Matt and Toni Daniels have always loved being with people and creating spaces of belonging and meaning. At the early age of 16, after independent short-term mission trips, Matt and Toni dedicated their lives to going overseas and sharing the hope of Jesus with those who would otherwise be less likely to hear about His great love. From leading worship together and facilitating small groups through-out High School and College, then church planting during seminary, they moved in 1997 to Uruguay, South America to start a church among the ‘most unreached group of people in all the Americas” as Operation Mobilization stated. Boy, did their Anthropology and Sociology degrees come in handy in understanding the secular mindset they encountered.
After embedding in Uruguayan society, Toni and Matt quickly discerned that traditional church, as most know it, would never take root in Uruguay. People would only come to faith in God as they could sense Him enjoying them. Driven by their desire to see Jesus lived out in joy-filled relationships, Toni and Matt began focusing on creating “emotionally healthy, vibrant families of Jesus” that could transform the world around them.
Also drawn to provide emotionally safe places for children to explore their Christian spirituality, Toni introduced Godly Play to Uruguay in 2006. To date, she has trained hundreds of teachers and catechists, and over 2,000 children have had the privilege of being a part of the community of Godly Play.
In 2008, Matt and Toni’s MA and Mdiv in Leadership Development was put to the test when they founded The Geronimo Center for Innovation and Leadership, an Uruguayan-based non-profit organization seeking to initiate a revolution of joy by forming emotionally healthy leaders from all sectors of society who follow Jesus in transforming their world. Five years of skills-based relationship enhancement training would follow from the International Trainer’s Association, PREP,inc., and ThriveToday.
After their 18-year missionary career in Uruguay, SA, Matt and Toni moved to the US, where they continue to coach and oversee the training and retreat center in Uruguay.
Since returning, Toni has also broadened her impact beyond Uruguay through partnering with LK10, whose vision is to see a vibrant family of Jesus within reach of everyone on the planet. As Training Champion and Operations Director, Toni has had the privilege of developing training pathways that bring renewed hope for being the church to Christian Leaders all over the world. She brings this experience into all the training she does in Communitas.