Turning Point Christian Ministries, led by Rudy Allen Jr., will hold services March 31

Now, it's Rudy Allen Jr.'s turn to lead a church.

His father, Rudy Allen Sr., who began Revelation Missionary Baptist Church, is pastor at Canaan Baptist. A sister, Valerie Thompson, replaced her father at Revelation; a brother, Vince Allen, is pastor at The Bridge Church; and another brother, Marlon Allen, is pastor at Victorious Living Church in Dacula, Ga.

Allen's sister, Denitra Hardnett, is lead minister for the children's church at New Destiny Church International, which she started with her husband, Pastor Dequindrae Hardnett.

All of the churches, Rudy Allen Jr. said, have seen great growth under the leadership of his family members.

Easter will see the birth of Turning Point Christian Ministries in Columbus, and Allen is praying for similar success.

"I know for a fact that God has called me," Allen said. "From the very beginning, this was God's destiny for me."

This is a turning point for Allen. Although he has been involved in ministry work, Allen, 58, has earned his living in the corporate world, having worked in management positions at Pratt & Whitney, W.C. Bradley, TSYS and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley.

He also worked for the city government in the tax commissioner's office.

He said those jobs, most of which were in human resources, prepared him for his new venture.

"Those jobs involved leadership," he said. "They were about caring for people and helping people."

"I think this has been in his heart for a long time," Thompson said of her brother. "Rudy is a passionate person, a humble person who has a heart for people being saved. He has a desire to turn people around from where they are to where God wants them to be."

She said the family is excited and proud for her brother, and there is no sense of competition among family members and their churches.

"It is not about competition. It is about salvation," Thompson said. "We believe in service."

She said it will be a big help to her brother that his wife, Regina, and sons, Rudy and Justin, will serve as ministers with the new church.

Allen's wife encouraged him to make the move following his retirement, telling him that he needed to do what "the Lord had called him to do."

He believes he has had another sign from God. He has lived with diabetes for 40 years.

"I've managed it pretty well for most of that time," he said.

But over the last five years, he has found himself as far as 30 miles from his destination and suffering from bouts of low blood sugar, which resulted in him passing out behind the wheel of a vehicle.

"I tore up some trucks, but nobody ever got hurt," he said. "That I survived was divine in nature. God was leading me to this."

While he was raised Baptist, his church will be nondenominational. "All are welcome," he said.

The first letter of the words in the name of his church reflect its core values. The "T" stands for trust, the "P" for prayer, the "C" for commitment, and the "M" for ministry.

Deciding to begin a church, Allen needed a place to hold services. He found church buildings for sale but at too high a price.

"I want to be a good steward of the church's money," he said.

A friend owned a building at 3151 Williams Road that is home to several businesses, including a boutique and a couple of insurance agencies.

"It's small, a storefront, but it is a beginning," he said.

Allen and helpers have been transforming the office space into a sanctuary. As he spoke this week, his clothes were covered with paint.

"Daddy always taught that a church is more than a building. What is important is building the body of Christ," Allen said.

His church will do a lot of outreach.

"We will share our love of Christ in the community and see who wants to join us. We will hold events and let people know we are here to serve," Allen said.

He is well-known in the area and already has a handful of followers coming from other churches.

Allen knows his father is glad to see him do this and is proud so many of his children have followed in his footsteps but showed little emotion when he was given the word.

He just told the eldest of his seven offspring, "Son, if the Lord is calling you to do this, you have to do it."

Allen said his father never pushed him or his siblings toward being a church leader.

"The only time he pushed me was when I was 16 and attending Kendrick," he said. "I told him I was going to quit football. He told me that if I did, I was out of the house. Of course, he did not mean that. What he was saying is that if God gives you a talent, you are not allowed to waste it. You have to finish what you start."

Allen went on to be a star quarterback for Georgia Tech in the 1970s.

Allen said his mother, Gloria, is an inspiration as she has a ministry of her own. "She is always helping someone," Allen said.

He recalled the large family living in a small house, but his mother was always bringing in someone who needed help.

Allen's brother Marlon followed a similar path to him, spending several years in another profession before deciding to get behind a pulpit. It was a position with the Boy Scouts Of America that took him to Dacula. He leads a church that began with five families and now has 16. Sunday services are held in a local high school.

"Before you think about starting a church, you have to be sure this is what you are being called to do," Marlon Allen said.

He said it is also good to have a small group already invested, at least 30 people.

Like his brother Rudy, he feels his other work prepared him for the ministry and said his brother is ready for this challenge, especially with his wife and older children playing an active role.

"I started right before I had my second child," he said. "Rudy will do well."

As for Rudy Allen, he is eager for that first service at 10:30 a.m. March 31.

"It's going to be an exciting time," he said.