This weekend, I attended my fourth annual Women of Faith conference. This year’s theme was Infinite Grace. The conference is not your typical event with speakers who lecture, breakout sessions, etc. It’s a massive celebration of Christian women that includes workshop, praise, praying, singing and wonderful people giving their personal testimonies in a very vulnerable, endearing and often humorous way.
The conference began on Friday evening with Women of Faith founder, Steve Arterburn, who is now with New Life Ministries. Steve discussed his personal struggle with sin and bad decisions, and how he overcame them. We also heard from Sheila Walsh, who spoke about living for today and valuing our loved ones. She sang an inspiring and tear jerking “When I Get Where I’m Going.”
Saturday included several moving dramatic performances from Broadway singer and actress Allison Allen, including one about anger and the tongue being like fire. Sometimes we don’t realize the way our words sound when they come out, and we can’t take them back. We also heard awesome singing from Natalie Grant, a successful contemporary Christian artist. Natalie has an amazing voice – much better than half the people you hear on mainstream radio stations today.I’ve already downloaded several of the songs she sang at the conference, including I Will Not be Moved and In Christ Alone. Sandi Patty, a well-known gospel singer, also spoke and entertained with familiar hymns.
Saturday’s speaker line up also included my favorite Women of Faith speaker, Patsy Clairmont. Although she didn’t mention it at this conference, she was a recluse for several years and did not leave her house. Now, she is touring the nation speaking in front of thousands of people. She is one of the funniest speakers, but also one of the most knowledgeable. Patsy spoke about her long-time friend who was diagnosed with Cancer. Patsy prayed for words from God that would comfort her friend, and all she heard waas “Let there be light.” Not knowing what it meant, she told her friend, who was also confused. A few weeks later, her friend learned that her doctor was looking for little pockets of light in her x-rays, which meant the Cancer had not penetrated those areas yet. You can view Patsy’s talk about this on YouTube.
Nicole C. Mullen also performed on Saturday. She’s more of a hip hop singer, and although not my personal taste, she definitely has the ability to get the crowd on their feet. She’s a wonderful role model and mentor for young teens. We also heard from Marilyn Meberg, who spoke about our connection with people and with Christ.
The conference concluded with Louise DuArt, a very funny comedic impressionist who spoke about her personal struggles and how she has trusted God along the way. I might purchase her book, Couples Who Pray.
The conference was a bit evangelistic for some people’s taste, but I always enjoy it a lot. Some may say it’s a little “over the top,” and I have even made that observation about similar religious programs before. But, these women are witnessing to over 14,000 people at one time, and there is definitely something to be gained from that.l To be able to reach out to the masses likes that takes lots of time, energy and planning. To me, it was worth the cost of the ticket to be inspired and entertained.