For most of us, Big Texas cinnamon rolls and Welch’s grape juice might bring to mind visions of road trips and gas station breakfasts. For Chicago native Danica Henry, those two items delivered in a brown paper sack carried a much weightier message. They were God’s way of saying, “pack your bags, it’s time to go to The King’s.”
This unique word from the Lord was one of many signs along a winding path of divine appointments that Danica believes God used to draw her to Him, and eventually to TKU. Having grown up in a Catholic family outside of Chicago, Danica started playing violin at the age of five and was enamored with all things musical, from theatre to orchestra. She went on to study commercial music in college, and was selected for a traveling performance group after her junior year. But by the end of the summer tour, she realized that although she was pursuing her dreams, she wasn’t fulfilled. “I was doing exactly what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t happy,” she shares, “I was really discontent.”
One serendipitous weekend after returning home with a heavy heart, she went with her family to church. “The priest was talking about how life is not measured by the toys we acquire or the things that surround us, but instead by our faithfulness and our trust in God,” she remembers. And it was in that moment that God opened her eyes. “In Christianese terms, I got saved,” she says smiling.
Over the following semesters, Danica received several invitations from the director of her traveling performance group, Mike—who also happened to be a local worship pastor—to help with music at his nondenominational church. When she finally accepted, she found something far more valuable than a gig there. “For the first time I felt like I was home,” Danica shares, and she began attending and serving in worship on weekends.
After graduating college, Danica decided to move to Nashville and pursue a career in music, forcing her to leave her newfound church family. But the Lord was not finished working through them. It was at the suggestion of their music director that Danica found her Nashville church, where she received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and became friends with Jenn, a worship leader who was instrumental in growing her understanding of this “worship ministry thing.” She explains, “This was the point I realized, I need to serve the Lord and I need to make music for the Lord, but I don’t know his language,” the thought that prompted her search for a seminary.
After narrowing down her options, another Texas school was on her radar. As only the Lord could orchestrate, Jenn had a friend named Lacey who had attended that school and happened to be stopping in Nashville for a visit. Danica was thrilled to sit down with Lacey and hoped to get confirmation that she had found her seminary. To Danica’s surprise, Lacey told her she should check out a newer, smaller school she heard about through Gateway Church, called The King’s University. As Danica learned more about TKU, it became clear that she belonged here. “I could go learn from people who are influencing, who have world impact,” she recalls thinking, “I want to be in that place, so I applied that day, no question.”
Ready with plans to move at the end of her lease and transfer her job to her employer’s Grapevine location, Danica was eagerly awaiting her acceptance letter, a final confirmation that she was supposed to go to Texas. She was still waiting on a decision by the time her lease was up and she needed to move. One night she prayed until she fell asleep that God would tell her if she was supposed to go. As she left for work the next morning, someone was passing out sack breakfasts in her apartment’s parking lot. The contents? A Big Texas cinnamon roll and a Welch’s grape juice. That was all the confirmation she needed to finally pack her bags.
Now a Master of Divinity student, Danica loves sharing the story of how God brought her to TKU and provided for her every need. Beyond learning through experience about His providence, she is so grateful for what He has taught her about her identity. “I’ve learned that my identity doesn’t lie in me being a worship leader, on platform ministry or anything,” she shares. “It is solely based on my relationship with the Lord, who I am in Christ.” And that’s what fuels her passion for ministry. “We are witnessing a generation of people publicly crying out for their rights and for justice … what I hear is a cry for identity.” Danica believes God wants to answer their cry, and her hope is that He’ll use her to do it.