Rev. Dr. Daynette Snead Perez has become a catalyst for strategic missions to ministry building. A first career business owner and fourth-generation entrepreneur, growing a six-figure business with people from all walks of life, her success is tied to her gift for communal inclusion, often as “the other”. Incorporating her past experiences into her intent for crossing all boundaries to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, she has experienced first-hand how we embrace change from outside comfort zones and serves to guide pastors, congregations, and seminarians to lead from the call of missions into actions of relevant, community-building ministry. Holding both Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees, she has served domestic and international congregations including three years as Associate Pastor of First Chin Baptist Church, a Burmese refugee congregation.
Rev Dr Daynette Snead Perez
Caring for People at their Most Vulnerable
In aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Rev. Daynette Snead leads CBF Disaster Response in Trenton, N.C.
Published in Fellowship! Magazine: A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Spring 2019
BY BLAKE TOMMEY
As Hurricane Florence stalled over Eastern North Carolina in September 2018, the Trent River swelled to a record level-an entire foot higher than during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Residents of the quaint town of Trenton had little warning of impending flooding until the U.S. Coast Guard began banging on doors in the middle of the night, imploring people to evacuate. For days, the majority of Trenton’s homes and businesses sat underwater, soaking up irrevocable damage.
More than a week later the town’s residents, many of whom had lived in Trenton for more than 70 years, returned to their homes and the sopping wreckage inside to begin the slow work of rebuilding. That’s when the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship deployed Daynette Snead, associate pastor of First Chin Baptist Church in Ne Bern, NC., to mobilize congregations across the country to help the people of Trenton rebuild their community. Sead, who continues to coordinate CBF’s disaster response in Trenton, said she and her team quickly converged on the Haiti neighborhood (pronounced HEY-tie) where the town’s most vulnerable resided.
“Many of the flooded homes in Trenton were located in lesser-resourced areas, close to the river at lower elevations,” Snead explained.
“We identified one of those areas, Haiti, which has about 20 homes in a very small area. These properties had no experienced flooding since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Flood insurance was an additional cost that most could not readily afford. However, we have been able to touch many, if not most of the homeowners in the Haiti area.”
First, Snead and her team had to locate Haiti’s families, many of whom had moved in with extended family in other parts of the state. Once they made contact, Snead met with residents and town officials to listen carefully to their needs and off CBF assistance as part of the solution in recovery, she said. The vast majority needed help clearing out damaged furniture, drywall, insulation and debris of their homes. That’s where more than 176 volunteers from congregations across North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky come in. Together, they logged nearly 2,000 hours over two months, clearing damaged property and prepping homes for repair.
One team from Zebulon Baptist Church even cleaned up and manicured Trenton’s community cemetery, complete with new flowers. Afterward, CBF hosted a Veteran’s Day BBQ lunch for the community to celebrate the newly reconditioned plot. Disaster response isn’t only about clearing wreckage, Snead said, It’s about caring for people at their most vulnerable.
“Yes, we’re completing disaster work. However, we’re ministering to people and we’re here to serve,” she said.
“We’re sharing conversations and letting the residents know we’re here to assist. I say to our volunteers, “You’ve heard the call and here you are. I know this is different, but this is ministry too. Even though we’re raking debris and ripping out drywall, we also have opportunities to sit down with someone whose life was disrupted and build relationships with each other.”
As of Thanksgiving, Snead and DBF had almost completed demolition and cleanup. Going forward, Snead explained, CBF is evaluating first needs for hom repair and organizing volunteer groups to install new drywall and insulation, supplies for which CBF and partner congregations are sharing the cost. Though most households in Haiti did not have flood insurance, CBF is also helping residents apply their disaster compensation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toward repairing or replacing their HVAC systems, electrical systems or appliances. At that point, she said, homes will once again be livable.
No Matter where Trenton’s families are in the process of rebuilding. Snead said, CBF will be there to listen and to partner, even long after first responders have left, “It was a blessing when CBF came in, because people truly felt lost,” she explained. “Many didn’t know where to go, or what to do. Other organizations came in and helped as well, but we were the first ones to arrive, welcoming others and partnering with anyone who joined.”
In November, one Haiti woman reflected with Snead, commending the volunteers who helped her clear debris and clean up her home. “You’re the only one who’s coming back.” she said, “Everyone else is gone now. So we just thank God for you.”
That says everything about CBF’s presence, Snead explained - not only with disaster response, but in every way that we partner in ministry.
Oneness in Christ
Daynette Snead helps churches cross cultural boundaries faithfully
Published in the Nurturing Faith Journal and Bible Studies July - August 2019
BY RICK JORDAN
Daynette Snead is a force! Her call, character, and confidence exude from her when she enters a room. Daynette serves in multiple ministry roles including Pastor of Community Outreach with First Chin Baptist Church of New Bern, NC and directing Diaspra, that serves churches “to develop, embrace, and execute platforms for community outreach and missional success towards diversity / inclusion.”
Also, she is a local disaster response coordinator for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) and serves on the racial reconciliation ministry team for CBF of North Carolina. Rick Jordan, church resources for CBFNC, asked Daynette about her varied ministry engagements.
RJ: How has God called and equipped you for your ministry?
DS: In 2011, God called me to ministry. As an entrepreneurial businesswoman, I felt inadequate to fill this calling. In obedience to God, I understand my call to reach others for Christ and completed a Master of Divinity at Regent University in May 2015. I will graduate in May with a Doctor of Ministry from Gardner-Webb University this year.
The heart of my ministry is helping churches and church leadership embrace diversity and inclusion. Solutions to oneness in Christ begin first by understanding that cultural boundaries are man-made creations. While preserving our traditions, they also limit our oneness in Christ.
RJ: Most churches remain homogeneous, regardless of their ethnic background. You want to address that?
DS: The division is not in our genes but in the systems we embrace within our individual cultures: family traditions, social expectations, and even worship and preaching styles are all examples of cultural divides to explore.
Crossing boundaries is how God uniquely designed my purpose and ministry. God is providing me opportunities to serve people in many cultures. Through my ministry, God helps churches faced with opportunities for outreach, including growing immigrant populations, extended lifetimes, diverse ethnicities, and widening societal gaps.
RJ: I sense there is a mission statement coming.
DS: Yes! My personal ministry mission is to serve communities seeking to make Christ known through belongingness, intercultural ministry, Christ-centered solutions, and intentional discipleship outreach across cultural boundaries of ethnicity, gender, generation, and class.
RJ: How did God prepare you for your ministry?
DS: Navigating culture and ethnicity became foundational building blocks in God’s plan to prepare me for this calling; to grow His kingdom beyond human boundaries. My original “ideal” in ministry was - and is - to serve a variety of churches seeking oneness and discipleship in community across cultural boundaries. My training for ministry was planted during my years as an entrepreneurial, businesswomen.
RJ: You are an African-American woman serving a church of refugees from Myanmar. How did that happen?
DS: I was a member of First Baptist, New Bern where we enjoyed a faith partnership with a refugee congregation, First Chin Baptist Church. When God led the refugee congregation into their own church facility, I was called to join them, actualizing both my mission and calling in intercultural ministry.
God led me to navigate another culture without knowledge of the language or culture. The refugee community accepted me to serve as the Associate Pastor. Reverend Vanbawi Ven’s willingness to honor Christ and embrace me as Pastor of Community Outreach speaks to the readiness of this leader and a congregation in understanding inclusion is about change.
Each week my Hakha Chin vocabulary and cultural understanding is growing, and the obstacles I questioned are calmed by a loving congregation
RJ: Were you ordained?
DS: Yes, I was the first woman of color to be ordained at FBC New Bern. The ordination was a multi-cultural worship celebration honoring both cultures and sealed my call to intercultural ministry.
RJ: What are your roles at First Chin?
DS: In addition to my pastoral duties as Associate Pastor (preaching and teaching, etc.), I also help the congregation access help for legal, domestic, and social issues and concerns.
RJ: How did you become connected with the disaster relief ministry?
DS: I was contacted by CBF Disaster Coordinators, Alan Williams and Rick Burnette, who learned I was a pastor at First Chin Baptist Church. It was shortly after their visit to New Bern that I accepted the position to serve as a Local Disaster Response Coordinator for the New Bern/Trenton area.
RJ: What did you do after the hurricanes and what is happening now?
DS: To date, I have managed over 3,062 volunteer hours with 239 Disaster Response Volunteers from CBF member churches from Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Before teams arrive, I try to match skill levels to ministry sites, coordinate the ministry sites for teams, determine construction materials needed to complete the service time, ensure materials are paid for, and coordinate delivery of the materials to the home being served.
I am very grateful for the many persons who have generously volunteered construction expertise which have made our efforts successful. The teams have completed tasks from cleaning up flooded yards, new construction repairs, and offering meals.
CBF Disaster Response efforts have been successful in helping families move towards recovery since September. In addition, CBF received an $80,000 World Relief Grant for refugees in the New Bern area. I coordinate distribution of the funds through seven Myanmar congregations in New Bern. This grant provided funds to refugees for post-hurricane emergencies, auto and housing repairs, and counseling.
Lastly, I coordinate a Pastor Peer Group in the Trenton, NC area to serve pastors with congregational trauma induced care. The group meets every 6 weeks. As a response to Hurricane Florence, the pastor peer group has provided a supportive community with ministry leaders.
RJ: You are on the CBFNC Racial Reconciliation Ministry Team. What are your hopes for that team's work?
DS: Currently, we are engaged with the Racial Equity Institute which educates leaders on systematic inequities in American society dating back to the 1700’s. Our current goal is the completion of this training by 100 CBFNC leaders before the 2020 Annual Gathering.
We are well on the way. If churches are to embrace the whole body of Christ across ethnic boundaries, we must first understand privilege and systematic inequities before we can resolve issues of injustice in society today.
RJ: What is most challenging in ministry for you?
DS: The most challenging thing in ministry is often convincing church leadership in homogeneous Christian communities to mentally and physically open doors with intentional actions actualizing diversity, inclusion, and intercultural ministry. While the path is different for each community of Christ, we always begin with biblical understanding.
RJ: What advice would you give to a person considering ministry as a vocation?
DS: We can become too comfortable in the pews on Sunday morning. I would encourage anyone who is considering ministry as a vocation to seek discomfort in your ministry, reach outside your comfort zone, and intentionally embrace the wideness of God. Then, lead with the strengths you have received from God.
Become Like Rivers
Published in the Gathering Magazine, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship North Carolina - Nov/Dec 2015 Issue
BY DAYNETTE SNEAD PEREZ
Preparation for my ministry started early. At age six, I tightly held my mother’s hand as I walked into a school where no one looked like me. New to the suburbs, I had the nervousness of any first grader, but soon learned these children were like me in many ways. And they learned I was not so strange either.
This is the heart of my ministry, helping churches and church leadership embrace diversity and inclusion. Solutions to oneness in Christ begins first by understanding cultural boundaries are man-made creations. While preserving our traditions, they also limit our oneness in Christ. Just like the dams on a river, they slow the flow.
Imagine: new research shows that, genetically, we are all 99% the same, and our differences are estimated to be less than 1%. Should these create boundaries which continue to separate the body of Christ in churches across the nation?
In reality, the division is not in our genes, but in the systems we embrace within our individual cultures: family traditions, social expectations, and even worship and preaching styles are all examples of cultural divides to explore.
Expanding our experiences in other cultures increases our knowledge like water flowing over river banks, intentionally creating new streams of understanding.
Crossing boundaries like a river is how God uniquely designed my purpose and ministry. He is providing me opportunities to serve people in many cultures, including last year as an interim pastor in Westray, Scotland.
After graduating seminary this past spring, God provided an opportunity to serve a church where the language, culture, and worship were different from any in my past. The experience brought me closer to this confirmation: God’s hand has been holding mine through it all.
Feeling like a stuttering Moses going before the Israelites, I questioned how God would resolve the boundaries that existed between me and this church community. My questions were answered — I flowed into the Spirit, and we shared God’s love.
In 2002, the Burmese Christian Fellowship, renamed the Chin Christian Fellowship in 2004, was planted by Burmese refugees who struggled and risked everything to begin life new in America. Six years later, First Baptist Church of New Bern partnered in their faith walk by providing meeting space, pastor ordination, tutoring, school supplies, and English as a Second Language classes for this faithful home-grown congregation, now identified as First Chin Baptist Church of New Bern.
Reverend Vanbawi Ven’s willingness to honor Christ and embrace me as Pastor of Community Outreach speaks to the readiness of this leader and a congregation in understanding inclusion is about change. This partnership deepens their acceptance of the American culture.
The language constraints are awkward, but I am intentionally learning, teaching, and expressing a love of God through a new culture. Each week my Hakha Chin vocabulary and cultural understanding is growing, and the obstacles I questioned are calmed by a loving congregation.
The body of Christ is diverse and crossing cultural boundaries is an intentional ministry to be pursued with our hearts. We must purposely face outwards, engage and develop opportunities for outreach, understand the value systems of others, and fulfill the Great Commission. Jesus crossed many boundaries and lived a life where everyone mattered. In the same love, Christians are called to become like rivers and flow into God’s estuary of diversity and inclusion.
“Rev. Dr. Daynette Snead-Perez is a real asset to those seeking consultation on strategic missions and ministry. I have invited her several times now to share with the Capstone Seminar at Gardner-Webb University’s School of Divinity. Daynette effectively prompts thought and discussion through direct feedback to student surveys, a nonjudgmental presence, and creative engagement with the issues. I sure hope she will be available the next time I facilitate this course that seeks to aid graduating students with ongoing and anticipated ministries. I highly recommend Rev. Dr. Daynette Snead-Perez and Diaspra!”
“Dr. Cal Robertson
Associate professor of biblical studies Gardner-Webb University.”
Daynette is one of the most incredibly engaging and thoughtful ministers I have ever encountered. She is a gifted preacher and teacher who parses the life of the text alongside the life of the listener. She is passionate about her calling and has thoughtfully incorporated all of her previous life experiences into her intent for crossing all boundaries and borders in order to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps her greatest Kingdom gift is her innate ability to offer full and meaningful presence to all she serves. When you are with her, she gives you her full and undivided care and attention. I am honored to call her my student, colleague, and friend.
Danny M. West, Ph.D.
School of Divinity, Gardner-Webb University
Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Studies
Director, Doctor of Ministry program
East Belmont Baptist was blessed to have Daynette come and minister through the preaching of God’s word. She drove many miles to be with us and that alone shows her servant heart. Her message was engaging and personal and spoke to the head as well as the heart. Daynette is a delightful minister of the gospel whose love for God is evident in her love for others.
Pastor Jeff Taylor
East Belmont Baptist Church
Rev. Snead is a dynamic preacher, teacher, cultural critic, and expert in the intersection of Christian discourse woven in social relevance. I have witnessed her preach and teach in several contexts and her gifts place her in a realm that few realize. Her work in communal inclusion crosses every barrier imaginable. In so doing, she bridges the divide within the human condition in her ministry work and God is glorified. I stand in awe at her ministry gifts and her cultural sensitivity to build humankind.
Rev. Thomas L. Barksdale II
Daynette Snead captivated the roomful of 70 business women and community leaders of the Coastal Women’s Forum for our January luncheon. Daynette explained that by keeping an open mind and a welcoming heart you will build a better life for yourself and others. She energized the room, provided thoughtful examples, and compelled us to start the New Year with a fresh attitude ready to see the opportunity in the new people and situations we encounter.
Jane H. Maulucci, President 2016-2017
Coastal Women’s Forum