John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

How Did I Get Here?

For some reason, more people now read this blog than I ever imagined. What's especially bizarre is the amount of people I don't know who stop by, leave comments and send email. Most of you are exceedingly kind. It seems many of you have no idea what I do for a living. In fact, I'm not exactly sure how to explain it myself. I guess I'm a writer, church consultant and speaker. At least those seem to be the simplest words to describe the bulk of what I do.

As a writer I work a lot with Dr. Kenneth Boa and Reflections Ministries. We're currently working on three books -- and a study Bible is possibly in the works -- if the publisher would ever get back to us. I also write for a company called FamilyWise. We provide educational curriculum for more than 1,000 churches around the world. We also work with Chick-Fil-A to provide character-based educational programs to public elementary and middle schools around the USA. Oh, and we produce an educational cd that goes out to about 7,000 families a month.

As a consultant, I work a lot with churches especially in their family minsitry departments. I get the opportunity to travel around and help them figure out better ways to minister to families wholistically.

As a speaker, I do a fair amount of retreats and conferences. I also have a regular Wednesday evening class that I teach.

Okay, this is more than a commercial about me. This is a testimony to the mysterious ways in which God works. The one question that is harder to answer than "What exactly do you do?" is "How exactly did you get that job?"

A little more than two years ago, I decided to quit my job serving a church in the panhandle of Texas and move my family across the country to Atlanta. The one reason we moved here -- regardless of what I may have told anyone at the time -- was because we have friends here. I'm talking about the deep kind of friends who feel more like family than anything else. After several years in professional ministry, we were relationally starved and needed the support and community we knew we could experience here.

So, we packed up and moved. It took us all of six weeks to go through our meager savings account, and I spent February, March and April of 2003 building porches on new houses. I should say, I spent those months watching Bob Futral build porches. Mostly, I held things for him while he did the work. It was hard, and there were some really lean times.

But we knew we were supposed to be here. Hard times are easier to survive when you get to go through them in community with others. We still have lean times, but we have too many friends who stubbornly refuse to let us go hungry. There are too many to mention, but you know who you are. My daughters would not be as healthy as they are, and they certaintly wouldn't laugh as much as they do if you weren't in their lives. That's the best thing I can say to you.

As my schedule gets crazy over the next several months -- and it looks like it's going to be a crazy spring -- I may be tempted to wonder what in the world I'm doing and why. If I write something like that, feel free to remind me how I got here. I followed God's call to engage in real community -- to sacrifice everything to put my family in a place where they could know and be known, love and be loved, serve and be served, celebrate and be celebrated. I followed that star, and it led me here.