Many of us pause periodically to evaluate where we are in life, checking our ambitions against actuality. For Dan Wootton, those questions take a unique form.
“When I left CBC, I took the best person I knew with me,” he related. “Mandy (Dove ’05) and I have been married for 12 years, and every year we find time to ask the important questions. ‘Are we in God’s will?,’ ‘Are we supporting our senior pastor?,’ and, ‘Are we having any more children?’
“At the moment, it’s a clear ‘yes,’ ‘yes,’ and ‘NO!’”
This father of four currently serves as the worship and music pastor at Oak Creek Assembly in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Prior to that, Dan served for nine years as the worship pastor at Carbondale Assembly in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
He holds a B.A. in Music from Central Bible College and an M.A. in Music from Oklahoma State University.
It was while he was at CBC, starting in the fall of 2001, that this talented keyboardist’s future began to take shape. He says, “I knew what I wanted, but I was only beginning to understand what God wanted. He didn’t need another self-absorbed skinny-jeaned worship leader. He just needed me.”
Dan credits professors such as Tom Matrone, Bonnie Jenkins, and Jane Harris (all now at Evangel) as, “The reason that a mixed bag of talent transformed into a worship pastor.”
In turn, Matrone said, “As an undergraduate student, Dan Wootton was curious, imaginative and relentless in his pursuit of the Creative Arts. The thirst for knowledge continued into graduate school where Dan honed the skill of conducting and impassioned leadership.”
“Today, in Milwaukee, he shares that creative passion with a vital congregation and a vibrant community as a whole. It is a privilege to be a part of Dan’s journey and the celebration of his accomplishments,” added Matrone, chair of the Department of Music at Evangel.
While at CBC, Dan served as president of his sophomore and senior classes, and he graduated with the designation of “Outstanding Senior Musician.”
Now the Rev. Dan Wootton adds another honor to the list, as the 2017 Outstanding Young Alumnus from CBC. The presentation will be made at Evangel University’s Homecoming Celebration, during an 11 a.m. luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Bass Pro White River Conference Center.
The Alumni Board recognizes that many young alumni have enjoyed significant achievements in the few years since their graduation, although they may not yet have reached the height of their accomplishments. Nominees for the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award are under 36 and have made significant contributions to their chosen field, church, community, state, nation, or to university or seminary.
Finding success in service
Reflecting on his time in Springfield, Dan recalls, “If there’s one location I miss the most, it’s the practice dungeon in Zimmerman Hall. I’m pretty sure it was intentionally designed in a circle so that no one could escape. I miss hearing Esther Guy and Christina Schones rehearsing piano in the adjacent rooms. I miss the practice breaks and the creative collaborations.”
After graduation, Dan served as a music and worship pastor for 10 years in Oklahoma and Missouri.
During his career, he has performed as a pianist and conductor for such artists as Sandi Patty, Kristen Chenoweth, The Kiev State Orchestra, and The Tulsa Symphony.
“The world of church music is as exciting as it is unpredictable. Finding value in the chasm between criticism and flattery can be a dangerous game,” said Wootton. “CBC instilled in me the value of character over talent.”
Dan joined the staff at Oak Creek in April of 2014, and now oversees eight weekly worship services, three choirs, and various educational opportunities, such as The Youth Dinner Theater Project and The One Day Worship Institute. That event, started by Dan and now in its third year, brings 150 worship leaders to Oak Creek for a day of inspiration and training.
Then there is the ultimate season for worship music: Christmas. Christmas at Oak Creek is what Dan calls “one of the highlights” of the overall ministry, with an annual attendance of more than 10,000 guests.
He and Mandy are self-described “proud and sleepless parents of Greyson, Ryder, Paisley and Myles.” For this year, at least, that’s apparently enough!
EU Homecoming 2017 Honorees
Four additional alumni awards will be given during this year’s Homecoming celebration. The recipients were chosen by the Evangel University Alumni Association Board of Directors.
- EU Distinguished Alumnus – Doug Broxson ’71
- EU Outstanding Young Alumnus – Julia Armstrong ’02
- AGTS Alumnus of the Year – Doug Oss ’80
- CBC Distinguished Alumnus – Dary Northrop ’80
For more information, contact Evangel University Alumni Relations Department at (417) 865-2811, ext. 7333.