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Nixed from ‘American Idol,’ worship leader sees ‘perfect plan’

GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP)–Although worship leader Jeff Johnson didn’t make the next round for this season’s “American Idol” competition, he believes God has a reason for the outcome.

“When I didn’t make the cut, at first I thought, ‘Why did I go through all of this? What was the purpose?’ But when the show aired, it promoted my ministry to 30 million people. I had never thought of that. God was working the whole time,” Johnson said. Underscoring God’s “perfect plan,” he reiterated, “It’s working out as part of God’s plan for what He has called me to do.”

Johnson is a member of 121 Community Church, a Southern Baptist-related congregation in Grapevine, Texas, and a fulltime worship leader in various church and retreat settings.

During the show’s Jan. 25 episode, Johnson was shown praying with a group of contestants and, in a voice-over, he told of his ministry as a worship leader.

One of the celebrity judges, Gene Simmons from the secular rock group Kiss, subsequently suggested that Johnson sing country music instead of pop music — so the lyrics would not conflict with his beliefs.

Johnson said it was interesting that Simmons “was trying to give me spiritual advice, about not singing pop music.” But, he said, “I believe we’re supposed to be in the world and not of the world. I believe that I could sing pop music or country music and still live a life that’s a witness for Christ.”

Even though Simmons voted against Johnson, the other judges advanced him to the next round. Two months later, Johnson was among 200 contestants auditioning in Hollywood. Until the audition aired Feb. 8, Johnson was unable to disclose the results due to contractual obligations.

Since appearing on the show, Johnson has had numerous opportunities to share his faith in Christ while being interviewed on radio and television stations.

In addition, he has been flooded with requests for his worship CD, “Shaken.” Surprisingly, many of those requests are coming from non-Christians.

“Teenagers have sent me e-mails saying, ‘I don’t really listen to Christian music, but I wanted to get your CD because I liked seeing you on American Idol,” Johnson said.

Johnson hopes when people get the CD, they will read the cover — which includes a testimony of what God has done in his life and a note about how others can have a personal relationship with Christ.

As for his upcoming plans, Johnson said, “I’m going to continue leading worship and just take one day at a time. I want to see where I can best be used to glorify God. I never expected that God would put me on a reality TV show, but I am glad that I was able to use this as a way to honor Him.”
Leann Callaway is a freelance writer in Irving, Texas. For more information about Jeff Johnson, visit www.jeffjohnsonministries.com.

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