DBU Alumnus David Chase Says Its All About Relationships

David Chase

"David, would you like to leave the classroom?" Dr. Naugle paused his lecture to bring an abrupt end to David Chase’s casual chat with a friend in the back of the classroom. David sank into his chair, devastated by the reprimand. "That was my worst moment at DBU," he now recalls. And it never happened again. Now 20 years later, he is the one giving lectures as an adjunct professor in DBU’s School of Business, and although he's never asked a student to leave for talking during a lecture, he uses his class to challenge tomorrow’s leaders to problem-solve in new and innovative ways, operating under the principles of servant leadership.

Now serving as executive pastor at Lake Church in Arlington, David’s life path has been anything but simple and uncomplicated. Having begun his higher education at community college in Weatherford in the mid-1990s, he looked for a place to complete his bachelor's degree. "I thought about UTA and A&M, but never DBU," he said. DBU was not even on his radar, but God had other plans.

The Road to DBU

David had many friends at DBU, and God orchestrated circumstances so he could discover more about the university. In time, he developed an affection for the school, but he knew it was really out of his reach. How could he fund such an education?

What the struggling student did not know is that his God was already working all the pieces together. David’s great uncle was very active in Park Cities Baptist Church, where DBU’s then-President Dr. Gary Cook worshipped. Through Dr. Cook, David’s Uncle Jim had watched DBU grow and develop and believed it had a lot to offer young people trying to find their place in the world. Uncle Jim’s son had died when he was a senior in high school and his college fund had never been used. Through a series of family conversations at reunions, God seeded an idea in Uncle Jim’s heart. He contacted David and told him that if he wanted to go to DBU, he would help him pay for it through his son’s college fund.

David graduated with a BS in Criminal Justice in 1997, a degree he says he’s never really used. But that being said, he emphasizes that DBU taught him two major things that he uses every day and in every job: servant leadership and problem-solving.

"Servant leadership was ingrained into us everywhere [at DBU]," he recalls. "I didn't know it at the time, but that was a gift."

He also explains that all his classes at DBU from Criminal Justice to Business stretched him to think critically, connect the dots, and not simply memorize answers, but to genuinely solve problems. "All these different influences, what they did for me was to help me understand how to be a better thinker," he said.

Multifaceted Career Path

After David graduated in 1997, he worked in some camp-related jobs, then decided to get a teaching certification from UTA. He then joined the ranks of true heroes, taking on middle schoolers and teaching them to read, first in Dallas schools and later in Arlington. After several years in the classroom, the young teacher traded in his chalkboard and red pen for a briefcase, accepting a job with Compass Learning, where he trained people to use educational software. From there he went on to a business career that motivated him to complete his MBA at Amberton University. Venturing into the energy industry in 2008, he served as General Manager and later Vice President of Operations for Texas Power. In 2015 he joined The Provision House/TriStar Industries as Vice President where he gained experience in both the oil/gas and cattle industries. Although the jobs varied, the key skills of problem-solving and practicing servant leadership provided David with the foundation he needed to get the job done.

Although his career path has been full of twists and turns, each step may well have provided a training ground for what God has brought him into now, serving as the Executive Pastor at Lake Church in Arlington.

As Executive Pastor, David handles the day-to-day grind of running the church - the little legal things, hiring, onboarding, etc. It’s business administration for the congregation, which might not sound all that ministerial. But the DBU alumnus would strongly disagree. "The first job in the Bible was business management," he explains. "Adam was given the task of bringing some order into the garden, giving animals names and taking care of the administrative responsibilities."

Faith and Business

David sees a strong tie between the work of business and the role of faith in one’s life. "[Our faith] should be in our DNA. Everything we do should be about the kingdom" so it should permeate how we work, he points out. "The gospel travels quickly on the wings of business." He said, pointing out that business in the ancient world took the gospel to Rome even before Paul got there.

"All of business and all of life is about relationships," he says. "It's not about the individual." He believes to be successful in either, people must understand it’s about connecting with people rather than elevating your individual self.

So for this Executive Pastor, business management is his ministry, and its a juggling act of paperwork, meeting legal requirements, discovering and meeting people’s needs as well as managing their expectations. By taking care of day-to-day church management issues, David frees up other pastors and leaders to maximize their ministry gifts. But David still exudes a pastor’s heart.

"The best part [of my job] is when somebody recognizes who they are as a child of God," he says smiling as he reminisces. "That's ultimately what I'm behind the scenes trying to do."

Written by Trudy Chun

Trudy Chun serves as a freelance writer for DBU and served as a missionary in Eastern Hungary for more than a decade. Her husband, Russell Chun, teaches English in our International Department, and the two and their family are very actively involved with World Relief. She is the author Love & Ashes and The BuddhaPest, as well as the co-author A Story of Grace.