Rev. David Donnan preached his last sermon at Twin City United Methodist Church on June 6 ahead of his family’s relocation to Glennville. Now, Donnan reflects on time in Twin City with fondness and is excited for what the future holds.
Donnan was born in Augusta and raised in Cordele. The husband of Brandy and father of two, 8-year-old Luke and 6-year-old Lydia, he graduated from Crisp Academy in 2005.
In 2010, he went on to obtain a public relations degree from Georgia Southern. Around that same time, he became involved in ministry. Specifically, Donnan worked as a ministry intern at Statesboro First United Methodist Church, Pittman Park, and the Georgia Southern Wesley Foundation, a United Methodist campus ministry. Donnan eventually went full-time into youth ministry at Statesboro FUMC, preaching some in regular Sunday morning worship. Through the support of many older adult members of Statesboro UMC, he began to feel called into pastoral ministry.
Two years later, in 2012, he was licensed as a local pastor in the United Methodist Church. He began preaching at two small churches in Evans County: Hagan UMC in Hagan, where he lived in the parsonage, and Union United Methodist Church in Claxton.
He spent four years at Hagan. All the while, he was studying to obtain his Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, which he completed in 2016, the same year his time at Hagan UMC came to a close.
Upon finishing seminary in 2016, Donnan was moved to a full-time appointment at Twin City United Methodist Church, where he has remained ever since—up until this past weekend.
In the years since he joined Twin City UMC, Donnan says the church has seen a number of positive changes. He explained, “We have had a net gain in membership since 2016. Our worship attendance has more than doubled. This has been a generous church; our budget has grown every year. The church has also renovated the restrooms, the fellowship hall, the nursery, the preschool, the playground, and the youth room/game room. Most importantly, we have seen people profess faith in Jesus Christ, we have seen marriages strengthened, and we’ve seen disciples grow deeper.”
Those successes, 34-year-old Donnan says, extend to his own family.
“My family’s time serving Twin City United Methodist has been amazing. There have been so many great interactions with people inside and outside our church. At an ECI football game one time, Mrs. Patti Collins gave me one of her confetti cannons to shoot off when the Bulldogs ran onto the field. It was a small gesture, but it made me feel like we were welcomed and belonged here. Overall, our time in this beautiful town has been blessed.”
That is precisely why the Donnans’ instructions to move brought about some sad emotions at first.
In the United Methodist Church, pastoral moves are made in consultation with the pastor, the church, the bishop, and the cabinet. Churches and pastors are asked if they would like to keep the pastor, if they’re open to changing pastors, or if they would definitely prefer a change in leadership. Sometimes, however, that routine is shaken up a bit and results in unexpected changes across the church regionally.
“On April 14, I was notified my new appointment would be to Glennville, Georgia. Even though the church and I both had asked to stay, I was caught up in a series of moves from an unexpected retirement,” explained Donnan.
He says the decision was a shocking one because he was certain his family had survived another move season.
“We are very sad to be leaving. We could have stayed for a very long time, yet God never calls us to stay where we are,” he continued. “For some, it means moving relationally, devotionally, and, for us, geographically. While I did not want to move, I am very excited to go to Glennville. God has really opened our hearts and some doors there. My wife already has a teaching job at Glennville Elementary.”
All South Georgia Methodist pastors are set to move the same day, June 16. Donnan and all other pastors being relocated will preach their first sermons in their new locations on Sunday, June 20, just in time for Father’s Day.
“I will absolutely miss Twin City, but at the same time, I’m very excited for the new pastor, Rev. Mark Miller. I will pray for him and the congregation. If Mark invites me back, I’ll be happy to return for certain ministry events. I’m sure Brandy, Luke, Lydia and I will return to visit the lifelong friends we’ve made here as well.”