IF : Gathering - A New Table
by Jen Hatmaker on October 14th, 2013

It is 5:12am. Please understand that I NEVER wake up early to write. I love that idea on paper, but I love my bed more. But today I needed darkness outside my windows, a house full of sleeping people, a quiet cup of coffee at my side, absolutely free and clear space, because I feel like I’m entering holy territory.
 
I’ve already talked about IF: Gathering; the early whispers, the clunky beginnings, the quiet dreams for God’s movement in our time. As with anything new, you just have to start. A handful of elements are certain, but after that, you move messily through development, gaining clarity (and humility) as things shift and transform. We learned that you put your head down and listen: to other leaders, to different demographics, to the sincere concerns, to the questions. If you are arrogant, you shove those aside and carry on as previously imagined. But how could we possibly ask for God’s hand with proud heads up rather than humble heads down? I assure you: pride was never a motivating factor. If anything, it was unchecked zeal, a true hunger for God’s kingdom to come during our generation in any way, in every way.
 
So here is what happened. The founder of IF, my friend Jennie, along with a small band of advisers and leaders, listened. Thoughtful concerns like this from our friend Sarah were deeply heard on the rather small, expensive initial conference plan:
 
“If this is really the Gospel, if this is really the stuff we believe is going to change a generation or bring revival or renewal or whatever, then why aren’t the doors wide open for the rest of us? Why haven’t we flung wide the doors, ripped up our ticket price spreadsheets, poured out in the streets, scoured the city for anyone and everyone who wants to come, and danced in the gutters instead of the stadium aisles?”
 
We are hungry for God to move. That is the end of it. We hold nothing tightly except the desperate hope that He will have His way with our generation, that we will not somehow subvert it unknowingly or minimize its scope.
 
We are lifting our heads and looking far and wide, seeing our sisters everywhere:
 
The ones clipping coupons with babies and toddlers at their feet, unable to leave for a two-day conference.
 
We see women for whom a $240 ticket price is utterly unfeasible; bills to pay but still starving for God’s rushing wind to blow.
 
The college girls on a shoestring budget ready for God; we see you.
 
Our global sisters cannot possibly be left out of this conversation. If we narrow this down to an American narrative, we’ve omitted the richness and depth only radical international inclusiveness can activate.
 
We see the beautiful diversity a Christian conference sometimes unwittingly suffocates; we want the rabble-rousers, the misfits, the socially awkward, the divergent, the poor, the cynics, the skeptics, the barely-hanging-on-ers, the dangerous thinkers, the cautiously hopeful who crave the conversation but aren’t yet ready or able to attend a conference. We want all the colors of skin. We want the praise flag wavers and the reformed five-point outliners and the ones who aren’t even sure they believe at all.
 
And the truth is, a limited conference in one city in the world with a hefty price tag would leave too many out, and we don’t have time to waste and we are too hungry to tamp down God's reach.
 
So we tore up the ticket price spreadsheets for IF: Austin. 

There is no set cost. You give what you can and come if you can come. We have 1200 seats for IF : Austin on February 7-8, 2014. May “for those who can afford it” never be our kingdom plumbline.
 
Registration for IF : Austin opens Tuesday, October 15th at 11:00 AM Central. However, women who are subscribed to our email list will get to register on Monday. Sign up here to get early access.
 
God, gather us.
 
AND...we are throwing open the doors to IF : Austin via webcast to anyone, everyone, everywhere for IF : Local. 

Registration to the webcast is unlimited. Gather with your friends, neighbors, church, or others in your community and join us virtually. You, too, will have the opportunity to register October 15th. Then in the next several weeks and months, we will send you ideas and resources for our time together.
 
We have received emails from women who are saying they want to host gatherings in Tokyo, Mexico, Haiti and Ireland… this is unbelievable. Only God. May “for those who can afford it and live near” never be our kingdom plumbline.
 
God, gather us.
 
Sisters, with the elimination of the ticket price (which would not even have covered expenses) and the addition of the webcast, we have substantially increased the cost of the IF : Gathering. I asked the number then put my hands over my ears, because I am a dreamer, not an accountant. But it is big and we are way out here on the ledge, trusting God for greater things with no safety net and apparently no guarantee that we will be able to turn the lights on.
 
This vision will not happen if we do not have financial partners. It just won’t. If you believe in this vision, then we ask that you pray about giving to support IF : Gathering through our partners at Pure Charity here. (If you already have a Pure Charity account, you can just "back this project"...easy peasy. Want more info on Pure Charity? I gushed over it here. Everyone should have a PC account.) We are believing God for great and small things here. Thousands of widow’s mites add up. And a few Solomons who invest mightily in this generation have tremendous impact.
 
We are holding our breath but do not feel irresponsible with this task; cost is too small a thing to God. We know He can raise this thing up without the comfort of built-in cost recuperation. Cattle, hills, ownership, and all that. (So if God moves you to share some of your cattle with the IF gang, we will receive your offering with utter gratitude, and we thank you for making this wider vision possible. And for bringing down our blood pressure.)
 
I don’t know how else to say it other than this: This feels right. It feels right to say come, come one, come all. Come to this table. Practice dissimilar theology? Grab a seat. Don’t fit a mold of some sort? Sit with us. Cranky about conferences but crazy about Jesus? Pull up a chair. Hungry, tired, hopeful, impassioned, cautious, fire in your bones? You belong here. Starving to see God move in our time? We need you. Old-timer, new-comer, here is your seat. Rich, poor? This is your table.
 
God, gather us and move. We care nothing for our constructs but only for your presence. Shove us aside, tear down the walls, and build a raging fire. May your fame be declared, your kingdom come on earth, and your daughters set free and set ablaze. Bring us to your table; there are enough seats for all. We are hungry and ready and we await You.
 
Because if you are real, then we have no other hope.


Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69)



Will you join us? Just as you are. Exactly where you are. In your living room or in Austin or in Spain or in your church basement or in your friend's cabin or at your desk. This table is big and you are so welcome here.


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59 Comments

April - October 14th, 2013 at 8:12 AM
This is amazing. I'm hoping to join in from the UK with my women's Bible study group. I'm not sure of the logistics but I'm so thankful we're going to be able to have way of getting in on the content.
Tessa - October 21st, 2013 at 3:16 AM
Where in UK? I'm in Yorkshire - perhaps we could link up?
Jamie - October 14th, 2013 at 8:14 AM
This oddball likes this. A lot.
Tessy - October 14th, 2013 at 8:15 AM
This is great to see leadership getting it! I left Woman of Faith and remember telling my friend -- this was good, but I think it would be better next year if we all just bought someone a ticket that couldn't afford it and sent them instead of ourselves?
Sherri - October 14th, 2013 at 8:20 AM
I pray God richly blesses your obedience in this! (and I believe He will!!)
Beth - October 14th, 2013 at 8:21 AM
Geez, lady, with all of those inclusions, you're making it next to impossible to find an excuse not to come. ;)
Flower Patch Farmgirl - October 14th, 2013 at 8:24 AM
I am crying into my Earl Grey for the 3rd time in the last 15 minutes.
This is so beautiful.
We should never be a huddle of the privileged. God's going to bless the boots off this.
I know it.
Tina Kachmar - October 14th, 2013 at 8:25 AM
Dear God ~ please make it possible for me to attend. In Jesus name. Amen.

Jen, you are my inspiration. Can't wait until February!!
Olivia Arnold - October 14th, 2013 at 8:31 AM
I will be there along with my mother and any other women I can rope in. God love you all for doing this. After seeing Jennie at Idea Camp I am on fire for anything more I can get!!!!!!!
Patti Peacock - October 14th, 2013 at 8:33 AM
Tears. I put it on my calendar long ago, knowing all the while that this would not be my season to travel. So thankful that I can be there via webcast and bring others with me. Thank you for your vision, faithfulness, inclusiveness...for knowing the limitations that so many have but so desperately need to be filled, served, included. Awesome in so many ways!
Amanda - October 14th, 2013 at 8:39 AM
Wow! This looks amazing. Just LOVE that you go beyond "saying" you want all women to be able to attend...you are actually "making" it happen. Faith AND deeds in action!
Wendy - October 14th, 2013 at 8:43 AM
this.
Kate - October 14th, 2013 at 8:45 AM
This just seems right. So glad y'all are going for it.

Yes.

Hoping I can join you:)
Erica Simon - October 14th, 2013 at 8:45 AM
I want in so badly. I will be trying to get my tickets today for Austin but if I can't I will be hosting a webcast. I am so grateful that I got to meet you & hug you in KC Jen. That I was able to share with you that I am trying to make it to IF, and how God is working on my heart in new and amazing ways through you & the women involved in IF & women of faith. I swear my husband had the same reaction as Brandon after I read your books. I am changed and its being noticed. And that's a good thing. To me it means I am doing what God wants (i could care less if anyone noticed but the confirmation from God is nice). Thank you for sharing your love of Jesus with us.
Jan - October 14th, 2013 at 8:47 AM
Tears and chills--I know Jesus will be there. Thank you for listening!
Jenny McCutcheon - October 14th, 2013 at 8:59 AM
I am over in the Houston area now. My hands are willing and able to help that day! Let me know how I can be used. I love being a servant!
Lisa-Jo Baker - October 14th, 2013 at 9:08 AM
you made me cry. in panera.
Crystal Stine - October 14th, 2013 at 9:26 AM
So excited to be able to join, when I would have otherwise been one of those gals desperate for Jesus and a bigger budget. THIS is community...this is the hands and feet of Jesus.
Jennifer Adams - October 14th, 2013 at 9:27 AM
I desire to give and will do what I can! I hope to be there in February. This speaks to my soul!!
Laurie J - October 14th, 2013 at 9:29 AM
Whoa. I love this for a million reasons.
Jani - October 14th, 2013 at 9:47 AM
I'm in for IF LOCAL - keep us posted!

les pogue - October 14th, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Have been wanting so badly to attend and now I can - praise God!!

Caroline - October 14th, 2013 at 10:12 AM
Beyond blessed. This is the Gospel. Come one, come all, whosoever you are. In tears. Father God, this is Your kingdom. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jen. Thanks everyone else. This is the beginning of something. May the glory of God shone so strongly from this event that others may be inspired by it. That we may see a love revolution, hearts turnin to God throughout all nations in Jesus' name!!!!
Heather - October 14th, 2013 at 10:34 AM
I am one of the ones you've written about. I'm one of the ones God placed on your heart. I lost my job & am running on fumes. I broke down & cried & pleaded with God last night.
I am in tears now, reading this. Knowing that God worked through you to give me this gift today. I live in Austin & will be able to go to the conference. Thank you for being a vessel.
Jenny - October 15th, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Bless you ! I am praying for you ,
Jenny - October 15th, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Heather Bless you ! I am praying for you.

Jen Hatmaker, I'd really love to anonymously email Hether through PayPal or snailmail her a pre-paid Visa card with some money to help with parking and meals at the event. Can you help me with that? Her comment really touched me
bobbi - October 14th, 2013 at 10:39 AM
There are many Unreached People Groups on our Globe, but there are Many Right in your neighborhood that you will be reaching with no boundries...I know Jesus is smiling with this effort. May God Bless You and all involved!

Traci - October 14th, 2013 at 11:01 AM
You will have a group of Jesus-lovin' young mommas joining in from Charleston, SC! Thank you so much for opening this up and following the vision of God. Can't wait for the details!
Anne - October 14th, 2013 at 11:10 AM
Is the conference in Austin still limited to 1200?
Rebecca - October 14th, 2013 at 11:14 AM
This - this I love. I am praying over this today...
Nancy - October 14th, 2013 at 11:15 AM
So excited. Going to Haiti in February so I can't come to TX. If Local is such a blessing --I CAN host a gathering in Rochester NH and send some financial support! Resrving the church this week so we can have as many women of all ages because so many women of all ages have been blessed and challenged by your journey. Thank you for following God's heart!
Julia - October 14th, 2013 at 11:32 AM
I'm in my 50's and have never been to a Women of Faith conference but have always wanted to attend something like that. So your conference with free webcast has me breathless with wonder and hope. Thank you!
Sarah Bessey - October 14th, 2013 at 11:38 AM
Okay, fine, I'll start looking for a phone. xo
Katie May - October 14th, 2013 at 11:41 AM
I get chills and a little teary-eyed every time I hear what God is already doing through this gathering! I am getting things together now to gather women in my community...doctors, nurses, faculty, office staff, and spouses from our medical residency program together to ask that question, "If God is real, then what?". So. excited.
Sandra Hersey - October 14th, 2013 at 11:50 AM
I am praying for you all. What an awesome thing you are doing! God will move and change lives for sure!
Jenny - October 14th, 2013 at 11:51 AM
Thank you for this. I am one of the mommas clipping coupons. I think this sort of gathering has always been unattainable to those that could benefit from it the most, so this is an amazing opportunity!
Peggy - October 14th, 2013 at 11:53 AM
Well done. Well done, indeed!
Erica G - October 14th, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Jen! The Bib Stud girls from CO (#purplesweater #parkbench #noprayersforRemy) were ready and waiting at 10am and tried so hard to get in on Austin, but it sold out before any of us could get a ticket. We'll be gathering still though in our sweet living room like we did for the last two years, and just like we did for our Skype with you. We are excited and expectant and cannot wait.
Kristin - October 14th, 2013 at 12:22 PM
My sister and I just scheduled a sisters get-away weekend for that very weekend. I think we are going to have our own little If:Local streaming from our condo at the beach. When the If:Gathering news initially came out, I looked in to it but I just couldn't work out spending the $ to go to Austin by myself...vacation money really should be spend for the whole family. Anyway, I'm so thrilled at these options open to all of us now. Thank you for including me.

And I'm praying that God just open up the heavens and pour out blessings on this event. Blessings of financial provision over and above what is needed. Blessings of hearts and communities changed for His glory. Blessings of unity among women of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, locations, situations. And blessings that will just continue to spin out in our local churches and communities. So that the whole world may know and glorify Him.
Nickolee - October 14th, 2013 at 12:33 PM
I can't even put into words how excited I am! This means that we can be a part even in madagascar! SUPER excited and love love love the expectation for His floodgates to be opened wide!
melissa - October 14th, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Wow, it sold out fast, guess God wants me to start an If:Local! kind of exciting, not all about me then.
Natasha - October 14th, 2013 at 1:12 PM
Hello Jen,

Although we did not get tickets, we are still planning on coming from Tulsa to Austin for IF and to visit NAC over that weekend. I see how quickly tickets sold out and we are thrilled for that, yet we would still like to come to IF: Local, Austin style.
Are one or all of your church locations hosting the IF:Local? I know we are not, you know locals, but we would love to attend in a local Austin area. What are your thoughts, or any one reading, direction in this??
I also see that it looks like you have several New Austin locations. Is there a tip or schedule for who is teaching over that weekend. Which one is live? With our one weekend there, we would love some details on this.
Thank you so much!
Natasha


Star - October 14th, 2013 at 1:32 PM
Love this! As the Women's Minister at a large collegiate church plant, we have droves of women who have very little pennies but a whole lot of passion! IF:Local - We. Are. There. We will make this happen big time in our college town. Can't wait to join you and continue to: Gather, Equip and Unleash women.

Praying Psalm 68:11 over this whole idea, the Lord can provide! "The Lord announces victory and THRONGS of women shout the happy news."
Crissy - October 14th, 2013 at 3:43 PM
So incredibly sad! I've heard that registration is already full and I only signed up for the emails today... so I didn't have access to register early. Hopefully it us just a vicious rumor and I will be able to register tomorrow! :)
Lisa Bergren - October 14th, 2013 at 5:18 PM
Huzzah for IF: Local. So blessed that you are including the rest of us and will do our best to contribute to the bottom line. God will provide in response to such faithfulness!
Nina Riethmaier - October 14th, 2013 at 5:37 PM
Waaaaaay too much time on my part dreaming and reading about this stuff and what God is going to do with us. Jen I met you. Around 2 a.m. in my dreams last night. You had just moved in to an older house downtown. Bentonville, AR. LOL. Can't wait for IF: Local Northwest Arkansas :).
Renee Law - October 14th, 2013 at 5:52 PM
Ready to bring this to West Virginia!!!
Cori @ Let's Eat Grandpa - October 14th, 2013 at 5:57 PM
Was trying to figure out people to go with and saw the sell-out! We're setting up a local group -- can't wait to see what it brings!
Lynn - October 14th, 2013 at 7:00 PM
What is the vision?
Jennifer - October 14th, 2013 at 8:57 PM
YES!
cg - October 14th, 2013 at 9:53 PM
Add Honduras to the list!
Deborah Williams Veak - October 15th, 2013 at 2:00 AM
I'm not a scholar nor a teacher, not a mom nor a young woman, BUT truly a Jesus Christ follower. I've been drawn to Jen's writings and now find myself being drawn to this gathering of women. To seek HIS presence and guidance in and for our lives, for those we touch and for future generations of women. I would love to attend in person but if that turns out to not be possible, I will gather friends so we can be there in spirit through video conference. Thank you for sharing this vision with each of us and seeking our participation. God bless~
Laura - October 15th, 2013 at 6:17 AM
I JUST wrote about his..not IF...because to be honest, I had never heard of it....but what I wrote about was a deep, loud hunger....a hunger that I can hear, that I can taste and can see...and that women, in particular are hungry. Hungry for something so much more. I can only guess that the either A) I am a genius....or the more likely B) this hunger is a reality, and it is time to set that table and welcome everyone to the feast.

I failed biology, math, and have trouble with my 10 year olds homework. So let's go with B.
Chrisy - October 15th, 2013 at 9:24 AM
I don't have much money to donate, but if there is something I can do to help in another way, I will. I am so drawn to this movement, and I plan to grab some of my friends and do an IF: Local as we join you from a distance!!
Abigail - October 15th, 2013 at 1:14 PM
Jen! I am so thankful to the Lord for moving in your heart and the hearts of so many women to do this event! I was at Women of Faith in KC a couple weeks ago. I was only there the last three hours on Sat, ... God brought me there to hear what He had put on your heart! Seriously. I marched right down to the literature table after you talked and bought 7, without even knowing what it was about. God has been moving in my heart, drawing me closer. I'm hungry to know Jesus' heart more and more. I just started the 7 food fast yesterday with my husband (who volunteered!). I know God will bless it. He already has!

I tried to register for IF: Austin at 11:08 today, but registration was already closed! I was upset, but PRAISE THE LORD! I will join with women in my church for IF: LOCAL! Wow, God is good! This is amazing.


Katie - October 15th, 2013 at 8:01 PM
Jen! So thrilled and thankful for this opportunity! God is moving! He is using us crazy women to further his kingdom and I LOVE IT! signed up to host a simulcast and cannot wait! Praying for big crazy amazing things so we can say ONLY GOD!
Thankful for your heart and the way you are leading other women. And the whole IF team too.
Stephanie @ Hugs, Kisses and Snot - October 15th, 2013 at 10:01 PM
I cannot express how proud I am of you and your gals. This is a bold move and I am standing cheering. Thank you for swimming up stream when it comes to "christian" conferences. I could be listed in the "dangerous thinker" category and would normally feel out of place at a typical conference. I actually think I might enjoy this. Love!
Courtney Laib - October 17th, 2013 at 1:48 PM
I will be there. In Austin. Cannot wait. To be honest, in conferences past I'd come for the Jen Hatmakers and the Jennie Allens' and the Lindsey Nobles', etc but not anymore. (Although I still love you all.) I know that you all know this isn't about you and it certainly isn't about me either. It's about the reality that we can do more together. I'm coming for Jesus, for awakening, and to get on the train with a generation of women that are barreling through our culture with the message of Hope & Grace. I'm coming to learn. I'm coming to connect. And February can't come soon enough.
Becky Crenshaw - October 19th, 2013 at 12:53 PM
The stir is undeniable. The answer is "yes, God." IF Knoxville - "Yes."
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