NRJohnson Bio (The Synopsis)
My name is Nathan Johnson (NRJohnson), and I have an overwhelming passion for Jesus. I am a writer, teacher, and communicator who helps Christians discover and experience a passionate love for God and His Word so that they can grow in their faith, live victorious lives, share the Gospel boldly, deepen their intimacy with Jesus, and transform the world through the indwelling life of Christ.
Though I grew up in a loving, Christian home, it wasn’t until I spent a summer traveling with an evangelist as an intern that God turned my world upside down. Scripture opened up to me unlike ever before, a deep hunger and passion for Jesus and the Word grew in my life, and I found victory and a foundation in Truth. My life hasn’t been the same since.
And now, for more than a decade, I have taught thousands of Christians to study God’s Word, grow in intimacy with Jesus, and build their lives around Him. And I’d love to help you do that too.
NRJohnson Bio (The More-Than-You-Want-To-Know Version)
My name is Nathan Johnson (NRJohnson), and it’s true—I have an overwhelming passion for Jesus.
I grew up in a loving, Christian home, the oldest of two boys. Though I participated in every church activity from a young age, my faith was little more than show. Sure, I believed, but I only read my Bible when I had to, and prayer lacked power. It wasn’t fake; it just wasn’t alive.
Through my teen years, an incredible wrestling match arose within me as I attempted in my own strength and ability to live a good Christian life yet failed miserably. This struggle and failure to be perfect in my own ability produced a deep sadness and funk in my life—and for someone who is overwhelmingly joy-filled and optimistic, this was quite the depressing season of life. All that compounded with a losing battle with purity and pornography; I was in a downward spiral of destruction.
Yet despite my struggles and problems, looking back I can see God’s faithfulness and His loving Father’s heart for the prodigal, desperate to have His child transformed and in intimacy with Himself.
As a senior in high school, I found myself in a place of desperation. It was then, as I came to God in deep shame, humility, and surrender, that God began to loose the chains of depression and began to free me from the power of impurity. He began to restore and transform my life. My joy and smile returned, a love for the Word and for God stirred within me (though I didn’t know how to study or cultivate intimacy with Him at that point), and for the first time I felt like I didn’t have to perform or try to live a holy, righteous life on my own. I was His. I had encountered His overwhelming love, and it was changing me, albeit slowly.
I went to college and received a degree in business; during that time I was asked to lead the church’s youth ministry. Something changed within me during those couple years. Though I had been involved in serving and leading in a variety of ministry capacities at my church, God used working with teenagers to begin changing my heart from a business/project focus to one where a love for people was central.
I was learning a lot about the Bible and the God of the Bible but felt ill-prepared to progress in ministry. So I applied to a seminary for further studies. I also remembered that several years prior, an evangelist named Stephen Manley came to my church and preached, gripping my life in a profound way—I had never heard anyone preach with such depth, power, or authority. Before he left, he casually mentioned he had a summer ministry intern program and invited me to come in the future. So I emailed Stephen asking if the internship was still available. This led to the greatest turning point in my life.
The Turn-My-Life-Upside-Down Encounter
It was June 2005, and as I arrived in Michigan for the start of the summer internship, I was filled with tremendous excitement and anticipation. Even now, looking back, I am awestruck at how God transformed my life over those few short weeks.
We began the summer with the annual Cross Style Training Camp, a weeklong conference open to the public but whose focus was to train and equip the interns for their summer experience. Through a variety of preachers and teachers, my understanding of the Bible was rocked. I had grown up in church and heard thousands of sermons, but I had never discovered the depth and power of the Word that these men proclaimed.
My heart grew strangely warm with a passionate hunger for more. I had longed for something real, a Christianity that actually worked, a spiritual life that was actually alive. I had read about it in the Word but never understood how to have it myself. And here were men proclaiming the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). It was as though a veil were lifted and I saw and experienced God’s Word for the first time. It truly became “living and active [powerful], and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). It pierced and transformed my life, and I’ve never been the same since.
Though the entire summer was an incredible experience, it was my time with Stephen that turned my world upside down. Dr. Stephen Manley became a pastor at age 17 but felt a call to itinerant evangelism and thus left the pastorate at age 25 to preach and teach full time around the country and world. When I traveled with him, he had been in full-time itinerant ministry for nearly 40 years. Everything about him captivated me. It wasn’t just his incredible insights into the Word or his powerful preaching; it was living with him for weeks and watching how he lived. He truly lived the Gospel. He showcased humility. I had heard and read about heroic Christians of
Under Stephen’s mentoring and discipleship, I discovered the importance of studying the Word of God (which he called Saturation Bible Study), and I came to realize that the Christian life is not to be lived in my own strength, wisdom, and ability but in surrender to and dependence upon the Holy Spirit who lives within me.
As Ian Thomas says in one of my favorite quotes, “The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you—your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything—then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it! … True Godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only explanation for you, is Jesus.”
I craved such a life filled with Jesus through the indwelling Holy Spirit. I hungered for the Word, and I now had practical tools to study it—not just for academics and information but for intimacy and transformation. And I, for the first time, began to know God’s Word, experience the intimacy of the indwelling life of Christ, and live triumphantly as I walked in
Moving into Ministry
Jesus used this summer to ground me in Truth and form the foundation of where He has led me this past decade.
As the summer internship concluded, I packed my bags and headed off to seminary to get a Masters of Divinity. Three years later, I graduated with honors from Asbury Theological Seminary and moved to Lebanon, Tennessee (near Nashville), to work behind the scenes for Stephen Manley at his office.
It was during this time that a dream Stephen had had for decades began to be realized—to start a practical ministry school that would train up a generation of ministers who wouldn’t just know the Word of God in theory but in the practical living and experience of everyday life and ministry.
So after 45+ years of full-time itinerant ministry, Stephen came off the road, and we started Cross Style Church as the training ground for the new practical ministry school, which launched in 2013.
Throughout those years, I served Cross Style and Stephen in my role as an administrator, teacher, pastor, graphic designer, webmaster, book editor, and publisher. I also spent considerable time “in the trenches” of inner-city work ministering to the homeless, to the elderly, and to underprivileged children.
During my time in seminary, I also had the opportunity to be trained and mentored by Eric Ludy, who quickly became a good friend. So while I lived and ministered full time in Tennessee with Stephen, I also began to help Eric with Ellerslie Discipleship Training, which he started in 2010.
Ellerslie began with the desire to train and equip Christians in the Word of God, prayer (intercession), leadership, honor, and world-altering missions. Eric and Leslie Ludy’s desire is to return to historic Christianity and to create an environment that fosters the development of the next generation of heroic Christians like Hudson Taylor, George Müller, Amy Carmichael, Vibia Perpetua, Gladys Aylward, and C.T. Studd. Since its beginning, Ellerslie/Bravehearted Christian has discipled nearly two thousand men and women from around the world.
In October 2013, I felt led by God to flip-flop my life and move to Windsor, Colorado, to work full time with Eric Ludy and Ellerslie/Bravehearted Christian. Rather than live in Tennessee and travel to Colorado every few months, I now live in Colorado and travel to Tennessee, as I continue to support and work alongside Stephen Manley and Cross Style in a part-time/background role.
Currently, I serve in a variety of roles at Bravehearted Christian, such as instructor, pastor, admin, and director of communications, and I work a lot with Eric Ludy behind the scenes on ministry projects, the development of resources, and our websites.
Passions and Hobbies
I have a passion for Biblical training and discipleship, and over the last
I also have a desire to see strong, honorable, and godly masculinity and femininity return to this world. As such, I have the joy of mentoring several young men from around the country in masculinity, purity, Biblical truth, victory and freedom over sin, and daily Christian living.
In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, watching musical theatre, going to rodeos, playing disc golf, and trying to find enjoyment in jogging. I love to laugh, listen to worship and soundtrack music, and drink tea. I also have a servant’s heart that loves to be spilled and spent for the King and kingdom.
I started writing on a personal blog back in 2009, and that eventually became deeperChristian as my enthusiasm to teach believers how to study God’s Word, grow in intimacy with Jesus, and live the victorious Christian life increased to a near obsession.
I also took my massive collection of classic Christian quotes and began releasing them daily on deeperChristian Quotes. We have released an inspiring, profound, or convicting quote every day since May 2011.
In short, I am a writer, teacher, and communicator who helps Christians discover and experience a passionate love for God and His Word so that they can grow and mature in their faith, experience the victorious Christian life, share the Gospel boldly, deepen their intimacy with Jesus, and transform the world through the indwelling life of Christ. And I would love to help you build your life around Jesus Christ.
Still Want More?
- Discover a few random (and odd) facts about me
- Check out my bookshelf to see what I’m currently reading
- See my list of recommended Christian books
- I’ve also written a few books you may be interested in (coming soon)
- Read my Statement of Faith and Core Values
- Download free resources I’ve created to help you build your life around Jesus
- Jump into my most popular posts [start here]
- Connect with me on social media
- Learn more about deeperChristian