Religion is important to Ben and Erin Napier, stars of the HGTV home renovation show Home Town. In fact, Ben was the youth minister at Laurel First United Methodist Church in Laurel, Miss., until 2014.
“We each have our own special qualities, and God can use them,” Erin wrote a 2018 Guideposts essay. “If we’re open to the opportunities. If we let go of our fears and focus on our hopes. If we look for the blessings that come every day.”
Ben resigned from the church to focus on their business.
In an August 2014 blog post, Erin shared the letter of resignation Ben had just sent to their church family.
“This decision comes with much thought and prayer as I feel that this chapter in my life has come to an end,” Ben wrote at the time. “Erin and I are not going anywhere and will continue to be active in the life of First Methodist.”
In the letter, Ben said that he was resigning to join Erin in their business, Laurel Mercantile Co.
“When I started professional youth ministry ten years ago, I knew that it was not a ‘forever’ career,” he wrote. “This has been the most educational and fulfilling chapter of my life, but it is time for me to move on to the next one and take up a full-time role in the business Erin and I started back then. Once again, we feel that God is calling us to make another step with him.”
The couple’s TV career felt like an “affirmation” from God.
Two hours after Ben phoned the pastor with his decision to resign, Erin got an email from a producer at HGTV, as she revealed in her Guideposts essay.
“We were scared, and then we got this email that said, ‘I’m just in love with your town, your love story, and what you’re doing in Laurel, and I wondered if you’ve ever thought about doing TV,’” Erin said in a 2019 talk at Liberty University. “If you share it the right way, you’re passionate, and you’re authentic about the things that you love and believe in, other people feel like it gives them permission to believe in it, too.”
Added Ben, “At that point it didn’t feel like it was necessarily what God was saying He had planned for us, but instead it felt like an affirmation, that He was telling us to keep going and keep following.”
Faith is still the “guiding hand” in the couple’s lives.
“Faith has been part of my life for as long as I have been alive, and it’s the guiding hand in every decision we make together as a family,” Ben, the son of a preacher, said in a 2018 Q&A.
Erin added: “When I wonder why in the world this is happening to us of all people in the world, I know that it’s God authoring the story, and that gives me comfort in it. To know that we’re being used for something he has ordained, for however brief or long-term this whole thing may be, makes me feel like we can do this. Otherwise, I would feel too small and too unimportant to have this kind of spotlight.”