“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God!” Micah 6:8
In his role as a law enforcement officer for the past 11 years, this verse in Micah 6 has guided Danny Champness in his decision-making and actions each day. With the authority and responsibility given to him as a police officer, Danny believes he should always display a just mercy and walk humbly before his God.
Danny was born in Long Beach, California. When he was one and half years old, his father, Dave, accepted the Youth Pastor position for Fruitvale Community Church (which later became RiverLakes Community Church) and the family moved to Bakersfield, California.
At the age of five-years-old, Danny trusted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. “My dad has always had a huge influence on my life,” said Danny. “Even at a young age, I observed the faithfulness of my dad and how he reflected the qualities of God the Father in his daily walk. Based on this, I wanted to accept Jesus as my Savior.”
Danny grew up as a “PK” (Pastor’s Kid), which he said was a great experience. However, in high school, his faith in Jesus began to be tested. It was during those high school years that he truly began to understand the purpose for which he was saved – to glorify Jesus and give his life away for His sake.
Upon graduating from high school, he attended Biola University and pursued a degree in Philosophy and Biblical Studies. It was at Biola that Danny met his future wife, Tiffany.
“A friend of the family, Keith Andrew, played matchmaker and got us together,” Danny shared. “Keith worked with Tiff’s dad, Jerry, and suggested that she look me up at Biola. At the same time, Keith was suggesting that I look Tiff up. We began dating and after three months I knew this was the woman I wanted to marry.”
Danny and Tiffany were married in 2005 and have four children, Karly, 10; Kaden, 9; Audrey, 6; and Tobias, 1.
While his degree from Biola is in Philosophy, Danny says it has actually been very helpful to him in his role as a Law Enforcement Officer. Danny says his training in Philosophy has really helped in the ethics, values and right and wrong issues he deals with on a frequent basis. “Additionally, in dealing with life and death issues I regularly face, understanding why it is possible for God to exist and that the Bible is truth guides me through these difficult situations.”
Danny loves his job in law enforcement, but the primary focus in his life is to love his wife and children. This priority is reflected clearly in the areas of the church that he serves in currently. He serves on the Marriage Ministry Team, leads a Community Group and helps teach and serve in Children’s Ministry areas with his kids.
In his spare time, Danny’s hobbies are to workout, shoot stuff and read. While he primarily reads leadership, theology and philosophy books, he does sneak in a Vince Flynn spy novel every once in a while.
When asked who has been the most influential person in his life, Danny did not hesitate with his answer. His dad has been the number one influence in his life. His dad, Dave, loves the Lord with all of his heart and doesn’t put on a front anywhere. Danny stated, “Dad is the same at home as he is in the church or in the workplace. The testimony of his life has been the primary influence for me in how I live my life.”
In addition, Danny said his Grandpa Elwood (Dave’s father) has had a huge impact on his life. “He taught me the value of hard work. I started working for him when I was nine-years-old and he taught me about work ethic and respect.” He also stated that Todd Farnsworth has impacted him greatly in his job as a Police Officer. “As a Police Officer, Todd was a great mentor for me and influenced me in every area of my job. When I would be tempted to back off from something I knew was right, Todd would be the one who urged me to stand up for what was right before the Lord and men.”
When he was first approached with the idea of becoming an Elder, Danny was humbled and didn’t feel like he was worthy of the honor. “I knew I would qualify based on the character and qualities of an Elder presented in 1 Timothy and Titus,” Danny said. “But, I couldn’t see myself as one of those guys. I grew up in the church and the Elders were always the guys I looked up to as the pillars of the church. I just couldn’t see myself as one of those guys. I was very humbled by the weight of the responsibility.” As he prayed about this responsibility, discussed with Tiffany and sought the counsel of men he respected, he agreed to start the process of training to be an Elder.
When asked about what the Lord has been teaching him lately, Danny responded with one word: humility. “I recently finished a book on humility by Andrew Murray and it has really impacted me,” Danny said. “The Lord has been stripping away the layers in my life and revealing to me that I have an insidious pride issue. Pride gets in the way of letting Christ use us the way He really wants to use us. The Lord desires our hearts to be humble before He can really use us for His glory and purposes.”