David Byrd ’82 talks about his new book Get Your Truth Back.
As a strategy consultant for industry, David Byrd ’82 was used to fielding challenging requests. But the biggest test came from an unlikely place: the pastor at his church.
“Take a sabbatical,” his pastor requested of him. He needed Byrd to assist him in reframing the youth ministry.
Byrd paused to ask himself a fundamental question: “Where do I really get fulfilled?”
The answer was clear — and had been so since his UD days with fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi: mentoring young people and helping them find direction.
Byrd took the sabbatical — and six months extended into five years. He helped build a ministry that served 2,500 youth through 700 volunteers on the southside of Chicago. He eventually went back to school, earning master’s and doctoral degrees in divinity.
He drew on the experiences and stories of those interactions with youth to build his new book, Get Your Truth Back. Available in paper, electronic or interactive versions, it can be worked through individually or in a group or class setting.
Byrd begins with chapters grounding the reader in Scripture and an understanding that intentional reflection is necessary to avoid sin. He then builds on questions that require the reader to identify patterns of behavior, create a vision for the future, implement a spiritual plan and more.
His writing started as a way to connect with others.
“I would write letters and notes to individuals encouraging them, helping them think through situations, giving practical advice grounded in Biblical principles without preaching to them,” Byrd said. “A lot of people would say, ‘Wait, there’s a story like that in the Bible.’ Yes. Let’s talk about that.”
And he keeps talking — through youth ministry work, public lectures and phone calls with his fraternity brothers, who have adopted Byrd’s custom of reflective questions designed to create a considered response.