Former Texas youth pastor charged

Joshua Earls, 28, former student pastor at Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, was arrested earlier this week on two counts of indecency with a child by contact.

By Bob Allen

A former youth minister at a Southern Baptist church in Texas is free on $100,000 bond following his arrest on charges of inappropriate contact with female victims under the age of 17.

joshua earlsLocal media report that Joshua Earls, 28, former student pastor at Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, was arrested earlier this week on two counts of indecency with a child by contact. His brother, 24-year-old Jordan Earls, a former adult volunteer at the church who now lives in South Carolina, is described as a person of interest.

Josh Earls grew up in North Carolina and majored in religious studies at Gardner-Webb University. He moved in 2005 to Fort Worth, Texas, to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his master of divinity degree in 2009 and began serving at Arapaho Road Baptist Church, a congregation affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Southern Baptist Convention.

Earls resigned after four years as student pastor last July, reportedly to follow a call into preaching and church planting.

Detectives said current accusations are part of an active investigation, but they suspect there are other alleged victims who have not yet come forward. The church is contacting and letting parents and youth know what is going on. Police believe any possible victims were all female and under the age of 17.