Dan Stratton: The Wall Street Preacher
The 700 Club
RAGS TO RICHES
Dan was born in a small town near St. Paul, Minnesota. He was the first of six children. When Dan was 14, his dad suffered a debilitating injury from an industrial accident that kept him out of work for two years. The Stratton family had to live on food stamps to survive. His mother took a job cleaning houses to bring in some form of income. In 1977, there were no family college funds, but he had become an accomplished athlete. Recruiters from several colleges pursued Dan but he was overjoyed that Yale University chose him to play on the football team. His long hair and unique wardrobe caused Dan to stand out in a crowd. He was teased unmercifully. No one else in Dan’s family ever passed beyond a high school level of education. While at Yale, Dan was always on the verge of running out of money. He never knew whether he would come short of tuition and end up having to drop out of school. In the cafeteria every day, Dan was fearful that he might be on the list of students who couldn’t eat that day. To earn additional money, Dan worked for a nearby hospital doing bookkeeping and worked in a cafeteria down the street.
After graduation, Dan moved to New York City and applied for jobs on Wall Street. “I didn’t even have a business suit,” says Dan. He started working for J. Aron and Company, now a Fortune 500 and Global 500 company, trading commodities, mainly gold and platinum. Dan never thought he would land a prestigious job. The floor of the commodities exchange was fast-paced and feverish. Dan says this is where he learned to be confident and bold. By the time he was 24, Dan started his own trading company and by 1984 he was experiencing the fruits of his labor.
Dan met Ann, a Christian, who invited him to church. In October of 1984, Dan gave his life to the Lord. He was the only trader who read his Bible on the floor of the commodities market. Dan put out a box for questions and answers about his new found faith. “The persecution I experienced at Yale was nothing compared to the battles I endured there in New York as a Christian commodities trader,” says Dan. “My ministerial training came through preaching on the hostile floor of the commodities exchanges.” Dan would respond to the questions, both critical and humorous, with a letter. Soon the letter grew to a readership of more than 1,000. This led to a Bible study and prayer meeting in Dan’s office on the ninth floor of the World Trade Center, Building 4. Those new believers grew into Faith Exchange Fellowship. Dan’s style combines the gospel message with capitalist individualism and sound business practices. He’s unashamedly a millionaire pastor who reminds us that wealth was God’s idea. “It says in the book of Timothy that the love of money is the root of all evil. Not money. You need money to carry out God’s purposes,” says Dan.
CALLED TO DO SOMETHING
In January 1999, Dan retired from full-time trading to devote his time to pastoring his church. Dan and Ann went from a 7-figure annual income to living off of his investment income and offerings only. Although he retained millionaire status, the sudden disappearance of that 7-digit income meant some significant changes in the Stratton household. Some of them were not easy to make. He also developed ProVision Network, an organization designed to unite the Body of Christ through business people, entrepreneurs, professionals, and companies who are dedicated to financing the harvest through their local churches, ministries, and outreaches. “We are all called to do something great,” says Dan. “But none of us can do it alone.”
Their church was destroyed in the terrorist attacks in September 2001. Miraculously, though 80 percent of their congregation worked in the WTC area, no lives were lost nor injuries occurred. Currently, their church meets in a ballroom of the Marriott Financial Center Downtown Hotel on West Street.
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