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Dwayne and Donita

Dwayne and Donita Carson

Dwayne and Donita Carson

Dwayne and Donita Carson have been married since June 4, 1988 and Donita will tell you that one of the most impressive things about Dwayne is that he never forgets a date.  Combine that with his sincere love for the Word of God makes this ministry tailor made.  The concept of Date the Word was conceived in the Summer of 2000 during which Dwayne was leading a small group and was asked how he memorized Scripture.  His reply was that he often linked numbers to Scripture references – for example, March 16 (3/16) immediately makes him think of John 3:16. To test him the members of the group started peppering him with dates, like their birthdates.  Out of curiosity, the next morning he sat down with a calendar to see how many verses (from memory) he knew that matched a date (it was well over 220). Over the next several months he added to that until he added at least one verse for every date.  He would then use that verse to wish friends Happy Birthday on Facebook as well as offer a short devotional. Fast forward to 2021 when Dwayne met Stu Epperson, Jr from Truth Network who he shared his passion with discipleship with and Stu suggested the name, Date the Word. Our heartbeat for Date the Word is found in Psalms 1:2-3 – “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.

Dwayne Carson

Author, Date the Word
Dwayne's testimony

A Whole Life of God's Help

My story starts with me growing up in the country on a large cattle farm in Amherst County VA along the James River.  As a family – Dad, mom and 3 sisters – we attended a small country church.

Since the age of thirteen, I have felt God wanted me to preach. Most of my teenage years could be characterized as religious years. I was a good, church-going country boy.  However, my late teens turned to be rebellious years.  At twenty-one years of age I realized something was missing in my life and joined a Southern Baptist Church.

God's CallingAnswering the call to Preach

I answered the call to preach and began preaching in February of 1982.  My pastor advised me to attend Criswell Bible College in Dallas, Texas.  In August of 1982 I journeyed from Lynchburg, Virginia to Dallas.  Maybe somewhat strange to some, I found the chapel messages convicted me that I was not really saved.  I had been religious all my life, even attending church when I was rebellious, but I had never been reborn.  On February 15, 1983, I realized once and for all that I was not saved and that night I accepted the Lord as my Savior at a revival service.  I spoke with Dr. W. A. Criswell the following night and asked if I could be baptized.  I was baptized at First Baptist Church of Dallas the next Sunday.  I also asked Dr. Criswell about my calling and he helped me understand how I was called before being saved.  He said I had been working for my salvation; now I would be working for my Savior.

The JourneyFrom Intern to Senior Pastor

While at First Baptist Church, I had the awesome privilege of working as an intern for the Beginner Department and learned invaluable lessons on how a large church can minister up close and personal to so many people.  I also preached in various revival, church and rescue mission services.  Through God’s leading in the Spring of 1984, I transferred to Liberty University in the Fall of 1984 and graduated in 1987.  I was a Prayer Leader in 1984/85 and a Resident Assistant in 85/86 and 86/87, all on Dorm 18-1.  After graduation, I spent a summer in Oak Ridge, TN as intern to the Senior Pastor. 

The Greatest GiftsFamily!!!

In the Fall, I was a Resident Director and also attended Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary where I graduated with an MAR in 1989.  In 1988, I made the second greatest decision of my life and achieved my greatest accomplishment by convincing Donita Hershey to marry me. On June 4, 1988 we were married in her backyard.  Today we have four incredible children (Kristi, Katie, Kirk and Klayton).   I will add here before talking about my ministry that I very much enjoy being involved in my children’s lives. I enjoyed having opportunity to coach my boys in youth baseball and to spend time with them fishing.  And I like doing bonfires!  Right after our honeymoon, I resigned from a church where I was interim pastor in Amherst County and started at Liberty University as one of the Campus Pastors.

Serving God for the next 23 years

I would serve in many roles as a Campus Pastor for the next 23 years from preaching in campus services to offering counseling to performing weddings and unfortunately funerals as well as working with our convocation programs and our college for a weekend program. It was my greatest joy and privilege to not just pastor the students of Liberty University, but to be the director of the Prayer Leader and Spiritual Life Director teams all those years and, in mid-Fall 2006, to be the Director of the Office of Student Leadership which had me overseeing over 1500 student leaders as we sought to minister, mentor and mobilize the 7200 on campus students. The Office of Student Leadership was responsible for 4 teams: Resident Directors, Resident Assistants, Spiritual Life Directors, and Prayer Leaders. Being a part of Dr. Jerry Falwell’s vision to train champions for Christ was indeed a special privilege. In the Fall of 2010, I once again considered a call to come on staff at Genoa Baptist Church and in February of 2011 I joined the staff at Genoa Baptist Church in Westerville, Ohio (Northeast Columbus).  It is a growing church in a growing area with a desire to be a church to all generations.  I served as the Pastor for Spiritual Development until the first of March, 2013.

As Journey Continues...

DATE the Word ministries

In mid 2013 we planted a new church in Lewis Center OH that we named Epic Life Church. We pastored this church until 2018 when God called us to be the Head of School at Salem Baptist Christian School and Associate Pastor at Salem Baptist Church. At the conclusion of the 21/22 school year we resigned our role as Head of School to give our full attention to the development of DATE the Word ministries!

Doctrinally, I believe the Bible is the Word of God and is inspired, inerrant and infallible.  I believe all men need to hear the message of Christ and that each Christian is an ambassador for Christ.  I am involved in carrying out the Great Commission.  In the past, I have been involved in door-to-door evangelization in Lynchburg, Las Vegas, Dallas and New York City.  I have traveled to Romania, Hungary, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, India, Canada, Kenya and Argentina to take Bibles and tracts and to share the gospel with the wonderful people of those countries while also practicing personal evangelism at home.  Many of those trips also allowed for training of pastors. We also love to take people to Israel to tour the Holy Land.  

the conclusion

My passion and Beliefs

I am also passionate about prayer and I believe, as did Dr. Jerry Falwell, that nothing of eternal significance ever happens apart from prayer.  I am passionate about discipleship.  I think the Christian life is about becoming as much like Christ as possible.  Thus, I am commited2equipping the next generation. I am passionate about spiritual leadership.  As a pastor, I see leadership from the lens of being a shepherd.  Every church deserves great growing shepherds to help God’s people grow and be all they can be for Christ.  

My life has gone from religion to rebellion to religion and finally to rebirth.  Today I desire to see revival.  Every person needs to know about Jesus Christ and every Christian needs to become like Him.  This is my heartbeat. 

Photo Speaks

The Journey so far

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