This post is for everyone who is interested or involved in online ministry.
The Lord moved mightily in our midst at the Declare Conference on Oct 2-4, 2017! I am finally able to share some highlights with you after coming home to sick kiddos, fighting off sickness myself and a very hectic schedule!
The Declare Conference equips women in their calling as digital evangelists and Christian communicators, if you missed my post on the Declare Conference, you could check it out here, Going to Declare Conference 2017.
Authors, bloggers, speakers, agents, and acquisition editors from across the globe descended on the DFW area for three days with the common purpose of Making Jesus known.
The Declare team was fabulous! A shout out to Michelle, Anne, Rachael, Jen, Eryn, and Kristin. Y’all are the bomb and definitely know how to host a fantastic conference! The conference was bathed in prayer, and you could feel the presence of the Lord in our midst!
Special thanks to Courtney of CocoPaige Photography who took all of the amazing photos at the conference that are featured in this blog post.
One of the sweetest parts of Declare was connecting with old friends, meeting face to face with digital evangelists that I have been friends with online, and making new friendships! Amy Elaine Martinez, and I have been online friends for a while, we virtually bonded over the marriage of our sons to their sweet brides and all that entailed. It was so great to meet face to face, and share our hearts with one another. Amy just finished writing, “Becoming a Victory Girl” I am a part of her launch team and will tell you more about it during the official book launch in January.
So fun to reconnect with incredible women like Blythe Daniel far left on the picture below and Debi Chapman, who were both on the Q & A from Declare Alumni. I have known Debi for many years through our school and debate homeschool days, and to now be connected now as a digital evangelist and co-laborer of the gospel is absolutely precious. Debi is the lovely lady holding the microphone. Debi is the host of the Refresh Gathering. I attended the inaugural event and wrote about my experience here. Refresh Gathering It was a breath of fresh air for my weary soul, and I am so excited that details about Refresh Gathering 2018 are available, so be sure to visit Debi’s website DebiChapman.com to see all of the wonderful things she has going on.
The Conference kicked off with a sweet time of praise and worship. It was a little taste of heaven as women from all denominations, races, and ages sang praises to the Lord. Pictured below on the right, is my sweet new friend Heather Bock, who radiated Jesus!
The Declare Conference speakers were all phenomenal! Sara Haggerty kicked off the conference with a talk entitled Performing for an Audience of one. And all I can say is wow! Sara is the author of Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to Noticed.
Sara’s message pierced my heart as she spoke of our lives having two storylines one internal storyline and one external line, and how what happens in the hidden moments is what comes out, and it is in our weakness that God can do something with us. But the thing that she said that most impacted me was that we are to be messengers, not an echo. As we spend time in the secret place with the most high God that is where he takes our desperation, and our weakness and turns it into our message. Sara said, “Our best stories will come out of the unseen, out of our broken.”
Kat Lee was amazing and inspired us with a practical Map for Online Success, and gave us something tangible to walk away with but the highlight of her talk ended by showing us the No Man’s Land clip from the Wonder Woman movie. Which was a perfect illustration of our shield of faith and the fiery darts of the enemy. If you haven’t seen the movie, then you have to check out the clip below.
Next, Melanie Dale hit a home run with talk, “Oh Honey: Communicating Things that Stick But Don’t Leave a Mess.” Then Crystal Stine taught us “How to be Social without Selling our Soul.” Followed by a “Mastermind Time” where we formed groups based on our common area of interest to partner and encourage one another. I loved meeting other ladies that were interested in book publishing, and look forward to collaborating with them!
I spent time with the agents Jesse Kirkland, Stephanie Alton, and Blythe Daniel. These ladies area wellspring of information about the publishing industry. An impromptu surprise meeting in the hallway with Vickie Crumpton of Rivell proved to be very informative as was my appointment with Kara Leonino from Tyndale House.
Unfortunately, I took advantage of sleeping in and missed Shazzy Fitness, who was there to provide early morning workouts! Maybe next year?!?
Emily Thomas of momstrugglingwell.com was our emcee and knocked it out the park with her session on podcasting!
Food trucks and coffee trucks were a fun way to meet our nourishment needs!
I took two full pages of notes when Jamie Bates spoke to us about, “When God Changes Your Direction.” This talk focused on the evolution of our callings, and how we see our calling as a destination, but God is focused on the journey, our direction and our surrender to his will. One the most profound things she said was something to the effect of, “The enemy wants you embittered and isolated, ” and as women in ministry we have a target on our backs.
As an online evangelist, this is why gathering together face to face in community is so important!
Day 2 ended with dessert and dancing! Wynter Pitts kicked us off on Wednesday morning with a sweet devotion followed by more great speakers, sponsors, and vendors. One of the sponsors that really impacted me was Save the Storks!
Save the Storks partners with local pregnancy centers to offer services for expectant mothers to support women in crisis during their pregnancy and after their baby is born. One of the coolest things they do is a Mobile Medical Unit that has a mobile ultrasound unit to provide ultrasounds for abortion-vulnerable mothers. The statics are amazing on the number of women that choose life after coming to one of these mobile units.
Save the Storks was founded in 2011 by Joe and Ann Baker with the goal of launching mobile medical units across the country to serve abortion-vulnerable women through pregnancy resource centers. Please visit their website savethestorks.com to see how you can help save the storks and make a difference in the lives of women in crisis pregnancy.
Mary Wiley exhorted us about the hard road of publishing and encouraged us to be obedient to God because if we have the wrong motives, and are seeking fame or fortune, that we have a target on our back. Publishing for the wrong reasons has lead to family’s falling apart because in Christian Publishing it is all about God receiving the glory! She had many great things to say, but don’t you just love her facial expression pictured below?
We heard powerful messages by Jenn Jett, Mandy Ballard, Jan Greenwood and Amy Ford. Jan closed us out with a powerful message to prepare us for re-entry back home. She challenged us to the guard the deposit that we were given at Declare, cover the seed, and water it so it will bloom.
All of the speakers were amazing! I would love to recap everything that was said by all of the marvelous speakers, but instead, I encourage you to find them online and see their ministries for yourself, you will not be disappointed.
God showed up and He showed off at declare. Check out the beautiful rainbow, a sign of God’s covenant to his people that radiated across the sky above the Declare event!
If you are a digital communicator, author, speaker, blogger, social media evangelist then you must sign up for The Declare Conference 2018 to experience it for yourself. Next year’s theme is Warrior! I am so excited and can’t wait for next year’s conference!