Our Family

"There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human, are created, strengthened, and maintained."
― Winston S. Churchill

Johnston family

There are two questions I can humbly answer after a several-decade career that might be of genuine interest to you.

First, who sits at my table, who are those special people I hang out or relax with, and second, what do I bring to the table in assisting other leaders? My answers offer insight into what life philosophy informs how I play, plan, and succeed.

An eclectic group of family and friends are seated at my table at any given time. Together, we all prioritize faith, and they hold a special place in my life. They are also the essence or foundation for what I bring to the table.  Family time is always riveting, rowdy, and rewarding, especially with six-year-old triplet grandsons.

My faith is strong and has certainly tested me at times, but it always has a definite presence at my table. My family, eighteen of us, is connected, communicative, and committed to one another.

My wife, CJ, has been my rock for over forty-three years. It’s been said, “There is no connection more powerful than two people bringing their individualities to the table with no intention of diluting each other’s essence, but instead, celebrating what makes each other unique.”  That right there is a recipe for marriage success.  Cristie Jo has always had a VIP seat at my table, and she brings out more in me than I ever thought was the best in me.

My kids (I include my kid’s spouses) and grandkids are remarkable. Their gifts and talents are unique and diverse, and I love how compelled they are to share those with the world.   We’ve withstood incredible things together, proving what J.K. Rowling’s said, “Family is a life jacket in the stormy sea of life.”

My friends are authentically transparent and serve as a genuine sounding board and accountability support system in my life. I am forever grateful.

And what do I bring to the table?  Authenticity is the secret of how I work and relate to those closest to me and to those I am privileged to serve.  There are no veneers in my life, and my deepest commitment is to analyze a situation and bring resources and solutions to impact this generation of leaders.

Remarks About Jerry from the Johnston Kids

“This is Jeremiah Johnston, the president of the Christian Thinkers Society, and I am delighted to endorse my parents, Drs. Jerry and Cristie Jo Johnston, in this tremendous, new movement called “This Is Christian Strong.” For years, both the scholarly and the media community have needed a new, curated, landmark data study of how we can parse, interpret, assess, and implement what we are discovering about the rise of the religious “nones” – those who are leaving the church, who don’t even identify, who can’t even think in religious terms. And for the last seven years, Jerry and Cristie Jo Johnston have been filming with the world’s brightest thinkers from all sides of the spectrum – religious, irreligious, former religious, converted, de-converted — and they have collated all the data points to tell us exactly how we got where we’re at today. But more importantly, they’re giving us the hope that we need as scholars, as thinkers, as those who engage in the media communities, and as people of faith who are concerned about what the world will look like if there is no religion if there is no faith. I heartily endorse this new movement. I’m excited for all that is to come considering what we’ve learned from “This Is Christian Strong.”

Jeremiah Johnston, Ph.D. ChristianThinkers.com

“I admire Jerry’s focus on his daily walk with Jesus and prioritizing his marriage.  I know he spends time in Scripture and prayer daily, and he still dates his wife in a way that shows he is still pursuing her heart.”

Christian Newsome, Senior Pastor Journey Church International, Lee’s Summit, MO

“Adapting and Pivoting!” There have been numerous moments in my relationship with Jerry where he has poured into me or built me spiritually.  He has always been a fantastic resource for finding the truth in Scripture.  But the most crucial lesson I continue to learn from him is persistence and willingness to pivot from the original plan and trust God.  I have watched Jerry being able to adapt and change his plans over the years instead of giving up.  Where most would get discouraged, he finds ways to pivot and turn it into something amazing for the Kingdom of God

Jeff Mullikin, Head Baseball Coach, Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, IL

“Some of my earliest memories of my dad are finding him praying on his knees in his office.  He was the first to teach me how to pray and read God’s word and apply it to my life.  He’s created a legacy of loving God that is now being passed on to future generations.  Dad is also the creator of fun in our family.  His specialties are making memories, celebrating special days, and planning vacations and experiences.  He taught me that memories are worth investing in and leave a lasting legacy.  I’m so thankful for his example.”

Danielle Johnston Newsome, Daughter, Executive Director of Ministries, Journey Church International, Lee’s Summit, MO

“Dad is a dreamer. New ideas are continually sparking in his heart and mind - it seems there are no limits to what he can dream. And what I love about Dad is that he has the unique ability to inspire those around him to dream big dreams for their lives. I’m not sure anyone has spent time with Dad without walking away encouraged and with a fresh vision for their future. He has taught me to try and try again. He has taught me that failure shouldn’t hold us back; it usually makes us more effective in the long run. With Dad, the sky truly is the limit.”

Jenilee Johnston Mullikin, Daughter, Blogger, Home School Educator

“I admire Papa’s legacy of faith, passed down to my mom and now given to me.  He genuinely practically loves Jesus for others to see and follow.  I also love how Papa takes care of us and makes us laugh when we hang out. Thank you for loving us so well!”

Gary Christian Newsome, First-born grandson, Liberty University Student, Intern at JCI

“I admire my Papa for the legacy of faith he’s left for my family.  He loves Jesus well and shows it in belief and passion.  He inspires me to love Jesus and have a long life of faith.  I love how much fun he brings into our family too.

Kasey Marie Newsome, Granddaughter

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