Meet Dr. Josh Laxton

lead pastor

and his family

A Message from PASTOR Josh

About Josh

God has richly blessed me with an amazing gorgeous wife, along with three beautiful children. Because of Jesus I stand redeemed and have the hope of one day being fully restored. I am amazed that I get to be part of God’s revolutionary story and mission in this world. God is on mission to turn his world “right-side” up given the fact that man, in his sin, has turned it “upside-down.” Thus, my aim in life is to be a believer, husband, father, and pastor who glorifies God in all areas of my life through faithful obedience, in order to project a “movie” trailer of the restorative future believers have in Christ. As God uses me as a conduit for his glory, my prayer is that he will draw people to himself where they get to experience true life in Christ in the here and now.

I’m a native of Tennessee and have been serving the local church in vocational ministry for almost twenty years mainly as a Lead Pastor replanting and revitalizing churches. I’ve received a B.A. from Union University in Jackson, TN, a MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, and a PhD in North American Missiology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

I would consider myself a scholar-practitioner who is passionate about mobilizing the church to effectively participate in the Missio-Dei. I’ve worked with and written for LifeWay Research, Ed Stetzer, NewChurches, and I currently serve as the Co-Director of the Billy Graam Center and Co-Director of Lausanne North America at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. I also serve as an adjunct professor at the Wheaton College Graduate School of Ministry, Mission, and Leadership as well as part-time as the Young Adult/Teaching Pastor at Wheaton Bible Church in West Chicago, IL.

Hobbies/Enjoyments Include: Golf, working out, anything competitive, eating, desserts, and sipping on good coffee! I am also dabbling in triathlons.

Favorite Movies: Star Wars (all of them), Goonies (can I get a “Hey you guys!”), Miracle (I cry every time tears of joy), and National Treasure 1&2. There are more, but these are a good start.

Favorite Authors/Books: James Davison Hunter (To Change the World)—I based my dissertation on him and this work, Lesslie Newbigin (Gospel in a Pluralist Society), Christopher Wright (The Mission of God), John Piper (Let the Nations be Glad), Michael Goheen (A Light to the Nations), and Tim Keller.

Favorite song: David Crowder, “Come As You Are.”

(One of my) Favorite Bible Verse: Colossians 3:1-4, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Optimistic View of the Future of the Church: There is no denying that the church in North America has been and continues to be marginalized by the greater culture. As a result, the church is trying to find what her posture and stance should be in this rapidly changing environment. Although this culture is rapidly changing, it is a culture that is broken, divided, and fragmented. The condition of the culture presents an opportunity for the church to live and share the “gospel” of Jesus in a way that presents God’s vision for the world, and how he is in the process of enacting that vision to redeem every aspect of our lives, communities, cities, and world. In short, it’s a great time to “be” the church.

Notes from the Pastor Search Committee & Elders

Danny Gordon, Governing Elder, Chairman

Through the ups and downs, and the waiting…and the waiting, God was preparing both us and Pastor Josh for this moment in His perfect timing. As we have prayed for the Spirit’s guidance throughout the process, we have seen Him change our hearts from ones full of urgency and planning to ones full of patience and deference to His will and to each other. I can’t wait to welcome Pastor Josh, Joannie, Caleb, Ellie, and Luke into our church family as we proclaim the Gospel together to a world that is yearning for the redemption that can only be found through Jesus!

LeDonna Almon, Pastor Search Comittee

Having the privilege to serve on the Pastor Search Committee has allowed me to see how the Holy Spirit brings about unity and affirmation of who He has called to be the Lead Pastor for this next season of His church at Northland. To be able to hear the heartfelt prayers for God’s will to be done every time we met and during the Tuesday morning prayer time with other staff, elders, pastors, and ministry leaders for almost two years, as well as to have other congregants share what God was putting on their hearts to pray for has allowed me to see the Spirit’s moving in our entire body. Once again I am seeing the faithfulness of God. He is an amazing God!

Chris Storms, Governing Elder

One of the things I love most about Pastor Josh and his wife Joannie is their authenticity. What you see is what you get, and what you see is a whole lot of Jesus and a whole lot of humility. I'm excited to welcome them into our church family to walk alongside them in our journey to be more like Jesus.

Carroll Woehr, Pastor Search Committee

God answered our prayers to bring us a pastor that models the character of the good shepherd, Jesus. Pastor Josh is a loving shepherd, honors others above himself, full of spiritual zeal, authentic, faithful in prayer, patient, compassionate and obedient to God’s calling. God’s timing is perfect, and I am so grateful.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” - Romans 12:9-13

Vince Taylor, Governing Elder

Pastor Josh has the maturity that seasoned Christians can relate to, coupled with the youth that will engage the young to come along with him as he follows Christ.  He promises to be a true gift from God to Northland for years to come.

John Cortines, Governing Elder

God’s timing is perfect. We have been led by the Holy Spirit to the right leader, at the right time. He has shaped and formed us as a community to be more like Him through our time of waiting, and I’m so excited for our next season under Pastor Josh’s godly leadership.

Watch Josh's Sermons

Moody Missions Conference 2021 - Sermon begins at 59 mins in

Wheaton Bible Church, Wheaton, IL - Rest 12/26/21 - Sermon begins at 30 mins in

Wheaton Bible Church (Wheaton, IL) - Love Always - 6/13/21 - Sermon begins at 25 mins in

Wheaton Bible Church (Wheaton, IL) - The Upper Room: Five Hours with The Master | The Way - 1/24/21 - Sermon begins at 14 mins in


Upcoming Preaching Weekends

march 26 - 27


april 2-3


april 17



What will Pastor Gus' role look like once the new Lead Pastor arrives?

Pastor Gus will remain on staff and transition into a discipleship role, helping us bring discipleship into all facets of ministry at Northland.

When is Pastor Josh's first day on staff?

March 26.

When will we officially commission Pastor Josh as our new Lead Pastor?

We are planning a standalone commissioning service that will take place sometime after Easter. Details to come.

How many candidates were interviewed for this role before extending an offer to Pastor Josh?

Over 300 candidates applied and we interviewed 17 individuals.

More questions?

Email us at