There is something uniquely bonding about attending CVCA. Yes, the building and dress code have changed over time and new faces have joined the faculty and staff, but the core CVCA education and experiences we’ve had carry a common theme. At least this was my experience talking to Greg Ford ’99 as he caught me up on his life since graduating from CVCA.
Greg attended Southwestern Assemblies of God University where he dove head first into youth ministry after his freshman year. During the summer before his senior year he met his wife-to-be, Shaylyn, at summer camp. Greg melted my heart gushing about his wife and how he loved that they were both called to ministry. They were married on March 20, 2004 and now live in Columbus, Ohio with their three beautiful children Ella, Hudson, and Miles.
Throughout his time in youth ministry Greg saw a need for creativity when reaching students. He had seen parents drag their children to church. He wanted to flip that idea and pictured the youth of America dragging their parents to church instead. It was at that time that Greg felt called to start One Church. Greg and Shaylan moved to Columbus in 2010, leaving their community and support system and trusting God. They both worked multiple jobs to meet their new neighbors and build a community around them. Greg described working the morning desk shift at the local gym, memorizing names and faces, and getting to know them over time. After a year of working at the gym, golf course, church, and Shaylan cutting hair and working in the daycare; they started their church with 150 people from the community built by meeting people.
The Lord has blessed One Church since its first official service on January 23, 2011. Greg described looking for a new building in the same way one would go shoe shopping for a 12-year-old boy: “It’s growing so fast that it doesn’t seem like any size would be right because we’ll just need a new one soon.” Last year the Lord provided an incredible property for which includes its own Christian School attached to the church building. The first service held at 817 North Hamilton Road was on Easter Sunday 2016 with almost 1,600 people in attendance. The church has grown to over 1,000 people weekly and over 500 people have come forward to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior this past year!
Greg and Shaylan have felt called to expand to the West side of Columbus. They asked that the CVCA community join them in prayer as they trust the Lord to provide the finances, people, location, and ability to continue to spread the Word of Jesus. My favorite part about talking with Greg was his words of wisdom for our current students. He explained how the 1998 Dominican Republic trip opened his eyes to people suffering and struggling with the basic needs of life. “You have everything at your fingertips – teachers, facilities, programs… Don’t take them for granted. The DR was an eye opener for how numb I was to the blessings right in front of me.” Greg talked about how formative and foundational his education at CVCA was, and how it provided him with leadership skills and a good character. He talked about the investments made in his life and how he is very thankful for those people that made it possible. “There’s a whole treasure trove that was stocked with savings that I can access. I wouldn’t be doing what I am now without the investment of CVCA.” Greg added one final thought for the current students at CVCA: “Take a moment to evaluate and appreciate what you’ve been given. People are trying to make this a great experience for you. You feel like you’ll be young forever, but that goes away. These opportunities at CVCA can set you up for the long term more than you know.”
As I write, my heart is overwhelmed with joy for the Lord’s faithfulness to the Fords, as well as One Church. I am thankful for the community ties of CVCA, but more thankful for the ties we have in Christ.