Rev. Terrell Scott, pastor of Passion-Life Church in McDonough, Georgia, talks about how God transformed him from a gang leader to a preacher through the power of the gospel.
Scott shared his memories of growing up in a chaotic and fractured household throughout his youth, and how he didn't have a good relationship with his dad in an interview with The Christian Post (CP).
He longed for a father figure in his life, so he sought out fraternal ties to help fill the gap. He did this by forming his own gang.
"I could go from being good to making bad decisions really fast. When you don't have a close relationship with your father or a godly figure in your life, you will go to the streets to be mentored and to find community," he said.
In Scott's neighborhood, there were so many gang members that by the time they were in middle school, many of Scott's friends had already joined one. He said that kids in his neighborhood would often beat up one another.
Scott believed that joining a gang would help him discover brotherhood and self-acceptance. He formed his own gang at the age of 15 after gathering the majority of the members of his high school football team. That was the beginning of his ten-year crime rampage that landed him in jail.
After being caught and sentenced to five years in jail and a $500,000 fine as a 21-year-old college student, Scott told CP that the day he was arrested would stick with him for his entire life.
Nonetheless, Scott managed to operate his gang from within the prison walls and trade narcotics for several years until he was finally apprehended. He was sent to solitary imprisonment as punishment for this.
Scott claimed that during his six-month exile, he began to question the existence of God. After praying for a while, he asked God for someone to come into his life who might help lead him to Christian faith. Scott's prayer was answered within a month. He got a letter from a lady called Brandy, whom he had previously robbed at gunpoint.
"In the letter, Brandy shared the Gospel with me, and she told me that God has a purpose and plan for me. The Holy Spirit convicted me. And I started repenting," he recalled. "It was God's timing, and I started witnessing and sharing Jesus with everyone."
Brandy had also been visiting with Scott for Bible study on a regular basis for many months. After becoming a Christian at the age of 26 and becoming a disciple of Christ, prison officials started to notice the change in him as well as his evangelistic efforts toward his fellow prisoners. After that, a court decided to waive the original $500,000 fine imposed by the state.
Scott also described how God called him to become a pastor.
A few nights before his release, Scott said, "I had a vision of two hands clasping together when my eyes were closed and I was praying, and it was very clear, in the most tranquil feeling, that God was calling me to make a difference through ministry when I got out of prison. Then, I heard the voice of God tell me that I was meant to be a preacher to help many."
Scott married Brandy upon his release from jail. In 2013, the parents of five founded Passion-Life Church in the same neighborhood where Scott grew up.