In all my years launching and leading Women's Journey of Faith, and now launching Hope Restored Canada, I have come across hundreds of speaker names, suggested books, studies, retreats and conferences. I am grateful for each life that has crossed my path as their stories of faith, courage and perseverance has intersected with my own story.
But when people put pressure on organizations to outdo previous years with more catchier themes, more engaging presenters, what brought you into the ministry can be easily choked by the pressures of peoples expectations and those who want to take advantage of your platform and influence. Overtime, it's easy to become numb to it all. I used to get people personally emailing me their books and sharing their website links to let me (and WJOF) to inform me of their ministry or new releases just in case we were looking for a keynote speaker. Somethings that is helpful, and other times I found it quite annoying. If speakers only knew how their emails come across to event organizers- the last thing they'd want to be perceived as it needy or pushy or too forthright that their messaging actually was a turn off!
What I have found over the years of what is most impactful and meaningful is the power of a persons faith story. What caused them to reach out to God? Did they experience brokenness? Are they vulnerable enough to share the good, the bad and the ugly parts of their life to lead people to the cross or are they more concerned with book sales and popularity? It doesn't really matter if one is a polished speaker or writer who has published a top seller, what I have come to realize is what is most important is the impact of Jesus on one's life and our willingness to be vulnerable and share with those who have ears to hear. Not just the stories from the past, but their current reality of life in the here and now. Faith is meant to be a living, breathing, non stagnant journey of faith. That includes speakers, stay at home moms, corporate business people, pastors, extroverts and introverts and all people really who claim to be believers and followers of the 'Jesus way'.
During my years of organizational formation with WJOF as its founder, I was a part of developing a workshop to teach others to "Share God's Story Through Your Story," for individuals and groups to go through. It was awesome to see the others lighten up and realize how their stories matter, and to step out in faith to be bold, vulnerable and to no longer fear people's opinions of themselves but to care more about how God sees them. It has been so gratifying see other organizations and ministries focus on story, so needless to say, my radar is honed into other resources that I can endorse who speak that same language. One I recommend is "Redeemed" by If Gather:
This six week study can be done as a personal reflection or in a group format. I'm sharing this over this next month on social media because I believe in its message so much. I encourage you to join me this summer and do this study alone or gather a group!
Check out the study "Redeemed" by If Gather, click here for details.
Have you discovered the joy of sharing your story through God's story?