September 30, 2014

#InfluenceConf 2014 RECAP

I'm not quite sure where to begin. I am still processing all that I learned last Thursday through Saturday, and I'm not quite certain I'm ready to share that half-digested nugget of knowledge with the world.

Last year, I attended the Influence Conference for the first time. I had no real expectations, as I had never been to a blogging conference before…let alone a Christian women's blogging conference. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I've been in many conference settings over the years. Being in leadership in the faith community and the social work community for years now, I've attended almost every conference imaginable in both arenas. On the faith side, there's been the Youth Evangelism Conference, Women of Faith, Girls of Grace, Youth Specialties, Transformed, and a host of other ministry and missions events. On the social work side, I've attended autism conferences, systems of care conferences, and so on. My experience is varied between the sacred and the secular.

That first year at Influence, though, my experience was unprecedented. Included was a perfect mesh of business and faith training. I learned that the Influence Network exists to equip women to make their online lives mean something. Rather than seeing the online world as dark and full of seedy temptation (how many Christians view it...and somewhat rightfully so!), the Network champions our ability to live for Christ on the internet. And this perspective was refreshing.

This year, I almost waited too late to get my ticket. In fact, I let the deadline pass and had to purchase my tickets from a lovely women who could no longer make it to the event. And I am so grateful it worked out. The conference was just what I needed to jump start my writing again and refocus me on being about God's business in my online and in-person life. I have influence, and I need to be using it wisely.

27 full journal pages later, I sit in awe of what I learned about the Lord and about myself at Influence this year.

Over the course of a few days, I learned a ton about writing, speaking, blogging, branding, and publicizing. But much more than that, I learned about God's Word and His call for us to surrender fully to Him. I learned about the power of having other Christian women speaking the truth of God's Word into my life. The ladies I connected with at Influence this year were some of the most genuine and life-giving women I've met. Learning their stories and receiving their encouragement meant so much. 

Below are some snippets of the most powerful things I learned...

From Haley Morgan:
  • My influence is not about my evocative words, my perfect Instagrams, my topknot, or my red lips.
  • The Gospel stands up in the harsh lights and in the shadows.
  • The Gospel is like a diamond, it's beautiful from a billion different angels. Just look closely at each side and tell the world about it" (Jess Thompson quote).
  • I don't keep the world spinning. I am enough - but not too much - because of Christ.
  • Let go of the try-hard life. Silence the striving.
  • It's worth us taking the time in the early stages of building to ask why we're building.
  • I'm still that girl who wakes up every day and wants to build a kingdom of her own. God says "no" to that.
  • God loves His kingdom; God hates my kingdom. He is glorified when I build His kingdom.
  • God is out for His glory, but He is gracious.
  • We are for God, but are we with Him? Let's not be people who talk about Him but not to Him.
If there are any believing women out there reading this post who are bloggers, writers, speakers, ministers, small business owners, moms with Etsy shops, and the like…please consider becoming a part of the Influence Network or attending next year's Influence Conference. There is nothing like being refreshed and encouraged by other women in Christ who are seeking to reach the lost world in similar ways.

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