Q&A With An AOA

Posted in: Stories

We sat down with Cru Military team member, Sonya Silva, to ask her some questions about her role. She currently serves as the West AOA and the interim Central AOA. 

What is an AOA? 

AOA stands for Area of Operations Associate. In my role as AOA, I assist the Area of Operations Director (AOD) with tasks and administrative work. We use Salesforce to keep up with local volunteers and make sure the records are accurate with our active ministry locations. One of the biggest roles of an AOA is to be an information liaison. We participate in meetings and relay back to our director what’s going on in the ministry. Sometimes we send things out to the field or answer questions the field may have. 

I tell them I’m kind of like a directory; I may not have an answer for you but if you have a question, I may know the person you can contact or I may be sitting in a meeting where I find out. 

The AOAs have weekly meetings to discuss what’s going on in other areas; it helps us to keep things consistent across the ministry. We help with vetting and onboarding the local volunteers. We provide information for the local leaders and help them get any forms they need.  Our main purpose is to help the AOD so they are able to have more capacity to do what they need to do. AODs may use their AOAs differently but it’s all to build capacity. 

We work with the AODs to gather information, including numbers and stories, and submit all that for quarterly reports as well as for IMPACT. We coordinate storytelling opportunities for the ministry by meeting with Joey, Cru Military’s Managing Editor, once a quarter to discuss the happenings of the ministry in our areas. 

How long have you been an AOA? 

I have been an AOA for a little more than 2 years. When I started, the role was still kind of evolving. My prayer was “How can I best serve my AODs and the field with my time?” 

What skills are required in your work? 

The role of an AOA requires computer skills because we’re remote, we have to be able to work in the CRM (Salesforce), and Google Workspace. Having strong organizational skills, paying close attention to detail and communicating well with the field are also important in my role. I didn’t realize when I first started working how much engagement I’d have with other people. Praying is huge; praying for those who we are serving and the military is so important. 

Please describe a typical day of work: 

I like to start the day with prayer and I pray, especially now that I’m doing 2 areas of operations, “Lord, help me order my day, to see what is priority and what I can set aside for the next day.” I also pray for the field and the AOD. There are a lot of meetings because we’re gathering information. We stay up to date on best practices and procedures that as a ministry we’re doing and pass that information on to the field. When questions come up from the field, we research to find the answers or set up a meeting with someone to find the answer. We keep up with the leads that come in and send the information to local leaders. 

Do you mostly work alone or with others? 

We spend about half our time working individually and the other half working as a team. We only work 20 hours per week and there’s some weeks where we have 10 to 12 hours of meetings. When I get together with the AOAs for our weekly meeting, we pray together and give each other updates on what is going on. Sometimes we’re in a group and we’re working things out, but sometimes I’m just sitting in on meetings taking notes. When we have our staff meetings for the different areas, I’ll take notes on updates for those who couldn’t come and send those out. Oftentimes, I am working with other people, but I’m not necessarily engaging with them. 

What do you wish you would have known about your job before starting? 

I didn’t know how much I was going to love it. I thought my role would be more secretarial, but it’s so much more than that. I love how much engagement I have with the field. I love when a team member calls to give me an update, and I get to pray with them. 

What do you love most about your job?  

One of my favorite parts of the job is interacting with others, being able to talk on the phone or Zoom with someone. I feel like I get a front row seat to see what God is doing in the ministry. We get to collect prayer requests, updates, numbers for IMPACT, and reach out to people. Because I do a lot of record keeping, I can look back and see that three months ago we were praying for this and see how God open the door and how He provided. I love having a front row seat to what God is doing in the lives of the military community through this ministry. I love that! It’s a huge spiritual highlight for me.