*Gospel singer Kirk Franklin grew up with one foot in the church, but during his teenage years his other foot was in a pretty bad place. Abandoned by his mother and surrounded by family members battling drug addictions, Franklin became a father at a very young age. He describes his life as being without much purpose and certainly without direction. But he met a pastor — Tony Evans of the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas — who served as the first real mentor who helped Franklin realize what his life could be. The seven-time Grammy-winning artist who’s had more than 20 No. 1 gospel hits has now written a book, The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life’s Storms, to help others find similar direction. He took time to talk about hard work, parental responsibility and why he didn’t use a ghost writer.

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