A Winding Path to Church Leadership

Name: Ashley Wooldridge

Current Status: Alumni

Graduation Year: 1999

Ashley Wooldridge (BA ’99) grew up in the towns of Wilcox and Sierra Vista, Arizona, and attended a church of moderate size with his family. “Ministry was never on my radar,” says Wooldridge, whose father, a teacher and football coach, was his role model. He planned to go to one of Arizona’s universities, but learned about Christian colleges when he was in high school, and he thought, “That’s amazing! I can get a non-ministry degree, but at a Christian school – I have to do that!”

He chose HIU because he could play volleyball and get a teaching degree at the same time. Halfway through his four-year degree, he spent some time in a high school classroom and decided he didn’t want to do that, after all, so he completed a business degree. He believes he graduated at the perfect time, because the young Intel Company was so “desperate” for personnel that they hired him, even though he hadn’t graduated from one of their preferred institutions. His wife, Jamie (Fraley, BA ‘99), also worked for Intel. “HIU prepared me to be a good employee and to be a Christian representative in the workforce,” he reflects, “I came to understand that no matter what field you’re in, you’re representing Jesus.”

Five years into his eight-year career at Intel, Wooldridge felt the call to fulltime ministry, and he believes that his time at Intel was part of the overall preparation. Intel is a leadership-intensive environment, and, in addition to that leadership training, Intel paid for his Master of Business Administration degree. He also attended seminary before accepting the call as Executive Pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley in the Phoenix area.

On November 1, 2017, Ashley assumed the role of Senior Pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV). CCV is the 2nd largest independent Christian church (8th largest church) in America, reaching more than 27,000 people each week through services on seven campuses and preparing to open its eighth campus.

Founding pastor Don Wilson, who announced his retirement and succession plans back in February of 2017, passed the baton after 35 years of faithful leadership. “CCV is thriving, God is blessing, and the future of this church is secure,” stated Wilson. “I choose now to step into a new calling and turn the leadership of CCV over to a new generation. I will be available to consult and encourage Ashley as needed through the end of 2018.”

Ashley believes that he has become Senior Pastor at an exciting time. “People keep indicating downward trends in the church, but the opportunities to transform people’s lives are great!” Ashley exclaims. “We can impact culture like never before.”

“I got a lot more leadership training than most pastors get, especially if they go directly from college to ministry,” Ashley says. “Training leaders for the church is a priority; our partnership with HIU is vital because everything rises and falls on leadership.”