From The Pulpit To Prison

by Alana Allen | September 10th, 2014
Dr. John Walker

Dr. John Walker

The road to redemption has not been an easy journey for Dr. John Walker, but by faith he has continued to stay on his path. He has been in ministry for more than 30 years and has served for more than 20 years as senior pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Charlotte. However, within the midst of his ministry, he endured a difficult setback that not only tarnished his reputation, but affected his family and congregation.

Walker is a native of Good Water, Ala. and met his wife, Rosie K. Walker, who is also the co-pastor of the church, in high school. After graduation, he served in the army for three years and then he moved to North Carolina to become a firefighter in Greensboro, and served for 10 years. In addition, he earned his diploma in bible and theology at Greensboro Bible Institute and graduated magna cum laude from Shaw University’s Divinity School. Also, he earned a doctorate of ministry in Christian leadership from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

Dr. Walker first stepped into ministry under the mentorship of Dr. Cardes Brown of New Light Missionary Baptist Church. In addition, he served in several roles in ministry and pastored from 1987-1992 at Zion Hill Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Some of the challenges he faced as a young minister included navigating his way through the church, maintaining his integrity and resolving conflict. Then in 1992, he became the senior pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church.

During his tenure at Macedonia Baptist Church, Dr. Walker built the ministry into a strong pillar of the community by establishing ministries that impacted lives inside and outside the pulpit. His church specializes in a food ministry that provides 200 families with groceries a week, and ministries that cater to men, youth and families. Throughout his leadership, he always remained a visionary that challenged his congregation to sow into various projects. However, his decision to fund a $3 million building expansion did not sit well with a few members. This resulted in some of his members banding together and reporting him to the IRS for tax evasion. In 2007, he was indicted and sentenced to serve five years in federal prison.

Dr. Walker’s time in prison allowed him to reassess his priorities and put his attention back on God. He became very active within the prison system by conducting bible study, group and one-on-one counseling sessions with other inmates. One of his favorite quotes by an unknown author states, “Prison centers a man because it allows him to see the most important things in life, that he could not see when he was caught up in the busy parts of life.”

Dr. Walker spent four years, two months and four days in a federal prison. Through it all, it made him and his family stronger. His wife pastored the church in his absence, honoring the commitment and vision of her husband. Even after everything he endured, his congregation received him back with opened arms and forgave him. Though the situation was frightening at times, his faith never wavered and the joy of ministry never left him but only grew deeper.

In late 2013, Dr. Walker released a book titled, “The Journey of a Prophetic Preacher…from Pulpit to Prison,” which is a true testimony of his road to redemption. In addition, he is the author of three other books: “The Role of the Church in Reclaiming the Black Male,” “A Fresh Look at the New Testament Deacon” and “Pearls in the Pew.”

Dr. Walker has been married to Rosie Walker for nearly 36 years, and they have three children; Latarvis, Janetta, and John II; and three grandchildren. Macedonia Baptist Church is located at 1300 Hateras Ave., Charlotte, N.C. and has worship service every Sunday at 10 a.m.

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