Meet Daniel Hughes, pastor at the Incline Missional Community Church in Price Hill. On Thursdays Daniel spends his morning ministering to the incarcerated men in the exit pod at the Hamilton County Justice Center. The exit pod is home for men who are 30-90 days from being released from jail. Statistically they have a high rate of recidivism if they do not find a support system. That is where Daniel comes in. He is there to provide part of that support system by providing the opportunity to feed the men’s spiritual needs. He tells them, “I am here to check in on your soul to see how your inner life is working.”
The Justice Center is just one example of the many ways that Daniel serves his community, He talks at length about the reality of so many of people in our city who have been through unimaginable trauma. Many of them are just broken, but they have the desire to improve their lives – they just don’t know how. Daniel says that “if an individual has three things working in harmony, they greatly improve their odds of success, and that’s when I want to be there to help”. What are those three things, you ask? Good Question. They are: Desire, Opportunity, and Ability.
Daniel is obviously energized by connecting to individuals who might otherwise not have an opportunity to feed their soul or change their path. He admits that he thinks of himself as more of a pioneer than a settler and he nurtures that pioneer spirit by creating opportunity where it is needed most. To that end, his mission has helped launch some really great service organizations in our community including the LIT Movement (Living In Testimony), a remarkable organization that “Gives Hope to the Hopeless” by providing resources, counseling, encouragement and education to help people who want a different life.
Just for fun
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: My parents were very influential in my decision to minister. My dad especially led by example and when he passed, my mom and I carried on our involvement in the church where I found the call to lead.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Cincinnati – or your immediate neighborhood, and what do you love there?
A: Incline Public House – great food / great view
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Cincinnati?
A: 5 years, coming from Lima, OH. My family and I fell in love with this city.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in your community?
A: Dwight Young (BLOC ministries) / Tyler Schmidt (LIT Ministries) / Corey Coach (Style Coach)
These guys are local heroes.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: I would love to do an origins tour – Alabama and Mississippi and then probably west Africa.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: Never lose faith or love.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: Playing a round at Augusta National.
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: Music is inspirational to me – which type depends on the mood. Music unlocks the soul and creativity. John Coltrane, Bob Marley, and all kinds of gospel and Christian music.
Q: Choosing anyone (dead or alive): with whom would you love to have lunch? Why?
A: My dad – he taught me to put God first and work hard. When I moved back to Lima my big strong father was withered and small due to illness. I had to physically care for him in a way that was humbling for him and me. I sat at his feet and he would read the Bible and we talked. He got his GED on his death bed. I learned more about him in those 3 months than I ever knew about him.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: I belong / you belong, and we belong here together.
That is the type of thing I want to create for other people. Everyone needs a home.
Q: What do you for yourself?
A: I honor the sabbath – a day of rest / I try to take a bit of time for myself everyday / I meditate every day.
Whether it is in the sanctuary of his church or somewhere out on the streets of our city, Daniel Hughes is truly a welcome Face of Cincinnati! And for that we thank you!