Ben and Erin Napier of HGTV‘s “Home Town” view their hit show as a form of Christian ministry, even if they don’t evangelize or explicitly talk about their religious beliefs on the series. In a new podcast, the star couple opened up about their faith and how they believe it’s woven into their work as they renovate houses in their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi.
Ben Napier Says TV Stars Can Minister, Too
On November 23, 2022, the Salvation Army released the first episode of its new Love Beyond podcast, hosted by the organization’s national Commissioners, Kenneth and Jolene Hodder. The episode features the Hodders’ video call with the Napiers, who serve as ambassadors for the nonprofit, which has worked to serve those in need around the world since the 1800s.
Given the Salvation Army’s Christian principles, a significant portion of the interview was spent discussing the Napiers’ faith and how they let it guide them in their work, from Ben sharing a Bible verse every morning on Twitter to them helping people feel more at home on their show.
“We get a lot of messages from people that tell us they can see our faith even if we don’t talk about it,” Erin shared. “That’s really lovely to hear because you wish you could say more about your faith when you have a public platform. And it often gets edited away.”
She continued, “But it’s so lovely that people are still finding light and optimism and positivity, which for us comes from a relationship with Christ, but for them it may be the first step to wanting to learn more about that. And so I feel lucky that that’s what we get to do for a living every day.”
Growing up, both of Ben’s parents were ministers. And before he became a woodworker and TV host, he was the youth minister at Laurel First United Methodist Church, per HGTV. Though he resigned in 2014, he told the Hodders that he doesn’t believe a person has to be a preacher, youth minister, or commissioner like them to make an impact.
“It’s great to be on this side of the ministry and see, you know, even TV stars can minister in different ways,” he said.
Erin Napier Says She Thinks of God as the ‘Ultimate Artist’
Speaking from their local Salvation Army shelter where they updated two rooms in September, the Napiers said their individual skills — Erin’s work as an artist and Ben’s as a woodworker — are reflections of their faith.
“If we’re made in God’s image, he’s the ultimate artist, the greatest artist of all time,” Erin said. “And so all believers are just trying to be…I mean, ‘Christian’ is ‘little Christ,’ right? We’re trying to be a little like God in creating something that has beauty and something that has meaning. I guess that is always the ultimate goal, to reflect beauty and love and joy in the things that we do.”
Erin said she feels, as an artist, she has an acute awareness of all the little miracles and elements of beauty in her midst. She said that a beloved, local OBGYN who pursued medicine after witnessing a baby’s birth has relayed that he feels the same way about his work.
“He saw the miracle of a life created and when you’re so close to it, you cannot see that without knowing that God exists and He created everything with such intent and love and purpose,” Erin explained. “I feel like artists and doctors are probably both attune to something there that many other people overlook.”
As for Ben, he said he and his colleagues at their Scotsman Woodshop see the presence of God in the details of each piece of wood they work with.
“We just recently built something and we had some wood that was pulled up out of a river,” Ben recalled. “And we don’t know how long it was buried, but the color had changed. And you couldn’t match it. We were like, ‘everything that will be visible on this piece of furniture has to come from this’ because there’s no way that we can do what God has done over time to this piece.”
The Napiers said giving back is also a big aspect of their religious beliefs, and that they love how the Salvation Army’s red kettles and “Angel Trees” at Christmastime are many kids’ introduction to the concept of charity work and giving to others. That was the case for them when they were kids, and it’s true of their four-year-old daughter, Helen.
“That was the first donation I ever made in my life, you know, putting change in the bucket when I was a little girl,” Erin remembered. “For both of us, that was our first introduction to how there is a great big world out there that’s bigger than yourself. And you have the power to help somebody.”
On November 28, Erin posted a new PSA in her Instagram Stories, featuring her and Ben asking fans to donate to the Salvation Army for Giving Tuesday, a day established to encourage Americans to give back to their favorite nonprofits.
New episodes of “Home Town” begin airing on HGTV on Sunday, December 4 at 8 pm Eastern.