But it was SO GOOD, y'all!
The first year, I threw together a quick small gathering in my home with some of my people. Ladies who came to my home for book studies or prayer meetings or just to hang out or go for a walk... there were maybe 10 of us and we loved it! I loved sharing some of my favorite people/writers/bloggers/world changers with some of my inrl friends who had no idea who these women were!
The second year, --well, to host they really wanted you to be plugged in to a local church, which I love - but I was not so much plugged in to one. It was not for lack of trying or wanting, but we just couldn't squeeze ourself in and so I watched it from home on my own in my pjs, Voxing with a handful of bloggy friends through out the conference. That Voxer thread is STILL active, now over a year later, and we talk every week and pray together and love each other and it was a real thing. We weren't sure in the beginning because, in real life is so vital and important... but the more we connected and opened up and prayed for each other and checked in, the more we realized our "If-Voxer" was an actual thing!
I had been looking forward to 'watching' with my Voxer girlies again this year when the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, "But we STARTED a local church, remember?" Oh Yeah... that, we did!
So, it turns out, He had plans for me to host an If:Local this year and we joined up with another local church and we filled a house (or two) and oh my goodness, did we meet with God together!
Here's the thing... when we started a church, it was sort of assumed that I would be 'over' Women's Ministry. However, I would prefer to place those air quotes around "Women's Ministry" instead --or as well, maybe. I'm not so much a fan of separating out and dividing up and while I do think that it's important for fellowship and digging in deeper and there is a place for ministry that is focused on women as well as on men and children, individually, --overall... I want us to be a family together.
But I love to plan me a party or an event and I already had two years of If under my belt, so I knew that while the ladies at Dad's House didn't know any of the If Leaders... I knew they would love them! So I jumped right in, somewhat last minute, and for all of January it was all If, all the time.
But you guys, it paid off... already --and I know that this is just the beginning!
We ended up having 37 women in attendance over the weekend and let me tell you, His Presence was strong. There was a time of repentance and communion and leaning in together... there was great teaching, great food (thanks Shawn!), and great times of prayer through out the weekend! One highlight for me was probably when we all squeezed into one room and prayed over those who were sick... we experienced several healings and miracles and prophetic words. You know... like we expect to happen whenever we gather together to love on Him and each other!
Several had to fight their way to get there and one of the women was a brand new Christian! We continue to pray that the work that God began over the weekend will take root and continue to impact and empower all of the ladies who attended - at our If:Local, and at other Gatherings all around the globe!
Here are a few photo's from our If:Local Gathering - Dad's House & Freedom Foursquare. Seriously... I can't wait to hear the stories and testimonies that will begin to come in about how this weekend impacted, empowered, and encouraged!
We had a Fair Trade Friday table set up at our If:Local
Communion... because, of course!
Starting of Day Two... bring on the Coffee!
Small Group Conversation Card discussions
Our Caterer, Shawn Niles.
Pay no attention to the To Go container... it's fine.
Two words: David Platt...
um, and Two more Words: Make Disciples
Because, of course we wrap up the whole event
in prayer on our knees! Way to lead us, Jennie Allem!
That is one tired, extroverted-out introvert face,
who is happy to be done but thrilled that it is just beginning!
You can pre-order the digital downloads (available for download on apx 2/22!) HERE to watch it on your own, or with a small gathering of your own people, any time! Over and over again, if you're like me. Because, it's that good!
I was going to include a bunch of quotes from the speakers here, but you'll just have to hop on over to Twitter and follow me there because this post is ridiculously long... and y'all know how I can't pick a favorite!
The If:Gathering... it is pure and simple, just like they say. It is Gospel truth... This is what it looks like to Love like Jesus loves...
If we believe God is real,
let our generation live like it!
What if we all lived the Truth we know?
What if we all simply loved like Jesus and let His Light shine through us?
What if we could really see lives changed, people set free, and watch darkness flee whenever we entered a room?
What if we all purpose to do just this:
We just might make Jesus famous and make His glory known!
P.S. I'm linking up with these lovely writers:
The Community over at #SmallWonders
Laura Boggess over at #ChasingTheBlueFlower
Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday
Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory
Have you heard about the If:Gathering? Did you attend, in Austin, or at an If:Local somewhere near where you live? I'd love to hear!