We're so happy to welcome Ashlyn to the staff of Summit Church! Take a few minutes to read through her story. We hope you'll be as encouraged as we are!
If someone would have told me five years ago that I would now be working at a church, I would have laughed. I think I always believed in a “god,” but did not remotely have a relationship with Jesus. In fact, towards the end of college, I was fairly opposed to Christianity. But like any child of God knows, His plans are often much different than ours and vastly better. Always better.
Home life was difficult for me throughout my childhood and teen years. I often struggled with severe anxiety and depression. By God’s grace, I was the first person in my family to go college. By the time I finished, I considered myself a “spiritual person” - gravitating toward Buddhism/Universalism/Existentialism. I was also a strong (and slightly angry) feminist (side note: for the record, I was the kind of feminist that believed in shaving her legs, haha!).
After college, I moved to New York City to pursue a public relations career in the music industry. After a year, I was cold (true Floridians need 75+ degree weather year round), depressed, lonely, and empty. I moved back to Florida in 2010 and started a master’s degree in counseling at FGCU. This was probably the roughest time of my life. My anxiety and depression heightened, I felt more lost than ever, and contemplated ending my life. I was seeking for something to save me. If you would have walked into my bedroom, you may have noticed the entire section of the “Self Help” books from Barnes & Noble. I kept reading and searching, but nothing was working. At this point, I believed Christianity was fairly corny and closed-minded. I thought believing in Jesus as the only way was ignorant. But, I got desperate. I started scrolling through a Bible app on my phone and reading Christian things online. Long story short, I ordered a Bible online from Amazon, and on August 17, 2011, I started reading Matthew by myself in my bedroom. I chose the book of Matthew because it was the first area Jesus blatantly appeared, and he intrigued me. Shortly after that, I remember reading about Jesus walking somewhere and I began to sob uncontrollably. I thought, “If I could even touch a grain of sand that he walked on, my life would be complete.” I read the Bible from cover to cover a few times. I clung to every word. God’s Word saved my life both physically and eternally. I don’t have adequate sentences to describe how He has changed me (and believe me, I am an extreme extrovert that has words for just about everything - a blessing and a curse). I can’t believe I get to be with Jesus forever. Seriously people, it’s just crazy! Around that time, I felt like I should start going to a church. And again, by God’s grace, Summit was the closest one to me. So, I started going every Sunday by myself, eventually was baptized, and started serving anywhere that needed help. Summit became my family and home. These were my people.
Fast forward to the end of 2015 and here I am now in the Ministry Coordinator position at the University Campus. I am so grateful for Summit’s faithfulness to proclaiming the Gospel and for giving me the opportunity to serve the church in this capacity. I have a deep passion for evangelism and helping people find connection among one another, as well as to the Church at large. In this role, I hope to aid in the stewardship of our members and volunteers by getting them plugged into the church and with each other. But even more importantly, I want help them know they are fully known and fully loved by this body of believers and our God.
As mentioned, I am total extrovert and really enjoy talking to anyone about almost anything! So, if you see me walking around campus or an event, please feel free to say “Hey!”—I’d love to meet you! :)