Dan Palmer

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This is the third time Dan has been on the church staff. He grew up in the church and as a young person was given the opportunity to join the facilities staff. Though he left Sacramento to pursue his education, Dan’s heart for ministry eventually led him back to his home church to become the College Pastor from 2001 to 2004. For the next several years he worked in the field of business management and development. When his childhood friend Jesse Smith became Senior Pastor in 2011, Dan returned to River City Christian (then First Covenant) for his third round of employment here, this time as the Associate Pastor.

Dan earned a BA in English from the University of California at Los Angeles and then a Master of Divinity from Talbot Seminary. He is married to Shanen and together they have three boys, Caleb, Tyler and Shane. Dan enjoys basketball, reading and a variety of adventures with his sons.


1. What three words best describe your role at River City Christian?
Teacher, leader, inspirer

2. What is one thing about you that might surprise people?
People might be surprised that I listen to the Audiobook of Lord of the Rings and the Broadway soundtrack to Les Miserables constantly in my car. My kids groan in agony when my car starts and they hear the narrator to LOTR, or worse, the voice of Jean Valjean. My cool card has been permanently revoked in my own home.

3. What is one name or title for Jesus that has special significance for you?
I have always loved the fact that God gave a personal name to His people. He called Himself Yahweh and revealed Himself as the God who wants to intimately know His people and be known by His people. It is encouraging to know that we are not slaves or servants working for a King but rather sons and daughters who are known by God.

4. If you were not working for the church, what career might you pursue and why?
I would be an Archaeologist and not just because Indiana Jones is one of the coolest characters of all time. I am fascinated by history and would enjoy the mystery and adventure of finding lost objects of old cultures.

5. Besides the Bible, what one book has had the most influence on your faith and why?
I was moved in college by The Set of the Sail by AW Tozer. His writing is so full of urgency and uncompromising expectations for our spiritual lives. This book lit a fire in me to pursue God wholeheartedly and inspired me to cast off the lukewarm, casual faith that surrounded me. He says, “To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it, but we sail, and not drift, nor live at anchor.”

6. If you could have lunch with one famous personality living today, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I would meet with Jimmy Fallon. Every time I see him he is smiling, laughing and filled with joy. He is always interested in people, self-deprecating and quick to laugh. He reminds me of how we should be in light of the truth that we are saved and loved by God. I would ask him where he finds the source of his joy.