My name is Scott Johnson. I was raised in a Christian home. Not once do I ever remember not going to church. It was very important to my parents to raise both my sister and me in a solid, Christian home. Every morning before I would go to school, my dad would have devotions with me and we would pray together. Although I had godly parents and a strong, moral upbringing, it was not until I was 19 that I surrendered my life to Christ. I was not a horrible kid or very rebellious. I simply was not saved.
In the fall of 1987, my home church was having a revival. It was a classic “hellfire and brimstone” message driven revival. I remember my best friend “walking the aisle” to give his life to Christ. Like typical best friends, I wanted to do the same thing. So, I walked down the aisle, prayed the “sinner’s prayer,” and was baptized that following Sunday. However, nothing changed in my life. I was still the same person. I would still do the same things that I always had done: cuss, cheat and steal. Later, while I was in high school, I would add drinking into the mix. I loved God and would tell my friends about Him, but I never allowed Him to change my life (no change, no Jesus).
My junior year of high school, God began dealing with me about my hypocrisy. Wake up call number one arrived while I was at Sumter High School’s football game. I marched in the marching band. A few of us would sneak little shot bottles of liquor in our instrument cases to the game. I was pouring one in my Coke and offered a sip to my friend, Jason, next to me. Jason said, “No thank you, I’m a Christian, I don’t drink.” I responded, “I’m a Christian as well, stop being a wimp, have a sip.” He said, “No Scott, you’re not. I’m the real deal, you’re just a fake.” He nailed me. Although I wanted to knock his head off, he was right. I was a big fake.
The second wake-up call happened just a few months after the football game incident. Tragedy struck my life. It happened on a Sunday morning. My day started out like any typical Sunday morning for me. I was sitting in worship service when our pastor asked the congregation to pray for the Plock family. I did not think much about it at first. Then he said that Shawn, their son and my best friend, was accidentally shot and killed the previous night. I was shocked. This was one of my best friends. Now he was gone and I did not know why. I did not know what God was trying to tell me. All I knew was that I had lost a best friend.
My third wake-up call would not come for a few more years. In November of 1994, Dr. Bailey Smith was holding a crusade at Patriot’s Hall in Sumter, South Carolina. By this time, I had drawn a little closer to God. Several of my friends had given their lives to Christ. Their lives had changed; however, I was still involved in the same sins I had always been doing. My friends invited me to go to the crusade. At that time my car was not running, so I asked my dad if he would take me. At the crusade, Dr. Smith was preaching on wheat and tares. The whole time he was preaching, I felt that God was looking deep within me saying, “You’re empty. I can change that.” Dr. Smith gave an altar call. I wanted to go forward, but I could not do it. I was afraid of what people would think. I just stood there holding tightly to the seat in front of me. While standing there I felt movement. I looked up and I saw my dad going forward. I could not hold back any longer. I went forward, prayed and completely surrendered my life to Christ.
After my conversion, Jeff Turner, the youth pastor at my home church began discipling me. Under his leadership, I began sensing a call into the ministry. I was not sure what the call would be but I knew it was a call into the ministry. During this time I operated my own printing business. Printing and graphic design was the only profession I knew. I began questioning my call. My parents were telling me that I should not jeopardize my business and the prosperous opportunities that were ahead. I also had friends that reminded me that if I did not obey the Lord, I would be out of His will. I was confused.
In the fall of 1996, two years after my conversion, I married Chandra Hill. Chandra was attracted to me because of my desire to go into the ministry. However, I was still wrestling with the courage to step into the unknown. Throughout our first year of marriage, Chandra would constantly remind me that I was supposed to be in the ministry. I would tell her that the timing was not right and that we should wait a few more years. Our marriage began to suffer as I continued to run from the call.
In November of 1997, I attended a revival service at my home church. At the end of the service, Dr. Harold Hunter told the congregation that someone in the audience was running from the Lord. Dr. Hunter was talking about me. He said that the person needed to accept the call and be obedient to the Lord. I went forward and made my call into the ministry public. As soon as I announced publicly, my calling to the ministry, my marriage was instantly healed. I sold my business a few months later and enrolled at Columbia International University.
I began my studies in September of 1998. During this time, I served as the Youth Pastor at Wateree Baptist Church in Camden, South Carolina. I graduated from Columbia International University in 2001.
From June 2001 through March 2007 I served as Associate Pastor at Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Newport, Tennessee. My responsibilities were to shepherd teenagers, children, and their families. During my tenure at Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church God blessed us with two boys; Joshua and Timothy.
Presently I serve as the Jr. High Pastor at Maranatha Bible Church. My responsibilities are the shepherding of Jr. High students and their families.
God has blessed my ministry at both Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church and Maranatha Bible Church. My wife and I have seen great things take place at both churches and look forward to what God is going to do through us in the future.
Your story hits right at home. As you may remember, I was also one of those marching band members sneaking shots of liquor into my instrument case. I was always one to succumb to peer pressure, in more ways than one. It took me many, many more years to come to Jesus. Thank you for sharing your story. May God bless you and your family!
This is what the Lord says:”Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8
What an awesome testimony Scott. It really got me thinking about my relationship with Jesus. I think I need to rededicate myself to him. I’m faithful that He loves me but I know I need to be doing more. I want to be the real deal and I definitely think I’m on my way, but not quite there yet. Luckily I have allot of real deals in my life now that I knew can help me be just that. Thanks Scott. And God bless you. 🙂
Your words are too kind. I’ll be praying for you. I struggle everyday but I know that God is faithful and always come through!