What started as a plan to stay close to home turned into a move half way across the nation for a South Carolina man, but he and his family are at peace with the long-distance relocation as they believe it is part of God’s plan for them.
Josh Black officially went to work for the First Baptist Church of Memphis as the new associate pastor of students on June 16th.
Black, a native of Union, South Carolina, initially had applied for the job this spring, believing it was located in Memphis, Tennessee.
“I really felt like God had put in on my heart, that I should start looking for full-time employment in ministry,” he said. “I had prayed about it a lot, and always with the mind that God keep us close to home.”
But an assumption made by many people when they hear the city name Memphis, led Josh to think the job opportunity was much closer to home.
But after talking with representatives of the local church, he said he quickly was at peace with the sudden jump more than 15 hours away on the map.
“I’m from a small community as well,” he said. “Well it’s a bit bigger, with stop lights and a Wal-Mart, but I’m definitely more comfortable in a small community environment.”
He noted that despite living just 12 miles from work, his commute often lasted 45 minutes or more.
“Now I can walk to work or pretty much anywhere in town in less time than that,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll miss the hustle and bustle of city life.”
After graduating from North Greenville University with a bachelor’s degree in business, Josh said he found it difficult to find work in his chosen career path, banking, duo to the economic downturn at the time.
Instead he found employment on the education front/ During his time working in the school system, Josh began coaching middle school football and softball.
“I loved what I was doing,” he said. “Sure it was a long way from banking, but I truly loved working with the kids.”
It was that passion that sparked a Facebook post, announcing his search for churches in need of help with youth programs.
That was in October of 2011. Josh didn’t have to wait long, as his message was received and he joined the youth ministry team at a local church in South Carolina. Two months later he was serving as a youth minister and returning to school to earn his master’s degree in Christian Ministry.
After working several years in a part-time capacity, Josh said he felt the Lord calling him to fully commit to the ministry field, a call that led him to answer the advertisement for the position in Memphis.
Still a bit leery of the distance from home, Josh agreed to make a visit for a job interview. During the process, the school system learned that his wife, Chasity, is a teacher, and an interview was set up with her regarding possible vacancies at SCR-I.
“While I believe God has put me here to work with kids, I think Chasity also has a calling as a teacher, so it was very important to me that this move was able to keep both of us where we belong.”
That proved the case, as Mrs. Black was hired to start in the 2018-19 school year at SCR-I.
“At times it seemed like a big change, but we quickly felt the Lord at work, orchestrating things, putting us at peace with such a huge life change,” said Josh.
Since his move earlier in June, Black has already begun work on a vacation Bible school as well as other summer activities for local youth. He is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his family later this month. Chasity and their two sons, Jericho (four-years-old) and Elijah (seven months) will be making the move later in July.