(Ok, I've only been to two but have had similar experiences.)
A while back I mentioned having gone to a women's conference and that I was processing some things from the weekend. One of which was something I have been struggling with and working through since going. I know many loved the women's conference and I will say I did enjoy my time, seeing all those women worshiping God and being encouraged and inspired by the events of the weekend, but I struggled with the lack of bible, of Jesus, of gospel.
A lot of great things were said, a lot of truth spoken and encouragement delivered, but I struggled with the fact that very little scripture was used. This isn't to say that scripture isn't and wasn't the original basis of the things that were being talked about, its just to say that it wasn't very openly, deeply used.
And that rubbed me the wrong way.
I saw a multitude of examples of 'bible abuse' where pieces and parts and fragments of scripture are plucked up and inserted into someone's talk but in the process is taken entirely out of context or is molded and stretched to fit the point they are trying to make, to emphasize the emotional trigger they are going for.
Something about that didn't settle right.
And for the past few weeks I have been telling myself that it was just me being critical. It was just me, who watches sermons with her husband for fun, expecting more than what these types of events are all about. It was just me nervous that I will do the same thing the next time I get an opportunity to speak to a group of women. It as just me.
But then, toward the end of last week, I was reading in scripture and came across the following verse and so much of what was creating unease within my heart became clear to me as to why. Take a look with me. This passage is Paul talking to the Corinthians about not being divided, not being caught up following people but to be always following after Jesus:
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Is it possible that too many words, too much emphasis on creating catchy phrases and incorporating lengthy words empties the gospel of it's power?
That instead of Jesus getting the credit, the fancy talk is.
That many of the good talks have actually become a distraction from Jesus. An intricate combination of words peppered with pieces of scripture so it can be disguised as bible teaching and not just a good speech.
I'm not saying all messages presented did this, or that even any of them did, although it feels like this with some more than others. I'm not saying those messages don't have a purpose and weren't used in powerful ways to touch the hearts of women. I'm not saying that God didn't use the words spoken and allowed them to speak directly into the situations of those hearing.
I'm not saying that I could ever do any better.
In the end, if anything, my conclusion is that this was eye opening to me. The unease I felt, the unsettled feeling was necessary because it drew my attention to the direction any speaker could easily go - forfeiting the true power of Christ in order to get a seemingly bigger emotional reaction. Eye opening because speaking to groups of women is a passion and dream of mine and I want it to contain the power and authority of Jesus, not be mere words of eloquent wisdom. I don't want to get caught up in trying to say the right thing that I take away the power of Christ which is my sole purpose for doing any of it.
I praise God that he can take my weak but best efforts and turn them into whatever he wants to use them as. That he can take the powerless and fill it with power. That he can take the timid and insecure and overflow them with authority.
I pray that as I continue to speak to groups of women, that my focus be Jesus and that the cross be held forth, that the work of Jesus be glorified, the light shine on the power of God and not on the words coming from my mouth.
And for that, for the heart of the women who spoke, for their love for Jesus and desire to spread his love, for their passion to encourage and uplift other women, for all of that and more - I thoroughly enjoyed the women's conference and did actually like it. I pray that their efforts and hard work are used by God to cause a revival in the hearts and lives of women across the nation!
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Have you ever been to a Christian women's conference? What did you experience? How did God use that time in your life?
Live Each Moment By Faith