And Then Half the Council Picked Winners...
by Jen Hatmaker on January 10th, 2013

I cannot tell you how excited I am to announce the three winners of the The 7 Experiment Bible study kit and Skype session! People, your entries...oh my word. So many amazing people, fabulous small groups, unlikely communities, all ages, all stages. I was so moved by you. I wanted to ship off kits to each and every one of you.

Then I realized I had to pick three winners.


So I outsourced this task to three of the six Council members. They combed through each and every response, every single beautiful, hilarious, meaningful, hysterical entry. (I particularly enjoyed the guy who said, "I like cheese." I see what you did there: connected with me on a soul level.) Each Council member handpicked a winner and wrote a little note, so without further ado, I not only give you the winners, but some pictorial evidence of these Council members and a potentially incriminating video attesting to our maturity level:

These are the people choosing your fate:
Shonna, Jenny, Moi, and Molly...spiritual giants.

Let's start with Council member Molly, since she was the first one to pick her winner. Molly was the Council member who thought it would be so hilarious to bring a jug of frozen margaritas to our filming session for The 7 Experiment. At 9:00am. Ha ha. Now all these men from Lifeway think we're a bunch of lushes. But the joke is on her...I quietly told them she had a drinking problem and we were seeking help for her.

Molly and I couple skating until I fell down and she left me for dead, laughing.

And Molly's winner is...Lizzie! Who posted on January 7 at 11:28am:

Oh shucks. I read your book. Devoured it. Emptied my closet and refrigerator. Gave to the homeless and prayed for orphans with the zeal of the newly converted. It was all my husband heard me talk about - I even tried to take the coat off his back - in February - and give it to the guy with the "will work for food" sign we pass every Sunday on our way to church. (What? I totally would have given my jacket, but I'm a girl, see. And it was purple...)

But then March happened, and rolled into April, and here we are almost a year later and I need help. On my to-do list today is "find the clothes that need returning." Find them. Because we have so many, in a house so full of stuff, that they've gone missing in less time than it took the wise men to get to baby Jesus.

My new small group has agreed to start the year off doing Seven together - the bible study kit (and Skype session with you!) would be such a gift!



I loved your post. I also love that you tried to give your husbands jacket away, no need to give away your girly purple one to a dude!

It's easy to feel convicted to do something right after you hear/read something that inspires you. It's the follow through a few months later that I struggle with too.  During and right after completing 7 I was ready to give everything away, make all my own clothes and open my home as the newest homeless shelter in the Austin area. It's been a couple of years and I'm finding myself back into some less than desirable patterns. I think it's the journey of trying to do better that changes us and our hearts. (Sorry that was cheesy!)
Have fun with the study and don't be afraid to give yourself some grace/cheat a on food month when you just need a teeny bite of something sweet.

In NYC on a girlcation. Do you see those happy faces? Because we were in NYC with no kids.
I don't know why I have to explain this to you.

Let's move on to Shonna. After eating like Haitians in Food Month, Shonna has since been to Haiti twice and taken her kids. It turned into a thing. Which is how this stuff goes, so you've been warned. Evidently God can turn a molehill into a mountain. If I need a partner to justify my procrastination or lack of productivity in favor of sitting on a porch in the sunshine, Shonna is my girl. She has never failed me. No two girls can waste time better than these two:
We're cute, but I was in a bangs phase. Thank you for overlooking it.
Brandon is still in therapy.

In Seattle visiting Council Member Becky who listened to the devil and moved away from us.

And Shonna's winner is...Mary Marks! Who posted on January 7 at 11:39am and wrote:

Honestly, I've been terrified to read your book. Ignorance is bliss and all that.... But after going to El Salvador for the last three years, I need to do it. I need to have my living match my heart. And in turn help my friends understand so I don't look like I've gone off the deep end :)


Hi Mari!
Congratulations, you were my choice to win Jen’s study! I loved that you admitted your fear and how you have been blissful in your ignorance. I felt the same way before I did 7, went to Haiti and before I adopted. It might just be easier to not know- but it takes a lot of courage to put God’s will above your own. Especially when you know that what he has for you might not be as easy.
On my journey I have been called “eccentric” by some friends that didn’t understand why I was doing what I was doing. So getting your friends involved from the get go to be in the “deep end” with you is the best way to fully experience this study! Without my friends on the council beside me every step I would have given up week one.
Good luck to you and your “council”!
“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.”
Psalm 31:24

In Vegas being awesome.

Finally, let's wrap up with Jenny, clearly the most lenient member of the Council. She tried to let me cheat at every turn, which is why she was the first one I picked. I'm no dummy. We live on the same street, started ANC together, and get in trouble. That is our legacy. Jenny is from Alabama (what I'm trying to say is that she is country), and when I sent her a hot-topic blog to read before I posted it, she wrote me back and said, "I don't know what 'belie' means. Stop using big words."

Real friends karaoke. Look how serious Jenny is. And our song choice is also boss.

This pic took us six takes. Apparently, white girls can't jump.

And Jenny's winner is...Kenna Scott! Who posted on January 7 at 12:37pm and wrote:


We're a group of poor, busy, overwhelmed college students in Colorado who are doing the study together. Not to guilt trip you or anything;) But we are just a group of 10 crazy girls who love the Lord, love each other, and have quickly started to love you!! WE WOULD LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE TO SKYPE WITH YOU!

If you wanted, you could even come over and we would make you dinner--but our cooking might make your month of 7 foods sound appealing again.

Thanks for the challenge you have created for us this next semester!


Dear Kenna,


I know you girls will love the study and LOVE to Skype with Jen. And as a bonus, I know she will enjoy you guys!

I have such a heart for high school and college students….I know your generation WILL be the ones that change the world.

The fact that you are a crazy bunch of girls just reminded me of how much fun we had doing this thing together as Jen wrote it. You've got to be a little crazy…or this thing just won't work!
Congrats and happy 7 to all of you!

the "lenient" council  member

Please, I beg you, watch the following video when Jenny and I were in Ethiopia and I had a, um, toilet problem in our hotel and found myself in need of a plunger but the hotel manager couldn't understand me:
Please rethink keeping me as a spiritual mentor.

Winners, look for an email from me, and we'll work out the details! For the rest of you, please believe me: I wish I had a set for every single one of you. Thank you for sharing your stories and your lives with me. I am so grateful and I love you. If you decide to do The 7 Experiment anyway, I am cheering you on from Austin! May your own "Council" be as crazy as mine, may the project be so spiritually meaningful, and may God's kingdom come in your life.

And now I'm thinking up a new way to introduce you to the other three Council members, because they are a hot awesome mess too.

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Courtney Laib - January 10th, 2013 at 4:34 PM
This is great! Somehow I missed that you were doin a give-away but it's all good because these ladies have great stories! Congrats to them! And the pictures you shared of you and your homegirls, Jen, are awesome. Just awesome. I mean, the high kicks? Seriously? Ya'll must've been cheerleaders or something. I could NEVER.
Rebekah - January 10th, 2013 at 4:40 PM
I can't see the diarrhea video. Ho hum.
Randi - January 10th, 2013 at 4:40 PM
I don't see the video!! I have been to ET 5 times and have SOOO many toilet (or lack thereof) stories. I must see this...
Lori H - January 10th, 2013 at 5:23 PM
Definately want to read about the other Council members. All so awesome. Still reading 7...hilarious and so life-changing at the same time. That's why I love you!
Jeannett Gibson - January 10th, 2013 at 5:51 PM
Love Mari. SOOOOO excited she won! (Don't think I didn't email her immediately asking if it was her...) Yay for 7!
Sher - January 10th, 2013 at 6:19 PM
I just wrote on my blog that I so regret having passed the turnoff for Buda when visiting Austin a few weeks ago (yes I got the pronunciation lesson, but no explanation on why it is the Outdoor Capital of Texas) and I DID NOT turn. I'm so convinced that, since you stood outside the Royal Palace and yelled for Kate, you would have felt very special if I stood outside your home and yelled JEN! And when I was visiting earlier in the year, I went to ANC. Brandon walked right by me, smiled and said hello. WHY didn't I embrace him and tell him how fun his life must be, living with the daughter of Beth Moore and George Carlin! Well, it's a new year, and I'm giving up my life of regrets.

I'm a little over halfway into a year of my No Buy Zone, and have just read "7" again for moral support. You're keeping me going!
Mary Beth - January 10th, 2013 at 7:14 PM
I'm ten days into food month. I need a council! Can I borrow yours? Seriously?!
Trista - January 10th, 2013 at 8:35 PM
Just had to say how much I have enjoyed doing 7 so far. I am in month 6- spending. And oh my, it's hard. Each chapter has changed my perspective and I am praying that it not only tranforms me for each month but permanently. I can relate to you more than any author I've ever read (my husband is so tired of me saying "read this, is this not sooo me?!!"). Thanks for every word you have written. I am changed because of how God has used your books to speak to me. I'm so excited to hear you speak in Paducah, KY in April!
Lindsey - January 11th, 2013 at 7:58 AM
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who reads to my husband!
Marla Taviano - January 11th, 2013 at 12:14 AM
I know Mari IRL! OMG! SMF! (so much fun!)
Amber Zaccagni - January 11th, 2013 at 3:25 AM
you're book is great and all, but I don't know if it's as great as that video!!!! holy cow. hilarious.
Kim - January 11th, 2013 at 7:09 AM
Umm you guys are fun. I did not enter the contest mostly because there were already like 5 million entries by the time i read it and i had a 1 yr old and a 2.5yr old each climbing up one of my legs so that made it hard to type, so clearly i missed out. waaaah. BUT if you're ever in Philadelphia and want to see the city & cool stuff happening here, I'm your girl! We can even watch for Shane Claiborne riding around on his bike, always a fun sighting.... I'm just saying.
Angela - February 8th, 2013 at 12:50 PM
That just made me laugh as much as the video!

Mckenzie - January 11th, 2013 at 9:15 AM
Jen, the trick to jumping pictures is you have to bend your knees.. Seriously, try it.
You're welcome :)
Flower Patch Farmgirl - January 11th, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Wait, Molly is my Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise cyber BFF, right? Where is the giveaway for a skype with her??

SO THRILLED TO MEET YOU, Molly! While I'm here, what are your honest thoughts on Nashville? Scandal? Homeland? We need to talk.

Osheta - January 11th, 2013 at 2:36 PM
I had so much fun reading about half of your council. I read "7" and absolutely loved it. It's such Kingdom minded message and it's exactly what we want as a part of our Church plant's DNA. I'm excited to be doing the bible study with the women in my plant. I have a question about the format though. Since most of the women in our church plant are already committed to other small groups, I wanted to try to do this study over the course of several months limiting to the meetings to once a month. Will this work? I tried to look at the sample of the study workbook on the website and it didn't work. I was thinking of meeting to watch the video together of either the month ahead of us, or the month we just came out of. I'm not sure. Do you have any suggestions?
Jen in MN - January 11th, 2013 at 2:49 PM
I missed the giveaway, but I'm planning on doing the whole book-study-vid thing in our small group this spring!! Loved the changer for sure. And your video above---words fail. Laughing that hard is like scoring 6 months of therapy in 2 minutes.
Debby Morden - January 12th, 2013 at 5:34 PM
Thank you Jen for another EXTRA generous dose of laughter!! Shared 7 with another member of my church-can't wait to hear their synopsis of the message. Am SO..... elated it's groundbreaking time for the Haiti school!!! Praise God!!!!
Rachel Parkhurst - January 13th, 2013 at 8:29 AM
Pretty much unrelated to anything, are your council gal pals all 5'3"? I'm the single girl from Facebook curious about your brother's "status" who's unashamedly searching for hints about him. Props to you on being tight lipped... I can't figure out his age, name, your maiden name, and, of course, most importantly: his height! But I've come to grips with the fact that you have my name and can let him FB stalk me till the cows come home....since the guy should be doing the pursing and all. P.S. I live in Pflugerville and am available to meet in person anytime you might so desire.
Sarah - January 13th, 2013 at 7:15 PM
Jen, I cannot find a way to send you a message other than hope you don't mind me commenting here!!
I have recently read "7" and "Interrupted" and man, do I wish I could sit down and have coffee with you for a couple hours and ask lots of questions! Thank you for sharing your heart and inspiring me to change mine! (thanks for the laughs too! I did occassionally have to be the crazy person on the plane today laughing out loud while reading. Loved the banana story! )
emily - January 13th, 2013 at 8:48 PM
Jen, my 7 study starts on January 22--but I can't find the study guide to purchase ANYWHERE. I didn't even know it existed until I came back to your website to see when you would be in my town speaking (Scottsdale) I have to have it. Can you please let me know where I can buy it? You can reach me (or your people who have to feel so cool for being your people) can reach me at oemaurer at gmail dot com
emily - January 13th, 2013 at 9:25 PM
OK...on second glance...I must have been blinded by excitement. Found the MANY green links in the previous post and ordered my members book. Few. Crisis Averted.
Becky - January 14th, 2013 at 11:32 AM
oh man, I so wanted to show you my high kick on Skype. Congratulations to the winners! Seven is an AWESOME book!! Next to the Bible, this book has changed my life the most! Thank you, Jen!!
Elle - January 14th, 2013 at 10:43 PM
I was LOL at that video clip. Thanks for making my day.
Jenni Whitford - January 15th, 2013 at 5:03 PM
Do you ever take a BAD photo? You are always lookin' good, even when you are supposed to be lookin' bad!
Gina - January 15th, 2013 at 7:29 PM
I am reading "7" which is messing with my head (!) and my pastor is preaching on the beatitudes...between the two I am so convicted and thought you might like what the Lord spoke to me today.

Blessed are the rich
for they can go on exciting vacations

Blessed are the comfortable
for they don't have to be inconvenienced.

Blessed are the intelligent
for they will get into the right schools.

Blessed are those with an alarm system
for they will not be fearful.

Blessed are the insured
for they will always get in to see a doctor.

Blessed are the overweight
for they never hunger or thirst.

Blessed are the employed
for they will see a paycheck.

Blessed are the clean, the shaven, and the fresh smelling
for they will not be outcast.

Blessed are the home owners
for theirs is the American dream.

Blessed are the vaccinated
for they won't suffer avoidable diseases.

Blessed are those who have transportation
for they will not have blisters.

Blessed are Americans
for they have access to electricity and clean water.

Blessed are the popular
for they will always have a friend.

Blessed are the well-dressed
for they will get good treatment in the check out line.

Blessed are the well-respected
for they will not feel awkward in social situations.

Danielle Diehl - January 16th, 2013 at 9:31 PM
I just want to say that I loved your bangs.
And I love your blog. In some ways, you're my Shane Claiborne. Which is why i'm glad I live several states away! My bible study is reading Hole in the Gospel now, which is not so far from 7, I guess. Anyway, you're an excellent example to me in many areas. Thanks for your faithfulness.
Roxanne Engstrom - January 17th, 2013 at 4:09 PM
I first read Seven while living in Africa and thought (rather pridefully I might add) "We pretty much do this." Well, it is pretty easy when you cannot get much!!
we are back in the states for a stint and it is NOW much harder to say no to excess! So, I am embarking on a mutiny with some friends in Chicago! I love it and Jen, you are hilarious!! I have the book and the leader guide but am wondering if there is any way to get the videos without odering the leader kit (since I do not need it all) and I am trying to reduce always buying stuff :) Can I order JUST the videos to watch at my home with a few crazy ladies?
Gina Moore - January 19th, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Found this in a fortune cookie. "The pleasure of what we enjoy is lost by wanting more." SO TRUE!!!
Anna Burrows - January 21st, 2013 at 12:14 PM
I live in bush Alaska. Like 175 people live here in our little village, if they're all home. Yes village, with no stores, no Starbucks, no grocery store, no pavement. freeshippingbaby is my best friend. I am contemplating how to make 7 work for my "unusual" life style...It's a fun challenge I plan on dragging my lady pose into. They'll love it. I would need 7 options just for outside wear! And waste? Gaaahhh. Well, we have to fly everything in... everything. Do they make hybrid airplanes? Trash, we burn, compost gets dumped. Groceries are flown in and shopped by another sweet soul, but does "shopping local" with salmon, caribou, dall sheep, and moose in my freezer count? There are so many ways we can apply this and maybe make our own 7 Alaskan bush style... it will be sweeeeet!
susan - January 21st, 2013 at 7:59 PM
I'm not sure if you are going to see this but I have to make it right with my hubs as I used his name when I tried to win your prize. He didn't appreciate the fact that I told the blog world that he likes cheese. Please accept this as my public apology to you honey. Love you more than cheese.
caroline - January 22nd, 2013 at 8:18 PM
Oh thank you, dear friend, for the joy that is that video. That would soooooo happen to me! But, it didn't. It was you. And now for all the world to see. Word up on that one. Jen Hatmaker - Stoppin' up pottys around the Jesus' Name.
stacy - January 23rd, 2013 at 8:34 PM
My girlfriends and I are reading 7 together. I cheated and read the entire book already and loved it.The chapter on possessions is one of my favorites. It is an area of my life I feel God is drawing a lot of attention to right now. This week, I sat in my closet floor among purses, shoes, and clothes I was boxing up to take to a women's shelter. I was not prepared for the emotion I would feel as I went through my items. In the bottom of the purses literally collecting dust in my closet, I found loose change, crackers, an unopened granola bar, socks, (can you tell I have kids yet?) pens and a TON of conviction. I wanted to let you know because you inspired me to seek out a shelter in the first place.
Jennifer - January 24th, 2013 at 2:34 PM
Jen! My sunday school class is hopefully about to start doing the 7 study!!! So excited but I was wondering... how do you think guys will do with the study? We have 3 husbands in our sunday school. They have read the description and are interested. I have read 7 the book but is the study book something a guy can relate to do you think? Thanks for making this study! So excited to get my whole group on board!
April - January 29th, 2013 at 2:43 PM
I just wanted to say that video make me laugh so hard that I cried. I love, LOVE, girlfriends that you can be silly with. It is one of life's great joys.
Jeane` - February 27th, 2013 at 6:59 PM
I think you are clever to have no private way of contacting you. Actually, I think you're damn smart. I am simply leaving you this note because I read your FB musings and I think these thoughts (and thought you should know, since they concern you and all):
1. You've got a solid set of balls on you. I admire your fearlessness in the spirit of Truth (and good humor).
2. I cannot imagine how many times you have read that so-and-so wishes you could be neighbors/BFF's/etc. and how you do not roll your eyes after a while.
3. I would NEVER suggest we be BFF's. I don't roll like that. I stood in line with Chris Rock and Whoopie Goldberg at a Barnes and Noble in NYC and I let them be. I would do the same for you. However, if we met, you would fall in love with me and I you, and I would be added to an out-of-state council of yours. (FYI for when we meet).
4.I'm already thinking of not sending this.
5. However, you have been on the mind and so I often take that as a nudge to write and let that person know my thoughts, even if it someone that receives hundreds on a daily basis. You are standing tall, and true to what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. SUCH a breathe of fresh, reasonable and radical air.
6. My good friends wrote that darling book you promoted and thus sent into a purchasing frenzy. We are such a council as noted in this article. We want you to come drink wine,talk about Jesus and feel free to let one rip in our presence, but all of our members are WAY too cool to come out and join the legions in saying so. Except one.
Well, that concludes this friendly little Christian-Encouragement-O-Gram. It was sincere and I do thank God that He's given you the wit, the smarts and the gall to stand up while stooping down at the same time. It's exactly what this hour needs.
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