Daniel Watts' Story
Daniel grew up in a large family, the fourth of five children. Raised in the Midwest and South, the family attended church, but it never really took with Daniel. He was a typical adventurous boy raised in the tumultuous 1960’s and 70’s and was a frequent visitor to the principal’s office.
All that changed in 1969, when he was bussed to a new school in the effort to integrate the educational system. Mr. Atkins was an African American teacher who changed Daniel’s life. Calling the boy forward he explained to Daniel that he was putting all the past behavior behind and he expected Daniel to be his best student. That simple message and the deft touch of Mr. Atkins changed the trajectory of Daniel’s life.
After finishing high school and attending Louisiana State University for a brief stint, Daniel moved to California and finally settled into a physics program at California State University - Long Beach. During that time, he was invited to Mariners Church beginning the spiritual journey that continues to this day.
Being spiritually unaware, Daniel was caught up in a church split and began attending South Coast Community Church, the splinter church. Hearing the Bible preached in a manner that related to real life, Daniel was intrigued and eventually volunteered to serve in the children’s ministry.
Realizing that Daniel was not a believer, he was placed on a team in the two-year old class by Wanda Parker, who was to become his early children’s ministry mentor. Working on that team with two-year-old’s, Daniel committed his life to Christ and was eventually recruited by Wanda Parker into an internship program for fledgling children’s workers. One of the other interns was Marla Earles. She helped Daniel mature in his zealousness and eventually they married in 1984.
Daniel eventually became the Children’s Pastor in what was at the time one of the fastest growing churches in the US, appropriately labeled a mega church. Thinking he had reached the pinnacle of his ministry calling he was suddenly drawn into another church upheaval involving issues of immorality in the leadership. This led to a painful departure and the death of his children’s ministry vision.
In a few short months of a “spiritual desert,” Mariners Church called Daniel to serve in their children’s ministry. From this point on, his calling was given a new life. Daniel worked with a great team to develop a ministry rooted on principles found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 that focused on helping non-Christians know Christ and follow Him as a committed disciple.
During that time, Daniel began his MDiv program at Fuller Theological Seminary, started a family with Marla and developed the foundation for a fruitful children’s ministry at Mariners Church. In 1988, Daniel and Marla traveled to Eastern Europe and visited churches in Poland. Over the next few years Daniel and Marla sensed God calling and after completing his seminary degree program and with blessing of Mariners Church was sent to Poland where Every Generation Ministries (EGM) was launched in 1993.
Over the next ten years EGM developed ministry work in Poland, Hungary, and Belarus. Each of those ministries launched leadership development training programs focused on children’s workers in local churches. They began producing culturally appropriate Bible teaching resources. Eventually, each of those ministries was staffed and governed by Christians leaders from their own communities. The training programs and Bible curriculum were all based on five principles found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 as well as in the New Testament.
The Watts family grew with thme adoption of a son and churches outside Eastern Europe began requesting EGM to work in their country. In 1991, the Watts family relocated back to the United States and after a period of reverse culture shock launched a new growth initiative that has continued to this day.
The ministry grew to work in sixteen countries on five continents with more growth in the works. Today thousands of children’s workers around the world are developing transformational children’s ministry based on five simple principles in Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Relationship, Experience, Truth, Discussion and Response. Thousands more children are entering into a relationship with Christ and His family. They are growing as Christ followers and experiencing the life He has for them.
In 2020, Daniel stepped down as the President of EGM and began serving as the Director of the EGM Institute to promote the innovative ministry principles that have been so fruitful for EGM.