The rock star lifestyle caught up with Ellefson by the time he was 25. He entered a 12-step recovery program and was reintroduced to his faith. And he embraced it.
Ellefson moved to Arizona, married and had children. He joined Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Church, a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation in Scottsdale.
"I came from a good family, not a broken home," said Ellefson, 47. "That became a model for me, and I saw church at center of it."
Shepherd of the Desert pastor Jon Bjorgaard asked Ellefson to start a contemporary worship service. Ellefson began to write songs using lyrics from the Old Testament.
"For a Christmas service, I remixed some classics, not quite in a Megadeth fashion, but in a pretty heavy rock fashion," Ellefson said.
He started a new music ministry at the church and called it MEGA Life. It became so popular that Shepherd of the Desert bought a new space for the ministry.
--Associated Press on heavy metal worship