By Susan LeDoux
Pastor Gary Pfeiffer, of Morningstar Christian Fellowship, is pleased Josh Daby, ordained a year ago, has joined him as co-pastor. Pfeiffer stressed theirs is a team ministry, rather than the traditional senior and associate pastoral relationship.
The Good News spoke with Daby about his journey to ministry and his current position at Morningstar.
Daby met his future wife, Elizabeth, while studying at SUNY Potsdam. While he majored in anthropology and French, Elizabeth majored in education and was to become a history teacher at Northstar Christian Academy. They have been married 15 years and have four children.
However, before they married, each went on their own mission trip to Haiti. Daby’s trip lasted a year and a half, while Elizabeth spent two years there as a teacher. Upon returning to the States, Daby attended Elim Bible Institute in Lima, New York, for a year. Since he was living close to Rochester, and he had a college debt to pay off, he settled here, where he found work at Verizon as a trainer in customer care. After 15 years, Verizon laid off 700 people, and rather than relocate, Daby found a position at MVP as a Resources, Learning and Development Specialist. He describes his work as “a good fit” because, drawing on his experience at Verizon, he is equipped to help supervisors train employees, and he assists with the orientation of new employees as well.
Like many pastors today, Daby is now bi-vocational. “The Lord is using my day job as a way to serve the church and reach out,” he said.
He credits Pastor Pfeiffer with encouraging him to tap into his gifts and pursue ordination. Daby noted that his experiences at Verizon honed his public speaking skills, which he now uses when preaching —such as the recent series he gave on spiritual gifts. However, by choice, Pfeiffer usually preaches while Daby continues as worship director in music ministry.
That decision makes perfect sense, since Daby is a part-time musician — singing, playing drums and acoustic guitar in a Calypso Band in Livingston County. He also shares his musical gifts at Bethel Express, the ministry for youth run by Michael and Julia Peace out of Brighton Presbyterian Church in Rochester.
His specialty, however, is African drums. Through SUNY Brockport, he traveled to the University of Ghana at Legon and studied hand drumming. He not only plays African drums, but repairs them as well. While he likes working with his hands, he said he finds great meaning in the process.
“I enjoy taking something that has no voice and giving it a new voice. It reminds me of Ephesians 2, ‘Although dead, made alive in Christ Jesus.’ Repairing the drums, giving them back their new voice, is a picture of the Gospel,” he said.
You can find out more about Daby and his African drums at https://www.facebook.com/joshua.daby.
When asked to describe the congregation at Morningstar, Daby said many members are retired, but there are also people with young families. It is small, with 30 to 40 people. During a typical Sunday service, they will sing three or four worship songs (modern, contemporary, and some hymns). “Body ministry” follows, which is an opportunity for members of the church body to share what they feel God is telling them, and to offer encouragement. After prayers, children go off to classes or nursery, while Pfeiffer or Daby preaches. People enjoy fellowship with coffee and snacks after the service. Daby described their worship style as “charismatic and full gospel.”
Morningstar has been in Rochester for 13 years and meets in the fellowship hall at John Knox Presbyterian Church, 3233 West Ridge Road, Greece, New York. Although a small congregation, they have two home groups. One for young families on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, and the other for older members on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month. They also collaborate with Mission Share to help this ministry provide goods and food to those in need.
Morningstar has relationships with Lifenet Apostolic Network (a network of religious leaders committed to each other and the Kingdom of God); with Word of Grace Network in Penn Yann; and Kingdom Reign International.
When asked what message Daby would have for The Good News readers, he said, “God has put us together for a reason. He’s given us giftings, callings, and it doesn’t have to be super spiritual. God is very practical. It’s all about using what He’s given you to serve Him and those around you, so Jesus gets the glory.”