We are thrilled to share the latest in our “My Forge Story” series. In this edition, we hear from Alyson Gritter, a 2018-19 graduate of the Forge Mentorship Academy. Alyson shares how Forge Leadership equipped and emboldened her for her move to D.C.
Alyson currently works at Family Research Council (FRC) as the Events Coordinator. Alyson received her B.A. in Accounting & Finance with minors in Biblical Studies, Entrepreneurship, and Marketing from Ohio Christian University graduating summa cum laude in 2018. Before working at FRC, Alyson worked in the offices of Congressman Jim Jordan (OH-04) and Congressman Michael Cloud (TX-27).
We are pleased to bring you Alyson’s story and we hope that it encourages and inspires you.
Alyson Gritter’s Forge Story
I’ve always loved country music. Living in D.C., I find that the right song brings me back to cornfields and winding roads and reminds me of my small-town Ohio roots, especially when I need a good dose of humility. One of my favorite artists is Garth Brooks who wrote songs like “Unanswered Prayers” and “The Dance.” When thinking about my life prior to Forge Leadership Network, Garth’s song “Standing Outside the Fire” comes to mind, particularly the lyric: “You’ve got to be tough when consumed by desire. Cause it’s not enough to stand outside the fire.”
Going into Forge, I had no experience in public policy, and the only political experience I had was making some campaign phone calls back in high school. The idea of writing a bill before the Forge Summit terrified me. I didn’t know how to write a bill. What would I even write one about if I could? And we were expected to debate THIS in front of each other? The whole process seemed terrifying to me, but I “faked it ‘til I made it.” Quite honestly, throughout the duration of the summit, I felt like I was faking it ‘til I made it.
In retrospect, some of the most important lessons I learned at Forge came in these moments. Had we never sat in the mock committee hearing and debated our bills, I would have never understood the intricacies of America’s legislative process. Had we never simulated a press conference, I would have never known how to answer difficult questions under fire. Had we never met elected officials, I would have never known their personal testimonies of the sacrifices it takes to run for office and serve constituents. So much about the political and legislative experience seemed far away and out of my realm of understanding until we walked through it at Forge.
Alyson with fellow Academy students during Forge Israel
The second lesson I learned at Forge was that America is still worth fighting for. As an accounting and finance major, I thought politics was “not my profession, not my fight.” Though I love our country, I had no interest in getting involved in that sort of stuff. I would have been perfectly fine living in Ohio, in my cushiony accounting job. Not that those things are bad, but it was comfortable for me and frankly not doing God’s will. To quote Garth Brooks, “Life is not tried; it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.”
At Forge, the students and speakers inspired me. They were bold—each with their own mission, calling, and perspectives. While my classmates didn’t agree on every secondary or tertiary issue, there was widespread agreement that following God’s will and call on our lives was nonnegotiable. In fact, many of my classmates seemed to land somewhere they never expected they would be as they embraced the Lord’s plan for their lives. They spoke boldly about their convictions and faith and embraced conflict. They embraced stepping outside of their comfort zones and into the fire.
The third lesson I learned while in the Forge Academy is that the body of Christ is alive and well in our nation’s capital. Working in the offices of Congressman Jim Jordan (OH-04) and Congressman Michael Cloud (TX-27), it was encouraging to know so many Christ-followers who worked behind the scenes and who were willing to sacrifice so much to fight the good fight on Capitol Hill.
Alyson on the Speaker’s Balcony at the Capitol
Personally, there was a moment when I was making the big jump to D.C. that was really scary. I had a very short time frame to find housing and a job with maybe a few hundred dollars in my bank account, and I was interning on the Hill at the time. Three days before I had to move out of my sublease, I had no place to live. During that time, I leaned on Matthew 6:26 for comfort and strength, “Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” Two Forge alumni answered my call for help and gave me a place to stay until I landed a full-time job. Believe it or not, if you ask around, D.C. is full of stories like mine: People stepping out in faith, trusting God’s sovereignty over their lives, and serving one another in times of trouble.
“The Lord has used Forge and the people I’ve met to
give me the tools, platform, and boldness to walk
into the fire and not just stand outside of it.”
The fourth lesson I experienced while in Forge 301 was that my weakness is made perfect in His strength. During my time in the Forge Academy (2018-2019), I had the opportunity to go to Israel as well as serve as a Passages’ Fellow and lead my academy class through Israel. The week before and during our Israel trip had not been going as I had hoped – I was tired, stressed, and overwhelmed, which reflected in my leadership. Instead of focusing on serving with gladness, I moved towards leading with control and being slightly bitter. Ministering and leading an entire group of young adults was beyond me. I’m so thankful that Forge didn’t see those shortcomings as a complete leadership failure but as an opportunity to point me towards God’s grace and His blessing in refining us even at that moment.
Before Forge, I felt very cowardly, not just in my political walk but in my walk with Christ. The Lord has used Forge and the people I’ve met to give me the tools, platform, and boldness to walk into the fire and not just stand outside of it.
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I hope you were inspired by hearing Alyson’s Forge Story.
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Forge Leadership Network
Co-Founder & President