About Barry Danylak

Barry Travels Internationally

I was born and raised in the Western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. I was blessed to be raised by parents of genuine and vibrant faith and was attracted to the truth and mystery of the Christian faith at young age. As a youth I was active in my home church, Wheaton Bible Church, and was baptized at age 17 by my youth pastor. Desiring to integrate my faith with every aspect of my life, including my love for math, I attended Wheaton College (1982-86) and graduated with a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science with a minor in Biblical Studies. While in college I had the privilege of studying in Israel with the summer Wheaton program where he fell in love with the joy of studying and understanding my faith through the lens of biblical culture.

Following my time at Wheaton College, I pursued graduate studies at the University of Minnesota earning my M.S. in Mathematics specializing in Ordinary Differential Equations with a minor in Statistics. While living in the St. Paul area, I was involved attending and serving at Grace Church Roseville, in Roseville, Minnesota. I always loved interesting mathematical problems and I am grateful for the analytical skill set afforded to me through my years of mathematical training. Desiring to put some of that skill set to good use, in 1988 I joined AT&T Bell Laboratories as a Member of the Technical Staff in Naperville, Illinois.

While working in Naperville, I got involved and become a member of College Church in Wheaton, where I served a lay leader in the single adult ministry for twelve years and eventually on the Board of Deacons for three. While serving as leader and teacher in the single adult ministry I felt the call to pursue further 

theological training to be more equipped to understand and live out my faith on a deeper level. Taking a year leave of absence from my career at AT&T in 1993, I pursued an M.A. in Christian Thought at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. I completed my degree in 1998 taking a few more years to complete my master’s thesis. The thesis examined how Isaac Newton’s theology was portrayed by various contemporary authors, who translated and explained his break-through work, Mathmatica Principia, to make it accessible to the wider reading public of the day. Not surprisingly, each author describes Newton’s perspective of God through their own particular theological lens.

After returning to AT&T that soon became Lucent Technologies (the manufacturing piece) in 1996, I continued teaching in the single adults ministry at College Church as a lay-leader. In 2001 I became a ministry intern in single adult ministry and decided to pursue further graduate studies in biblical exegesis at nearby Wheaton College. Though I enjoyed taking on challenging problems in industry for Lucent Technologies, my prayer partner at the time challenged me to consider directing my problem solving energies in a more theological direction, and invited me to consider giving some theological reflection to the practicalities of singleness and singles in the church. Though I wasn’t sure I was interested in committing myself to this area of theology, my time as a graduate student at Wheaton did give me time to dig more deeply into the ancient context of Paul’s discussion of singleness in 1 Corinthians 7. The next year I was introduced to the Warden of Tyndale House Biblical Studies Library in Cambridge, U.K., Dr. Bruce Winter. Bruce was a great encouragement to me in pursuing further study in the area understanding singleness in the context of ancient Corinth and Paul’s discussion to the Corinthians. The encounter with Dr. Winter opened the opportunity a few years later for me to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. In 2004, I began my Ph.D. with the Cambridge Divinity Faculty under the supervision of Dr. Winter. My research was focused on examining Paul’s discussion of singleness in 1 Corinthians 7 in light of its Greco-Roman context.

Just before I left for Cambridge, I was invited by the singles group at College Church to speak at the annual single adult retreat. I decided that it would be a good opportunity to explore the biblical perspective of singleness as the topic for the retreat. The retreat become an opportunity to reflect deeply on the question of marriage and singleness in light of the biblical covenants and the powerful theological motif of offspring (or “seed”) that runs through Scripture. The exploration was very well received by those at the retreat. The young interim singles pastor at the time was so excited by the themes we were seeing in Scripture that he encouraged me to write a paper that we could share with the pastoral team at College Church, which we did in August of 2004. Then when I shared the paper with pastor-scholars at Tyndale House in Cambridge, it was again very well received. With strong encouragement from Pastor (Dr.) John Piper that this theology needed to be preached to the church, I was encouraged to publish the paper with Grove books based in nearby Ridley Hall in Cambridge. Piper himself used material from the paper for a sermon he preached at his church in Minneapolis. The next year the paper was published as a booklet in the Grove Books series in Biblical Theology as: A Biblical Theology of Singleness, becoming one in a series of many theological booklets distributed to Anglican clergy members around the world.

The Ph.D. research with the Cambridge Divinity Faculty focused on exploring the question of why people chose to marry or often not to marry in the context of Roman Corinth, as a backdrop for gaining fresh insight on Paul’s discussion of singleness and marriage in 1 Corinthians 7. As part of the research, I enjoyed examining ancient census papyri from Roman Egypt to understand the differences in marriage patterns between people living urban contexts versus rural contexts. My statistical background from earlier days enabled me to demonstrate statistically significant differences in patterns of singleness and marriage between urban and rural populations. The data showed that males living in ancient urban contexts were significantly more disposed to singleness than males living in rural contexts. The research went on to show that there were demographic, economic and ideological factors that helped explain why singleness was a prominent feature in ancient cities in the Roman world. Not surprisingly, many of the same factors that affected people in ancient cities have affected people throughout all ages of history, and the findings help give clarity to the present correlation between increased urbanization and decreased rates of marriage around the world. The research demonstrated that it was primarily practical reasons rather than ascetic reasons that likely motivated the Corinthians to raise their questions with Paul in 1 Corinthians 7. The thesis was finally examined and approved in 2012 with the title, Secular Singleness and Paul’s Response in 1 Corinthians 7.

After Pastor John Piper preached the sermon on singleness some of the insights that had been gleaned got a bit more attention. Crossway Publishers called me soon afterwards and asked me to consider developing this theology of singleness into larger version that could be published as a book. At the time Pastor Piper had also agreed to write a book for Crossway on the theology of marriage, and the publisher was quite keen to have a comparable book on the theology of singleness. It was also time to return to North America and I opted to move to High River in Alberta, Canada in 2009 in part because my parents were there and I was eager to live closer to family. Alberta was also was (and still is) a place of great beauty and the lifestyle of the people is easy going and quite conducive to hibernating to write a book! So, I moved to southern Alberta to write book and never left. The book was published in 2010 with the title: Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life. The theology outlined in the book was well received by people in different spheres of Christian service, including pastors, theologians and career missionaries. While I was still writing the book, a group of single missionaries had gotten a hold of my earlier paper and invited me to share this theology with them in a retreat centre in Guernsey one of the Channel Islands in the English Channel. It was a unique setting for theological reflection and together we saw the greater need to share this theology with the larger missions community. Our working together gave rise to a new missions partnership called Shoulder to Shoulder that became an initiative of One Another Ministries. Shoulder to Shoulder remains active today sponsoring seminars and workshops on topics related to empowering, equipping and encouraging singles on the mission field.

Upon completing the Ph.D. and Redeeming Singleness, I had a strong desire to explore how this theology of singleness was to be realized and lived-out in the context of the local church. While smaller churches are typically limited in their resources, larger churches especially urban churches, have greater capacity to dedicate some level of pastoral resources to reach and minister to single adults. God opened a tremendous opportunity when I visited Centre Street Church in northeast Calgary. Though its central and largest campus is situated in the former location of a old drive-in movie theatre in the midst of an industrial park, Centre Street was (and is) a vibrant church, among the largest mega-churches in Canada with a commitment to inclusivity. I got to know the pastor of single adults at the church, and he invited to speak at one of the single adult community gatherings. 

"I had a strong desire to explore how this theology of singleness was to be realized and lived-out in the context of the local church."

After a couple of speaking opportunities, I was alerted to apply for part-time opening ministering to single adults in 2012. In July of that year, two weeks after completing my Ph.D. examination, by God’s grace, I began my eight years serving as Pastor of Single Adults at Centre Street Church. During that time I was blessed with a truly fantastic team of capable leaders that grew the ministry into three large single adult missional communities ministering to a wide span of single adults between the ages of 30 and 65. The focus of the ministry was in making Centre Street Church a church that was single friendly—from how they spoke about singles and singleness, to how they invited them into the church community, to how they empowered them for leadership in the church. The ministry was called Centred Singles, and it has been an inviting Christian community for singles across the city of Calgary, many of whom still involved in their own local churches even as they were part of the Centred Singles community at Centre Street Church.

Barry Speaking

2019 was a highpoint for the ministry of Centred Singles as well as for me personally. As part of CSC’s “By Design” sermon series I had the opportunity to preach a sermon entitled: Singleness By Design on the weekend of June 1-2. In October 2019 I also happily completed the process of getting ordained with the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada. On November 1-2, the Centred Singles ministry at Centre Street Church hosted the first ever SEE Conference that was attended by around 250 people. Immediately following the conference, I joined one of our community leaders in leading an international spiritual care team of singles to support the World Evangelical Alliance in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was a year of not only teaching and learning but also putting into practice tangible ways singles could be engaged in kingdom service.

2020 turned out to be a very different kind of year than 2019 was, but no less a year of surprises and changes. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept around the world, it forced churches including our single adult communities at Centre Street Church to rethink how we do ministry in a more flexible mode that could accommodate the limitations place on social gatherings during such a health crisis. One of our observations early on was that we had to embrace new methods of connecting with people and ministering to them. While I had used internet software to connect with people in different parts of the world before, it was now necessary to figure out ways and means of doing ministry to everyone using the available tools. I am extremely grateful this year for being able to gather together virtually to present material and discuss together with groups of people via internet tools such as Zoom, WebEx and various Google applications. I was struck with just how easy it is to connect, present and interact with groups of people, who could be anywhere in the world. What a global pandemic did was to suddenly acquaint millions of people around the entire world with the technology that made such connecting possible. While the in-person workshops on singleness that I had been scheduled to speak at were suddenly cancelled, a number of the organizations invited me to present webinars on-line. Likewise a course I was scheduled to teach at Evangelical University in Ndola, Zambia was suddenly moved online. As I contemplated the new world of online ministry, God prompted my heart in April 2020 to consider moving into such ministry full-time. Not that I wouldn’t be most willing to travel and minister live if opportunities arose, but recognizing that in such a time as this, there was massive potential to reach people where they were via the vehicles that were readily available. 

So in late June 2020, I took a step of faith in resigning my position as community pastor for single adults at Centre Street Church and moving my dedicated efforts to launching a new ministry called SEE Global. The ministry would build and extend the spirit of the SEE conference but would make the same resources available to a global audience. I don’t know all that God has yet in mind purposed for SEE Global, but I am confident that he has called me into it, and that whatever God begins in us, he is faithful to complete in us until the Day of Christ Jesus. To God be the glory for all that he will accomplish through SEE Global for the benefit of his people and the glory of his name! Soli Deo Gloria.