It's Time: A New Movement for Our Generation
by Jen Hatmaker on June 19th, 2013

Part of my I-can’t-believe-this-are-you-sure-this-isn’t-a-mistake life is teaching at conferences all over the nation. This is humbling, almost crushingly so. That people trust me with spiritual content is so sobering, it often stops me in my tracks, paralyzed with the weight of it.
 
But I’ve been keynoting women’s events for about seven years, and between the themes, programming elements, and structures, a small suspicion has grown into a fully acknowledged truth:
 
I probably wouldn’t attend most of these conferences.
 
Not because they aren’t organized by truly marvelous women or orchestrated with the sincerest of motives, but because they aren’t speaking my language. They often leave behind our pressing questions and passions, and sometimes entertainment occupies too forward a space for a generation starving for depth, theology, mobilization, justice.
 
I am a part of a group of friends dreaming a dream, two years in the making. We’re building a tribe, in my bravest moment I’ll call it a movement. It is by our generation of women, for our generation of women. It already includes some of the best thinkers, theologians, Bible teachers, creatives, catalyzers, and visionaries in our demographic. It is strong and deep and wide, shaped by our language, dreams, diversity, our deepest heartbeat.
 
With pounding heart, shaking hands, I introduce the “IF” vision:
WE EXIST TO GATHER, EQUIP AND UNLEASH
THE NEXT GENERATION OF WOMEN
TO LIVE OUT THEIR PURPOSE.
IF God is real…THEN what? We are starting a raw authentic and community-driven movement. Our tribe craves the uncomfortable – we will wrestle with hard questions and not know all the answers. We will invest in one another and represent the Church to a generation that needs God.
 
It’s our time, and we are ready.

The IF movement will have three distinct parts:
 
IF: Gathering
 
This 2-day conference will bring women together and wrestle out how to live out the calling God has placed on our lives. We hope to build a creative, diverse space to build community and find God: experiential, story-driven, tribe-building, plumbing the depths. We can hardly wait. // Austin, TX Feb. 7–8 2014
 
IF: Equip
 
We are creating a blueprint for intentional equipping – reaching women with tools that are holistic, strategic and deep. By providing easy online access to a like-minded community and relevant resources created by our tribe for our tribe, we will release women around the world to live out their purposes and advance the kingdom. We have an audacious vision to disciple the next generation.
 
IF: Unleash
 
We are a generation passionate about disparity and justice; we won’t sit idly by enjoying our advantages while the world suffers. By partnering with organizations like Food for the Hungry, coming specifically alongside women around the world, fostering relationships and utilizing our God-given gifts, we believe this movement not only transforms hearts but leaves a tangible impact on the entire world.
 
We’re dreaming big, this group of us: Jennie Allen, Lindsey Nobles, Jessica Taylor, Lauren Chandler, Melissa Greene, Esther Havens, Tara Jenkins, Rebekah Lyons, Bianca Olthoff, Angie Smith, Ann Voskamp, and myself. We have gathered another 100 of the finest thinkers and leaders in our generation, buying in, ready to invest, ready to launch. With humility and thankfulness, we are mentored by Christine Caine, Debbie Eaton, and Shelley Giglio.
 
Don’t you feel it? The timing, the hunger, the tension? The statistics say our generation is struggling mightily with the church, trying to find our place. We crave the good wine of the kingdom but grapple with the old wineskins, eager to find forms that are able to stretch and contain the fresh movement of the Holy Spirit in our generation. We have big questions, big concerns, big dreams, and we need a safe place to wrestle it all out in the name of Jesus and for His kingdom.
 
Join us. We are reaching out our hands, and truth be told, jumping up and down, holding our breath. We want you. We need you. We are ready to go. With gratitude untold, we accept the mantle from the brave, obedient generation before us…and we rise up.
 
Here we are, Lord. Send us.
 
You ready? There is no age limitations here! Come over to our IF website to see more of the vision, meet the team, and join the conversation by SUBSCRIBING TO OUR EMAIL LIST (this will keep you in the loop for all upcoming details). We can’t wait to meet you.

Read more today from:

Jennie Allen
Lindsey Nobles
Lore Ferguson
Sarah Markley
Kelly Stamps
Logan Wolfram
Raechel Myers
Sarah Bessey
Elora Nicole
Jessica Honegger
Rebekah Lyons


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229 Comments
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Cathy - June 19th, 2013 at 2:12 PM
Imagine my horror when my best friend (well, she doesn't really know that I'm her best friend, or me for that matter) -- excluded me from the coolest gathering for Christ-following women who want to explode and change the world? Sigh.....

50 year old Mom/Wife of 17 and 10 year old CRUSHED in Indiana


Jeanine - June 19th, 2013 at 2:13 PM
Keep in mind that many of the women of the previous generation (me included) have spent years just breaking the boundaries for women that exist in church, hoping that our children (your generation) could go one step further. Know that we are ready to join you, even as we leave the leadership up to you. The time is now. May God bless your journey.
mama jane - June 19th, 2013 at 2:49 PM
Amen. from a 56 year old Jesus Freak in Dallas.
Melissa - July 8th, 2013 at 4:14 PM
THANK YOU for breaking down the boundaries so women can lead and do more in the church, and the rest of the country.
Katie May - June 19th, 2013 at 2:15 PM
I cannot even express how excited I am! This is exactly right for our generation of women! I will be watching for more info on the online content as I am due with my third baby right over the dates of the conference (which will clearly limit my ability to attend!).
candice - June 19th, 2013 at 2:16 PM
Of course I'm in
Laurajane - June 19th, 2013 at 2:20 PM
i sure hope that this conference is 2 days before or 2 days after the Noonday ambassadors retreat/conference because there's no way i can fly to austin twice in one month. :)
Holly - June 19th, 2013 at 2:23 PM
Older women should be involved in helping equip the younger women! So much of society views women over 40 as invisible and used up. An age limit makes me sad. That's not how it should be at all.
SJantz - October 15th, 2013 at 5:29 PM
Thanks Holly! Agree totally- my husband and I are a mentor couple in a young adult SS class. Want to help mentor and serve the next generation.
Rachel G. - June 19th, 2013 at 2:25 PM
I'd love to hear more! I'm curious about what makes this generation-- what it seeks, what defines it, what it will pursue-- different than others before?
Ria - June 19th, 2013 at 2:40 PM
Just had an awesome idea while reading your post for my library -- Daily inspiational quote prominately displayed! Thank you!
Becky S - June 19th, 2013 at 2:51 PM
Where do we (or can we) sign up for the thing in Austin? I'm so excited I'm going to start saving NOW and I will be in Austin (again, if we're allowed) in February.
Carrie Pierce Kuba - June 19th, 2013 at 3:29 PM
I'M IN. I MEAN IT.
And I want to help. What do you need?
Carrie Pierce Kuba
https://www.facebook.com/SomeonesChild.net

Sarah - June 19th, 2013 at 3:31 PM
I live in Italy most of the year and attend the one English speaking church in the entire region. I was so excited to see this, which is the outcry of heart...until I saw the age cut off. Do I, at 51 (look 41), having raised a daughter, not have a place here to connect in investing in the next generation?
Donna Lohr - June 19th, 2013 at 3:33 PM
An awful sadness if on me because I am too old....I fell through the cracks somehow. Taking deep breaths.
Donna - June 19th, 2013 at 3:34 PM
God forgive me, but I will lie about my age to go to this if I have to. YAHOO! Thank you!! Finally!
Beth - June 19th, 2013 at 3:44 PM
I have to be honest -- I was a little skeptical that this was anything new, anything different from all those other women's conferences...until I read IF: Unleash. Oh yes. This is awesome and excellent. Thank you.
Joani - June 19th, 2013 at 3:46 PM
I'm reading it to say the age you feel (minus the bad back and grey hairs), so at 42 (feeling 30 something at heart) I am in!
Lori Wright - June 19th, 2013 at 3:49 PM
This sounds amazing!!!
Trace - June 19th, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Holy crap, people! She didn't say "This is for 20-40 age women only -- the rest of you are excluded!" She said she wants to be part of a conference for a new generation of Christian women... and that is not limited by age. And what she said only describes the leadership of this "movement" -- here's the quote: "It already includes some of the best thinkers, theologians, Bible teachers, creatives, catalyzers, and visionaries in our 20s-40s demographic."

Do any of you who follow Jen regularly REALLY THINK that she would leave anyone out who wanted to attend a conference like this? Really??? Geez, sometimes I wish I didn't feel compelled to read the comments... but it really is like watching a train wreck.
B. Hews - June 19th, 2013 at 5:43 PM
Wow, Trace....chill..Not feeling the love of Christ in this post at all. BTW, I wonder what "Holy" crap is anyway. I mean, I know God is Holy. Jesus is Holy. The Spirit is Holy. Maybe we shouldn't lump "crap" in there with them......Enjoy the conference :)
Trace - June 20th, 2013 at 1:01 AM
B, it's an expression; you don't have to use it. I for one like it and find it entirely appropriate in this situation.
Teresa Rieke - August 8th, 2013 at 7:44 AM
Amen!! It is never too late for God to use you! He uses those who make themselves available. Everyday is a new day! I am planning on going to this exciting conference! I am 51 years old, and I want God to use me everyday until He takes me home!
AM - January 8th, 2014 at 8:44 AM
It may have been just a misunderstanding. I read it through and realized that it is open to women of all ages and I don't follow Jen (I will now!). Women of a certain age feel left out-we have fought so hard to be heard in the church but haven't always been. I am blessed to be in a church that recognizes the value of women-but not all have been so blessed. No judging people-
Karoletha - June 19th, 2013 at 4:03 PM
I'm 57 & will get a fake ID!! Thank you Jesus!!
Leslie Gustafson - June 19th, 2013 at 4:11 PM
Love it!! I think this is my tribe too even though I am 51!! ;-) lol I want to be a leader! I don't see that you have a Christian Therapist on board. Don't you think you need one?:-) www.AuthenticandTrue.com

Appx 8 years ago as I was speaking at a Women's Event, I prayed for a movement of women to rise up - a powerful group of sold-out Believing women, bonded together, real and authentic and ready to make a difference! I am feeling very enlivened as I read what you are doing!! Praise God!!
Jill - June 19th, 2013 at 4:18 PM
I am either blind or subliminally choosing not to see the age thing. I'm 47. I'm coming.
Jessica Nieves - June 19th, 2013 at 4:29 PM
I know so many women in their 20-30s who want to step into where they feel they are being called but don't know how/are intimidated and wished they had those who are ahead of to learn from. Putting this on my calendar and promoting it amongst my circles!
Carmen - June 19th, 2013 at 4:34 PM
Just took work off for Feb 7 and 8! CAN'T WAIT!
Kat Cannon - June 19th, 2013 at 4:41 PM
God is definitely calling women together to get real about the hard questions and brave enough to find answers. We're doing similar things in Austin for women of all ages with the Brave Women's Conference. How can we link arms and efforts for God's girls?
Cathee - June 19th, 2013 at 4:49 PM
Sounds amazing and desperately needed for women. I see the need for this is so many lives, especially women. I feel mothers are really the teachers of our children. We need to be equipped with a DEEP understanding of God's word and how we are to live that out. If we know this as mother's, it will be a powerful influence on our children.


Heather Nelson - June 19th, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Woo Hoo!!!!

Ashley - June 19th, 2013 at 5:03 PM
How exciting!! I'm all in! How do we sign up for the conference??
Stacy - June 19th, 2013 at 5:06 PM
Well now, looks like this is going to be QUITE popular! I'm thinking girls weekend trip ;)
lynda - June 19th, 2013 at 5:13 PM
50 is the new 40 so I'm IN. . .Yahoooooo!!!!!!!
Lynne - June 19th, 2013 at 5:15 PM
I only recently started following your blog, but I am so excited about this. It strikes a chord in my heart... I long to do something meaningful for God's kingdom, and I fear wasting my life. I am longing and praying to join you in Austin!!
Crissy Kinley - June 19th, 2013 at 5:17 PM
Annnnnnnnnd this is why god brought me to Austin 2.5 years ago and slowing converted me I to a Jesus loving hippie. Your books have greatly influenced that as well. I'm in!
Julie N. - June 19th, 2013 at 5:27 PM
I think the comment was actually "20s - 40s", I suspect she meant it more generally. If not, this 40s girl is seriously crashin'!!! Love this!




Crystal Elledge - June 19th, 2013 at 5:30 PM
So excited, can't wait to hear more about it!
Janelle Stewart - June 19th, 2013 at 5:43 PM
I want to go! When/where do I register?
Kelly in ATX - June 19th, 2013 at 6:05 PM
So excited! I can't wait to attend this. Jen, if you guys need volunteers in the Austin area for this, please let us know. Would love to be a part of this!
Erica Schaller - June 19th, 2013 at 6:09 PM
Having a baby that week, but Im encouraged to know somewhere, someone, someTHING is happening to disciple women. We need LESS church and MORE discipleship. Bottom line. How can I help in the interim?
DeBran - June 19th, 2013 at 6:18 PM
On the web site it says there are no age restrictions!!! Cone one, come all!
Asha - June 19th, 2013 at 6:25 PM
I applaud the effort, and I'm sure it will be a fantastic moment for everyone. I'm a bit sad at the thought that the older [41 ] generation sit idly by while the wold suffers. I'm sure their conferences had no thoughts to equipping women to be better leaders. I'm sure this is the first women's conference to partner with a non-profit. It's about time! Thank you for including the diverse panel of leadership and Elders. *I'm sorry for my passive-aggressiveness but it seemed so appropriate considering the PA nature of some of the sentiments displayed here. I love your blog, yet this was highly disappointing.
lisa - June 19th, 2013 at 6:29 PM
She said there is no age limit... There is no age limitations here!
Jenny - June 19th, 2013 at 6:52 PM
Oh shoot! I looked on the website and not only is there an age limit, it also asks that participants be brown-haired and pretty. SO MEAN.
Just kidding- you all, I am pretty sure if you want to go, you can no matter your age.
Tess - June 19th, 2013 at 6:59 PM
Just read this again.....I think we are all safe!
COPIED
You ready? There is no age limitations here! Come over to our IF website to see more of the vision, meet the team, and join the conversation by SUBSCRIBING TO OUR EMAIL LIST (this will keep you in the loop for all upcoming details). We can%u2019t wait to meet you.

Carissa - June 19th, 2013 at 7:05 PM
I am SO there...
Deborah - June 19th, 2013 at 7:12 PM
Why would you ever put an age limit on this? Not to be too negative, but that is hurtful to those of us older than 40, as if God's movers and shakers have to be young? I feel plenty young and energetic but this feels as exclusive as the church often does, mouthing a wondrous movement but making restrictions on the tribe. Not sure I get it. I love your blog, your enthusiasm, etc but feel really disappointed. I live in Austin and was like YES! until I see that it is not inclusive, and how many people felt shunned by it. Confusing
Diane - June 19th, 2013 at 7:39 PM
I feel that way too Deborah - thanks for verbalizing it.
Barbara - October 1st, 2013 at 1:15 PM
Deborah, I am way over 40 and actually got excited when I heard about this conference! I still have a long way to grow and I love that a younger generation is leading the way! For the most part, where I'm from (southeast bible belt), most of the women my age are not growing spiritually or else they are constantly checking their "do not do this" list so that their consciences can be clear. I for one, with unclear conscience, am ready to be shaken. I love my friends in my church community but dislike women's conferences on the whole. That's why I think this is for me. When I was 30-40 I welcomed an older woman's perspective and I believe these gals will too. So join us and feel the sisterhood!
Chelle - June 19th, 2013 at 7:14 PM
Mi familia? Have I finally found you? All I can say is....wow.
Can't wait to hear more.
Peace and good in Jesus' name
Jennie - June 19th, 2013 at 7:20 PM
I'm IN
Michele Hendrix - June 19th, 2013 at 7:26 PM
I have a ministry in Bunga Village (outside of Kampala), Uganda that may benefit and could possible be apart of your Unleash - "coming specifically alongside women around the world" This ministry is called Margret's Voice. It is a sponsorship program of women and mothers who have been given AIDS by their husbands and then either abandoned or chased (or both)from their homes. The are sick, oppressed, beaten down, without HOPE. We seek to "love our neighbor as ourselves" by providing them with monthly sponsorship so they can keep their children and not have to give them up for adoption. We give them opportunities for work through a project called Fruits of Hope. I would love to give you more information and I'd be absolutely honored to be a voice for these precious women if there's a place for me/us in this. I'm just a simple mom of 3 kids that God took to Uganda and broke into a million pieces. This ministry, Margret's Voice, is God's way of putting me and THEM (praise Him) back together again. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for always being such an encourager to all of us.
Kym - June 19th, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Wow! Isn't the age thing proof that God is moving in the church? He is shaking it up with folks of all ages! Yes, we need to reach a younger generation to have a strong church but reading all this gives me chills to know there are so many of us who want to throw off some old stuff & move forward, people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s & beyond! (And I am a little north of the earlier age range, but my oldest child is only 9, which keeps me young)
stefypie - June 19th, 2013 at 8:14 PM
Wow!! I'm so there!!! You have changed my life with your words and this conference is exactly what I need right now!! You ladies ROCK!!!
Mari Ann - June 19th, 2013 at 8:21 PM
I turned 50 last year.....so I, too, am out for this one. My husband and I were forced out of a 25 year ministry for our passionate belief that God was leading us to do a NEW thing and reach out beyond ourselves. This movement isn't limited by age, praise God! Thanks for your leading!
Angie - June 19th, 2013 at 9:01 PM
I have seriously thought there was something wrong with me, that I can't get into most women's conferences. THIS hit the nail on the head for me.

"They often leave behind our pressing questions and passions, and sometimes entertainment occupies too forward a space for a generation starving for depth, theology, mobilization, justice."

I'm excited about this endeavor! Give me some "Passion" type conference and I'm in 110%.
Lizzie - June 19th, 2013 at 10:23 PM
It sounds exciting but also very church camp cheerleady and not very specific. Every generation says they are going to do something different and I hope that we can. I bet that is where all the women's conferences initially came from, to specifically reach women when most conferences were being hosted by men. I have to admit I am intrigued, but I am also a natural born sceptic. The "justice" word sends off some alarms in my head, as people have used the notion that there is only so much "opportunity" and "resources" and it everyone should collectively be able to coexist. Justice seems to be the word of the church of the moment and has replaced consequences and accountability.
Natasha - June 20th, 2013 at 5:18 AM
Honestly, the super-mom/model headshots on the IF website say it all. I'm 45, struggling, and freaking HURTING, but I don't fit in with your demographic at all. I can go to my own church and feel out of place and conspicuous by my unhipness - why would I want to pay to go to a conference to feel that way?
Jane - June 20th, 2013 at 12:22 PM
Nastasha -
I hope you come back to read this. I understand what you see when you reference the "super-mom/model headshots" on the IF website. It appears that that these women (and possibly women at your own church) wouldn't know about struggle and hurt (other than having to entertain their children, keeping their homes organized and having to come up with more blog topics). I have had the same thoughts about my unhipness and these types of women. I even attended a few bible studies with a few in this category and had almost given up on going back. I prayed to God to open some different doors so I could be where I needed to be. On faith, I joined a different group that I initially thought would be the exact same as the last. Again I prayed for this time to be different. Every woman I met, I prayed that God would let me see them as a whole person and He did. When I REALLY made an effort to put my own hurts aside and REALLY focus on getting to know them I saw their love for God and what I thought were hidden hurts and struggles (one overcame shame of being a stripper and losing her daughter, one was handling a horrible embarrassing health issue, one stuggled with extreme lonlieness/depression, another had a stepson died from drug overdose). I guess what I am saying is we don't know what these women went through to get to this point of their lives and the other thing is sometimes the hurt we carry around blocks anything else from touching our hearts. Give the love that you want to receive.
Linda B - June 20th, 2013 at 5:59 AM
I'm 51, newly empty nest, and ready for the next stage of life, looking for what God says is next. Social justice issues are on my heart.

I'd like to know there's a place for me. Hard to not feel old and put out to pasture! I'd like to know that there's a great calling for me to do something real with the rest of my life.
Karen - June 20th, 2013 at 7:45 AM
Love it. Assembling a team to travel there now from West Texas.
I had an idea (not the first, I'm quite sure), but so many women are founding companies or working for companies that support and equip women around the world. I work for a Fair Trade company (Eternal Threads) that supports women in 13 countries by supporting them as artisans and selling their products here. We also fund and continue to buy safe houses and border patrol units on Nepal's border to rescue girls from sex trafficking and other bondage.
Is there a way we can gather information for organizations like these around the nation/world and provide a list at the conference or on the website? We can support each other in this way!
Shawnda - June 20th, 2013 at 10:20 AM
I think there needs to be a men's conference like this. The women/wives aren't typically the ones asking these questions, unfortunately. The women/wives are fired up and ready to do what Gods calling them to, but the men/husbands have fears, doubts, practical questions....lack of faith....to take the lead. I already see this contrast in my girls and boys :( definitely want my girls to be passionate and driven but want to see my boys step up and take the lead!!
Shawnda - June 20th, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Or even a family conf? I'm just in this place of seeing so many women 'get it' but the husbands don't and women feel 'stuck'. There needs to be a place that drives the family to action and gives families ideas on how to be that example for their kids AND letting kids get involved to nurture these things at a young age! Would love your thoughts!!
Lara - June 20th, 2013 at 11:03 AM
I am 45 .... AND I CANNOT WAIT TO BE THERE! This one sounds major amazing! Jumping over to the IF website to get on the email list. WOO-HOO!
Shelley Rogers - June 20th, 2013 at 11:26 AM
Where are you guys seeing an age printed?
Olivia - June 20th, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Hey, I live in Austin. You super challenge and inspire me....sometimes though I don't know what to do with it. I want to pick your brain. I know you have one billion things going on in your life but I wish we could meet up.
Ps. I will be at this conference for sure!
just a voice - June 20th, 2013 at 1:18 PM
I too think the "church" is missing it and frankly, would do well to stop assessing and "step away from the mirror. " However, I also think that the generation your demographic references is a well meaning but foolish generation who has grown accustom to "rebooting" every time life feels less than "intentional." I too am part of this generation that has much to learn and prefer to have their ears tickled, their enthusiasm ignited. Their strength is in their numbers and they count themselves (lean on many others) when they feel afraid. They don't know the strength and beauty of the LORD unless they see it reflecting off their own bodies, in their own lives. Their many good works is their self righteousness. They put on humility like a designer dress that they picked up cheap in a second hand store BUT they will not be truly humbled. Vanity, they live to wrestle with it. Out in the open web. Unashamed. See me struggle; here I go again.
We should stop wasting life "launching new and improved." Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun.
Lindsay - June 20th, 2013 at 9:18 PM
"They don't know the strength and beauty of the LORD unless they see it reflecting off their own bodies, in their own lives. Their many good works is their self righteousness."

I love how you worded this and agree. I think what I have been missing in the church is how God loves me with a kind of love I've never known. He declared me loveable, so I am. This love has never been based on my performance and never will be. As I begin to understand God's love for me and rest in the security of that knowledge I become less concerned with what I am doing and what others are doing. I'm not trying to earn anything. As you understand God's love more, you also become free to truly love. "We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19. When you know you are loved, you will also want to stay connected to the vine more, so fruit will be a result.

I find it strange almost scary sometime the obsession some Christians have with bearing fruit and becoming Christ-like. Satan also wanted to be like God. Our aim shouldn't be fruit, but to Love the Lord our God with all our hearts and minds.


Tami Romani - June 20th, 2013 at 2:55 PM
This is soooo exciting! I'm 54 and come from a family history of women in ministry. Unlike my sister, though, I didn't feel called to ministry until this year!! We are soon starting a ministry blog called LifeWordsToday.com and it will include contributions from my mom, who was a preacher, myself and my big sister, and our daughters. Three generations of women in ministry! Woo Hoo! But I must say, I do see a special annointing on the generation below me, including my 25 year old daughter who is being called out to do mission work & just wants to spread God's love around the world! I have had many conversations with my friends lately about how God seems to be calling out this generation to give away from themselves, and we are mentoring young women like crazy!! We may need to sneak into this gathering, just for the joy of it all!!
Deborah - June 20th, 2013 at 5:50 PM
I believe I fell prey to rumor or else the age restriction was lifted. I see nothing anywhere about people having to be a certain age. In fact, it says "no age limitations here!" Not sure why I chose to get in a negative flow. It's fantastic to start a movement like this and I hope it grows exponentially for all ages!
Lori - June 20th, 2013 at 9:26 PM
clearly states above that there are no age limitations....must have missed something?

Melinda - June 20th, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Guhshmarglefargelflipflap! My brain is mush, I'm so stunned and excited by this! My mushy brain and I will be in Austin in Feb fo sho!!! Wish I could post something more profound, but it's late and I'm tired.
Me - June 21st, 2013 at 3:40 AM
It appears that they removed the age limiting language and phraseology, after the comments started advocating for the elderly 40 generation. ;) I'm still disappointed by what can be read between the lines about those older ladies.
Margaret Ann - June 21st, 2013 at 11:11 AM
I am saddened by the choice of photo. I am not being condemning, but leadership is called I a higher calling of excellence and Holy living, and to someone who is unsaved, the picture of ladies appearing to have a drink together may be confusing. I myself have wrestled with the alcohol issue, and have precious friends who are not convicted about having a glass - but I really am convicted about this photo being a representation of a spirit-filled gathering of believing, on-fire women, especially when we are to represent Christ to a dying and confused world which already looks for answers in all the empty places.
Jane - June 21st, 2013 at 2:10 PM
This movement for a new generation = focusing on your relationship with Jesus and how to show His love to others - - reading between the lines of the blogs written on the movement, they aren't focusing on staying away from sin and it's consequences or Christians telling people that want to know about God that not addressing their sins will keep them from a relationship him. The perception of the movement's founders is the "prior generation" focused too much on trying to tell people that they were sinners. *These are only MY opinions and thoughts here***

With that said, the women that are sponsoring this movement drink socially. Read Jen's blog/tweets. Christians all around the world drink and still love Jesus. Drinking does not equal sinning. Just as being around people of the opposite sex at work or socially or school does not equal adultery. Looking through lifestyle magazines or shopping does not mean you are coveting. Sin is a matter of an individual's heart. It is a matter of discernment. Some people non-christian and christian alike do NOT have discernment. But you can't stand on the sidelines and shake your finger at them "you can't do that because you don't have discernment and aren't mature in your relationship with God." You have to go where people are hurting and sinning and meet them THERE. Being a "good" christian and following the "church rules" defined in the United States (go to church on Sunday, give your church 10%, send your kids to VBS, volunteer in the church school nursery, go to a BStudy) does NOT bring people to Christ.
Debbie - June 29th, 2013 at 8:44 PM
Hello Margaret Ann, stand your ground, girl, God has never changed from calling us to holiness, which by definition, is to be separate. If a "new generation" needs to focus on Jesus with drinking, and have no guilt, well, something is wrong. I am also not condemning, believe it or not!
Karina - July 31st, 2013 at 1:00 PM
Could it be?, I think it is.. yes it must be! Sparkling grape juice served in a champagne glass, just like I served at my wedding because I was under 21 and my family members don't partake. Don't judge the substance by its color or the glass its served in. If we trust in God, He will guide us to make moderate and correct choices regardless of alcohol content or lipstick color. I think He wants us to leave the judgement in His hands.
Elizabeth - June 21st, 2013 at 1:24 PM
This post goes up and Satan gets right in to destroy it, doesn't he?
Jenny - June 21st, 2013 at 3:25 PM
Yes, very sad. I personally am very excited about this conference. I don't believe they mean to exclude anyone. And honestly isn't this the perfect time to get underneath these young women and lift them up?
Samantha - June 21st, 2013 at 2:06 PM
I'm so super excited about this! I'm putting it on the calendar now, and praying God provides me the opportunity to go!
Robin Lee - June 21st, 2013 at 2:38 PM
Did they take the age thing off? Am I missing it? Would I have ignored it? Yes. Why? Because I have read many of Jen's blogs, and I fully trust that she is not about boxes, but being real. And if someone with a few years more seasoning could help to make this happen for that next generation who has her heart, she would do anything to equip us. We--with more seasoning--simply need to be humble enough to acknowledge the generation she speaks of reaching is not ours. Therefore, we are intrigued by being part of the SOLUTION, not necessarily the ones BEING REACHED. Pretty sure it is no biggee.
Tracy - June 21st, 2013 at 4:28 PM
Some of the descriptions of this event are confusing to me. I would think anyone interested would agree God is real, but the topic for the first day is "IF God is real"? Is this just sort of a pep rally type of thing? The description mentions equipping, but equipping to do what? And how? Sorry, just trying to figure it out. Love the blog.
Bronwyn lea - June 22nd, 2013 at 12:48 AM
I want IN!!! If you're coming to California, I want to help. Praise God for his mighty daughters.
Sarah L - June 22nd, 2013 at 6:50 AM
This sounds amazing! Sadly I live across the pond in York, England so it's a little far to travel! Currently grappling with Shane Claibourne's Irresistable Revolution and living the challenge! I pray they your challenges with feed our hungry souls too! Thank you ladies x
Bill Dockery - June 22nd, 2013 at 8:01 AM
Looking at the pix, I take it that only attractive, fashionable, trendy young women are welcome. ???
Tara - June 22nd, 2013 at 1:48 PM
Bill,
Dude. Come on. Stop being an asshat.
Mary Hoyt - June 22nd, 2013 at 6:12 PM
wow, so exciting!! reading 7 right now, contemplating my own responses and excited to see where IF leads - and if Ann Voskamp is involved also? wow, so cool that you two are friends!
Amy Frans - June 23rd, 2013 at 7:32 AM
shutUP!! this is completely speaking my language. after attending a handful of womens conferences that i felt were not worth my money and the time away from my family, i havent been to one in probably 8 years. i am ALL. OVER. THIS.
Erin - June 23rd, 2013 at 1:50 PM
First, Jen Hatmaker's ministry means the world to me. She's authentic and smart, and her writing has helped me through some dark days. But I guess ... I don't understand this post. Or this conference. At least, I don't understand what these speakers feel has been done "wrong" before. "We want to do something different ..." that seems to be the theme of IF. Right? And yet, I cannot help but think maybe "different" only means: we want women who have ombre highlights, shop at Anthropoglogie, know their way around a pop-culture reference, have taken a trip to Africa, and have a large blog following. I get that the idea is to empower a new generation of women (I think that's the idea). But honestly, in the past few years, attending women's ministry events (or reading blogs) feels a lot like rushing a sorority. Even the books I read are oddly limp. As an example, I read a book by a popular blogger (not on this speaking team) who spent PAGES talking about how she had a nervous breakdown trying to pick out tile for her brand new kitchen because she wanted so badly to please her husband. Please. In my immediate sphere, these are all issues I'm praying about (for me and the women in my life): chronic illness, prolonged singleness (which is a pain I'm not certain many current up-and-coming speakers/teachers can understand at all), childlessness, addiction, financial worry and depression. In another book by a popular new leader in the church, she writes about tackling her dark days by buying spicy arugula and resting at her beach house in Michigan. The only reason I'm bringing all that up in a comment about this new event, is that I feel like that kind of writing/speaking/blogging is setting up a really weird frame for women's ministry. And I worry that this event will be no different. So, dear IF ladies: Please don't forget about women who have to work full time. And who don't have the extra income from a spouse. And who didn't get married at the ripe old age of 25. And who became mothers later. Or who have longed for nothing more than a husband, or a baby, and yet they're still longing for both ... after years of praying. Please don't forget how sensitive we are about our physical appearance. The world and, sadly, the church, heaps great worth on being and looking YOUNG. And please don't speak down to women about the pain in the world. I mean, most women love social justice. Who isn't passionate about something? But most people can't afford to go overseas. I guess what I'm saying is this: I feel like the church is doing a fine job ministering to 20/30 something, middle class, white, stay at home super-moms. But lots of other women are falling by the wayside. And instead of the church reminding them of their worth, they hold up a gloss of perfection that's not so different from the world at large. It's obvious by the comments on this post that many women feel hurt or left out because of the initial age limit put on this event. I'm only 32, and I've already seen how the church segregates people based on age. So I guess I wanted to comment just to say that it's okay if you aren't the cool girl, with the cool blog, with the book deals or with a precious, doting, darling "hubby". Your best days are still ahead of you. God is and will do great things in and through you. Maybe there's not a place for you at a conference like this, but there's a place for you in the kingdom of God. And I know Jen gets that. I trust her. But something about this ... it just feels off.
Me - June 23rd, 2013 at 7:55 PM
I like you. A lot. If I plan a conference for women, I want you on my team.
Tracy - June 23rd, 2013 at 9:49 PM
Thank you for the honesty & transparency - I think it's what we all need to hear!!
Jenni - June 23rd, 2013 at 10:57 PM
I read all these comments and truly felt the compassion of the Holy Spirit in Erin. I'm 55 and I don't feel left out because I am convinced that the Father is sovereign and will work with anyone willing, no matter what age. He saw fit to send me to nursing school at 54 and I will finish by the end of this year. Anyway, I have three daughters in the 20 - 40 range and I am so very thankful that they love God and, like Jen, are out there serving God with all their hearts in a refreshing "new" way.
elizabeth - June 24th, 2013 at 9:46 PM
YES Erin. Well said.
Jen S. - June 26th, 2013 at 1:04 AM
well said, thank you!
Rae - June 26th, 2013 at 8:21 AM
Very well said.... I totally agree - specially-- "there's a place for you in the kingdom of God." Thank you Lord!!
rachel - June 26th, 2013 at 4:37 PM
I can definitely resonate with what Erin is saying. I'm 32 but my husband is 45 and he jokes that my generation and younger can't take a sh*& (excuse the language!) :) without putting it on twitter, instagram or facebook. There is a fine line between advocacy and doing things (or at least blogging about them) to get attention. I look at my grandmother's generation and they served diligently in the shadows, often without anyone recognizing their work. It's unfair to say that this generation is more concerned with the plight of others - we have the Internet. Had our grandmothers had the Internet (and the luxury to spend so much time on it given the enormous expectations played on women of that day) they likely wouldn't be any different than us. To think otherwise isn't exactly humble.
I do get where Jen may be coming from that many are absorbed with their "first world problems" but I actually think generations past seemed to be less inclined to be so. (I once said to my grandmother that I needed a break and she said she could have never uttered those words as a mother!).
I know a disappointing number of people who have done "big things" but can't do the small things well. They aren't loving those God put right in front of them. Lest I sound anti-social justice, we have adopted, are currently funding a project in Ethiopia which support 35-50 mother-baby dyads many of whom have HIV, and I'm selling my engagement ring to give the money to support mothers and women in Ethiopia. I'm not anti-social justice at all. I guess I'm just disappointed in the disconnect between social justice and what I see practiced on the day-to-day.
Donna - June 30th, 2013 at 4:25 PM
I agree that it feels off. And am wondering why you would ever agree to speak at a conference you wouldn't even attend. What language do you speak that they aren't capable of understanding? I'm not being sarcastic, it's a sincere question. And were you paid for speaking at these conferences you wouldn't attend?
Ginger - June 23rd, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Jen,
At the chance you read these (in all of your free time).....I'm leading a review of your 7 book this Wednesday - about 20 ladies. Any encouraging words?

-Ginger
Tami Overhauser - June 24th, 2013 at 2:15 PM
Jen and gang, I am so excited about this vision. I will be bringing my teens. This generation needs a fresh and tangible way to touch and share Christ. I Love the IF...THEN concept that I think can be missing from Church sometimes. Very excited for what the future holds. I shared in my blog about how you inspired me to want to BE the church to others.Thanks for the inspiration.
http://www.raisingadam.com/blog/2013/06/18/my-odd-post-fathers-day-post

I use snap pages also! Go Austin.
Amber - June 25th, 2013 at 11:08 AM
Some of the comments here made me sad. Can we stop being critical and judgmental, already? That has been one of the ongoing problems in the church that has driven away the young. It's the reason that I do not attend women's conferences, or women's events at churches. Fortunately, I do not attend the type of church that has cheesy women's events, because I am married to the pastor.

Oh, and I work in design & marketing; a "target audience" never, ever means an exclusive age range. If you're aiming at "everyone", you will hit nobody. It's a lack of awareness of such terms that has caused many people here to be offended. Also, photos accompanying stories like this (some refer to this as "eyewash") are for visual effect and also not meant to be exclusive. How hard to you think it is to find pictures that reflect "real" people as defined by every single reader? Sheesh.
marie - June 25th, 2013 at 4:15 PM
oh the irony of this comment is too funny. Yes, yes those darn cheesy "other" churches goers are so judgmental. Ha Ha.
Beth - June 26th, 2013 at 3:12 PM
I apologize this comment is about a different post, but I am desperately trying to read the post "After the Airport". When I click on the link, only comments are visible but there is no article. Can anyone help me find it? Thanks!!!
Theresa - June 26th, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Love it. I think myself & many other women are craving more. More substance. More authenticity. More let's not hide our messes, but embrace them. Look forward to what's to come!
Jj - June 27th, 2013 at 12:55 AM
These comments are discouraging me about the church, and about the conference, too, if it's going to be anything like this dialogue. :(. I'm 28, if it matters.
Dewayne - June 28th, 2013 at 11:54 PM
As a 39-year-old pastor and Christian leader, I too have strong concerns about the high-polished shine that the hosts of this event/experience seem to convey. I see on a regular basis the amount of money that speakers for women's events charge for their knowledge, wisdom, and expertise. Humility is not the first thing that comes to mind when speakers require luxury accommodations, refuse to engage casually with attendees, and act as though they're more deserving of honor than anyone else. Don't mishear me. I can't say that this is how these ladies are -- only that I've personally seen it and heard about it from my own wife, who has a tremendous heart for God but is unable to 'break in' to the 'us four and no more' mentality of our own church's women's ministry. I think today's Christian women in many ways rob their Christian husbands of the joy, opportunity, and yes, God-given responsibility, to be the spiritual leader in the home. I've seen it far too many times -- cases where the husband works so much in order to make ends meet, and the wife participates in one Bible study after another. Since there are only so many hours in a day, it's not long before the husband begins to feel spiritually inferior -- even intimidated -- by his wife. Ladies, whatever you do in ministry and conferences, PLEASE don't ever let this be about 'girl power.' Whatever we do needs to be in His power and for His glory. I have many more thoughts, but I urge you to please don't make this just another 'in-crowd' thing. Women often get a bad rap because so many come across as catty and never seem to grow out of that high-school popularity contest mentality. Clearly, from reading through the comments, this problem is still alive and well. Resist the urge to make this about you. Humility. Humility. Humility. Thanks for taking the time to read thoughts from someone who has a deep desire to see God at work in all Christian individuals, marriages, and families -- but who clearly doesn't fit your target demographic. (Hahaha. I just had to pile-on.) I pray for God's blessings, wisdom, and discernment in your ministry endeavors.
Sandy - June 30th, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Jen isn't like the unhumble women speakers you describe. I volunteered at a neighboring church last Sunday where she came to speak at an evening service. The first thing she did was ask us to please not sell her books because it was Sunday and a worship service. Then after it was over she stayed for at least an hour and a half and hugged and visited with each person who wanted to meet her. She was not a "rock star" at all but appeared to be interested in each one of us and in encouraging our journey to discipleship. I found her to be very giving, kind and unpretentious.


Dewayne - July 1st, 2013 at 2:43 AM
Sandy,

I'm glad to hear that. My comment wasn't intended to be mean-spirited at all. It was intended to be cautionary. My apologies if it seemed otherwise. Thanks for the helpful and gracious reply.
Maggie pope - June 30th, 2013 at 3:20 PM
Please send information regarding feb 7-8 conference
Debbie - June 30th, 2013 at 8:58 PM
about the "social drinking": http://www.calvaryprophecy.com/q130.html
check it out!
Kim - July 2nd, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Mid 40's with nearly grown kids, but I'm in. My nest is almost empty and I'm surrounded by an entire community of women looking for purpose, feeling extraneous when it comes to fitting in somewhere in our Christian culture. I may not be in the target demographic, but I serve a God not bound by demographics. Can't wait!!
Ashley - July 7th, 2013 at 10:12 PM
I have read through these comments and didn't see anything about a price for the conference. Is that info available yet?
Lisa - July 13th, 2013 at 12:14 PM
I don't go to those conferences, either. ("They often leave behind our pressing questions and passions, and sometimes entertainment occupies too forward a space for a generation starving for depth, theology, mobilization, justice." Yet I hunger to be not only energized but also better-equipped to serve. I live in the northeast & make pretty much nothing, so I doubt I could attend your conference....but I will be watching the plans and reading for inspiration. God's peace be upon you.
Jen B. - July 14th, 2013 at 11:58 PM
I don't want to hijack this thread, but to those who this conference may not strike a chord, try this link about the largest women's organization in the world, an organization of Christian women making a difference, teaching about Christ and strengthening families: http://mormon.org/faq/relief-society. I salute all women who love Christ and try to love others as He does. Thank you for the good you do in the world!
Cortney - July 16th, 2013 at 4:59 AM
Wow, this is amazing. i am so excited! I'm in the hospital recovering from surgery here on my 37th bday (lucky me!) and I finally had time to catch up on reading blogs. I have a 20 mo old and 3 year old and blog reading time is seriously gone - I haven't written an entry on my blog since March. Jen, I laughed so hard at your last few posts about worst mom and the today show and summer; and it hurts to freakin laugh!! (btw, you looked and sounded great on the today show, and the elbow air thing was paused and repeated multiple times so i could show my nurses!)

But this post on IF...brought such a stirring in my soul while the tears flowed down. thank you for your vision to do this. i hope i can be apart of it. we are a Navy family stationed in SD for 2 1/2 more years until my husband retires and we move back to AUSTIN! yay!! i have seen the depeserate need to show these military wives the hope of Jesus...i just feel so ill-equipped (and mostly freakin' tired due to toddler chasing all day) that i don't know what to do except pray. i need some serious tools on how to mentor and what to do. and not just niche of military but of baby loss moms that i'm are constantly coming my way. i just need more of Jesus, less of me, and less whining of my precious girls, so i can focus on the BIG picture and where he wants me to serve in my corner of the world.

i hope i can attend. i'll start saving now. by chance is there a military discount?

i'm excited to hear you speak (I never have) and also angie smith and christine caine again. i saw them last year at WOF and got a chance to meet them too. angie and the story of her sweet audrey literally saved my life 4.5 years ago when we lost our 5-day-old son. i was ready to call it and meet Jesus. But God saves, redeems, and His grace brings us out of the pitts of hell, doesn't it?

p.s. i don't know if you read your comments or not, but either in your book 7 or on your blog you were writing about getting to sleep in until 11AM and said something about not judging you because you had already served time in baby jail. or was it baby hell? ok, just checkin'. and also, what age do your children reach when that sleeping till 11 thing is possible? yeah, thanks.
Heidi - July 26th, 2013 at 2:42 PM
God has been speaking to me for awhile about this particular topic. I think Christians, all people really, are craving intimate relationships. At traditional conferences you get talked AT and at some point there is information overload. Most of the ministry occurs afterwards as we talk to our friends over a meal.
Ginger - July 28th, 2013 at 4:33 PM
I am 43, have been involved in women's ministry my entire adult/married/mom life. There is a lot of truth in this thread. All the points are valid. We live in a broken world, so no matter what is going on, you'll be leaving someone out, offending someone, or crossing the line of being pridefully humble. It comes with the sin nature. Soften your edges, and live with Jesus every day. When you're dealing with the day-to-day struggles of a bad marriage, rebellious teenagers, or just changing diapers and cleaning up vomit - it's easy to believe you're somehow not contributing to the world's big "issues". But that is a lie and a trap. Be obedient to God where you are, don't wait for a conference or the next big thing. I loved Erin's post. I agree with what Dewayne said - I have lived that out and he is RIGHT. God might call you to be a ground breaker, movement leader, but he also might call you to lay down your life by serving an ailing spouse or a handicapped child. If He calls you, He equips you. And don't get so caught up in the problems of the world that you don't notice the opportunities God brings across your path. Seasons of life change, it's easy to think yours is too boring or commonplace, but God is all over the commonplace. We're all on the same team, just be teachable and gracious to each other. It takes a lot of time in the body of Christ to understand that just because someone has an idea that's different than yours doesn't mean that you heard God wrong. It's the whole point of the illustration of the body. It's exciting to see people take God's commands seriously! I think He is going to do amazing things through the work of this group of women and these conferences.
Jacie - August 3rd, 2013 at 10:55 PM
I just can't get rid of the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I read about this conference. I think these women really believe they are doing good. The problem is Satan has deceived them. I read through the blogs of some of these women and was quite disturbed to see references to the support of social drinking, homosexuality, feminism, profanity, references to our relationship with God as being sexual, and the list goes on. I have many gay friends that I love dearly but loving them does not mean I lie to them about what the scriptures say about their sin or mine. God's Word instructs us not to use profane language or get drunk with wine. On some of these women's blogs there has been verses of scripture taken completely out of context in support of their views. There also seems to be a great lack of understanding as far as who Jesus Christ is, what His Word says, and what He has called us to do.

And these are the women who will be writing, speaking, and creating resources to disciple the next generation? Will the bible be excluded from these resources? I'm trying to understand here. These things some of them support are not in line with the Word of God. And I apologize if there are some on this team who have simply been deceived or blind to it but most of these women are not walking in His ways. I encourage anyone who is considering attending this conference to visit their blogs and read their writings.

Embracing sin and calling it love: Is this the new "revival" we wish to usher in? If so, it is far from biblical. Also, the mere thought, "If God is real" sends chills up my spine. Did Satan not say, "Did God really say?" and "If you are the son of God..." I can't fathom how it is glorifying to our Father in heaven to say "If God is real...."

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

21 %u201CNot everyone who calls out to me, %u2018Lord! Lord!%u2019 will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, %u2018Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.%u2019 23 But I will reply, %u2018I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God%u2019s laws.%u2019 Matthew 7:21-23
Karon - August 27th, 2013 at 9:37 PM
I simply wanted to see how I might become instrumental in being a helping source to women like me and you. Thank you
Mary - September 14th, 2013 at 1:49 PM
I'd love so much to be a part of this. I started a GoFundMe page with the hopes that I can raise enough money to be able to come. http://www.gofundme.com/4b6910 . It's kind of embarrassing, but I think it's important, and what you are trying to do is really speaking to my heart. Crossing my fingers I can make it!
Amanda - September 24th, 2013 at 1:44 PM
You go Mary---that's creativity and scrappiness asking people to fund ya!

Not sure if it is possible...but sure would like to be there!
april - October 23rd, 2013 at 11:23 AM
IM APRIL,. TRYING TO FIND MY ;LONG LOST SOULMATE HERE. I am 45 f from philippines, a god fearing and affectionate type. i hate scamers

Michele Painter - January 15th, 2014 at 2:20 AM
Jen,

I attended a breakout at Verge where your husband spent a day breaking down the missional challenge. No one wanted to plant with me, but it was amazing how much God wanted this church I started to be planted! So at the age of 35 I am working at the Apostolic level and have gained a partner who is as serious as I am. We hope to plant many churches here in the Salem, Oregon area.

What we need most for our church-planting movement is partnership; we desperately need to mentor other women into their own mission. We have seen God heal miraculously, we have seen God bring people to repentance, we have seen God gather and release.

I cannot help but wonder how you plan to equip women? At places like Verge we've learned that any one catalyst can only mentor a few people at once, preferably locally, and they have to have high access to their mentors. Where is this army of women who have enough experience finding their own mission that they will know how to mentor someone else?

I want to throw my passion into IF: the Gathering, but I should be wise: it is a decent thing to ask about the equipping portion of this plan.

Thanks, and God bless!


Carrie Kargel - February 19th, 2014 at 6:22 PM
Jacie -

I love your faith and passion! I love that you are speaking out for your Truth!

I'd ask you (and anyone reading your comment) to consider a few things though:

Going out for a social drink doesn't mean that you are going to get drunk. I used to drink to the point of drunkenness and never found much peace. It took me a few years and a lot of maturing to realize that I could have a glass of wine with my dinner and stop there - or even have one mixed drink and stop there.

I know a lot of Christian women who might consider themselves feminists. Each person defines that words for themselves though. Yes, there are feminists who believe women are better than men or that women ought to rule over men, but not all do. "Feminist" can also describe a person who wants women to be seen as having equal inherent value to men. "Feminist" can mean, "I support my husband and my husband supports me, and we both fight against the sex trade." There are many biblical examples of strong women, and a history of religious people who thought of women as not very valuable.

I also happen to know a lot of gay people whose #1 devotion in life is the Bible. They have studied it historically, studied the original languages and the original manuscripts. They are convinced that God never meant to condemn all gay people. Many of these gay people choose to remain celibate until they find their one life-time partner.

Sadly, I also know a lot of gay people who kill themselves or are killed by others because of the hatred that exists in the world (mostly because of religion) towards gay people.

You'll notice here that I didn't say a single word about my particular beliefs. I may or may not agree with your doctrinal beliefs or the beliefs of the people I described above. What I love about the IF: Gathering is that it opens up a place for people to discuss these things openly, and with LOVE, instead of living in fear, hiding, or refusing to listen.

I do my best to make sure that people feel safe talking about their beliefs, questions, or insecurities with me no matter what they believe or how they live. I still have strong standards for my own life. I still have strong beliefs about who God is and what I think God asks of all of us, but how is anybody going to grow or learn if there is not a safe place to open up and get these conversations going?

My own life has been a deeply painful struggle. I was in a Christian cult for 3 years. I have been through physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse more times than I care to count. I have spent years of life in depression and hiding, filled with fears and questions. I've had too many Christians condemn me during my periods of self-hatred and rebellion. I was confused and scared. I couldn't fit into their molds, and I didn't know if I wanted to.

It because of those who Christians who gently, compassionately, and patiently let me question, hurt, cry, scream, and grow (at a painfully slow pace) that I am alive today. I still hurt, cry, question, and scream at moments, but I have found my hope and willingness to fight for life again.
Carrie Kargel - February 19th, 2014 at 6:41 PM
Jacie -

I love your faith and passion! I love that you are speaking out for your Truth!

I'd ask you (and anyone reading your comment) to consider a few things though:

Going out for a social drink doesn't mean that you are going to get drunk.It's true that many people drink to the point of drunkenness, and never find peace. There are many people who have a lot of peace and a clear conscience after having a glass of wine with their dinner, or even a mixed drink at the bar with friends after Bible study.

I know a lot of Christian women who might consider themselves feminists. Each person defines that words for themselves though. Yes, there are feminists who believe women are better than men or that women ought to rule over men, but not all do. "Feminist" can also describe a person who wants women to be seen as having equal inherent value to men. "Feminist" can mean, "I support my husband and my husband supports me, and we both fight against the sex trade." There are many biblical examples of strong women, and a history of religious people who thought of women as not very valuable.

I also happen to know a lot of gay people whose #1 devotion in life is the Bible. They have studied it historically, studied the original languages and the original manuscripts. They are convinced that God never meant to condemn all gay people. Many of these gay people choose to remain celibate until they find their one life-time partner.

Sadly, I also know a lot of gay people who kill themselves or are killed by others because of the hatred that exists in the world (mostly because of religion) towards gay people.

You'll notice here that I didn't say a single word about my particular beliefs. I may or may not agree with your doctrinal beliefs or the beliefs of the people I described above. What I love about the IF: Gathering is that it opens up a place for people to discuss these things openly, and with LOVE, instead of living in fear, hiding, or refusing to listen.

I do my best to make sure that people feel safe talking about their beliefs, questions, or insecurities with me no matter what they believe or how they live. I still have strong standards for my own life. I still have strong beliefs about who God is and what I think God asks of all of us, but how is anybody going to grow or learn if there is not a safe place to open up and get these conversations going?

My own life has been a deeply painful struggle. I was in a Christian cult for 3 years. I have been through physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse more times than I care to count. I have spent years of life in depression and hiding, filled with fears and questions. I've had too many Christians condemn me during my periods of self-hatred and rebellion. I was confused and scared. I couldn't fit into their molds, and I didn't know if I wanted to.

It because of those who Christians who gently, compassionately, and patiently let me question, hurt, cry, scream, and grow (at a painfully slow pace) that I am alive today. I still hurt, cry, question, and scream at moments, but I have found my hope and willingness to fight for life again.
Carrie - February 19th, 2014 at 6:53 PM
Jen - This is not a comment to be displayed. I wrote one comment, saying towards the end that I wasn't trying to to express my own views, but just encourage people with different views to dialog with one another. I realized after hitting "submit" that I had, in fact, expressed one of my own views.

I came back and edited that first comment in an effort to make sure I really didn't express my own thoughts on any given subject. It's the second comment I'd prefer to be posted. Can you keep the first comment (and this one) from appearing on your blog? Thank you SO much for all that you do!
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