For the last two days, I have had the privilege of serving at a women's gathering in Austin, TX called "IF." I have got to carry waters, move boxes, light candles, serve communion and assist with the humble and passionate band from Austin Stone. Mostly I have served as Hillary's trophy husband.
As I have observed, worshiped with, learned from, and interacted with these ladies, I have found it to be a refreshing and life-giving experience.
I thought I would share few themes from the gathering I noticed:
1. Celebration > Competition
There are ladies from all walks of life, different theology, different races, different ideas on life and church and parenting, different things they are passionate about. Authors, moms, speakers, pastors, business leaders, etc. But what I have noticed is that they are more interested in celebrating and enjoying one another then they are at promoting or differentiating themselves. There is a sense that they are in this together, that their stories and lives are shared and that they genuinely are FOR one another.
2. Vulnerability > Security
Every woman that shared, shared from the story that God was telling through their lives. Not as polished, not as formulaic, not so overconfident. Sharing from a place of learning, humility, brokenness, and a confidence that is God inspired not self inspired. Lots of questions, lots of discussion, less telling. So refreshing.
Obedience > Comfort
When Jennie Allen, the founder of IF gets on stage, she keeps sharing about how they were stepping into the unknown with so many things regarding the movement. Not sure if people would come, not sure if they had the budget, not sure what would even happen at the gathering. But they knew they were called. They knew they had to be obedient and the results were up to God. It seems more like the leaders of IF were getting on a roller-coaster than trying to build one. I think this willingness to try, willingness to experiment, willingness to learn, is where God can do some of his best work. And He is doing so at IF.
While serving communion together with Hillary to some of the ladies at IF, I was struck by how much each of these diverse ladies have to offer the body of Christ. How we have at times relegated our sisters to the backseat of Christianity as we drive the bus around without directions. It is high time that we make room at the table. It's time to stop making ladies push their way to the table and begin pulling out their seats for them. Guys, lets cherishes the gifts of the women in our lives, communities, and churches and help release them into the callings that God has for their lives. I'm so thankful for the wisdom, energy, passion and life that these women are bringing to the table. Looking forward to leading and learning together.