Dan Ambrose: Ministry as Teacher, Parent & Coach
Written by Katherine Upton
For high school history teacher and head high school baseball coach Dan Ambrose, Heritage hits close to home. His four children all currently attend HCS—one in elementary school, one in intermediate school, and two in high school.
“I’m mostly in the high school and I rub shoulders every day with teachers that I see pouring into students, praying for students, working after school to help students with their math, and giving of their time and talent to serve these kids,” Ambrose said. “Obviously, that’s great and inspiring to see as a teacher, but it’s been really cool over the past 12 or 13 years to see that affect my own kids—seeing teachers spend time with them and pour into their lives.”
Beyond the impact on his family, during his 22 years teaching at Heritage, Ambrose has built lifelong friendships with his fellow history faculty, Len Somers and Dave Watt.
“It is such a joy to work with your best friends,” Ambrose said. “They are all like-minded, love kids, and love their subject matter.”
I rub shoulders every day with teachers that I see pouring into students, praying for students, working after school to help students with their math, and giving of their time and talent to serve these kids.
These friendships have developed a teaching environment that is both fun and instructive as the three teachers will periodically pop into one another’s classrooms. Over the years, Ambrose attests to a shift in his teaching and coaching philosophy. Starting out, his goal was to encourage every student to love history and every athlete on his team to love baseball. Today, Ambrose’s hope is that every student who walks into his classroom would have a sense of peace and a positive feeling.
Prior to Heritage or teaching in a similar Christian school environment, Ambrose always envisioned himself teaching in public schools. After several offers, Ambrose felt the Lord direct him to a Christian school in Milwaukee. After a few years, Ambrose and his wife relocated to the Indianapolis area where he began teaching at Heritage. “It’s less that I chose Heritage,” Ambrose said. “God chose it for me.”
The Ambrose family celebrating Jadon's college signing.
Ambrose sees Heritage as a school full of ministry opportunities. He recognizes that not every student walking down the hallways of Heritage has a real salvation relationship or a full commitment to Christ. He values the freedom to pray with students and share Scripture in a way that holistically meets their needs.
These ministry opportunities afford Ambrose the chance to help students see on a daily basis what Christianity looks like in flesh and blood and in fallen people.
This approach expands into Ambrose’s leadership as head coach of the baseball program. Ambrose sees coaching as the opportunity to have even greater influence as he spends three to four hours per day coaching players and time on weekends headed to games and tournaments.
Ambrose considers service a vital part of his baseball program. Every other summer, he leads a service trip to the Dominican Republic. His hope is that players will have one if not two opportunities to go on the trip during their time as student athletes. However, the opportunity is not exclusive to Heritage students. In past years, students from Pike, Carmel, Ben Davis, Brownsburg and other nearby schools have joined the Heritage baseball team for this ministry opportunity and the friendly rivalries that emerge from it.
These ministry opportunities don’t always require a passport. The team cancels practice one day every season to help with yardwork in the surrounding neighborhood. Ambrose knows that many times baseballs fly into the neighboring yards so the service day allows the team to thank the neighbors for their graciousness and give back to the community.
From 1996 to today, Ambrose has ministered to students and athletes alike in a manner encouraging service, learning, and relationship with Christ.