Several years ago, when my children were young, I stopped accepting invitations to speak outside our local church body. I stopped accepting invitations for a couple of reasons. My children were small, it was the season to mother them well, not a season to spread myself so thin that I was disconnected from their lives. But also, I started to wonder if women’s conferences were even worth the effort.
Are women’s conferences even biblical?
We don’t see conferences like this described in Scripture, is that enough to mark them off as “extra-biblical” and unscriptural?
I struggled with questions like this for a few years.
We don’t see a woman’s conference described in Scripture, but I think that women had the same desire to know God that we do today. I like to think of the riverside prayer meeting in Acts 16 as kind of an early women’s gathering:
[box]And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. (Acts 16:13)[/box]
It certainly wasn’t a “women’s conference” going on that day, but it was a group of women with hungry hearts, gathered together, seeking to know God. One of those women, Lydia, left the riverside with a new heart. She was completely transformed by the meeting at the river:
[box]A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. (Acts 16:14–15)[/box]
Can a woman’s conference make a lasting spiritual impact?
I used to think women’s conferences were a lot of emotional hype without much substance and could possibly do more damage than spiritual benefit. I still think that is true of some conferences, but God has changed my heart on this topic. I’ve personally experienced some spiritual watershed moments in conferences. I’ve had God bring me to places of intense brokenness over my sin, to a place of lasting repentance, and also to moments of glorious corporate worship.
There is something about setting aside a weekend, or even just an evening, as a body of women to corporately seek God, to sit under His Word and ask Him to open your eyes to your need. It is different than your personal quiet time, or even your Sunday morning service at your own church. There is a special dynamic that occurs when we as women get together, on our faces, with open hearts and honest discussion; it’s a dynamic that seems to open a doorway to the next level of spiritual growth. I need that.
Recently I had a sweet conversation with a woman who heard me speak at a conference back in 2010. I was humbled and surprised by her words. She shared with me how clearly God had spoken to her that weekend and how her marriage has been dramatically affected by the impact. Years later, the work God began in that conference has continued. As I listened to her share what He’s done, I was amazed and grateful. I’m grateful that He gives me the opportunity to share His Word, although it is a fearful thing for me. And I’m grateful that He’s shown me that He does work through venues like “women’s conferences.”
Tonight I’ll be sharing with a group of women in Greenville, South Carolina. Will you pray for us? Will you ask God to meet with us in life changing ways? Will you join me in asking God to be elevated there tonight, for Him to be seen and known, and for His glory to fill that auditorium?
It would thrill me to know that you are interceding for us!
Would you leave a prayer in your comment below?