J. David Tate - Executive Director

- Written by Lydia Tate

Photo of Tate family
It is my extraordinary honor to write this bio for my husband. For the last few years, we have anticipated the Lord’s will for us at SONlight, anxiously awaiting His permanent call on our lives. We are thrilled to take this step of faith.

As I write this, I see the traits that exemplify him: service and joy. He loves to serve those around him in meaningful ways – trying his hardest to get things accomplished to their satisfaction. His joy is constant, his heart and faith secure in his Lord. Thank you for letting me introduce you to my husband: David Tate
David, Lydia, Joshua (9), William (6), and Josiah (4)

Life and Professional History

Early Years

David lived in Houston, Texas his entire life. He came to know that Jesus is the Lord at a very young age and was raised in a God-honoring home. He has two younger brothers and a younger sister, all lovingly home-schooled by his parents, Hank and Jeannie Tate.

As active members of the Houston home-schooling community, David was able to take many advantages of work opportunities and service opportunities as he grew up. From graphic design work for The American Cancer Society to coaching and playing basketball during high-school and for 2 years after graduation, his experiences in service and community involvement were apparent.

College and Family

David went on to attend Houston Baptist University where he majored in Business and Communications. At HBU, he was able to take advantage of many work opportunities and ministry opportunities. There also, he met his bride-to-be, Lydia. David and Lydia were married just after his graduation from HBU. They now live in the northwest part of Houston with their three amazing sons, Joshua, William, and Josiah. They are actively home-schooling and are looking forward to another generation of home-schoolers.

Professional and Church

Having a heart for service has often put David in some interesting jobs, such as cleaning toilets as a maintenance RA in college, or working in client support for a major computer company. He also owned and operated a photography business serving mostly wedding cliental for over ten years.

While living in Houston, David and Lydia were active members at Wilcrest Baptist Church in the Alief area of Houston. Wilcrest Baptist is a fascinating multi-ethnic church that serves as a place of transformation for believers and unbelievers alike (read our profile page about Wilcrest and its former pastor Rodney Woo). One would have found David serving at Wilcrest through Awana Clubs, as a Yokefellow, and in the music ministry as the A/V engineer.


Answering a call to be a bi-vocational pastor and missionary, in 2011 David and his family sold their house in Houston and moved to the Waco area to attend George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. They initially moved out to the country in Elm Mott, TX, but God continued to move.

David began as the pastoring in June of 2012, and was ordained soon after that. He is excited to be serving the Lord with SONlight and as a local church pastor.

David at SONlight


David recalls his very first SONspot at the age of five years old wherein he recorded some evangelism messages for his grandfather. He also fondly recalls a two-year period in college that found him working part-time at SONlight editing 5-Minute Bible Studies. In 2005 David and Lydia felt led to pursue part-time work with SONlight and continued seeking the Lord's timing about a full-time call. During these past years, he has put his skills of photography and visual arts to use through various facets of business design.

During March and April of 2009, the Lord quickened David and Lydia's hearts to prayer about their involvement with SONlight. One evening, after some unsettling news, they hit their knees seeking the Lord. David heard his call clearly – it was time to be at SONlight full-time. The Lord confirmed this with both Lydia and David through Scripture and they joined together in praise and prayer for this amazing change. A few weeks later the SONlight Board of Directors extended the invitation to David to join SONlight full-time.

This full-time service with SONlight continued through the end of 2010 when the Lord began to move in some different ways. Through a long process of God preparing a path, David and his family have now sold their house and moved out to the country in Central Texas in order to follow the Lord's call for David to attend seminary. There David and Lydia now serve side by with SONlight in a new location, and are excited about what the Lord has in store for them, and for SONlight.

Vision for the future

David’s vision for SONlight echoes the call of Wilcrest Baptist Church with a heart for the nations. It is his prayer that through SONlight the gospel would be heard around the globe, reaching the nations for Christ and equipping the believers with a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. He hopes to see as many international orange dots on the broadcast map as we now have in the U.S., if not more! As he moves into greater responsibility with SONlight, he is delighted to be serving the Lord and His people through this ministry. He anticipates the future of SONlight with complete joy and a spring in his step everyday.