Used with permission (Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
It's no secret that the Women of Faith posse is rolling through Northern California in a few weeks. The WoF touring conference could perhaps be seen as the estrogen-enriched latent cousin to the Promise Keepers men’s rallies of the late 1990s. It's an opportunity for women (especially Christian women, and especially evangelical Christian women, perhaps) to gather together in a concentrated two days of hearing from some of the most gifted speakers and encouragers in the English-speaking world.
And I'm going.
So why am I crashing the ladies event? No, it's not to hold them accountable. Four reasons come to mind:
- Interaction. There will be Christians here from all sorts of groups. I'm down with that. Now, don’t get me wrong. I'm not an ecumenist, but I am ecumenical. The former would like to pretend that we have no differences and declare complete unity a present reality, which results in the detrimentally unfortunate inability to present our distinctives for the benefit of others. The latter says that we have nothing to lose--and much to gain--by meeting and dialoguing with each other.
Actually, assuming my sister has her baby on time, I'll be bringing my mom with me to the event. That's an ecumenical gathering right there.
- Enrichment. Color me selfish. I learn from great people. Doesn't matter if they're male or female. I want to soak in all the awesomeness that comes from the teaching there. There are some fantastic women who will be speaking!
Actually, for the record, I think they’re letting Andy Andrews at the podium this time, too. So there'll be at least one other guy there. Phew!
- Personal invitation. No, I don't mean salvifically (not directly, at least). I was invited to the event by one of the speakers. This is an act of kindness and friendship. And I'm all about cultivating the future of the Church through the establishment and maintenance of meaningful personal relationships. This is one opportunity I really wouldn't want to pass up.
- Growth. I love women. No, really, I do. And by that I mean that I love interacting with them for a couple reasons. One is their inherent emotional sensitivity that directs me to articulate issues that would otherwise lie dormant and unaddressed perhaps forever. Another is that they inspire me to think new thoughts. I've had the fortune of being influenced by a number of amazing women. My mother. My wife. My younger sister. Teachers, leaders, authors, artists, colleagues, friends. I owe it to them to keep soaking it in, filtering it, and repackaging it for others to absorb. I've been shaped, and I'm not done being shaped. There's an ongoing dynamic.
Want to go to the conference?
I think you should, especially if you're in one of the following three categories:
- Women who have been have been going through hell for the past months or years and need a reminder that there is a reality that promises them hope and a future, but also present blessings;
- Women who need a jump-start and a reminder of how powerful and empowering and transformative their relationship with God can be;
- Women who have it all together (or at least think they do) and are looking for an avenue to pass on that joy to other women.
I guess that covers just about everyone, really.
Except the guys.
Question: Have you attended a Women of Faith event in the past? How did it enrich you? What are you looking forward to for the upcoming conference?