Why I’m a Spiritual Engineer Instead of an Architect

When I graduated from High School, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d “grow up” to be a Spiritual Engineer.  An architect? Yes. That was the plan. Pastor Dave? Not a chance. But as it turned out, I’ve been a Lead Pastor for over thirty years now. To this day I still find it hard to believe that I am who I am.

Someone's Dream HomeSomeone’s Dream Home

Yesterday I was hanging out with two young architects and it got me thinking about that unexpected change in my career path. They are the me I thought I’d be. Each graduated with a Masters in Architecture. One from Cal Poly Pomona, and the other from UCLA. I had a similar plan. I was going to go to the school of Architecture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Then when I graduated I would go on to design and build beautiful houses.

But God had a different plan.

During my second year of college I got a job at an architect’s office. One day while I was sitting at my drawing table God placed a thought in my head. The essence of what He said was: “Dave, do you want to spend your life designing homes that one day are going to fall down or burn up, or would you rather spend your life working with people and doing something that will last forever?”

That simple question led to a lot of other questions which ended up changing the course of my life. Though I thought I had it all planned out, God had something else in mind. Instead of getting a degree in Architecture from Cal Poly, I got a degree in Sociology from Westmont. And for the past 40 years, instead of building houses and resorts, I’ve been helping ordinary people become fully devoted followers of God. I’ve become Pastor Dave!

“The mind of a man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

It was cool meeting with these architects today and hearing their proposal for how to move our church campus into the 21st century (I think that means we’ll finally be saying good-bye to our dark green carpet). It reminded me of why back in the day I loved the idea of being an architect. Though God had a different plan for me, these two young women are really good at what they do and they are right where God wants them to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you.” (Jeremiah 29:11a)

God’s plan is always going to be better than our own. So while you’re making your plans, be sure to listen for God’s leading, because His plan might be different.

I could have been an architect, but instead I’m a spiritual engineer in the Silicon Valley. Though it’s still surprising that I am who I am today, I’m loving being right where God wants me to be.

By David Gudgel