As Vonda Armstrong walked out of Sunday school class, the choir director informed her that her daughter, Ashley, would be singing that morning for the service. Ashley Franks was just four years old at the time. She sang, “Jesus Loves Me,” during the invitational, and it was apparent to those in attendance that her voice touched people that day.
“I knew God had a special purpose for her life,” recalls Vonda.
After that morning, Ashley knew singing was what she wanted to do with her life. Some things are by divine design and Ashley’s talents are no exception. She comes from a musically gifted family. Her grandparents played and sang bluegrass and her mother sings gospel music. Ashley’s soaring soprano is supremely showcased in the couple’s music, meshing well with her husband’s powerful range.
Josh Franks was born in Florence, Alabama, and he can’t remember life without music. Having musical talent on both sides of his family, it was something that was a part of him from the beginning. He would gather his stuffed animals as a boy and they served as his audience while he sang and preached to them. What he didn’t realize at the time was that he was being prepared for his ministry.
In 2006, Ashley attended the National Quartet Convention with her family to sing, and Josh Franks appeared on the same showcase.
“I remember thinking he had such a big voice inside such a small person,” she muses.
After they both returned to their homes, Josh and Ashley reconnected, and by the following February they were engaged. That December, they were married.
God had a purpose for their lives and it began unfolding. Just eight days after their wedding, Ashley and Josh recorded their first gospel album together. God began weaving together their ministry, guiding them like a tapestry where every thread was carefully laid in place. He has used their love of music to help reach others that were lost and hurting.
When reflecting on the songs they have recorded, Ashley says, “Oh my, it’s hard to pick a favorite. I don’t think I have a favorite, per se. Right now, a song from our latest album that has really been ministering to me is called, ‘Just As Blessed.’ It talks about how we are just as blessed in the bad seasons of our life as we are in the good ones. Such a great reminder that I think we all need.”
Josh began feeling led to minister on a deeper level and accepted the position of senior pastor at his home church.
“Josh and I, both at separate times, heard God say that he wanted us to go home and work there. When we finally had the conversation, we knew that was our next step. We did not know how it would even happen. Josh has never been affiliated with any denomination. But all the pieces just sort of fell into place,” Ashley recalls.
“We started with around 12 people for our church attendance. It’s grown now into around 125 per service,” states the blonde beauty.
The couple continues to travel and sing in addition to their duties serving as senior pastor for Peoples Tabernacle Church in Savannah, Tennessee.
When Josh and Ashley reflect back on their ministry, there is something they desire for others to see.
Ashley shares, “For me, I would just want people to say that we were real. That we did not hide the ugly to keep up a good image…but that we gave Jesus even through tough times and that we gave everything we had, every time we had a chance.”
The calling on the lives of Josh and Ashley Franks is to assist in building the kingdom of Heaven. Like that carefully threaded tapestry, where each thread was divinely placed and held together by hundreds of other threads, their singing and preaching has touched others and brought them into the family of the Almighty. They are helping to build God’s kingdom, one soul at a time.
By Jimmy Reno
Find out more about Josh and Ashley Franks HERE
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in January 2020