rely on the Holy Spirit in a much deeper way in that what He is doing and desires to do in people’s lives is infinitely more meaningful and effective than any number of thing I can hope or do for people. God is the one that opens eyes, softens hearts, and renews our minds and when we say yes to Him he never fails to deliver on his promises. Basically, God can be trusted in ministry, in life, in family, with our hopes, dreams, longings...everything. Trusting and relying on God is the best and most secure posture I can ever take.

What challenges have you encountered as you invested in this team? How have you seen God use you through this team?

Everyday I come to work, I feel like I’m on some sort of ministry dream team! Seriously, I feel so blessed to work alongside every person on staff at the church as well as alongside our incredible volunteers which are essential in the life of our church. So, honestly, I think most of the challenges I’ve encountered have been personal ones...ones that stem from my own need for Jesus that I realize in the midst of ministry. For example, work-life balance can often be a challenge for Pastors as what you do often can spill over into “after-work” hours but that’s not because I’m required, asked, obligated or forced to do that...it’s usually because I start taking on too much myself and forget to ask for help or advice along the way or to trust God to take my best but insufficient efforts and multiply them as he is always faithful to do when I rely on him. Another way to say it, is I’m always trying to be careful of not getting in the way of what God is doing by effort, striving, and hard-work alone rather than through prayer and seeking God, asking him to do what only he can do. It can be a challenge to keep that balance but when I do it excellently I always see fruit come from it.

Describe some of the relationships you have been able to build through being in this role?

Where do I even begin?! The people of our church are incredible...we are so blessed by God in whom he’s brought here both those on staff and all our volunteers that run everything here whether it’s our Lifegroup Leaders, Welcome Home team, Deacon Team, etc. Even just last night, my wife and I were taken to dinner by a couple that serves faithfully here at Antioch and I came away feeling blessed, encouraged, and uplifted...and that’s just one couple! Our church is full of people who know Jesus in deep relationship and constantly walk in his ways demonstrating what it’s like to live like him. So, those relationships for my wife and I are absolutely treasured. We could not do what we do without the deep, transparent, honest, vulnerable relationships we’ve built here. Meredith and I both often feel overwhelmed (in a really good way!) by how many amazing friends we are surrounded by and how supported we feel.

Where do you see our church in 5 years?


One of the reasons I’m so excited about our move into the new building is the new opportunities that come with not just going out to people to share the gospel but being in their neighborhood...being a part of that neighborhood. So, the fact that where we’re moving literally contains people from all over the world, so many nations that I would normally never be able to reach, is fantastically exciting! I see our church growing, of course in numbers, but more importantly I see our church becoming a place in our community where people find hope in Jesus and where those who don’t know Jesus feel welcome and loved...that it’s a safe place. We already do that well in many ways, so in 5 years I’m praying that we would have been able to make such an impact that, if you were to tell me today what that would be, I wouldn’t believe it! The other thing I see is that it’s in our DNA to go and to send. I see us doing that even more and more as God touches hearts and minds for the Gospel and people begin to step into all that God has for them.