2 CORINTHIANS 1:4
I was born to an 80’s rocker and a fan… and it only gets more interesting from there! My name is Shaylyn Ford, and the adventure that God has taken me on so far is better than any novel I could read.
My early years, my dad was touring all the time, and neither of my parents were serving God. Through some amazing moves, God led my dad to start reading the Bible and wanting to find out about faith for himself. Eventually both of my parents committed their lives to Christ, and the rest of my growing up years were spent in the church pretty much any time the doors were open.
As the oldest girl of four kids, I have always been a “mother hen”, competitive, driven, felt the need to be perfect… you know, the stereotypical eldest child. Back then, I couldn’t see how God was going to use those traits for his glory. I knew how I planned on using some of those things: I went to college to study broadcast journalism, was determined to be the best at what I did, and put the idea of marriage way on the backburner. Especially marrying a pastor; yeah, I was never going to end up with one of those. Well, don’t you just love when God has other plans?
During my time in college God really deepened my faith and helped me make it my own, not just what I had grown up hearing. He walked me away from some very negative influences in my life and refocused me on sharing my faith and finding His will. I led a co-ed college ministry called Chi Alpha. Most importantly, I met Greg – the guy who would make me want to throw my career goals out the window and marry a pastor.
Greg and I jumped into our roles pastoring youth in a small, rural church first, then on the opposite side of the state and the spectrum, we led a large ministry in a busy, sometimes violent city. We had no reason to leave; we felt at home. But God began changing our hearts and through a year long process, led us to leave EVERYTHING behind and move to a place we knew no one and had nothing to start a church. Thus, One Church was born. We have been lead pastoring One Church for 4 years now, and have two amazing campuses: our main campus with a more traditional service layout, (although no one would describe us as traditional) and a Crossfit campus, where attendees come in workout gear, listen to the message on podcast, then put away the chairs and do the WOD (Workout of the Day)!
I have always been happy to work with my husband in ministry, and over time I developed my own thriving business as a hairdresser and makeup artist. But there was something missing. For years I felt like God was directing me to work directly with women and help them find their way out of the boxes we put ourselves in and into the BIG plans He has for us. But I was never quite sure what it would look like. I toyed with leading a group through fitness, I wrote an entire curriculum for a single mother’s home. They were good things, but they weren’t THE thing. Sometimes I would get so frustrated waiting! 10 years, God? Really?! How long am I supposed to wait for this mysterious “thing”? Once again, I never could have anticipated how He would unfold His plan.
I felt completely compelled to compete in the Mrs. Ohio America pageant in 2014. I always try to “put my money where my mouth is” when it comes to encouraging women to step out of their comfort zone. It led me to run two Tough Mudders, speak publicly, start a business. But this was a very different challenge. I decided to go for it and give God my best through the process, and then to my shock, I won! Then in an even more shocking moment, I found out I was pregnant with my third child! So now I was heading to Mrs. America knowing I would be halfway through my pregnancy. I traveled to Tucson, AZ not knowing what God was wanting to bring to my life through this. I had an amazing experience, placed in the Top 15, and had a wonderful year of service to my state. But the most amazing, beautiful thing God brought out of that entire yearlong journey was introducing me to the women I would share OurLifeSongs Ministry with.
He connected me to Christ-like, passionate women who all shared that same dream that had been waiting in my heart for years. Women that God had uniquely gifted to each fulfill a certain part of that dream; unable to do it alone, but together as a whole able to realize His plan for us. Women from every part of the country that I would never have met if I hadn’t followed God’s leading. I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness and His guiding hand through that process. I know that He has led you here too, and I can’t wait to see what He works in your life through your time with us.
Listen, if God can take a “band baby” and lead her into a ministry by telling her to compete in a pageant – He really can do anything!