Words by Elizabeth Williams | Image Courtesy Jeff Johnsey and Northside Baptist Church
“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.”
Brother David Byrd, Senior Pastor of Jasper’s Northside Baptist Church, builds his church around this verse. “That is why we gather to worship on Sundays, to lift Him up. It is about Him, not me,” he says.
While David is well known in the community for his role leading the congregation, his road to ministry was not a straight and narrow path.
David’s father and grandfather worked on the railroad. Being the oldest son, David believed the same was in store for him, but God had other plans. At the age of thirteen David became a follower of Christ, and three years later he began to feel the pull towards ministry. He believed this was a mistake and ignored it. Eventually, while attending the University of Georgia, David found himself miserable, seemingly fighting with God. He surrendered, but not without telling God, “When you realized you made a mistake calling me, you let me know.” Forty-four years later, God has yet to let him know.
As David celebrates twenty-five years at Northside Baptist Church, he reflects on his time there. It has not always been easy. He has seen many members, friends, and family go during his time, be that through parting ways with church or by staying faithful until God called them home. But those dimmer moments are contrasted with the bright air of watching the babies he dedicates to Christ grow up, come to faith, and being able to recognize their graduations on Senior Sunday.
Some of David’s biggest influences are his family members. From the first time he met Marilyn, he knew he was going to marry her. Coincidentally, at a young age, God told Marilyn she would marry someone in the ministry. Together they had two daughters, Chelsea and Lauren, who are both still involved in the church at Northside.
The community of believers who come together every Sunday at Northside Baptist to worship, learn, and grow in their faith have made Jasper David’s home. His personal journey to ministry and his dedication to exalting the Lord has inspired those around him, and he looks forward to seeing how the church will continue to grow and change as they continue to lift each other up and magnify the Lord together. WL