Michael Franzese grew up as the son of the notorious Underboss of New York’s violent and feared Colombo crime family. Franzese was "one of the biggest money earners the Mob had seen since Al Capone” and the youngest individuals on Fortune magazine's list of The Fifty Biggest Mafia Bosses, ranking #18, just five behind John Gotti. At his most affluent, he generated an estimated $5 to $8 million per week from legal and illegal businesses. It was a life filled with power, luxury…and deadly violence.
Michael’s story is a modern-day Damascus Road experience, from his early days in the Mob and rise to power to God’s leading him to do the unthinkable: quit the Mob and follow Jesus. In fact, Nobody of Franzese’s rank had ever just walked away – and lived. Until now.
Determined to use the experiences of his former life for the benefit of others, Michael’s compelling testimony explodes from a deep passion to inspire others to make positive changes in their lives against intimidating odds. Michael’s amazing story and engaging delivery have brought record attendance to events all over the country. He candidly explains how he survived dozens of grand jury appearances, three major racketeering indictments, five criminal trials, seven years in prison and a Mafia death sentence. His unique perspective and direct approach captivates all kinds of audiences, from teens to athletes to business execs to the average seeker trying to make it on his/her own in the world. Michael’s theme always hits home: “You can't escape the long arm of the law—and you sure can’t escape the longer arm of the Lord.”
Michael's compelling story of transformation is featured in his autobiography, Blood Covenant. He has also written several other books including This Thing Of Ours, and The Good, the Bad, and the Forgiven. He has appeared widely in both Christian and secular high-profile media, including The 700 Club, Life magazine, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, GQ, The Today Show, Fox News, Fortune magazine, 48 Hours, NBC Nightly News, and many others.
“Michael Franzese is an excellent communicator. His matter of fact style clearly communicated the hope people can have for a changed life! He states openly, ‘If God can change me, He can anyone.’ This [was] our second time having Michael in our church - each time we broke attendance records for a regular Sunday….We have had many other guests speakers over the years and he out draws them all.” - Pastor Lon Dean, House of Praise Church, Castleton, NY
"Michael Franzese is a trophy of God’s grace. His testimony is riveting. He had our congregation on the edge of their seats. If you haven’t heard his story, you owe it to yourself to read this booklet, and then get his book and video." - Dr. David Jeremiah, Senior Pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church, Founder & CEO, Turning Point
"There have been many unforgettable services at Willow Creek Community Church over the years, and one of those top memories certainly is the weekend Michael Franzese told his fascinating, riveting, and dramatic story of redemption and renewal. This former mafia prince is now a humble man whose story God is using to inspire and change others. The curiosity people have with organized crime provided a fantastic opportunity for people to invite guests. Michael’s story challenged, blessed, and was transformational in thousands of lives. He is the real deal and a humble follower of Jesus.Thousands waited in line for up to 4 hours to speak with him after the services. With a servant’s heart he patiently and kindly stayed and personally ministered to every single person until the last person had left. It was an extraordinary experience that honored a God who is still extraordinarily changing lives!" - Willow Creek Community Church, South Barington, IL
"We went into this a little apprehensive. Was he real, would he be arrogant, would he cause political or theological problems? Michael over delivered in every way. He was humble, gracious, accommodating, and sensitive to our needs, he delivered a powerful word that ministered to our church in a biblical, balanced way." - Life Changers International Church, Hoffman Estates
"As a senior pastor of a large church (3700+), I am always on the lookout for guest speakers who have a unique story to tell and can share God’s love and grace in compelling ways with the unchurched people we are trying to reach. But little did I know, or expect, what I was bargaining for when I invited Michael Franzese to spend a weekend with us. My first clue that something special was taking place was when the traffic was backed up over 3 miles as people made their way to our Saturday evening service. That evening, our 1700-seat auditorium was filled to overflowing, the extra 200 seats we had set up were full and as was our 350 seat atrium. It was the largest attendance we have ever had at one service. The two services on Sunday morning brought more of the same. All-in-all we had record attendances for a non-Christmas/Easter event (6500) people with 150 people indicating decisions for Christ. Not only was Michael’s story of his former life riveting, but even more so was the clarity and conviction with which he shared the grace, forgiveness and love of Jesus Christ which has changed his life. His humility, candor, and sense of wonder that God has not only saved him but is now using him to reach others, served to remind us all that God is not done with modern-day Damascus road encounters. That weekend left me in awe of how God, in his grace, uses the least likely to show forth the wonder and power of his grace to transform lives. I still shake my head in disbelief at what God did that weekend and give Him praise for his special servant, Michael Franzese." - Lead Pastor, Northwoods Community Church