Wednesday, 04 February 2015 06:19

Donnie Manis - Vice President and Actuary P/C, Alfa Insurance

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RRJ: Did you become redeemed through faith in Christ as a child or later in life?

From the time I can remember, going to church was a given for me. But my faith was not my own until late in my 7th grade year. A group of young people from Dothan came to our church one weekend for something called a “Lay Witness Mission.” We spent Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning getting to know them and hearing stories of how Jesus had changed them. At a picnic Saturday afternoon, I remember praying to put my faith in Christ. I could sense right then that my heart was changed and my reason for living was different than it had ever been.


RRJ: How would you say Christ changed your outlook on life?


I love this question because I remember this very distinctly. I had never been a kid who got into much trouble. I loved my parents and wanted to please them, and that was why I tried to be a good kid. But from the day I put my trust in Christ, I sensed my motivation had changed. All of a sudden, I wanted to please my heavenly Father and that became my reason for doing good and avoiding evil influences.

I don’t have a story of being immersed in activities we would call sinful and suddenly being liberated from that. But I think my story is at least as powerful, at least as much a testimony to God’s grace. I was trapped in a mind set where I thought I was good and could earn God’s favor. That can be a trap from which you never escape, and it leads to hell. But God reached into my heart and showed me that it was full of dead bones, rotting away. Only Jesus could change that, and He did.

So now my outlook on life is that everything exists for God’s glory. Every good thing in me comes from Him, and my mission is simple: love God with all my heart, and love others as myself.


RRJ: Of course your world view also engulfs your career choice and how you approach your responsibilities.  Where do you work and what is your role there?


I work as an actuary for Alfa Insurance. In case you haven’t heard of actuaries (which I find happens a lot!), actuaries do statistical analysis of risk for development of business strategies, rate development and setting reserves for claims. Or, as I like to say, we are math geeks for insurance.

At Alfa, I lead a team of 12 actuaries, product managers and analysts. We work together to create the best possible products at competitive rates, while making sure that we remain financially sound so that the company can provide service to our customers in their time of need.


RRJ: Some might say that your job as an actuary doesn’t have kingdom significance.  Do you agree or disagree, and why?


Well, of course, I disagree. Serving and advancing the kingdom of God is the prime directive for every follower of Jesus. So I guess the question is, why do I think it’s significant?

First, God has created and ordained work and, as such, it is how He has chosen to provide the goods and services that humans need to survive and thrive. I believe every Christian who is engaged in work that makes life better or possible for others is doing something noble and godly. In my case, I am providing analysis that allows my company to provide a service that keeps our economy moving. Without insurance, people and businesses would be paralyzed by the fear of losing everything they have. I am very proud to be part of a business that is there when people need us most.

Second, like every working Christian, I have an opportunity to glorify God by doing excellent work. If I let people know I am working for God’s glory, then every time I meet a deadline and the analysis I provide is useful, God is honored.

Third, in my job I interact with a lot of people every day. Actuarial staff, my colleagues, our management – all are relationships I have because of my job. And relationships are where we can live out the gospel, showing the fruit of the Spirit in how we relate to people, always being ready to talk about Christ when the opportunity presents itself. It’s my mission field.

Finally, Paul says in Ephesians 4:28 that everyone should work “so that he will have something to share with one who has need.” Earning money puts resources in my hands to love others and advance the kingdom.


RRJ: I know sharing your faith so that others can come to know the power of salvation in Christ is a daily priority (as it should be for all Christians).  Sometimes that happens when talking to a friend or long-time neighbor, but you’ve been intentional about getting involved with local and even international organizations to make sure you regularly have avenues to share the hope of Christ.  Can you share about these organizations and why you’ve chosen this approach?


Yes, that is very important to me. As you say, living for Christ and building His kingdom in my personal sphere of influence (work, family and friends) is my primary calling and should never be minimized. But in my life God has given me a heart for organizations that share the gospel with young people and that take it to the nations. To even start giving details would require their own interviews, but the two that stand out are Young Life (which shares Jesus with high school students) and Visiting Orphans (which sends short-term missions to all parts of the world). I spent over 30 years as a volunteer leader with Young Life, and have taken trips to Ethiopia with VO for the last five years. God is doing amazing things through those organizations, and I am humbled that God chooses to let me be a part of that.


RRJ: For our readers who maybe struggle to live out their faith outside of the church walls, are there one or two things you can share that have helped you have the confidence to shine for Jesus everywhere you go?


I think it’s to spend time getting to know God through Jesus, letting His life fill every corner of your being, and then relax! We don’t have any trouble talking about the things that make up our lives. We talk all the time about our families, movies we like, games we saw – the things we spend our time on. When life with Jesus becomes second nature to you, talking about Him won’t be a strain, or some project where you are checking off a list that you did your witnessing for the day. It’ll just be part of your life. And God will be glorified.





Last modified on Friday, 13 February 2015 06:30
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