Moving Forward: A Chat with Kirk Franklin

By Jenny Bennett | managing editor,
Posted: Tue, 06/01/2010 - 14:57

album promo image for Moving Forward: A Chat with Kirk Franklin

By Jenny Bennett, contributing writer,

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Seven-time GRAMMY Award-winner Kirk Franklin, devoted husband and father of four, has experienced his fair share of heartache. His father left him when he was just a child. His teenage mother admitted that she wished he'd never been born. In Franklin's new book, The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life's Storms (Gotham), one of the all-time most successful gospel stars describes how he allowed those events to shape his life and faith, and offers principles for success – everything from love and parenthood to finances and career – that can help readers achieve their dreams no matter their situation.

On the day of the book's official release, May 18, sat down with Franklin for a brief chat about how the book came to be and where its message may be headed.

What gave you the idea for the 'blueprint' theme of your book?
You know, it was really divinely planned. It grew out of the team that was around me and the public speaking engagements I was doing; a lot of people started requesting a book based on the topics I was speaking on.

Truth be told, many believe in Christ, but a lot don't see Christianity working. They want to believe, but they're not seeing it work in their lives. If God's plan is for marriage, why isn't it working? So I wanted the book to take a hard look at those topics and start working towards solutions.

The book talks about the role church plays in giving people a blueprint for their lives. How do you see that working or not working?
The church's job is to be socially aware and to know what the challenges are and what's happening in the pews. People need to be able to speak strongly about what they are facing. I think part of the church's role is to start coaching people more in apologetics. Giving them history, the relevance of Christian faith, and all that background to be able to respond to arguments when they come up.

You use some great analogies in your book. What's an analogy that works for you in your life that might not be found in the book?
When I took my son to see Avatar, we were so late getting to the movie that they'd run out of 3D glasses. It was so difficult to enjoy with everybody exclaiming and I had no idea what everyone was seeing.

We were created to enjoy life. God's word is how to live life. People are walking around so frustrated because they can't see clearly. We're all walking around without our glasses on, so we can't see all the things that are working together for good. God wants us to see things through a different lens.

I noticed one age group you didn't address in the book was teenagers. Is it even possible to create a blueprint for teens?
That may be the second book! We may have to dig into that…all the stuff young people deal with: sexual desire, relationships, school, church…

My teen years were flat out horrible. I wasn't popular, I didn't excel in athletics. Being a church boy in the '80s wasn't sexy, and with my small stature, I didn't get a lot of attention.

How did you overcome all of that and get to the point of becoming a gospel artist?
A friend of mine got shot and killed when we were 15, and from there I gave my heart to Christ and just kind of fell into it. That's when the songs started coming.

Do you think your book could be the precursor to your next album?
I have no idea. Those songs have already started being formed, but at this point I have no idea creatively how the album is going to end up. We'll go into the studio this summer.

While your book is written from a Christian perspective, it also does a great job of relating to people on a human level. Do you think it has the potential to reach a broader audience?
We have released it in both mainstream and Christian press, but you know, God holds those strings and turns those door knobs. So all I can do is just walk the walk while trying to stay plugged in to what's going on in the world.

With Father's Day coming up, what is your blueprint, in a nutshell, for fathers?
Number one: apologize when you need to with words and with actions. Number two: Under that, kids will model us, or if they don't have that model, they're going to model something else. Your kids' success or failure is a direct look upon you.

What do you hope to receive for Father's Day?
Time at home. I want to go to a nice restaurant with my phone turned off.

I will pray that's what you'll receive.
Thank you. I do too!

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