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TikTok Success Came After Hard Knocks

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“At the peak of my success, I lost everything in the blink of an eye. One bad decision in five seconds, changed everything.” Andrew Carter: husband, father and owner of a successful CrossFit gym was going to jail for assault in the third degree. A gym member had made a racial slur about him, sending the 31-year-old into a violent rage. However, Andrew didn’t feel it was his fault. He recalls, “I blamed God for me being in jail. I stayed mad at God the entire 18 months that I was in prison, and then probably another good year after I got out.”

Anger wasn’t new for Andrew. He experienced nothing but turmoil from the time he was born to his white, drug-addicted mother and her black pimp. From 10 till 16 Andrew bounced between foster care and relatives. One was his uncle, an ex-con. Andrew says, “He taught me many of the same defense mechanisms and survival tactics that they teach somebody in prison: how not to be a punk, how not to be taken advantage of, how to stand up for yourself. I felt respected. I felt like the, you know, the harder I was, the...the more respect that I got.”

Throughout Andrew’s teens, drugs and sex were his tickets to peace and acceptance. Then at 17, he came to faith in Christ after his girlfriend’s brother told him about God’s love. Andrew recalls, “For the very first time, life made sense. This was truth. It touched my heart.” Andrew hoped church would be where he finally fit in. He says, “You're told to come as you are, but then when I did, I wasn't good enough. It reawakened some of those feelings of rejection, of not finding a place to fit in, not being accepted."

So, Andrew ran, and went back to his old lifestyle. Two years later he married his girlfriend and started a family. His temper resurfaced and he wound up doing six months in jail for assault and battery. Then, one of the inmates, a Christian, befriended him. He recalls, “I'm feeling accepted. We have this common denominator. And that's Jesus. I started to reawaken my relationship with God.”

That friendship gave him hope, so, after his release, Andrew started taking his family to church. He took a factory job, dreaming of financial security he never had growing up. A few years later he went to see a guest preacher at church, hoping he’d give him a word from God of prosperity. Instead, the man told Andrew he was destined to be a pastor. Andrew recalls, “I felt discouraged. Other people's word from the last year were financial blessings, prosperity, growth in their career and opportunities. The picture of ministry to me wasn't a picture of success. I grew up with not having enough things. And so, I didn't want that to be my story.”

So, Andrew ran from God again. He left the church to pursue his own path, earning two college degrees and starting a profitable CrossFit gym. Then came the racial slur, the fight, and an 18-month jail sentence. He says, “I really felt like I was on the right track. I was doing everything that the world promises will bring you joy, and peace, and happiness. I lost everything in the blink of an eye. I felt angry. I felt frustrated. I was mad specifically at God.” After his release, Andrew’s life continued to crumble. He got divorced, his business failed, and his relationship with his kids was strained. Even his occasional visits to church weren’t helping. Andrew says, “I felt defeated. I felt lost. I wanted to die.”

Over the next eight years, as Andrew worked even harder to rebuild his life, he started to notice people around him nudging him towards God. Even as things improved, he began to realize how empty his life was. He recalls, “I was doing things externally, making money, traveling, sleeping around. Doing all these things trying to figure out how I fit in, and it was in that moment when I realized I’m doing the same thing that I did before and it’s gonna lead me to the same place. I'm trying to win the approval of people through success as opposed to entering into a relationship with God.”  

It was a sobering realization. As Andrew contemplated his life, he reflected on everything God had carried him through. And one evening in late December 2019, he posted a TikTok video testimony that went viral overnight. While reviewing the comments the next morning, one message pierced his heart. He recalls, “It said, ‘Andrew, I've been to prison, I've been divorced, I've been to foster care, and last night I was going to take my life. But seeing that God carried you through those things, I believe that He could do the same for me. And so, I decided not to.’ I felt the Holy Spirit come over me and I started weeping. I just started crying. I was just like, ‘God, forgive me.’"  

Andrew repented of his pride and anger. He recommitted his life to God and over the next year continued to submit and seek God’s direction. He recalls, “Everything was making me cry. And it was just tears that I've held back. It was tears from the pain and the hurt that I've caused. It was tears from the realization of what Jesus did for me on the cross.”  

Today, Andrew has embraced his God-given identity as a pastor with a huge social media influence. He knows now he was never alone or abandoned. He says, “As I look back in retrospect, God has been with me. He never walked away. He never let go of me. And I have the absolute privilege of telling the world, yelling from the rooftops and on, on all the platforms in front of millions of people, the goodness of God, the love of Jesus, and the power that He has to transform your life.”

Discover more about Andrew Carter's ministry at

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About The Author

Ed Heath

Ed Heath loves telling stories. He has loved stories so since he was a little kid when he would spend weekends at the movies and evenings reading books. So, it’s no wonder Ed ended up in this industry as a storyteller. As a Senior Producer with The 700 Club, Ed says he is blessed to share people’s stories about the incredible things God is doing in their lives and he prays those stories touch other lives along the way. Growing up in a Navy family, Ed developed a passion for traveling so this job fits into that desire quite well. Getting to travel the country, meeting incredible people, and