Two months ago, in the midst of one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history, the Rev. Todd Johnson quit a secure job with a six-figure income, company car, and benefits to step out on his own as a full-time evangelist.
It s imperative when you make a move like that that it s ordained by the Lord. Otherwise you re in trouble, Mr. Johnson said. If I hadn t heard from God there is no way in the world I would have done what I ve done.
A graduate of Central Catholic High and the University of Toledo, Mr. Johnson has gone from selling pharmaceuticals to cardiologists to focusing all his energy and enthusiasm on telling people about Jesus Christ.
He believes his years in the sales business helped prepare him for full-time ministry. Although he was often one of the top producers in the nation, he said, he found that not every physician was going to buy his products.
That was my training ground for being able to accept rejection, he said. Christ said don t waste time debating. Shake the dust off your feet. Don t forsake them but there are many other people that need to be reached.
He and his wife, Holly, who is a registered nurse, live in West Toledo and have two daughters, Olivia, 6, and Natalie, 5.
The Johnsons founded a company called SkyHy Ministries, which is devoted to extreme evangelism. They conduct church seminars on evangelization and have passed out gift cards to needy individuals. Their Web site, skyhy.org, provides evangelism tools to churches.
Mr. Johnson led an evangelism workshop on Wednesday at The Worship Center, the Old West End church where the Rev. Pat McKinstry is pastor.
One way the Johnsons are catching people s attention is by putting the letters dykJC? on ballcaps, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and window decals.
The letters stand for, Do You Know Jesus Christ?
The concept is similar to the phenomenally popular WWJD What Would Jesus Do? but much more important, Mr. Johnson said.
How can you know what Jesus would do if you don t know who he is? he asked. And when people ask, I m going to tell them what dykJC? means because sharing your faith, that s what it s all about. How can I share it? This makes it easy for newborn believers. Wear this type of Christian material and share your faith with everyone.
Mr. Johnson said he was ordained about 15 years ago by the Garden of Eden Ministries, based in Canton, Mich., and has served on the staff of several churches of different denominations.
He and his wife served as children s pastors at Turning Point United Methodist Church in Bowling Green.
The Rev. Larry Whatley, Turning Point s pastor, said he has known the Johnsons for about 10 years and described Mr. Johnson as a firecracker ready to explode.
Todd has always been on fire for the Lord. That s just the way he is, Mr. Whatley said. He goes full-bore when it comes to ministry and it s just nonstop. He and his wife put their whole heart into it.
Mr. Johnson said that despite the prevailing economic uncertainty, he grew tired of trying to fit his ministry around his full-time day job in pharmaceutical sales.
He turned resignation in on May 5 with plans to take the world by storm evangelizing about Jesus Christ.
My heart was not for the money, he said. I would rather hear one word from God than a word from someone else and be safe and comfortable but have no purpose. My wife and I believe we were made to do this.