In January 1999, Desiring God was four years old and in a growth spurt. Our office was partly in two old Sunday School rooms and partly on the balcony of Bethlehem Baptist Church's vacated (and now demolished) old sanctuary. We had eight staff members, growing demands, and new dreams. But we needed someone with serious organizational horsepower to help us before things got out of hand.
And the Lord sent Bill Walsh.
Bill joined the DG team at the beginning of February of that year as our Production and Distribution Manager. Mainly it meant he made things run. And he did it really well. As DG grew, so did his job. Pretty soon he was Director of Operations.
But by 2006, the Lord had kindled a missions fire in Bill's heart and he felt compelled to help DG do more to equip leaders in regions of the world where theological resources are scarce. We had always sought to serve these brothers and sisters. But Bill had a dream of taking this to a whole new level.
That dream became a department that we called International Outreach. And Bill, being an entrepreneurial builder, turned it into something amazing. He recruited and deployed a small army of dedicated, creative volunteers and together they made hundreds of contacts with resource spreaders all over the world and put tens of thousands of books and other resources into the hands of leaders in the developing world. This energetic team worked to grow our international reach so that we now have versions of our website in nine other languages, and over 1,400 translated online resources in 48 languages.
But as Bill's grasp of the global need grew he realized that these leaders needed a wider range of resources by authors other than just John Piper. And this caused a season of prayerful wrestling for us because as Bill's vision was clarifying, it was also becoming clearer to us that at DG we needed to hone our focus on our core calling: making John Piper's resources available free on the web.
And the Lord sent The Gospel Coalition (TGC).
Last year TGC shared with us their desire to do the kind of international work DG had been doing. And, long story short, the result of our discussions was a joint decision that the best place to house the broader scope of DG's theological famine relief for the global church was under TGC and that Bill should join TGC's team to lead this exciting and urgently-needed mission. It was a natural fit.
It made all the sense in the world. But it still is not easy to say goodbye to Bill. 13 years of shared ministry is precious.
And these were a very fruitful 13 years. Bill's fingerprints are all over DG and will be for many years. We benefit everyday from systems he put in place. The breadth of our international reach is due so much to his labors.
So this is a chance to thank you publicly, Bill. You were a gift from God and, like most of God's gifts, a far bigger one than I realized when you first came. You will really be missed. But it's a joy to see God redeploy you where you will be able to do what is burning in your heart. I can't wait to see what grows in the years to come.