It’s been a long time coming. After a year of canceled or virtual-only events, Lifeway Women Live will bring women together in person for the first in-person Lifeway Women Live event since 2019.
On April 17, Bible teachers Jackie Hill Perry, Kristi McLelland, Kelly Minter, Jamie Ivey, Ruth Chou Simons, Lisa Harper and Angie Smith (emcee) will kick off the first of three 2021 Lifeway Women Live events at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with special guests Point of Grace and worship with Austin Stone. This will also be a simulcast event with thousands of women gathering in homes, coffee shops and churches across the country and beyond.
August and September speaker lineups include Lysa TerKeurst, Jennifer Rothschild and Jen Wilkin, and will feature worship leaders Lauren Chandler of The Village Church (Dallas, Texas) and the Austin Stone band, respectively.
Lifeway Women Live is focused on women “pursuing Christ together” through His Word and worship. Betsy Langmade, manager of Lifeway Women events, said the word “together” has a deeper meaning than it would have in previous years, before COVID-19.
“Women through the centuries have been about community—about doing life together,” said Langmade. “While women are resilient and creative and have found ways to do this, this past year has been a far cry from camaraderie and sisterhood you feel when standing in a room at a conference or sitting in a room doing a Bible study with a handful of other people. We were made to experience loud laughs and flowing tears together.”
Lifeway Women conducted a survey among several hundred women to gauge their readiness for in-person events under the conditions of COVID-safe restrictions, when the vaccines are prevalent and when restrictions are no longer necessary. Langmade said most of the respondents indicated they would be comfortable returning to large gatherings in one or more of those scenarios.
“Something we’re seeing emerge among women is an extreme hunger for community and being together in person and doing the things we do together—like eating out, Bible study and church, to name a few,” said Langmade.
Speaker Kelly Minter said the church might be especially primed for togetherness because of the isolation from the pandemic, but we’ve always been made for community.
“God fundamentally created us that way—we’re designed for relationship,” said Minter. “I’ve also been reminded in 1 Corinthians 12 the Holy Spirit gave each of us specific gifts that are for the good of others. We can’t use our God-given gifts in isolation. At creation we were designed for community and when the Holy Spirit came, the church was even more poised for it. That’s something I’ve learned this past year—just how much we really do need fellowship. It’s not an optional accoutrement to our lives. We need each other and others need us.”
Author, artist and speaker Ruth Chou Simons added that after a challenging season of isolation—and even division—the church must come together and find unity and togetherness in the hope of the gospel.
“I’ve really experienced the importance of healthy conversations around a kitchen table, in the local church and through the community of believers seeking to love one another well,” said Simons. “All the impact we want to see someday in the world begins with how we steward the communities we invest in right now.”
Each Lifeway Women Live event will feature an optional You Lead event, a pre-conference training opportunity for any woman who leads in some capacity (work, Bible study, church) and wants to develop her skills and expand her influence. You Lead features breakout sessions taught by leadership experts and will cover multiple topics, including Bible study methods, how to write a devotional and leading others through grief.
There are multiple registration options for virtual attendees:
— Register as an individual.
— Host a small group in your home.
— Host a church gathering in person or virtually.
For in-person attendees at any Lifeway Women Live event, each venue will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines, working to protect the health and safety of guests, speakers and staff.
“There have been huge losses for almost everyone this year on different levels,” said Langmade. “Grief and loss are an invitation to hope. And the fact that we’re able to gather in some capacity is a sign of hope.”
Visit lifeway.com/lifewaywomenlive for more information about the live events.
Visit lifeway.com for more information on the simulcast for individuals, small groups and churches.
SOURCE: Lifeway Christian Resources, Joy Allmond