He was at home after the evening church service when the sermon hit its mark. Six-year-old Dave looked up at his mother and said, “I want to go to heaven.”
A precious Sunday School teacher had been patiently laying the groundwork, explaining in plain terms what a relationship with Jesus was all about. This childhood decision marked the beginning of a life focused on loving God and serving others as he discovered his abilities and gifts.
Beginning the Journey of Following Jesus
God used Dave’s Christian upbringing to bring him into contact with several godly people who took an interest in him, mentored him and gave him opportunities to serve in the church, even when quite young for such responsibility. The family changed churches a couple of times, and at each one God had something good in store for Dave.
When 16, he attended Youth Week at Fair Havens, a Christian Retreat and Conference Centre, and sat under the teaching of Charles Price. Here he answered ‘yes’ within himself to Price’s challenge, “Will you be prepared to do anything, anytime, anywhere for God?”
In his teenage years, Dave was the person friends gravitated to when they needed relationship advice. Realizing that he was helpful to others in this way he thought that perhaps he should pursue a career in counselling. However, God had other plans for him.
A lover of sports, Dave once considered opening a sporting goods store. For this, his dad suggested a university degree in business. He began classes at Brock University in St. Catharines in 1982 and took several human resource courses. “I was eating it up,” he said, and by graduation, Dave knew a career in human resources was what God had in mind for him.
The girl I was going to marry
While still in university, he met Ann, the sister of a classmate. They began to date, but at the time, Ann had not yet accepted Christ as her Saviour. Dave shared his faith with her on a number of occasions and Ann listened intently, engaging in conversation and showing interest. Dave wondered what God’s plan was for them as a couple. He prayed about it and said to God, “If Ann isn’t a Christian by Christmas, I’ll take that to mean that our relationship is not part of your plan for me.” Ann knew nothing of this prayer. The weeks went by. With a heavy heart, he went to see her following Christmas Day, intending to end their relationship. Before he had a chance to lead into this, she said, “I want you to know that I accepted the Lord on Christmas Eve.” Dave started to cry. “I went home, woke up my parents, and told them I’d found the girl I was going to marry!”
First Taste of Managing People
Glenridge Bible Church was the young couple’s first church home, and at 23, when Dave was fresh out of university, he was asked to serve on the church board in addition to his role as one of the youth leaders. Shortly after that, the pastor asked him to become the Christian Education Director. This new church of about 75 people was blessed with some seasoned Christian men who were great role models. Here, in his work as Christian Education Director, he got his first taste of managing people and learning what budgeting was all about. All in all, Dave and Ann were at Glenridge for 20 years.
He graduated from Brock in April 1986 with an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a major in Human Resources. Two months later God opened a door for him to complete a short-term Human Resources assignment with the Ontario Government at The Niagara Parks Commission in Niagara Falls, an Agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. That four-month assignment translated into a 33 year career with Niagara Parks.
Of the human and business sides of HR, Dave says, “I could come alongside people who were hurting and needed someone to listen to them, confirm their value and help them navigate through life’s challenges. I also gravitated to the business side, ensuring that proper policies, processes, and systems were in place to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the operation.”
Over the Years
Over the years Dave held the positions of Human Resources Officer, Manager, Senior Manager, and spent the last 15 years as the organization’s Director of Human Resources, overseeing 13 HR Professionals and serving a staff of approximately 1700 in an organization with 3 unions. His last assignment was as Director of Corporate Change Management with a key focus on helping to implement a new 10-year strategic plan.
For the last 15 years, the Morris family has been part of Bethany Community Church in St. Catharines. Dave has been a small group leader in children’s ministry and has been on the church board as Chair of the Human Resource Committee. Five times he has had the privilege of travelling to El Salvador to help build houses. “This was life-changing”, says Dave. “I had never seen that kind of poverty, and yet the people were so joyous. This experience changed my life and I will never be the same”.
In God’s hands through every storm
All has not been smooth sailing through life, but God in his wisdom and compassion has carried him through every experience, using each one to shape Dave into the person through whom He would work, according to His plans. Just two months after accepting the Lord, 6-year-old Dave was hit by a car. He remembers thinking Satan was trying to get back at him for accepting Christ but concluded at that early age that God was bigger than Satan and that God’s will would prevail over Dave’s life.
In later years Dave and Ann weathered a storm in faith when their first-born son was found to have a rare disease. All is well now, and while at the time the outcome was unknown, Dave and Ann trusted God with his life.
In ’79 at a youth event, he and his friends were knocked unconscious when a vehicle t-boned their car. “I don’t understand why all of you aren’t dead,” said the police officer. “Home from the hospital, the very next chapter in my bible reading plan that night was the account in Isaiah of King Hezekiah’s illness that would have taken his life, but God spared him from death. This was no coincidence and confirmed to me at that moment that I really was in God’s hands”.
More about Dave
At their last anniversary, Dave and Ann celebrated 33 years of marriage. They’ve raised two children, a boy and a girl who are now grown, both married and live nearby. They currently have two grandchildren.
Both retired now, Ann runs an embroidery business from home and is also busy sewing masks during the pandemic. Dave is a ‘sports nut’ and loves golf, fishing, and watching sports on tv. His fishing kayak provides hours of enjoyment. He and Ann also love travelling and hope to do more of it in the years ahead.
When Dave was planning to retire from The Niagara Parks Commission in June 2019 he wondered what to do next. A friend said, “What about work in Human Resources?” “I considered it, and the thought came that I could do Human Resources ministry for churches, Christian schools, and Christian charities.” In 2018, Dave launched Christian HR Solutions with the vision to provide Human Resources services with Honesty and Integrity.
About his work, Dave says, “I love people. Getting to serve people and help them energizes me as I walk alongside them, seeing tough issues resolved and people going from fear and distress to peace, and calm. Their joy gives me joy. I’ve always wanted to be used as God wishes to use me. Of course, at the end of life, I would love to hear Jesus say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ My dream is to be in step with God. I just want to serve Him and others.”
Dave is available to provide coaching on Human Resources
As an Enrich Facilitator, Dave helps Christian organizations comply with labour legislation and helps staff to feel valued, equipped, included, and important. He is available to provide on-site, telephone, or e-mail consultation on a variety of Human Resources issues and elements including recruitment, job descriptions, policies, labour relations issues, dispute resolution, terminations, succession planning, and more. Visit emccenrich.ca to connect with Dave.