Alex Mills was recently hired to be our new part-time Worship Leader at the 9:30 and 11:00am worship services and at Youth Group. In May, he will graduate from Azusa Pacific University with a Bachelor's degree in Commercial Music and audio Recording. He didn't originally anticipate serving at a church in Southern California, because his roots were up north. But through a series of "divine" circumstances, VMC heard about Alex, and Alex heard about VMC. Even though he had his own ideas about where he would serve after graduation, from the moment Alex learned about the position, he felt an openness toward leading worship at Ventura Missionary. He had a great phone conversation with Pastor Nate, who then called later the same afternoon to ask if Alex could fill in as a guitarist that weekend. Soon, he was asked to lead at Youth Group to test the waters there as well. "I was really struck by this place," Alex recalls, "I had this weird pull." He quotes C.S. Lewis, "Almost certainly God is not in time. His life does not consist of moments one following another...ten-thirty - and every other moment from the beginning of the world - is always Present for Him. He has all eternity in which to listen to the split second of prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashes in flames." Alex knew that God's hand was on him and that He was actively guiding the way - a truth Alex had experienced through many chapters in his life already.
Alex grew up in Northern California. His parents divorced when he was only two years old. He lived with his mom in Folsom, but still had significant contact with his dad. He didn't have much exposure to Christianity, but at the age of nine, a friend invited him to church. A few months after he began to attend church, Alex's father took his own life. "Those were tough times," Alex remembers. But even as a child, Alex could see God's timing. It was no coincidence that he had been introduced to the gospel before this tragedy happened. One of the first things he memorized in Sunday school was Psalm 23. That Scripture was read at his father's funeral and brought tremendous comfort to Alex in the midst of the pain. It was like God's healing hand was upon him in a very personal way. He says, "God was revealing Himself in the one thing I knew Him to be."
About a year later, Alex was baptized. Throughout school, he enjoyed sports and other activities, but it was his time at church that he enjoyed most. He fell in love with ministry while he was in middle school. He says, "I actually fell in love with ministry before I fell in love with music." In the beginning, music was just the medium he was drawn to use in order to do ministry. Alex was blessed with people who invested in him and encouraged him while he developed his skill-set. It was during this season that he became an active student leader, and his love for worship music grew. Alex says that he didn't see why people would want to play anything besides Christian music. "It makes you feel something; it brings joy to the heart."
As he approached college, Alex initially considered pursuing a business degree for lack of any other ideas, but then he discovered that there was actually a degree in music and worship - a perfect fit for where he hoped to go with his life. He had originally been drawn to a school in a beach community, and wasn't the least bit attracted to the idea of living in the middle of a city. But when he walked on the Azusa campus, he knew there was something different about this Christian University. His experience at Azusa has been tremendous, as he has not only learned the things he needs to know for leading worship, but also has learned so much "life stuff" from the people there. And, the bonus has been meeting his girlfriend, Heather! The experience at Azusa is another way that God has revealed His perfect plan for Alex's life.
When asked about his favorite Jesus story, Alex said that lately he has been fascinated by the story about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was healed. This woman had the faith to believe if she could just touch Jesus, she would be relieved of her infirmity. Referring to God's timely sovereignty again, Alex is blown away by Jesus' ability to know EXACTLY what path to take and where to step so that this woman could reach the hem of His garment. He says, "It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that Someone knows that much!" Alex is overwhelmed by God's ability to see all time at all times, and how He works in our lives accordingly. Our part is to reach out to Him and to trust Him when things are confusing from our vantage point. He refers to a song by David Ruis about this story in Scripture that says, "And if I'm healed by just one touch of Your garment, Lord, then how much more of Your love is for me than I'm tasting, Lord?"
Worship is one way that provides an opportunity for people to reach out to the God who knows all, loves us beyond our comprehension, can intercede in our lives and brings healing and restoration. Alex is excited to be a part of facilitating that experience for people at VMC - to help those who enter our doors to connect with the incredible God of the universe.
Editor's Note: Alex has worked the past two summers as a Worship Leader at Lakeside Church in his hometown of Folsom. He released a CD in 2016 called, "Ceilings of Blue." You can find it on Spotify. Alex will be leading our Night of Worship and Prayer, Sunday, March 12, 6:30pm.