By Dean Niewolny, President and CEO of the Halftime Institute

David was an unlikely champion, sent by his father to the battlefield to not necessarily fight Goliath, but to take provisions to his brothers and their captains and report back. A father would not typically send his teenage son into a campaign such as this, much less to fight the champion of the Philistine army one-on-one.

Prior to this, David was chosen by God and anointed by Samuel to become king of Israel. Can you imagine David leaving his father’s house and returning to his duties as a shepherd after the Lord anointed him to be a king? Undoubtedly, during this time he was seeking God and a vision was being birthed in his spirit of how to lead Israel.

Perhaps Goliath was not part of his vision?

When he gets to the front line of the battle, something stirs deep inside of him. In 1 Samuel 17 as Goliath comes out and again defies the armies of God, David doesn’t ask if there is a battle plan or if there is a vision, he states, “Is there not a cause?”

David understood there was a cause greater than his fear, lack of training or giants in his path. This was his catapult moment. He knew it when he heard Goliath taunt him while his family and others stood behind him. This was what the very young man was made to do.

We were born, not just with a vision of what we could accomplish in our own lives, but we were born for a cause, one with true significance.

The difference between a vision and a cause is similar to the chasm between success and significance.

  • A vision (success) is something you possess, but a cause (significance) possesses you.
  • A vision (success) is linked to a lifetime, but a cause (significance) is eternal.
  • A vision will generate excitement, but a cause generates power.
  • A vision is often personal, but a cause is greater than any one person; bigger than any organization.


People generally will not die for a vision, yet they die for causes everyday around the world.

Of the tens of thousands of soldiers, David was the only one with the courage to make himself available to use his skills, strengths and energy to solve a problem that would produce significant Kingdom impact.

  • Am I a champion inside or merely a soldier sitting on the sidelines, waiting for someone else to slay the giant?
  • As long as there are people suffering with sickness and disease, we have a cause.
  • As long as there are homes and families being destroyed by works of the enemy, we have a cause.
  • As long as there are children being neglected, abused, and abandoned, we have a cause.
  • As long as there are people who have not heard of the name of Jesus, we have a cause.
  • As long as there are people hurting and needing the compassion, grace and mercy of a loving God, we have a cause.
  • As long as there is life, breath and strength within us, we have a cause.


Maybe you have asked yourself, “What can I do to make a difference? I don’t know where to start, and what if I fail”?  If you have giants keeping you from maximizing your unique design, identifying how to use your skills and passions, or simply identifying where to start, the Halftime Institute is here for you. We are dedicated to helping you work through these questions in this season of your life.




Dean Niewolny
Dean Niewolny spent 23 years in executive roles with three of Wall Street’s largest financial firms, finishing his career in the financial sector as market manager for Wells Fargo Advisors in Chicago, where he oversaw a $100mm market. While in Chicago, he and his wife, Lisa, traveled many times to Africa and, seeing the abject needs of widows and orphans, made life changes that enabled them to get involved, such as helping to complete an orphan home and a Hospice home in Durbin, South Africa.

In 2010, Dean traded his marketplace career for Halftime to help more people who, like him, wanted to expand their own “first half” success and skills into passion and purpose for meeting human needs and making a significant difference. Dean joined Halftime as Managing Director and in 2011 became Chief Executive Officer.

Dean speaks all over the world to marketplace leaders who desire to use their gifts and talents to serve others. His passion is to encourage business leaders to channel first-half achievement into a second half defined by joy, impact and balance. His first book, Trade Up: How to Move From Making Money to Making A Difference, was published by Baker Publishing and released in July 2017. Click here to buy Trade Up.

Having grown up playing sports—eventually in college and semi-professional baseball—Dean still enjoys coaching youth sports, especially his son’s little league teams. He and Lisa have two children and live in Southlake, Texas.