Pastor Richard Johnson
It wasn't unheard of for Richard Johnson
to spend days and nights on end binging in drug houses and drinking himself into a stupor.
prevalence to overdose was commonplace and expected.
From the time he was born, his life had been nothing but turbulence, turmoil and temptation.
Nevertheless, from the outside looking in, the vast majority of the time, everything appeared to be copasetic.
Richard Johnson is the pastor of an outstanding church, We Are One Christian Fellowship located in Greensboro, N.C.
He is the overseer of other churches as well as the founder of other faith-based ministries.
However, the Mississippi native has traveled a long road to redemption and even further to complete healing.
was raised during the Jim Crow era and is no stranger to hard living and hard work.
vividly remembers the outhouse, the slop bucket hanging on the line and the scrub board.
It was a way of life for him as well as all other blacks who lived during that time period.
Drugs, alcohol, prostitution and violence were also a way of life for Johnson
dealt with dysfunction from both sides of his
mother was disowned by her
wealthy family and his
father's family was mired in death and witchcraft.
was afforded the opportunity to attend a private catholic school during his
early educational years until his
family relocated to Hartford, Conn.
It was the beginning of dealing with a life of extremes, for him which he
would never begin to deal with or confront until many, many years later.
The dysfunction within his
family was so deeply embedded it didn't even appear to be dysfunction, rather just a way of life.
"I grew up in a violent, bloody home in Mississippi," says Johnson
"I learned to numb the pain with heroin and cocaine.
Unfortunately, my family and I turned to narcotics and prostitution; that's how we lived.
Things became so bad that Johnson's
mother sent him to Piney Woods Country Life School, a boarding school in Mississippi.
appeared to have it all together.
was working, he
had money and he
never bummed off anyone; not even for a cigarette.
However, it was all a facade, a part that he
played and played very well.
It was the life he
"No matter what city I moved to people would act like they knew me.
I lived a life of duality-I was nice and nasty," he
"I was nice and professional in the business environment, and I was successful.
I've never been broke.
I've never looked bad but I was an addict.
Not only was he
an addict but he
was in denial.
After living in several different areas from Newark, N.J. to Brooklyn, N.Y., Johnson moved to North Carolina and began running one of his uncles McDonald's restaurants on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
It was one of many times that he
relocated but it was the one that proved to be the catalyst for complete change and reformation within his
recalls the day his
life changed forever.
remembers coming home on a Sunday morning from a four day binge at a drug house, so high and drunk and depressed that he
doesn't even recall being lucid.
just remembers meandering from one room to the next and on his
way to the bathroom his
girlfriend, who would soon become his
wife, stops him and says we are going to church today.
After a few minutes of refusal, he
soon relented when he
wasn't going to back down.
What followed was nothing short of a miracle.
They attended a college ministry service located in the student union on the UNC campus.
says it's important to note that he
didn't want to be there.
reeked of gin, and continued to still drink on the way to the service.
was also still high from all the cocaine and other drugs still pulsating through his
Even sitting through the service he
remembers hanging his
head, not because of an overwhelming sense of guilt and conviction but out of disdain.
even says he
was sizing up the women.
Nothing but sickness kept Johnson
from missing a day of church from that point forward.
The ministry eventually moved off campus and began planting churches elsewhere and Johnson became the pastor of a church planted in Greensboro.
After dealing with many often overlooked and under evaluated issues and even scandal within the organization he
began to realize that the church as a whole was not dealing with the root issues that many people face; issues that prevent true healing.
There were issues that he
struggled with himself, even though he
was a leader.
Johnson believes he has been given a mandate to help lead people to their place of healing and reconciliation through Jesus Christ by establishing Real Love Ministries.
It is a faith-based organization that seeks to look at the implications of an individual's background and what happened to them in the past and how it effects their present day situation.
needed this help for himself.
became very transparent with his
own church and told them he
realized that he
went from escaping into drugs to escaping into church work.
even suggested that all church organization leaders take at least a year and deal with these issues in order to make themselves better individuals and thereby become better husbands, wives, friends and soldiers for God.
"My family is full of drug addicts, convicts, prostitutes and unsuccessful marriages.
I am the curse breaker for my family.
I will teach people how to identify these generational patterns," says Johnson