John Turnipseed was raised in a thriving Christian family, until his dad moved from Alabama to Minnesota. When John and the rest of his family arrived in Minnesota, his dad was a changed man. He went from being the hero to the villain as he began cheating on his mom and came home each night to beat her.

John grew up to become a gang leader and at one point had 50 felony charges leveled against him. By God’s grace, he was granted parole and was invited to a place called The Center for Fathering.

“A friend of mine who was an ex-con got hired by this organization and he invited me to come to the center. I agreed to go because he was my friend and I wanted to help him. Little did I know I was the first client for The Center for Fathering.”

John was on parole, but had been working as a teacher. One day, the local news station came to the school he was teaching at with cameras and told John’s students about his past life.

“They did not know who I was, nobody knew that I had all those felonies. No one knew about my past life and I always wore suits so they thought I was this nice teacher guy. I went into my office and for the first time in my adult life I was ashamed. My adult students kept asking me what I had done; I went into my office and just started crying. I didn’t know what to do and I couldn’t kill myself.”

John told God that if He was really God, He had to come right now.

“’I have nothing left. If you don’t come I don’t know what I’m going to do’ and He came. I had barricaded myself in my office and He said, ‘get up off the floor, dust yourself off, you’re my son and I got you.’”

After God met Him, John walked out of his office with a smile on his face and his life has never been the same since. John’s story has come full circle as he is now the Director of the same Center for Fathering that he went to all those years ago.


John Turnipseed is a former gang leader, pimp and drug dealer, who spent his childhood battling demons brought on by a volatile, abusive father. In a 20-year journey, John Turnipseed has transformed into a community leader, pastor, speaker, and serves as the Director of The Center for Fathering and Vice President of Urban Ventures, a 21-year-old non-profit set in the heart of the same Minneapolis gang territory that John and his family terrorized.

Key Scripture: Matthew 14:22-34

Featured Songs: Revival – Third Day; Comeback – Danny Gokey; Your Love Defends Me – Matt Maher

John Turnipseed - A transformed life

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