Senior pastor aims to transform the human heart, reaching as many people as possible through the growth of Emmanuel Church
Compiled by Nicole Davis
There’s nothing better to Danny Anderson than seeing people’s lives change, seeing marriages healed and people finding joy and peace in a relationship with Christ. As the senior pastor of Emmanuel Church, he has seen that transformation happen in thousands of people throughout the years.
“Our congregation has grown from 3,500 to almost 5,000 people,” Danny said. “In part, it’s because we really try to trust God and rely upon God to guide us and lead us. I really believe God is giving us success in reaching people. We have an incredible team that works really well together to execute every week. My role is very small. I preach the sermon. Behind the scenes, there are dozens and dozens of staff members and volunteers that create the success.”
Danny grew up in New York, attending New York University before transferring to Liberty University where he earned a degree in communication with a specialization in speech. It was there, he met his wife-to-be, Jackie, a native “Center Grover.” The two married in 1999 at Emmanuel Church in Greenwood.
In 2001, Danny received a call asking him to consider applying for the youth pastor position. While he hadn’t considered ministry as his career of choice, he said he followed the door that God had opened for him. He served five years in the youth ministry before transitioning into the senior pastor role in 2006.
Since that time, under Danny’s leadership, the church transitioned from a traditional Sunday service style to more of a “culturally relevant” church, Danny said, with changes in music style, dress and atmosphere. Emmanuel Church – Greenwood remodeled its auditorium, the pews, everything to bring it up-to-date with modern design and updated its programming.
Emmanuel also launched its first multisite campus at Banta Road and Harding Street in Perry Township, Indianapolis. The campus serves as a fully-functional church, with a screen that comes down on Sundays where Danny’s sermon is projected. The church launched its third campus three years ago, for which they recently broke ground on a permanent location. That facility will be complete by the end of this year.
“Within the next couple of years, I think it would be incredible to launch a few more campuses, maybe downtown. We’re searching that out right now,” Danny said. “Jesus had the idea of reaching the world with the message. Eternal life and abundant life is offered to everyone. So in my heart, if Jesus said go into all of the world and make disciples, then let’s go into all of the world and make disciples, let’s try to reach as many people as we can with this amazing thing called eternal life. I don’t think there should be a limit on how many people you try to reach. There’s a lot of people out there hurting, suffering, confused and depressed and they need hope, life, joy, forgiveness and reconciliation. If we can get to them, I want to get to them.”
Danny and his wife, Jackie, reside in the Center Grove area with their three children.
Here, learn more about our February ICON of the Month, Danny Anderson.
What do you consider your greatest virtue? I feel it would be positivity.
What do you most deplore in others? When people are hateful and unkind, it really bothers me.
What do you like most about living in Center Grove? Faith is very accepted in this community. It is incorporated and not resisted in the community and school systems. I really appreciate that.
If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be? It would be here. I want to live where I do ministry, and I love the Center Grove area.
If you could begin life over, what would you change? I would have valued learning and education earlier.
If money were no issue, how would you spend it? I would build churches in the United States and homes, churches and orphanages overseas.
What makes you happiest? Time alone with Jesus, my Bible and a cup of coffee.
What is your favorite vacation spot? Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
What do you do with idle time? With the little bit that I have, I try to read books and spend time with my family.
What is it that makes you angry? Unkindness and cruelty, the evil in people’s hearts.
What do you do to escape from reality? Play basketball, go to the gym
What or who is the greatest love of your life? Jackie
Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire? Rick Johnson, owner of Chick-fil-A on SR 135. His commitment to his family, his faith and honoring God with his job and to advance God’s kingdom is absolutely incredible.
What is the quality you like most in a man? Tenderness
What is the quality you like most in a woman? Modesty
What is your greatest extravagance? Money spent on coffee
What are your fears/phobias? Fear – Not reaching my potential. My phobia is heights
What has been the happiest time of your life? When I am on vacation with my wife.
Which talent would you most like to possess? Play in the NBA.
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty
Which historical figure do you most admire? Ben Franklin
What is your greatest regret? Not having more humility in certain situations/pride.
What tenet do you live by? God is overcoming evil with good by transforming human hearts.