John Ashley grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. The youngest of three children. His parents were divorced when John was five years old and he and he was raised primarily by his mother. After graduating high school, he joined the United States Navy. As a rebellious teenager he got involved in alcohol and drugs while in the service. He spent most of his first year in the Navy in and out of trouble. Until one evening a friend spoke to him about Jesus Christ, a day that would eventually change John Ashley’s life. He trusted Christ as his personal savior that night in the front seat of a Jeep Wagoneer, outside of his barracks in Pensacola, Florida. The weight of sin was lifted off his shoulders that day, but he never really got involved in a church and, eventually, fell back into his old lifestyle.
In the years following, John married his wife, Joann, and they had two sons. Life was going along fine, or so he thought. However, after 9 years of marriage and putting up with her husband’s self-centered lifestyle, Joann encountered a young woman that had a personal relationship with Christ. This encounter proved to be a life changing meeting for Joann. The young woman gave her a book on the Christian home that spoke of how a family needed to have Jesus Christ as its foundation. By the end of the book, Joann was convinced that she needed Christ and that her family needed a change.
She told John about her decision to trust in Christ and that she desired to have a family like the one in the book that she had read. John, having been under conviction for years, knew this was his last opportunity to get his life in a right relationship with God. That Sunday they took their boys to church and haven’t looked back since.
In 1987, an event took placed that tested the new found faith that John and Joann had been practicing. Their youngest son, Johnny, was born with unique multiple malformations. God had entrusted into their care a special child that would require much of their time and energy, but who would also be used of God to teach them much about God’s grace and strength.
Through the many trials the Lord has allowed Brother Ashley and Joann (his wife of over 40 years) to go through, He has provided strength and blessing along the way. IN SPITE OF their difficulties, John and Joann have faithfully served the Lord, launched new ministries, and currently are traveling and encouraging God’s people to live for Christ IN SPITE OF the trials they face.
Brother Ashley and Joann have co-authored the book “Finding Grace & Peace IN SPITE OF Trials & Tragedy: The Johnny Ashley Story.” A book written about their son, Johnny’s life and the inspiration he was to countless people. The book is also a testimony of how the Lord has sustained their family through the many years of having their faith consistently put to the test.
It is their firm belief that God gave them their son Johnny, and His strength so that they can use what the Lord has taught them to be a help to others. Everyone has an “In Spite Of” in their lives; some big, some small in comparison, but each one is real to those experiencing them.
With great passion and compassion, Brother Ashley will encourage and challenge those in his audience to see their “In Spite Of” in a different light; not as a problem that God has allowed into their lives, but as an opportunity to see God’s power in operation personally. He is available to speak in churches, conferences, seminars, workshops and where ever there are people that are hurting.
John and Joann have a special place in their hearts for caregivers. They know firsthand many of the challenges they face and desire to be a help and encouragement to them.
Home Church: Immanuel Baptist Church Corunna, MI Pastor Jason Georges
” It is with great confidence that I recommend my very good friend John Ashley to your church…..We have had him preach several times at our church and our people have been challenged through his preaching ministry.”
Pastor Louis Canaday, Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church Gaines, MI
“It is a great privilege for me to recommend to you Pastor John Ashley as a servant of the Lord, gifted in the field of preaching, teaching and counseling for the Caregiver. I have known John and his family personally for over 25 years and have seen, firsthand, their unique calling to minister to those who have special needs, as well as to those who care for them………Without a doubt, I am confident that any engagement you make with Pastor John Ashley, to fill your pulpit, will benefit everyone who comes under the sound of his testimony, preaching and teaching ministry.”
Pastor Steven G. Brown, Senior Pastor, Parkview Baptist Church Livonia, MI
“In a world that often allows adversity to shape it’s view of God, Pastor John Ashley proves to us that God wants to use our adversity to shape us for His good. He uses the powerful combination of sound Biblical principles and personal testimony to compassionately deliver that message. I whole heartily recommend Bro. Ashley to you and your congregation. He will encourage and challenge your church to follow Christ no matter the difficulty.”
Pastor Chris Yager, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church Swartz Creek, MI
“Hope IN SPITE OF the Hurt”