July 5th marked Joshua Earman's first service as City Church's Assistant Pastor. To help you all get to know him (and his family) a little better, we asked him a few questions...
What led you to pursue the Assistant Pastor position at City Church...as opposed to anywhere else in the world? Hearing about the focus of the church for the city of Richmond in addition to the particular emphasis as an Assistant Pastor on city groups, Adult discipleship classes, and opportunities to support outreach to college students were the main draws for me. To serve Christ and the church in these ways is a great honor and to do so in Virginia is a sweet gift since our families live in Virginia.
What are you excited about as you take on this new position? What are you nervous about? I’m most excited about getting to know the people of City Church and talking about Jesus with them and the people of Richmond. I haven’t felt nervous but ready to know everybody and jump in. We are all on the get to know you phase and that is good and important but I’m looking forward to a year from now when we have walked together for some time.
Who/what have been the biggest influences in your life (in any respect--intellectually, spiritually, personality-wise, etc)? My parents, men who led ministries I participated in: C.J. Goeller at Intervarsity, Dan Flynn with Cru, Phil Smuland former pastor at Covenant Presbyterian in Harrisonburg. And some close friends who walked with me and would share the lessons they were learning, often through hardship. Jerram Barrs at Covenant Theological Seminary influenced me with his boundless compassion for those far from God and his courage to weep with those who weep and delight with those rejoice.
From what sources do you draw ideas for your sermons (other than the Bible, of course)? I often draw from conversations I have had with others because I will hear stories of loss, of doubt, of good surprises, which connect with the greater story of what God is doing through his people and why we need Jesus.
What part of town do you live in? Ginter Park in the Northside. We are a few blocks from Union Seminary.
Where did you grow up? Most of my life I grew up in the small town of New Market, VA in the Shenandoah Valley with my parents and two younger brothers.
How did you meet your wife? We met at James Madison University. At the time I was interning with Cru and she was a student leader who worked with me in the area of small groups. Her character and service to others drew my attention so after a thumbs up from my director I asked her out. Campus ministry got a whole lot better afterward.
What's one thing we should know about each of your kids? We have four kids; Anna, 9; Beth, 8; Eva, 6; and Isaac, 4. Anna likes to create in all manners: art, short stories, comics, paper houses (you will have to ask her about them.) Beth hopes to live in the country on a farm but is putting up nicely with living in Richmond. Eva has not developed a filter yet so if you ask her opinion it will be plain and honest. Isaac is a boy of few words, perhaps because I compare him to his very verbal sisters. He will possibly ask you to play cars or ‘chase’ with him. Chase is like tag but you are not to actually succeed in catching him.
What does a typical weekday look like for you? Meet with people for breakfast and lunch, in the office to plan events, prepare studies, and work with Erik to serve City Church well. In the fall I will lead a City Group and resource City Group leaders and other ministries in the church. I will meet with 5-10 people a week for encouragement, counsel, or ministry support.
What does a typical weekend look like for you? Our family does an evening pizza and movie night. Saturdays are half house project, half family fun which is often going to a park together. We typically will have people over one of the nights of the weekend for dinner.
What are some of your favorite books? Peace like a River by Leif Enger, Tess of D’Ubervilles by Hardy (hated it in high school, found it tragic and brilliant on the 2nd read - a scathing cynical look at social class and justice). The Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings, Reason for God by Timothy Keller, The Cross and the Kingdom by Goldsworthy, When People are Big and God Is Small by Ed Welch, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be by Plantiga, anything by Sinclair Ferguson, mysteries by Louise Penny, the naval stories of Horatio Hornblower (terrible name but fun to read).
What are some of your favorite foods? Favorite restaurants in town? Thai, Chinese, Peruvian chicken, BBQ Favorites restaurants: too soon but I will gladly take recommendations.
What type of music to do you listen to? I primarily listen to hip hop by guys on a label called Lampmode. When with the family I listen to Americana like Mumford and Sons, All Sons and Daughters, Derek Webb, and Red Mountain Music. The White Stripes and the Black Keys are also in heavy rotation in the car. Any big plans for the summer? Staycation in RVA!
How can the congregation be praying for you and your family as you enter into your work here at City Church? Whenever there is a big transition it can create under the surface stress in a family. Kids act funny, I get tired a little more easily, there is crankiness as we all say good bye to everything familiar and embrace all that is new. You can pray for us to find rest in Jesus as we make Richmond our new home. That as a family we would be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. We are all extremely excited to join with City Church in making Christ’s kingdom visible to Richmond.