Personal Testimony – Dr. David J. Tanner

Introduction to the Gospel and the Lord and Conversion experience: 

I first heard the Gospel clearly and came to know the Lord in May of the bicentennial year.   The place was Princeton, Kentucky at Southside Baptist Church.  I was a busy ambitious young professional looking to make a name for myself and had totally neglected the thoughts of a spiritual life.  Fortunately, I had married a wonderful lady who was a Christian who in spite of my lack of desire for spiritual things began to attend church with friends.  Three weeks in to this weekly event I could not take it any longer and on the next Sunday attended with her.  God spoke to my soul that day and I was under major conviction when leaving that place.  All week I wrestled with what was happening in my spirit until we attended church the next Sunday.  I once again heard God speak and I could not wait for the invitation and almost ran to the altar.   I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ that day and the following week my wife and I were baptized together.  Praise God for His love, grace and mercy.

Highlights of God’s Grace and Mercy: 

My spiritual journey has been an eventful progression of ups and downs, major trials, blessings, and the privilege of experiencing God’s ever present hand in my life.

After making Jesus Christ the Lord of my life, I quickly began to drive as hard in my spiritual life as I was in my business life.  My wife and I became faithful followers of Christ and very active members of each church we joined as my job moved us several times over a 12 year period.  During these years I taught both youth and adult Sunday school and was an active leader during building programs and the development of a Christian School.

During the next 12 year period my consulting business was growing extremely fast and my travel requirements increased substantially particularly as I opened new international offices in Montreal , London, and Paris.  My business was very successful to the point where we had now become multi-millionaires.  Unfortunately during this period of prosperity my spiritual life suffered enormously and I found myself becoming only marginally involved in church.  Consequently my spiritual growth came to a screeching standstill and began to decline.  My spirit was under major conviction that I was not in God’s will and living in direct disobedience.  Success had gradually captured me and it was having an enormous negative impact on me and my family.

God used an acute asthma attack in my youngest son to get my attention.  This attack produced a pulmonary arrest; a 911 call and an air lift to the Yale Medical Center.  He was not expected to live and if he did he would likely have severe brain damage.  My son was in a comma for 8 days but God produced a miracle.  He recovered and after two months of intensive rehabilitation and two years of ongoing care he is now functioning essentially normally and leads an active life.  Praise God!  This event shut down our lives for three months and I was determined to recommit my life to the Lord coming out of this trial.  Long story short I worked a way to remove myself from my business and move to North Carolina to start a new life where Christ was to regain the throne in my life.

It is this point where I again picked up where I had left off in my spiritual growth journey.   I began soaking up all I could spiritually.  Christ became the focal point of my life and that of our family.  I once again became intensely engaged in church life, teaching, and leadership.   I soon learned, however, that God was not through with me yet. 

A year into our spiritual recovery I received a call that my investment banker, who held much of our fortune and liquidity, had lost all of our major investments.   After investigating options and determining what we might do it ended in our losing everything we had and going bankrupt to pay off all our debts.  We essentially went from being multi-millionaires to our small group bringing meals on wheels to our home in less than three months.  God was at work in my life and I was paying attention.  This trial produced a tremendous strengthening in my faith and trust in God.  I was also very blessed that this trial also strengthened my marriage.  My precious wife and I prayed that God would glorify himself as we transitioned into a totally new life with no assets, money, retirement, or job.  The extent of God’s miraculous activity and impact in our lives is too numerous to outline.  One major result of this life transition was to put me on a clear path toward full-time ministry.

Over the last 12 years I have focused my spiritual activities on preparing for the call of God in whatever way He may chose to lead.   During this period of time I have had the blessing of being involved with godly pastors in leadership positions, teaching God’s Word, earned a diploma in Bible Studies from Liberty University, and completed a Doctorate in Practical Theology in Pastoral Ministry.  I have also had a long association over the past 6 years with Blackaby Ministries International and the privilege of ministering with Henry and Richard Blackaby.  I have been privileged to complete consulting assignments in ministry strategy and prayer ministry development.  Areas of emphasis in my spiritual growth have focused on spiritual leadership, discipleship, revival, prayer, and biblical literacy.

Cancer and the Call  to the ministry:

My call to the ministry was solidified by another major trial in my life which occurred in June 2010.  I was diagnosed with stage four mouth cancer and was not given long to live.  The only treatment was a major surgery which would leave me unable to speak followed by major chemo therapy and radiation.  I did have the surgery.  However, God had something different in mind though the surgery.  Much to the amazement of the doctors and surgeons involved, by God’s mercy, He healed me surgically of this cancer without any chemo therapy or radiation.   While absent my right jaw and one-third of my tongue, God miraculously also gave me back my ability to speak.  To God be the glory!

I have now recuperated fully from the past year by God’s amazing grace.  I have long known God has been preparing me for the gospel ministry in His timing and way.  The event that solidified the call for me came in April pf 2011 when I was asked to preach at the Global Impact Missionary Conference of Tri-Cities Baptist Church, Gray, TN.  I did and He spoke in and through me on this day and confirmed that He had healed me to join Him in His work in the gospel ministry.   Similar to the Apostle Paul this has been a 12 year adventure of preparation where I have clearly seen God’s hand and direction in my life. 

I am a life surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the recipient of the abundance of His grace and mercy.  My prayer is that God will continue to use the testimony He has given for His honor and glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.

Educational Background and Licensing

  • Ministry – Licensed to the Gospel Ministry – Tri-Cities Baptist Church, Gray, TN
  • Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA    Dipolma in Bible Studies
  • Masters International School of Divinity, Evansville, IN  D.P.Th., Doctor of Practical Theology in Pastoral Ministry
  • University of New Haven, New Haven CT   Masters Business Administration – Marketing & Finance
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY   Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy

Ministry Philosophy and Passions

I have a passion for the lost and the spiritual development of God’s people, and personal/corporate revival.  My ministry philosophy rests at the intersection of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.  I believe from the overflow of the love of Christ in God’s people that evangelism, missions, and ministry are ignited and obediently pursued.  Spiritual leadership, mentoring, discipleship, prayer, and bible teaching are key areas of focus.

I humbly praise God for the opportunities He has given me in ministry and pray a strong finish for the sake of Christ.

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