Dr. James Richards’ Story
The God Kind of Restoration
James Richards was raised in extreme poverty. He experienced horrific physical and mental abuse as a child, and grew up believing that he was unlovable, convinced that he was a total failure, he was heading for complete destruction.
This is Jim’s story …
Poverty was the norm for us. We were one of those families that you passed down all your old clothes. My dad didn’t live with us, but he’ll come back sometimes and break into the house, steal all the food that we had; steal all the heating oil in winter. I was only 4 years old when he tried to burn us all alive in a drunken rage. At a later age, my step-father broke into my bedroom and stabbed me in my sleep intending to murder me. I was sent off to live with my grandmother who was completely crazy. She abused me physically and mentally, and convinced me I that I was totally unlovable. I finally ran away from home at 14 years of age and lived on the streets. I did every wicked and despicable thing just to get food to eat and to survive. Everything I got into failed. It didn’t matter how much drugs I took, at the end of each day when I got into bed, my heart was breaking, and I was just barely able to breathe from the pain.
At some stage I started a band. By this time I was heavily into drug abuse. One day our drummer was enraged because our drug supplier in Atlanta has gotten saved. That was our party time and that was how we made money. This guy was so upset, he was cussing and ranting and raving about Ernie getting into religion, and believing in Jesus. Now through this whole conversation with this guy, what was really interesting, was that this was actually the first time in my life that I have heard the Gospel. The key thing that he said that captured my heart was, he said that “Ernie told me that if you were not #*$%! for God, you were *#$%! against God. That got to me. That was the turning point in my life. Man, when I got out of that car, for the first time in my life, I knew there was no neutral ground. I was 21 years old, I didn’t know what to say, but I prayed. I said: God here’s the deal, I don’t understand this, but this has something to do with Jesus dying for me, and I don’t know what that means, but if you help me, I will give you my life. But there are two things, number 1, I’m not going to believe anything anyone says about you unless I see it in the Bible myself, and number two, I’m not going to play church. This is going to be the real deal. I’m not going to play games.” And you know, from that very moment I was a different man. My life turned around completely. I had a revelation of the love of God. I knew I was loved by God, and that transformed me right there and then.
His dramatic conversion and passion to help hurting people launched him onto the streets of Huntsville, Alabama. Early on in his mission to reach teenagers and drug abusers, his ministry quickly grew into a home church that eventually led to the birth of Impact Ministries.
With doctorates in theology, human behavior, and alternative medicine, and an honorary doctorate in world evangelism, Jim has received certified training as a detox specialist and drug counselor, as well as a trainer for the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA). His uncompromising yet positive approach to the Gospel strengthens, instructs and challenges people to new levels of victory, power and service. Jim’s extensive experience in working with substance abuse, codependency, and other social/emotional issues has led him to pioneer effective, creative, bible-based approaches to ministry that meet the needs of today’s world.