My name is Gerald Shepherd. I’m a part of Urban Jerusalem, a Foursquare church pastored by Stacey and Tryenyse Jones in Minneapolis.
I grew up in the church for most of my life—my mom made sure of that. I was involved in a Boys & Girls Club call Hospitality House, which was centered around Christ. I’ve always had a strong relationship with my mother, who took on the role of both parents because my father wasn’t there like he should have been.
During my time at Hospitality House, I learned so much about Christ and met a lot of good, godly, male role models. The fact that they were there took a lot of pressure off my mother, who at one point was working three jobs to take care of my siblings and me.
As time went on, God removed these men from my life and placed them in other cities across the country. I didn’t look at it like that, however; I saw it as them abandoning me, as my father had. So instead of letting someone else walk out of my life, I left so that I didn’t get hurt again.
I was looking for love and instead of going back to Christ like I should have, I turned to the world to find it. I started drinking, smoking and chasing women, and hanging with cats who were only out for themselves; but because they said they had my back, I trusted them.
I had a “little man’s complex,” which means I felt I had to prove myself and not let anybody punk me. As a result, I was constantly fighting and getting into trouble. I thought I was a gangsta and too cool to be touched.
I thought I had things going my way. I got married and had a son, but that lasted briefly. After almost two years of marriage, it all fell apart, along with just about everything else in my life.
No matter what I went through, my mom was constantly telling me the same thing: “Son, you need to get your life right with the Lord.” Every time, I blew her off along with what she had to say—until November 8, 2008, when I walked through the doors of Urban Jerusalem and reconnected with my big brother Stacey Jones, and the Lord met me with open arms and a smile, saying, “Welcome home, Son.”
Ever since then, God has been doing big things in my life and has blessed me in so many ways. I am currently one of the House MCs/Ministers of Music at Urban Jerusalem, and God has given me the boldness to go out in the streets and tell people about Him in ways that I was too afraid to do before.
I also started a hip-hop group called Christ Gang with my brother-in-Christ, Donnie Smith (D-Train), and God has opened doors for us to go out and rep His name. Earlier this year we did a show with Youth With a Mission (YWAM), and in March we had a show in Litchfield, Minn., called “The Venue.”
Another great thing has happened, too—in the last few years, the Lord has brought my father and me back together. Our relationship isn’t exactly where I’d like it to be yet, but it’s off to a great start, and he has started going to church.
When you just wait on God and let Him do what He does best, there is no limit to what He will do for, in and through us. Thank God, I know that now.