Many refer to Ken Johnson as an “Inspirational Speaker, a “Gifted Minister and Singer” or even “Chaplain of the Indianapolis Colts” because these are the things he does and is known for today. Through Ken’s many years of faithful ministry and service, he has had much success and has become a nationally known speaker to schools, organizations, corporations and churches. However, Ken’s motivation to speak and the content he transparently shares with audiences of all shapes and sizes, tells you who this man really is and why those closest to him are inspired by his example. Ken’s life is a story of incredible transformation. Born into poverty in Los Angeles and growing up in inner city Dallas, Ken and his family moved over 18 times before graduating high school. Surrounded by drugs, alcohol, extreme poverty and a mother attempting at all personal moral costs to keep her children fed, Ken discovered temptation and struggle early in life. Outside of his athletic ability, there was little hope that Ken would become anything except another urban statistic. So, athletics became Ken’s escape and hope.
Blue chip success on the football field helped Ken earn a scholarship to play for the University of Tulsa in 1979. Even with his athletic success, Ken still had to overcome many obstacles to put his hopeless surroundings behind him and get to college. But, he persevered and began his college career as a student athlete.
On that football team, Ken encountered teammates who began sharing Jesus Christ with him. At first he rejected what he was seeing and hearing from these teammates. But after grappling with many difficult truths about himself and about God, Ken decided to begin following and living his life for Jesus Christ…and the transformation began.
Real transformation is not easy, but it comes with real hope. The greatest change comes through the greatest difficulty. Ken began making many big choices and many small choices as he navigated his life through adversity, over obstacles and into excellence. In 1984, Ken earned a B.S. in education, but a knee injury prevented him from pursuing his dream of becoming a pro-football player. So, Ken chose to serve his country in the military and serve as a police officer in Tulsa for 6 yrs, much of it in the inner city. It was during those years that Ken developed a deep compassion for the plight of the youth in this country, many who are in hopeless situations like he was as a child. But by this time, Ken had begun to soar on the hope of a transformed life.
In every facet of his life, Ken continued to make choices, though imperfectly at times, to become a man of excellence in Christ. Those choices led him to resign his commission, leave the police department and move to Indianapolis to work for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Soon after that, he became the Protestant Chaplain of the Indianapolis Colts, a position he still holds today.
Ken’s effectiveness, inspiration and power as a speaker comes from his life story of continuing to choose a life of “personal excellence” and soar like an eagle. His message of becoming an “Emerging Eagle” is one that powerfully matches his life with integrity. Youth, corporate executives, fathers, young, old, rich and poor are all inspired by Ken to choose excellence, because through Ken’s transparent story telling, simple wisdom and profound truths they see that this “poor little black boy from the ghetto” was transformed and they can be too.
In 1983, Ken married his wife and partner in excellence, Della. They live in Indianapolis and have three adult children: Dominick, Kendall and Kristina