Over the weekend of February 6th, Redeemer held it's much-anticipated first women's conference: a simulcast of the 2016 IF:GATHERING! For those not familiar, IF—a ministry founded by Jennie Allen to "gather, equip and unleash women to live out their calling"—broadcasts the IF:GATHERING annually for women to encounter God in their local communities.
IF's main focus is to provide opportunities for women to join together—in their community—to push one another toward Christ. As the author of Hebrews writes so eloquently, community is a vital part of the Christian faith: it cannot be ignored.
Scripture is clear, we the body of Christ are to be in community for the purpose of pointing one another to the cross. And sometimes, the most beautiful moments in our walk—where we feel closest with God—are when we are vulnerable and open, together.
And that is exactly what our local IF:GATHERING provided for our growing community of Redeemer women!
In response, some of those in attendance have offered to share their experiences, and to testify to the power of gathering together—as a body of likeminded believers—in His name, for His glory:
I’ll admit that when I first saw the church announcements about Redeemer’s first-ever women’s event, I wasn’t all that clear on what was going to take place—and I was pretty hesitant to sign up.
Would everyone already know one another and I’d be the odd woman out? Would the girls be fake, smiling to my face but thinking I’m a dope behind my back? Would they only serve tea and crouton-free salads with vinaigrette dressing since it was a women’s-only event? Would everyone’s hair be curled and their makeup perfect? Would it be even remotely FUN?!
But I was SO pleasantly surprised! It was FANTASTIC! I felt comfortable right away. The speakers were anointed teachers and their words really challenged me and spoke to my heart. I spent time in the Word. I laughed so much!
At times throughout the weekend I was so moved by the teaching and worship that I cried. I prayed hard and laid my requests before the Lord while those sitting around me did the same. And I left refreshed, reset, and refocused. I’m so thankful for all of the ladies who let me join you this time around.
Thanks for your words of encouragement. Thanks for the wisdom you spoke. Thanks for your authenticity in sharing your hearts. Thanks for accepting me for who I am. Thanks for encouraging me to live a life worthy of the calling I’ve received! I can’t wait for the next event where even more of us can gather together—what a privilege it is to be doing life with each one of you!
I thoroughly enjoyed the IF:Gathering and the way it provided an opportunity for the women in our community to gathering around the word of God and prompted us to dig beneath the surface in our conversation. Not only did I glean a ton from the learned women and men who led the conference, but my soul was refreshed and filled with hope through the authentic, raw conversation.
Even in just a short day and a half, I think God did a work among the women in Redeemer30a to bind us together and remind us that we’re not walking this thing out alone. I have a tendency to open my heart to God’s transformative work and then to lose sight of what He stirred up in me in the weeks that follow through the busyness of work and the life of a mommy.
My hope for my own heart and for the women in our community is that we would remain connected to the word, continue to spur one another on, and to abide in Christ as the vine who sustains us and makes fruit through our lives.
Getting to know a few ladies in a more intimate way this past weekend was so special for me. There were questions asked that I probably wouldn't ever ask in a typical situation that just left us all the ability to be completely vulnerable and raw before each other and the Lord. I think it's friendships like that we are called to have learn from and change our lives completely.
I learned a lot, especially from the ladies on video who had a husband who was in a terrible accident and the lady who had a stroke. When you are left with nothing but hope in the Lord, your strength comes from Him and not from yourself.
I feel that I am transforming daily since learning about these ladies lives, the Lord is transforming my heart as I live through a few tough situations and learn to Lean on His strength and not my own. I loved IF. What a wonderful gathering!!
I had such a great time at IF. It was so refreshing to take time out of our busy lives to simply focus on Jesus. I loved having time to connect with the ladies of Redeemer 30a and grow closer to the Lord together.
One of the most special moments was at the end of the conference. Each lady shared what their next step was in pursuing what the Lord had called them to do. Many of us were in tears as we shared and it really ministered to my heart.
I personally left encouraged to pursue a dream and calling the Lord put in my heart from a young age and choose faith over fear.
IF was so wonderful for me because it was a forced me to have a deliberate scheduled time to focus on Jesus...All day... With other believers. Our lives get so busy that it is impossible to spend that much time focused on him, but yet it was exactly what I needed. Life drains you and this time with God really helped fill me up.
It is also very uncomfortable for me to get together with a bunch of other women, but I partially think that this is because it acts as a huge temptation for me not to go. However the benefit is so great! To be able to relate to other women, to help expose things on your mind, and then in return receive love from other women. That openness helps you relate and develop deeper bonds with each other through Christ.
The conference highlighted certain passages in John's gospel. One particular passage that was taught is one that is often overlooked simply because of how overused it is. BUT, it cannot lose its significance!
You probably know it. You've most likely memorized it. But does it mean something to you?
In his sermon, David Platt exhumed three incredible truths from these specific verses:
- Recognize the unique place where God put you;
- Realize what's at stake in the lives around you;; and
- Remember the simple purpose God has given you.
We were encouraged to go out and make disciples. Yes, it may be uncomfortable, especially when family and friends are involved, but their lives matter. Just as God sent Jesus into this world, He sent YOU. You have a mission, just as He did.
We are so thankful that Redeemer 30a was able to participate in IF:GATHERING 2016! It was refreshing to say the least! We are also so grateful for the Ellingtons who opened their home to 30+ women to set aside the busyness of life so we could focus together on our King.