I have been a life-long Methodist (with a bit of the Lutheran tradition mixed in) and a “preacher’s kid.”    I am the youngest son of Dr. Howard Clinebell, Ph.D and Dr. Charlotte Ellen, Ph.D., one of three children. My father was an ordained Methodist Minister for nearly 60 years; Professor of Pastoral Counseling at the Claremont School of Theology for nearly 35 years; a world-renowned author; a pioneer in the pastoral care and counseling movement; and founding President of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (“AAPC”). My mother is a psychotherapist who works with sexual assault survivors; she will leave a lasting legacy of strength, wisdom and inspiration in that field. She has also written extensively on the relationship of the sexes and about working with children.

What a family DNA you might be thinking! And you are right.

As you will see when you read The Service Driven™ Life, the book itself is a product of my own life experience — and God moving in my life. It is also a product of a simple, but profound, conversation with my father in the Fall of 2004. It was the last year of my father’s life. I sat at his bedside, as I did many nights in those last days. As I sat, I helped Dad with his supper. And I shared with him that which I believed was in me to write. I had never written a book, although I considered myself a writer. I described to him a book about a life; a life centered around, and driven by, service. A life driven by service to others in home and family, vocation, and in service to “neighbor,” both literal and biblical. A book grounded in solid theology and biblical teaching, but also a personal story of renewal – from despair to hope, from darkness to light, from doubt to faith, from sadness to great joy! My father listened attentively, nodding gently, but did not speak. As we finished supper, we sat together in the quiet.

After supper, the gloaming turned to dark and I read to Dad from a favorite daily reader. Sleep seemed next, and I prepared to depart for the night. But as I turned to go, Dad stirred and waved at me to return to his bedside. I sat. He smiled at me and said this: “Donald, you must write that book.” He turned upon his side and he slept – a sleep he would later describe as restful and peaceful. I left, and I too spent a restful and peaceful night.

It was that night that I came to know that I would one day write this book; The Service Driven™ Life: Discover Your Path to Meaning, Power and Joy!