I travel a lot as a Bible teacher. I’ve been to all kinds of conventions, conferences, and women’s retreats. Usually the goal of these events is something along the lines of “encouragement in Christ” – which is a great goal, something I hope all women gain from gospel community. However… some of these events left me wondering: Are these women happy they left their kids, homes, and jobs for a day (or more) for… this? Since the writing of my viral blog post “Dear Women’s Ministry, Stop Telling Me I’m Beautiful” I have heard from countless women who wondered this very thing. They spent a weekend at a conference for teaching that barely opened a bible, didn’t prepare them for real life in Christ, and left them going home a little encouraged perhaps – but definitely not equipped. And I have discovered that women really are ready for equipping.
I have also attended conferences where I experienced the exact opposite. The Word was the focus and the fruit of this was evident. When I held my first “mini-conference” in 2018, I knew this was the model to emulate. That first event was held in an extra room in Grand Rapids Theological Seminary with a table of waters and granola bars. Our worship team was a guitar and keyboard. Almost ninety women drove in to study, worship and pray together! The next year, we moved to a larger room at Frederik Meijer Gardens and 130 women came from 11 states and two countries. It was again confirmed for me and the Every Woman a Theologian team that women want to go deeper – not just in the Bible itself, but in Christian community, too.
In 2020 the global pandemic shut down all opportunities for us to host Verity Conference again (Verity means “truth”, and is the name of my podcast). Uncertain about 2021, and with many event spaces capping attendance, we waited until 2022 to host Verity. November 4-5th marks our third Verity Conference, this time in my northern Michigan hometown of Petoskey. Two hundred and fifty women are registered to attend in person – and more online! I am daily in awe of the privilege I have to witness God’s hand in this gathering of women. It is a double privilege to see my hometown, which is increasingly post-Christian, host women who desire to know the Word of God and live it out with grace and boldness.
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