“My parents believed in discipling their children,” says Annika Sholander. In her years of growing up at Ward, she was encouraged in her faith, and was urged to engage in ministries of Ward. From a young age, she knew Jesus as her Savior/Forgiver, but over time grew in her willingness to have Him as her Lord and Leader.
In her teen years, Annika volunteered with children’s programs, choirs, coffee service, and outreach events. Mission trips with Ward student ministry stretched Annika out of her comfort zone. She credits those experiences for deepening her understanding of others and developing compassion. She continued to participate in mission experiences during summer college connections with CRU.
“I was shy about sharing my faith and revealing who I am. I’m a people-pleaser. I learned that my reluctance to share my faith was rooted both in fear, and not understanding what God thinks of me. Facing my fears and remembering the character of God strengthened my faith and witness.”
Annika served as a worship leader at college CRU, and discovered joy in using her musical gifts to serve God. “Our personal ministries are an outworking of our relationship with God,” she says. “I love storytelling, and worship leading is that. We are using our bodies and our words to communicate the gospel of Jesus, and to point others toward God.”
Annika considered overseas missions opportunities post college, but came home for a season of reflection and direction seeking. She had been away most of her college years, but decided to re-connect at Ward Church. “I love how we do Sundays,” she explains.
Annika’s first step to reconnect at Ward was to serve regularly on the Ward contemporary worship team. “I wanted to serve at Ward because I wanted more connection, and worship ministry uses my God-given gifts. Through that, I also met new friends and even a mentor. I love being in a community of people who have the same passions and skills.”
She was approached about a job working with international students, which she has loved. Annika also began to date another volunteer at Ward, and she and Jaden are now engaged.
Annika’s lovely singing and keyboard work are a great WIN for Ward Church. For her, growing up serving has been a great personal WIN. “Pray and think about what opportunities will bring you joy,” she says. “Make a step into serving. It is a step you are making in your relationship with God. God has affected all our lives, and we want to pave the way for others to be affected, too.”
With the launch of the Farmington Hills campus, our worship teams are also expanding. Are you a vocalist or instrumentalist who would like to be considered? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking a way to serve? Check ward.church/serve or email@example.com.