Unorthodox Treasure – An Interview with Alan Johnson
This week, I get to sit down with a new buddy of mine – Alan Johnson. Alan was raised in a Christian family in San Diego. He grew up as an athlete in the “Perfect Family”.
But, then they found out that his dad was having an affair… and the family blew up. This is when Alan and his brothers started drinking to cope with dad.
Alan’s story is one full of twists and turns, both figuratively and literally. Here are just a few bullet points we discuss in this week’s podcast:
- After college gets a job working with disabled adults and realizes they had their lives together more than he did
- Starts to work on himself to figure out who he was
- Still wasn’t living like a follower of God but started to think about God again
- Through different opportunities gets a chance to go to seminary
- After seminary gets an opportunity to lead the college ministry
- Working at the college ministry he starts to see success and eventually gets a full time position with the ministry
- After a few years of college ministry starts a church plant and at first things were really good. Lots of conversions & baptisms.
- But not everything goes well for long. Churchy folks don’t like Alan’s attitude but the un-churched loved the vibe.
- Went from being a “Very Successful” church planter at denominational meetings to being someone no one wanted to talk to.
- This is when alcoholism starts to show up.
- Alan has to close the church down and starts volunteering at other churches and his drinking starts getting worse
- Found great joy in being a dad – spent as much time as possible being dad. But as kids got older the less they needed Alan and this started to hurt.
- With ministry tanking and kids not needing him drinking gets worse
- Gets a new job but drinks himself out of the job
- Realized he was a “false perfect dad” just like his dad was
- The worse things got at home the more he drank to push things away.
- Goes to a family party drunk and drives home from the party even more intoxicated and crashes into a car. Ends up in jail, wife separates from him and he moves into a dive hotel.
- Things go sideways at the dive hotel.
- Ended up at Green Oak Ranch.
- After burning out AA sponsors he was suggested to go to Green Oak.
- Showed up drunk at rehab so got sent away for a week.
- Slowly starting to see himself as a treasure and not the trash
- He is enjoying being ministered to and not needing to be the minister
- Feeling like the Prodigal son
- Been lost in the world, felt alone, but finally feel like the Father is coming to meet him
Alan offers these words of advice to us all:
Develop eternal, significant relationships – take time to allow God to develop you! And, don’t try to look like treasure. Just be honest with God about who you are.
Alan’s favorite Bible Verse is Matthew 15:16, where Jesus asks:
“Don’t you understand yet? Why are you still so dull?”
You see, It’s ok not to get it – God wants us to ask Him about things.
As Alan puts it, “From a loser to other losers – don’t give up God wants to help you celebrate, just keep walking and going after God!”
You are NEVER beyond God’s grasp!