U of M student's 'InstaGOD' Ministries goes viral - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

U of M student's 'InstaGOD' Ministries goes viral

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

InstaGOD Ministries is an Instagram account coined by University of Memphis student Shawn McKenzie in 2012. Since then, he has gained 197,000 followers.

The 21-year-old posts inspirational messages and prayers.

It's all part of a plan he says is directed, from The Man upstairs.

"Instead of 'Insta' I thought of well, how about, 'just add God,' after 'insta,' and from there I really thought I could share this page to share the Gospel with others around the world," said McKenzie.

The criminology major says his spirit prompted him to launch "InstaGOD Ministries" last year. His 197,000 followers surpasses some major celebrities like Madonna.

"There's people that are broken, people that are hurting, confused, lost," he said.

He posts inspirational messages, prayers and daily devotions. Many comments praise InstaGOD Ministries, like this post from Heather, "I am always convicted and encouraged after reading them." Some posts receive more than 19,000 likes.

Now, McKenzie has expanded the Instagram page to a website, clothing and multicolored wristbands.  While he expected InstaGOD Ministries to meet success, he didn't expect the backlash that often comes along with it.

"When the world is seeing it, you have people who hate God, hate Jesus, Atheists, people have different religions and denominations, beliefs, so I've been bruised, battered, broken," said McKenzie.

He says his mother inspired his strong faith, but experience helped build it. He says he suffered financial mistakes, broken relationships and caved into peer pressure.

"Not treating this person the way they should have been treated, learning from that."

While McKenzie creates the graphic designs behind the powerful scriptures, he credits God for each testimony. He recalls one woman who says InstaGOD convinced her not to commit suicide. "I'm glad my eyes were led to this post, because it stopped me from taking my life, it has changed me inwardly, saved my life."

Among all the technology apps, you can soon find the InstaGOD Ministries app.  The launch date is set for mid-March. McKenzie hopes InstaGOD Ministries reaches one million followers.  

With his greatest champion behind it, he's confident the possibilities are infinite.

"He's the only way to receive salvation."

McKenzie says he's filed a 501C3 and gives about 10 percent of profits to tithing, small portions to charity, and invests the rest into the product.

After graduation this fall, McKenzie hopes to work for the United States Secret Service.  At some point, he also hopes to attend theology school.

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