Welcome to the Praise Report and Outreach Forum for New Life Apostolic Church of Watkinsville, Georgia. Our goal is to lift up Christ with testimonies and praise reports while reaching out to the lost and dying souls in our area with a positive message about our Lord Jesus Christ! God is moving in his church in these last days with a mighty outpouring of his spirit and a great harvest. We hope you're encouraged and uplifted by what you read and observe on this website. Thank you for visiting with us!
Lauren Strawn has a shy, rather humble demeanor about her, at least until she gets a microphone in her hand.
The 18-year-old freshman at Athens Tech started trying to sing and play the piano in her grandma's lap when she was 3. Soon, she was soloing in the youth choir and then singing in the adult choir when she still was in grade school.
She helps lead the youth worship at New Life Apostolic Church in Watkinsville and, while she is studying business administration, she wants to sing to a larger audience. Earlier this month, she took a giant leap toward that goal.
Strawn won a 104.7 The Fish FM contest to serve as the opening act at the annual Celebrate Freedom concert in Atlanta. Strawn opened for the Newsboys in front of a crowd of about 50,000.
"There were so many people packed in, I didn't know how I was going to sing in front of all of them," she said. "I remembered it was all about worship and just had my eyes closed. It was a God thing."
Strawn was surprised to be in the position. When the radio station announced the contest, a dozen friends emailed her the details and implored her to enter. She filmed herself playing the piano and singing "Blessings" by Laura Story. The video has thousands of views on YouTube.
Strawn played the song for one of the first times for the video, but she picks up music quickly. Strawn's music IQ has helped her write and understand music using just her ears, said her mother, Pam.
"Lauren knows how to listen to a song and make chord sheets based off of what she hears," Pam Strawn said. "I think it runs on her dad's side of the family."
Weeks after submitting the video, the station called her to tell her she was one of five finalists. The five sang their songs on stage in front of a panel of judges.
"I was so nervous, and they were all so sweet and good," Strawn said. "My voice cracked once, and I figured that was it."
Instead, the judges selected her as the winner. She sang at the Celebrate Freedom concert and already has a second gig at Faith Fest in Winder on Oct. 1.
In addition to the concert, she also earned $10,000 for herself and her church. She plans to use the money to pay off her car and invest, not just in stocks, but also in her own music career.
Strawn will get a head start later this fall with a recording session, which also was included in the grand prize. She plans on making an EP out of it.
She has written several songs that could show up on the EP and, later, a full-length album.
Her 35 or so compositions range from worship music to choir pieces to deeply-written rock songs.
"There is a lot of variety and not really a set style," she said. "They're all influenced by my love of God, but I think that a lot of people can relate."
Her songs all have uniqueness about them as well, a little stamp of Strawn's own authenticity. She doesn't just want people to listen to her music.
She wants them to be touched.
"I'm trying to relay a simple message," she said. "And that message is Christ."