Josh Byers


Writing about books, culture, ministry, design and my family

The Calling

A couple months ago I faced one of the hardest decisions of my life. If I followed through I would leave a church that I helped start with some amazing friends. I would have to say goodbye to a youth group full of the best students in the world that my wife and I led for almost 5 years. We would need move out of a small town community that we had involved ourselves in. I would need to tell my daughter she was going to a new school and would be leaving her friends. And I would be leaving full time job that I loved with awesome coworkers, paid well and had every opportunity for advancement.

I left all of this to be a pastor at Willow Creek Baptist Church.

Most would say I was crazy. But in that moment while being insanely difficult, the decision was also easy.


Because I know this is what I was meant to do.

I was called.

Traditionally throughout church history pastors have been identified in two ways. First through an internal call, which is the person's own desire to be a pastor and secondly through an external call which is the affirmation of those around him.

The apostle Paul in a letter to Timothy told him, "If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position."

This inward call was described by Martin Luther as “God’s voice heard by faith.” Charles Spurgeon described it as “an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work.” Basically those called sense a growing compulsion to preach and teach the Bible, and to minister to the people of God.

This is a compulsion I've had for a long time and while I've been able to dedicate part of my life and work to satisfy this desire I've always wanted to have the opportunity to take my passions, talents, and gifts and use them full time to work in a church.

Spurgeon famously warned those who asked his advice to avoid working in the ministry at all costs and to only continue if they could do nothing else. “If he cannot help it, and he must preach or die, then he is the man.”

I love to teach and preach and I desire nothing more than to communicate the Bible in ways that people can understand.

So with that the people at Willow Creek recognized my desire and affirmed the qualities for a pastor and asked me to join them.

I am so grateful for my brothers and sisters at Lakeside and you all have done so much to help me grow. I'm also grateful for the people at Copyblogger. You gave me an amazing gift of being able to do things I loved, have a ton of fun doing them all while being at home with my family.

I can't wait to see how this next chapter in my life unfolds.