The urgent wail of a police siren provides the background noise for the street where young Ken Johnson walks. He walks the street, absently kicking a discarded beer bottle. The surroundings mirror his own heart; dark and bleak. The neighborhood carries the same poverty-stricken, drug-laced stench of the last four years he has lived. Clutched in his hands is a tattered football; a symbol of the young boy’s one passion. Even though his mother sets aside her own well-being to provide for him, it isn’t enough. By high school graduation, he will have memorized a total of eighteen addresses, each one another dismal ghetto.
As a young boy, Ken knew temptation and struggle intimately. Outside of his athletic ability, there was little hope for him to excel. He faced a future as just another urban statistic unable to fly above the tragedy of his own life. Despite success on the high school football field, he continually battled to overcome the obstacles of his desperate surroundings, fighting to pull free.
Then in 1979, Ken’s passion became his ticket out. His blue chip success on the high school football field earned him a scholarship to play for the University of Tulsa. His perseverance had finally paid off and he began his career as a college athlete. It was there that Ken was introduced to Jesus by his fellow teammates. After grappling with many difficult truths about himself and about God, Ken decided to follow Jesus and gave his life to Him. That decision that was the beginning of a deep transformation for Ken.
Throughout his college career, Ken navigated through adversity and obstacles one day at a time, growing in wisdom and self-esteem with each success. In 1984, he earned a B.S. in Education and was ready to take the next step in life – pro-football. But another obstacle stood in his path. A devasting knee injury would prevent him from chasing his dream.
Ken’s relationship with God empowered him to move beyond yet another crushing disappointment. He pulled himself up and decided to serve his country in the military. He then went on to become a police officer, devoting much of the next six years to the inner city neighborhoods of Tulsa. It was there that he recognized the face of hopelessness in the youth, and it stirred a deep compassion inside him. He saw his own childhood reflected in their eyes, and his heart was moved to take action.
By this time, Ken had begun to soar on the wings of hope in his own personal journey. In every facet of his life, he continually made choices that strengthened his commitment to being a man of excellence in Christ. He wanted to share the transformative power of Jesus and eternal hope with people everywhere.
Through a series of choices and opportunities, Ken resigned from his commission with the Tulsa police department and moved on to a position in Indianapolis with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Soon thereafter, he became the Protestant Chaplain to the Indianapolis Colts, a station he still holds today. He uses his platform as a springboard to reach out across America, effectively inspiring and empowering people of all ages and from all walks of life.
Ken resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife Della, who accepted in hand in marriage in 1983. They have three adult children, Dominick, Kristina, and national recording artist, Kendall.
Different Journeys, Same Destination
For each of us, the journey is different. Ken broke free of the hopelessness that comes with poverty and oppression. But not all of us face the same obstacles of having grown up in the downtrodden neighborhoods of America. There are other kinds of oppression, both external and internal. Lack of opportunity, lack of support system, difficulties in family life, workplace issues, financial struggles, relationship problems, low self-esteem, interpersonal dynamics, and a host of other challenges that may be facing many of us. Regardless of the individual challenges, the result can be the same: feelings of entrapment and even worse, hopelessness.
Navigating the landmines that can prevent us from reaching our goals can be daunting. It’s a feeling we’ve all shared at some point in our lives. Whether facing challenges in school, at work, or at home, those feelings of fear and anxiety can have the same effect. The arsenal of skills that Ken supplies to his audiences can be used for dramatic and enduring life change, regardless of the audience and their unique situations.
No matter what obstacles are being faced and by whom, Ken’s words of encouragement and empowerment help people from all walks of life become their ideal selves through the power of Christ. God’s message shared through Ken helps others embrace the tools to help them push past the obstacles in their lives, leading to powerful transformation!
Sharing the Experience
For over 30 years, Ken has travelled the the nation speaking and singing in thousands of locations. His message of transformation has been shared with pastors, churches, businesses, youth groups, men’s groups of all kinds, and anywhere men and boys can be reached.
Ken’s sharing of his personal experiences and his transparent storytelling gains the trust and admiration of audiences everywhere. He tells how he became an “emerging eagle” by defeating the stereotypical label of a “poor little black boy from the ghetto” and instead, creating a life of honor and integrity. He lights the fires of willpower and motivation as he speaks out simple wisdoms and profound truths, proving through his experience that it is possible to break free of oppression and life’s circumstances to live a transformed life!
With personal inspirations like John Wooden, Tony Dungy, and an important feminine perspective from wife, Della, Ken says he has been touched by shining examples of lives lived with integrity, character, and humility. Ken’s unique words, enhanced by his passion and principles have created a character-building movement that should be heard by all.
Ken uses words and the power of music to inspire and ignite passion for change in his audiences, empowering them with a positive motivation to identify, understand, and eliminate the obstacles that may be standing in the way of their ideal selves.