When I first started singing in church, I had two uncles who were pastors so between the two of them it was mandatory that I end up in one of their choirs. I was actually forced to sing the first time I ever sang. I was at my uncle’s church and they made me sing an old gospel song, “Order My Steps.". I was probably 5 years old and I remember being extremely nervous and not being able to see over the congregation. I don’t remember feeling a love at first sight spark, with singing. I just wanted the ice cream and cake I was getting afterwards haha.
I’ve always had a passion for music for as long as I could remember but I didn’t become serious until I was a sophomore in high school. I guess I never actually thought I was good enough to do it for a living or do it full time. I went from wanting to be a lawyer to wanting to follow in my fathers footsteps in journalism. I was pretty set on those career paths.
"I felt fulfilled whenever I was singing for God & that passion grew because I wanted others to experience that same passion and freedom."
I grew up in church but I didn’t actually enter into a true relationship with Christ until I was about 14 years old. At that point I would pray to God to be used however he wanted to use me. That has been my prayer continually and to this day. I remember going to see Jesus Culture live awakening conference in Chicago, and hearing Kim Walker give her testimony in which I could relate to. She said she prayed an audacious prayer to God and said, “Why did you create me and what were you thinking when you created me.” I then felt that I needed to pray that same prayer with the same urgency. As I prayed that prayer, over time I developed a growing desire for worship. I realized that the closest I felt to God was when I was in worship. I felt fulfilled whenever I was singing for God and that passion grew because I wanted others to experience that same passion and freedom.
At that time I was in no way headed in a path that set me up for ministry. The only thing I could do when I realized that I wanted to lead worship was to pray. I prayed to God to use me however he wanted, in whatever way he chose and to open doors as well. About 5 months later I came across a prodigy apprenticeship ad, (now 2K2) at elevation church and applied. I was so hesitant because I thought they were looking for someone in ministry already or who at least had gone to school for it. So imagine my amazement when they told me that I had been accepted into their worship program. Even more so when at the end of the program I was blessed with the opportunity to be offered me full time position as a worship leader at Elevation Church, I’m in constant awe at God.
The biggest trial I had to face was confidence. I didn’t realize that so much of my journey leading up to that point required me to portray someone that I really wasn’t. So much to the point where I didn’t actually know what it meant to be myself. So when I came to Elevation, I was forced to figure out who Ava was and what was so special about me that God wanted to use me to lead. It was hard, I was searching and searching, and it wasn’t until I realized, “Wait! My identity is found in the one who created me.” So I pressed into that. The revelation of that was a process but somehow I found peace in pressing into the fact that I may not know, but God knows and He’s with me.
"When I’m leading worship, I want to make sure that everyone encounter’s Jesus and that no one is left out. That’s what makes me passionate, that someones chance at experiencing the true love of Jesus in that moment."
My life has drastically changed. I never saw myself in full time ministry at age 25! Yet here I am in full time ministry at age 25 and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I feel so fulfilled. I have the best family here, and such a great support system at this church. The culture and community I’ve found here amazes me every day. Being able to impact lives every weekend is the most fulfilling part of what I get to do, that’s what its all about. When I’m leading worship, I want to make sure that everyone encounter’s Jesus and that no one is left out. That’s what makes me passionate, that someones chance at experiencing the true love of Jesus in that moment and it brings me the greatest joy.
My greatest moment so far as a worship leader happened at our Live recording concert last July 2015. One of my best friends unexpectedly passed away I was extremely torn apart. I had just come on staff and it was hard to truly enjoy it because I was so sad. About 3 weeks later we had the live recording of “Here as In Heaven.” As soon as we walked on stage and I saw the Time Warner Cable Arena filled with thousands of people all worshipping and praising God, I just started balling. I felt such a peace about my friend and I knew she would be there with bells whistling if she could but now she had the best viewpoint. I also realized how many friends I was surrounded by that night. God met us in a really special way, He did something in my heart. He painted a picture showing me his faithfulness to me every step of the way. It like everyone in the room was a worship leader. I feel like that’s how it’s gonna be in heaven. My advice to anyone aspiring to be a worship leader is pray, pray, pray, and let God order your steps and lead the way. God places people where he wants them at the timing he wants them to be there. Don’t focus on how to get a job, just draw near to God, draw near to the greatest relationship you’ll ever have in life, and just let him sort of surprise you!
"Believe me, He’ll do exceeding abundantly above anything that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us."
Elevation Church Worship Leader