ABOUT

Dan has always been a visionary, limited only by others’ lack of vision. Early on in his faith journey, he became passionate about equipping churches to have a greater impact than they ever thought possible. As an architect, he started by creating facilities that served them economically and functionally, eventually founding Building God’s Way in 1998. Over the next 20 years, he made BGW into the largest church architecture firm in the country, working with 1,000 ministries. Throughout this time, Daniel Cook Architect was dedicated to BGW’s architectural work, acting as the architect of record on nearly every project. However, as BGW got increasingly comfortable with traditional church architecture, Dan began to imagine something more. This vision became concrete in the course of Dan’s daughter’s ministry, as she called home to tell him what unique things churches were doing in her neck of the woods. Starting in 2008, Dan and Catherine became gripped by the ways church facilities could be better utilized according to the Great Commission. Designing buildings to only be used on Sunday mornings became droll. They couldn’t stop thinking about everyone walking or driving by the rest of the week. Hasn’t God called churches to something more? For the next 10 years, Dan tried to get BGW excited about this direction. This waxed and waned, and during this decade he experimented alongside churches from coast to coast. These projects were too exciting to put into words, and their continued impact has been deeply felt by their surrounding communities. Dan couldn’t go back to the old way of doing things, so in 2018, he dedicated Daniel Cook Architect to a new purpose. Together with a pastor and fellow architect, Dan reached back to his roots which began with commercial and residential development in 1972. And so, with leagues of experience focused on creative, multi-use development alongside ministries, the DCA team is ready. We are ready to walk with you into a future characterized by relationship, witness, and service. There are many details along the way, but we’ll figure them out together. After all, in addition to our team’s unique skills, we are practiced at forming alliances with strategic partners at each stage of a project.

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Meet our team

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Dan Cook 

Founder & CEO

Dan has been working in the architecture and construction industry since 1972, upon graduation from Montana State University. He holds licenses in over forty states, as well as NCARB. Since the founding of DCA in 1975, Dan has worked with over 1,000 ministries. He has also been involved in direct ministry, having begun Christian Heritage School in 1995, operated Wasatch Christian Early Learning Center since 2008, and participated in many international service trips. In 1998, Dan founded Building God's Way, making it into the leader of the Christian ministry and education market. Dan met BGW's architectural needs through DCA, developing proven techniques for signature design and cost-effective construction. Weaving together his extensive experience as a developer and passion for the unreached, he also started Mission-Based Sustainable Solutions in 2015. Soon after, he published 10 Tsunamis Impacting Ministries and began to even more ardently focus his efforts on Kingdom building. Dan's vision to support Christian organizations nationwide continues to expand and come to life. With 12 grandchildren, Dan is grateful for the opportunity to spend time with family and mentor his daughter, Catherine, while serving exceptional ministries through DCA.

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David Merlo 

Partner Architect

Growing up as a pastor's son in the outskirts of Chicago, David witnessed the impact that churches can have on their communities from an early age. While completing his Masters in Architecture from Judson University, David started as an intern for Dan Cook at Building God's Way in 2013. It was here that he participated in hundreds of design charrettes for churches across the nation. Spending most of his time on the preliminary design team, David honed his skills in helping churches visualize their new buildings and come up with unique solutions to meet their facility needs. Upon graduation in 2015, he dedicated his career to growing God's kingdom through architecture. In 2019, David left BGW to once again reunite with Dan Cook in order to serve ministries through Daniel Cook Architect. Going forward, David is thrilled to be a part of helping communities thrive and advance the Kingdom through innovative church design.

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Rev. Catherine Tobey 

Managing Partner, Pastor

Upon earning a Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary, Catherine returned home to Utah to work with DCA. An ordained Presbyterian minister, she was trained in a church plant in urban Philadelphia and is deeply passionate about developing unique strategic plans that enable ministries to best serve their neighbors. Catherine has been involved in a variety of church and para-church ministries, as well as for-profit and non-profit endeavors. For four years she served as the Administrator at a Christian school and child care center, where she facilitated a strategic rebranding and marketing plan, operational overhaul, and over 3 million dollars worth of awards, grants, and government aid. In addition, she and her husband founded Arcadia Guided Outdoor Education, a sustainable ministry that provides opportunities for children and youth to hike, rock climb, and backpack across Utah, while learning what it means to love their neighbor. Catherine grew up under her father's desk, involved in BGW since its inception and in DCA throughout her life. Having worked with hundreds of churches, she has developed a wide variety of skills that benefit the Christian leaders she mentors today.

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Aftter graduating from Judson University with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, Jon and his wife Makenzie moved to Utah. With experience in residential and church design, Jon is also a craftsman, skilled in carpentry, welding, and much more. This joint sense for design and how things work makes him a crucial member of the DCA team. That is, of course, besides how much he loves to design things that make a difference. When he's not exploring various entrepreneurial pursuits, Jon loves spending time outside, especilaly skiing and biking.

Jon Tiedemann 

Project Designer

Resources

We can’t help but be excited when we hear stories about ministries being involved in their communities in interesting ways. If you’re looking for some inspiration or camaraderie, you’ve come to the right place. 

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Daniel Cook Architect 10 Tsunamis

10 Tsunamis Impacting Ministries

In 2015, Dan wrote 10 Tsunamis Impacting Ministries. While this book uncovers 10 challenges that will confront ministries across the country, we are seeing them play out faster than we ever imagined. This volume will help you better understand some challenges you’re probably already facing and offer some “evacuation routes” to consider as you plan for what's next. Contact Catherine for a free copy today, and stay tuned for a newly revised version to be released this year!

 

Testimonials

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” - Matthew 9:37, Luke 10:2 (NRSV)

As you discern what God is calling you to next, know that many have paved the way. Below are some anecdotes from a few of our ministry partners, who have embraced change and experienced the Kingdom of God like never before.

Dan Cook has been an invaluable ally for our church in our current project. He knows construction. He knows architecture. And he knows how to get projects done. His advice and recommendations come from extensive experience and have saved us a great deal of money, while getting us into a desirable position. I don’t feel like we hired an architect, it's more like he joined our team.

Dave L., Victory Baptist Church

Our building is debt free and houses a Christian School of about 400, now Pre-School through 12th grade. Without Dan’s influence and help this would have never happened.

David D., Brookside Church

Finding Dan five years ago has connected me to the wisdom, experience and encouragement of someone who truly is focused on making a bigger difference than just designing and building structures and spaces. As you get to know him, you will find that many times he has ‘put money where his mouth is’ in developing daycares, event spaces, and other third spaces that empower the church to extend mission and ministry in this world. I’m grateful for our continued partnership and I know I have found someone whose partnership will go far beyond completing a building.

David H., Venture Church

DCA has provided an opportunity for our church to complete needed property renovations while also addressing several of the most urgent needs of our community. DCA is a win/win for our ministries and creates a whole new future for this church!

Jim D., Arden Church of the Nazarene

Working with Dan has been a great experience! Dan is an expert on helping churches craft their vision and use their resources for incredible kingdom impact in their local communities and around the world. God is using Dan's business and architectural expertise to help us better reach our community with the gospel and create financial sustainability for years to come!

Danny B., North Metro Church

I have worked with 7 different architects, over 7 different ministry projects. Dan Cook has been by far the best I have ever worked with. His ability to take our church's dreams and make them a reality in a short amount of time is incredible. I recommend him to anyone, big or small, who has dreams for their church to expand.

Terry S., Liberty Towers Church