You can tell a lot about a pastor from his vehicle.
From the lavish luxury cars of the ecclesial elite to the simple sedans of suburban shepherds, preference influences our vehicle choices.
When Pastor Stephen Davey (STM, 1986) parks at The Shepherd’s Church in Cary, North Carolina, his decades-old pickup truck reveals his personality. His license plate reads POIMENAS: “Shepherd.”
Stephen has shepherded in North Carolina for over thirty years, modeling excellence and diligence as a representative of Christ. Based on his faithful service to the body of Christ, commitment to Scripture through expository preaching, and consistent Christian character, the Alumni Office at Dallas Theological Seminary is proud to present Pastor Stephen Davey the 2021–2022 Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
Born to missionaries, Stephen grew up in the love of Christ and the gospel. While in high school, he committed his life to vocational ministry and then studied Bible and world history in college. At Tennessee Temple University, Stephen met Marsha Gladney; they married in 1981.
Stephen earned his MDiv at Detroit Seminary before completing his Master of Sacred Theology at DTS in 1986.
A degree and twin infant sons later, Stephen and Marsha drove up to Cary, North Carolina, to plant Colonial Baptist Church in 1986. Twenty-eight people attended the first service in East Cary Middle School’s band room. From the beginning, Stephen preached expository sermons; Marsha created the nursery and children’s programs.
In 1991, growth required that they break ground for a new building, completed in 1992. The congregation quickly outgrew that location and voted to relocate again, holding the first services in their current location in 2001.
“Church growth was never our intention, and it still isn’t!” Stephen says. “We’ve simply responded to what God is doing.”
In 2020, the church became The Shepherd’s Church, reflecting the congregation’s heartbeat: they belong to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.
Around 4,000 people now call this church home. Vibrant ministry programs, generous missions support, and intentional volunteer engagement characterize the congregation.
“I am more excited about tomorrow than yesterday,” Stephen says, “and I remain convinced that our greatest step of faith is the next one.”
In 2003, a great step of faith was starting Shepherds Theological Seminary (STS). Stephen is president of the seminary and teaches pastoral and practical theology. Over 250 students have graduated from STS and serve around the world. All this, Stephen says, testifies to God’s blessing.
Some pastors may hide harshness or impatience behind their onstage presence, but Stephen exhibits care and wisdom everywhere—whether preaching on Sunday morning, talking with co-workers, or having coffee with his wife.
He and Marsha enjoy a loving marriage and have close relationships with their four children and six grandchildren. One son is a pastor in Charlotte; another son and a daughter serve with Stephen’s radio ministry, Wisdom for the Heart.
Les Lofquist, STS professor and pastoral staff member at The Shepherd’s Church, has known Stephen for ten years. He writes, “I cannot commend him with strong enough words. There are no skeletons in his closet. He is genuinely beloved here by those who know him best.”
David Burgraff, STS professor and executive pastor at The Shepherd’s Church, sees Stephen’s ability to maintain integrity amid difficulty as growing from his daily physical perseverance.
While at seminary, Stephen developed a neurological disease that limited his walking. He lives with pain yet seldom mentions it.
Doctors told him he would likely be in a wheelchair by age thirty-five. Stephen threw himself into building a sustainable ministry as long as the Lord gave him strength to stand.
Now over sixty, Stephen is still walking; it appears the Lord has plans for him.
For now, those plans include driving to The Shepherd’s Church in his decades-old pickup truck and pastoring those the Lord has given him.
Congratulations to Stephen Davey, recipient of the 2021–2022 Alumni Distinguished Service Award. We recognize his dedication, perseverance, and love of God that drove his ministry from the early days of church planting to a thriving community of the Good Shepherd.
Photo courtesy of Dan Riddle/The Shepherd’s Church.
About the Contributors
Autumn Wilson is an office administrator for the Alumni & Career Services Office at Dallas Theological Seminary. She is currently a student in the Master of Theology program, focusing on historical theology.