IF: Gathering 2016
This weekend I had the wonderful experience of attending a local IF: Gathering and I m so glad that I did. I met beautiful women, heard amazing stories and left feeling loved and inspired.
If you ve never heard of the IF community here s their vision from their website:
We gather, equip and unleash women to live out their calling by creating tools and resources for the local church and the women they serve. We put these tool in hands of women who desire to change their local context for the glory of God and the good of others.
And here is their description of IF: Gathering:
An annual two day gathering in Austin, Texas and simulcast all across the world in local homes, churches and communities, IF:Gathering is when we collectively come together to wrestle with essential questions of faith and encounter God in a way that allows us to be unleashed to give Him away.
The first IF: Gathering was held in Austin 2014 and has grown over the last two years, this year it was simulcasted to hundreds of thousands of women in at least 35 countries. I had the opportunity to attend an IF: Local. A local church hosted the gathering and basically ran a two-day conference where women from all around the community gathered to watch the IF: Gathering simulcast. We came from all different backgrounds, churches and denominations to watch, discuss, support each other, pray together and worship.
I must admit, I was not sure about attending at first. I was invited by a friend from small group who was one of the leaders of the local gathering and I understood the purpose of the IF community but I didn t know exactly what would happen at the IF:Gathering or if I would know anyone else there. I am beyond happy that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and went. As soon as I walked in a saw a few familiar faces and immediately felt like a friend to each woman I met.
Words cannot describe how amazing this event was. At one point during a discussion time, I looked around the room at all of the tables. At one table I saw a woman whose face was shining telling her story and describing how Jesus was working in her life and at the next I saw a woman who was describing her deepest struggles and being hugged and comforted by other women who just met her. Looking around I was an awe of the raw emotion, the honesty and the love. Another moment of awe was when we were singing together in worship, I happened to sit at one of the front tables and hearing over a hundred women behind me sing the words “Your a good, good Father” was such a sweet and beautiful sound.
On top of all that wonder, the speakers were incredible. I heard from some that I were familiar with like Jennie Allen and Jen Hatmaker and I heard from some new names (for me) like Jo Saxton, Bianca Olthoff and Lauren Chandler. These were my favorites, check out their websites, these ladies are awesome!
I feel renewed and empowered from the experience. I can t wait to see how the IF community grows and what positive change will come from this. I thought of so many friends and family members that I will be inviting to the gathering next year and I highly encourage you to attend one if you have the chance!