One year later – The legacy of Dan Celia

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News


One year ago today, Dan Celia, the founder and president of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries, passed into glory at the age of 68.

Dan was, in every sense of the phrase, a man of God. He grew up in hardship and difficulty, yet the Lord was at work in his childhood, using his challenges to form him into a man of strong conviction and bold leadership.

Right out of high school, Dan joined the United States Navy during the Vietnam War, serving his country with honor from 1971-1977. Several years later, he married the love of his life, Yvonne. They had two girls and eight grandchildren during their 42 years of marriage.

As a young man, Dan worked as a bond trader on Wall Street, where he developed his vast knowledge of finances, the markets, and the ways in which politics and societal events would impact the financial sphere.

But even more important than this was Dan’s salvation in Jesus Christ.

Early in his marriage, Dan heard the testimonies of several men, and the Lord used these men to save Dan’s soul: surgeon and future politician Dr. Ben Carson, and two pastors, Dr. Charles Stanley and Dr. Adrian Rodgers.

Dan was moved by the words of Dr. Rodgers as he listened to his message on the radio driving home one evening. Not only was this a pivotal moment in Dan’s salvation, but it was also a foreshadowing of Dan’s calling later in life: to counsel millions of people through his own radio program, “Financial Issues with Dan Celia.”

So in 1997, after developing a wealth of knowledge in finances, politics, and the biblical worldview, Dan created and began hosting “Financial Issues” as a means to help Christians to invest their money in God-honoring ways. The radio program grew from a tiny operation in his home to a nationally syndicated show, on over 700 stations at its height.

He became a pioneer in biblically responsible investing (BRI), a financial strategy that guides investors into long-term portfolios where they refuse to put their God-given money into companies that support the things that would grieve His heart, such as gambling, abortion, and pornography.

The Lord blessed Dan’s faithfulness, and over the next 25 years, the growth of the radio program generated the growth of a full-fledged radio and television ministry, Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries.

Dan remained at the helm of the ministry and behind the mic on Financial Issues up until the weeks before his death on March 30, 2022.

Author’s Note

I am humbled by the fact that God allowed me to know Dan Celia on a personal level for many years.

I first met him in a far earlier chapter of my life when I was a very young boy. He was the chair of the elder board at my home church in suburban Philadelphia, and he became a spiritual counselor and guide to my family for many years.

Later in my life, Dan’s generosity was incredibly formational in my marriage to my wife Megan in 2016. Then in 2020, we reconnected again, and we began the conversation about me joining his ministry staff. Late in 2020, Dan hired me as the producer of Financial Issues.

For more than a year, I listened to Dan, sat with Dan, learned from Dan, and talked with Dan both on and off the air. We talked about our families, our struggles, our joys, and so many more things. Dan prayed for me, counseled me, disciplined me when necessary, encouraged me, joked with me, and shepherded me as a father in the faith should do for a younger brother in Christ.

He cared for and encouraged my wife whenever he had the opportunity. He held my daughter whenever he saw her. And he celebrated with great joy when I told him that we were expecting our second child, my son, who was born eight weeks after Dan’s passing.

I loved Dan, and I looked up to him as a man after God’s own heart. I was devastated when he passed from this life.

But the beauty of the gospel is the hope of eternal life, and this, I believe, is the legacy of Dan Celia. He possessed a sanctified discontentment with this world because he knew he belonged to a far better place.

He knew he was a sinner who needed God’s grace. He often used to say “I am the wretch the song refers to.” He understood that he needed the blood of Jesus, and it is by the blood of Jesus alone that he lives eternally in heaven today.

As we look back this day on our founder’s legacy, the year after his entrance into glory, this is my encouragement for you: The hope of eternal life is real, and if you belong to Christ, it is yours as well.

You need God’s grace. You need him to reach down and save you from your sins. Friends, this gift of grace is offered freely to all who would turn from their sin and place their faith in Jesus Christ. The gift is free to you because Jesus paid for it with the ultimate price: His life.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.  – Isaiah 53:5

When your time comes, nothing else will matter except this. Do not delay. Trust in Jesus Christ today as your Lord and Savior, and you will experience the hope of eternal life.

For those of you that have already done so, press on. Hold fast to the promises of God. We are one day closer to heaven than we were yesterday. Take heart, and remember the One to whom you belong.

Let us be ever more confident of the day as it approaches, when we will hear those words that Dan heard one year ago when he entered the Kingdom of God: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.  – Matthew 25:21