Pursuing Purpose Interview Series
Special Guest: Christian Johnson, CEO, Founder of Driver Watchdog
Pursuing Purpose is a new interview series with people who are walking in purpose and destined for greatness. These persons come from all backgrounds of life; many are well-known and well-respected professionals in their respective industries. Some are household names, and others are not. But, what they all have in common is their faith in God. They are all Christ Followers. They have endured and overcome challenges and have made the commitment to dedicate their lives to walking in and living out their God-given purpose, no matter what.
Monique Baisden (MB): Christian, thank you for the opportunity to do this interview with you today.
First, I would like to start by learning more about your Christian upbringing. When did your introduction to the Christian faith begin? What was your Christian upbringing like in terms of church life?
Christian Johnson (CJ):
I was raised in a Christian household. I went to a Catholic school from grades K-12. We went to church every Friday and Sunday, and Bible Study on Wednesdays.
MB: Where are you originally from?
CJ: Buffalo, NY
MB: What is your educational and professional background?
CJ: I attended the prestigious, private Catholic school, Nardin Academy, where I graduated at the age 16. From there I attended the University of Buffalo, where I worked towards a degree in Business Administration. During this time, I also began to work for my father in the debt management industry. Several years later, in 2007, I decided to start my own debt management firm which I still manage today.
I have been involved in many social and civic organizations that focus on diversity inclusion and urban economic development. I am a proud member of the National Urban League, where I mentor teens and young adults about entrepreneurship. Furthermore, I am a teacher at the University of Buffalo with the Blackstone LaunchPad program, where I teach minority students about entrepreneurship.
MB: When did you first realize your God-given purpose and how did you come to realizing it?
CJ: Well, I would answer that question like this: Throughout my life’s journey, I have realized that I have a multi-faceted purpose to help others, using my gifts and talents, and God pulls on me to do different things in different seasons. Every day, I am walking with God who is walking in front of me. I always say, God is the driver and I am the vehicle. When God speaks to me, I listen, I tune in, and I just follow Him. I do this in everything that I do, in every aspect of my life.
MB: Outside of your faith in God, who or what inspires you?
CJ: My kids and my parents are my motivation to work hard and to be a successful Christian entrepreneur. I want to be a role model for my kids to teach them that they can be resilient, that hard work pays off, and that they can accomplish anything they desire. I also want to be able to leave my business behind for my children as a part of my legacy.
The Bible says in Ephesians 6:2 to “honor your father and mother”. Therefore, I honor them by working hard so that I can give back to them and make sure that they have all they need. Over the years, my mother and my father have sacrificed a lot for me, and I want to give back to them and honor them for their sacrifices.
MB: What is your favorite scripture or “play call” and why?
CJ: My favorite scripture is Luke 15:11-32, which is the story of “The Prodigal Son”. I relate to this story as this was me at one point in my life. I was lost for awhile. I was living recklessly and doing very immature things that could have killed me. I was also in a very negative and toxic relationship that involved domestic violence.
One day, I was totally exhausted and frustrated with the state of my life and I literally dropped to my knees and begged and cried out to God and asked Him to help me to turn my life around. I needed His help and intervention…desperately! From that moment on, I re-dedicated my life to God and I became “found” again as I turned back to God and committed to living a holy lifestyle. God has truly had His hands on me ever since that time.
MB: Tell me the story behind how you came up with your invention, Driver Watchdog.
CJ: I used to have anxiety about my son driving, especially when police brutality incidents started to increase. So, one night I was driving down the street, on the same day that Mike Brown had been killed, which also happened to be the same day that my son was going to get his driver’s permit.
I could not stop thinking about the safety of my own family. I could not stop thinking about how I would feel if I got the call that something had happened to my son. I wanted to do something about this, but I did not know what to do. I started praying to God.
I heard the voice of God say, “Do a camera”, over and over again. God was relentless in giving me this message in the days after that, in multiple ways. So, God began to lay out for me the blueprint for this invention and I started researching and seeing that there was nothing like it out there. The technology for this invention was far ahead of anything that was on the market for similar products.
After countless hours, days, and weeks of researching and pulling things together to attempt to make this product, I reached a point where I started to feel frustrated and overwhelmed.
At that moment, God stopped me in my tracks and said: “Do you believe in what you are doing? Do you believe that you can do this? Do you believe that I am doing this with you?” And my answers were yes, yes, and yes! Ever since that time, God has laid out the opportunities in front of me that I needed to get my product in front of industry influencers and has opened doors that I could not have opened for myself.
I am a living testimony that your gifts will make room for you and bring you before great men (Proverbs 18:16).
MB: So a little birdie told me that you will be appearing on Rooster and Butch on the A&E Network? How did that happen?
CJ: It was all God! The producers of the show reached out to me and asked me would I be interested in doing a competition-style show for entrepreneurs. I have no idea how they found me and they didn’t tell me what show they were producing. But I told them “yes”, and went through a series of interviews with them, and finally, after about 15 interviews over a period of 6-7 months, they told me they were selecting me for the show and flew me out to Texas.
I still did not know which show I was on, and who I would be meeting. But it was an amazing experience, from beginning to end. My episode of Rooster and Butch will be airing next Wednesday, March 7th at 10:00 pm on the A&E Network, and I am very excited about it!
MB: What advice or words of encouragement would you give to our readers?
CJ: Whatever is laid on your heart to do, even though it might seem impossible, don’t give up on it! Continue to pursue it. With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). As Christian believers, it is so important for us to know and believe that even when all else fails, God won’t.
MB: Christian, thank you so much for your time. It has been a pleasure interviewing you today.
CJ: This has been awesome! Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my testimony with your readers.
Team! Let’s continue to support and lift up our teammates in prayer! Follow Christian and check out Driver Watchdog today.
Christian Johnson’s and Driver Watchdog’s social media handles and website