Over ten of John’s family members are currently in prison. He was a self-described ‘monster without a conscience,’ yet God did a work of transformation in his life. We hear the story of John Turnipseed – once a notorious gang leader, now a sought after speaker and director of the Fathering Center at Urban Ventures in Minneapolis. Learn about a new video curriculum from his journey addressing poverty, drugs, violence, and the promise of hope through Christ no matter what. Listen as John shares his experience growing up on welfare, being bullied, feeling out of place in his community, but eventually being saved by Christ.

In this interview John and Neil talk about the following topics:

How John’s experience with an abusive, alcoholic father affected his life.

How John filled the loneliness in his life with gang activity.

“I became the beast of the playground… I had a bunch of friends who surrounded me. I became somehow the leader of this group of 4-5 guys and attracted the attention of older guys.” Eventually his group grew to include dozens of men who stole, did drugs, and caused fear around the city.

What led to his first stint in jail at the age of 18.

How to break the legacy of violence and imprisonment in a family. John shared his own mistakes in fatherhood. “Instead of raising children, I raised criminals.” In a short period of time, John’s own son was shot by a rival gang, John himself was arrested for 50 felonies, and things took a turn for the worse.

What led to John’s eventual heart change.

The mission behind Urban Ventures and the Fathering Center.

The difficult transition for an inmate leaving the prison life and how the church can minister to them.

The importance of the church being involved in ending domestic violence and breaking the cycle of gang activity.

Highlight – Redemption story

Redemption story

Image: Flickr

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