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7 Questions for Thursday: Toya Johnson

Toya Johnson is director of Community Impact – Self-Reliance & Independence for United Way of Dane County. She had previously worked for United Way in southeastern Pennsylvania. She grew up in Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, worked for the pharmaceutical industry, earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and served as an administrator for a large urban school district. She serves on a number of boards in the area. Toya is married to Michael Johnson and they have three children. She says that she Toya has “a passion for working to better the lives of people” and that her goal “is to help Dane County be the best place to live, work, and play for all people.”

What does Jesus mean for you?
Jesus means deliverance and freedom for me.  He died on the cross so that my sins would be forgiven and I am forever grateful.  He is the reason that I am the person I am and why I try so hard to live in a way that he’d be proud. Jesus gave up so much for me so that I can live life more abundantly and have life everlasting.

Name your favorite 3 Christian music artists?
It is hard to name just 3, but those who come to mind are Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, and Tamela Mann.

What is the church body doing well and what could we improve on?
I think the church body is doing well saving the souls that are ready and willing to come into the house of the Lord. I also think that they should continue to take advantage of the opportunity to come outside of God’s house and spend more time in the communities with those who aren’t breaking down the doors of the church to come in.

Ministry can be carried out in various ways. There are formal and informal approaches that can be used (i.e. social media, community dinners, community and social programming, etc.). We are living in a time where we are seeing now more than ever a world of spiritual wickedness and confusion. There are souls that are lost and just need someone to nurture and care for them. Respectfully, it is the responsibility of the church to love, renew, and guide those who are experiencing this confusion. Churches serve as pillars in our community and just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a church to bring people together and support their spiritual and mental welfare.

What scripture really defines where you are today in life and why?
I think that the scripture that defines where I am in life today is Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

I say this because those who really know me know that I like to plan EVERYTHING! I have always planned what I would do with my life, how I would do it, the road that I would take to get there. The successes that I have accomplished have not at all been executed in the way that I had planned.

Being a highly motivated and driven person myself, it was my dream to go away to college, graduate with a degree in science, and take this world by storm as a great scientist. I would then travel and make a difference in the world. God had a different plan. While I accomplished graduating from a Big Ten University with a degree in Chemistry, obtained employment and received high honor and recognition at one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world, a life partner was being groomed for me to help support and make a difference in the lives of others at an enormous scale even bigger than I had imagined.

My plans remained the same. However, I had to be opened to a different way of accomplishing them. My steps were definitely ordered and now God has allowed me to give of my time, talent and treasure and be the change that I want to see.

You are married to a well-known person in our community Michael Johnson. What advice would you give others who have a husband or wife as a public figure?
Do not get so blinded by the light that is being shined on your spouse that you start to diminish your own self-worth and value. Marriage is a partnership and the emotional, spiritual, and physical support that you provide to your spouse is invaluable. Make time to invest in you to sustain your own identity and strengthen your partnership. Work together to protect your home and your family, keeping out the wicked spirits that will try to divide and conquer. Your home is a sacred place of love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Establishing boundaries that foster these attributes is essential!

Who is Toya Johnson?
I am a child of the most high. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am outgoing, loyal, compassionate, ambitious, and optimistic. These characteristics enable me to be the best me that I can be and a champion for those who need one. My purpose in this life is to serve.

Do you miss living in Chicago? If so, what do you miss the most?
I can’t say that I miss living in Chicago, but I really do miss my family. A majority of my family and my in-laws live in Chicago and the Chicagoland area and we are all very close. They are my rock! We’ve lived in a few cities, so making Madison our home answered many of their prayers as it has brought us back closer to Chicago. They were very supportive of our move here to serve in this community and have adopted Madison as their second home.