In recognition of his faithful pastoral service and deep commitment to mentoring pastoral leaders of today and tomorrow, Acadia Divinity College has awarded the 2023 ADC Alumni Distinguished Service Award to Rev. Dr. Danny Smith (’04, ’19), lead pastor of Middleton Baptist Church.
Go Far, Go Together
Jesus modelled mentoring.
This is how Danny knows mentoring works – by following how Jesus did ministry and how he related to other people. Danny has committed to reflecting this in his own ministry as lead pastor of Middleton Baptist Church, Nova Scotia.
“The thing that really excites me about serving as a pastor in a local church,” Danny says, “is the opportunity to see the change that Jesus actually makes in people’s lives. I get a front-row seat every week to people taking important steps towards faith in Jesus. There’s nothing like it, in my opinion, nothing like it in the world.”
Because of this, Danny has dedicated his life to pouring into others in his pastoral ministry in his local church and beyond. Key to his approach is spending intentional, quality time with individuals.
“You can give someone a book to help them grow,” he says. “However, investing time into a person’s life has a much more significant impact. I’ve seen it time and time again.”
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”
Danny’s commitment to mentorship has had great ripple effects, positively impacting the local community of Middleton Baptist Church (MBC) and beyond. As a result of his intentionality in mentoring individuals and encouraging them in their call, over the past 15 years, most of MBC’s permanent pastoral staff positions have been filled by someone within the congregation, or someone with a close association to the church.
“Throughout my season of life as a pastoral leader, God has given me the privilege to walk alongside other leaders and emerging leaders on their journey,” Danny reflects. “Students from ADC – those God has raised up within our own congregation and called to pastoral leadership – and ministry peers.”
Give it a Try
Danny knows mentoring works, not only because Jesus modelled it, but because he’s experienced it firsthand. In his local church growing up in Shag Harbour, his gifts and confidence were nurtured. He had people around him who encouraged him to ‘Give it a try’ while he navigated his call as an inexperienced 16-year-old with a heart for Jesus.
After high school, Danny began pursuing his education to further prepare himself for ministry. While earning his Master of Divinity from Acadia Divinity College, Danny began pastoring MBC, giving him the opportunity to learn as he lived out his calling in the local church.
During Danny’s first summer as lead pastor, he met Dwight Habermehl (pictured, left), founder of Aaron Ministries. Aaron ministries exists to see healthy leaders leading healthy churches that transform communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through Dwight’s encouragement, Danny began to work with the organization hosting monthly gatherings for pastors, called ‘The Well’.
“For those of us in church leadership, one of the greatest gifts we can give to one another is the gift of time – the gift of ourselves – walking with one another on the journey,” Danny says. “I continue to see the difference having others walking with you on the journey makes, and I determined that as God gives me the opportunity, I would make myself available to him to do the same in the lives of others.”
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.”
In August 2023, Acadia Divinity College presented Danny with the 2023 ADC Alumni Distinguished Service Award. The gift is presented annually to an Alumni whose gifts for ministry have contributed significantly to the Christian Church in Canada or throughout the world.
In presenting the Award, Rev. Dr. Anna Robbins said “If you know Danny Smith, then you know of his love for other people. Danny is passionate about spending time with people. Being with them. Getting to know them, and intentionally helping them grow.”
“I would like to thank ADC for your trust and faith in me in presenting me this award,” Danny said. “My own life has been blessed and touched by the College as you have helped to shape me. I want to encourage you to keep doing what you are doing – training up leaders who love Jesus and are equipped to serve the local church.”