By Joy Allmond
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The LifeWay Women’s Leadership Forum will make its western debut at Mariner’s Church in Irvine, Calif., Feb. 20-21.
Since the inception of the forum, LifeWay Christian Resources has hosted thousands of women in the Nashville area and at Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.
Kelly King, LifeWay’s women’s ministry specialist, said there’s never been a more important time than now to come alongside churches in the West.
“We need each other,” King said. “Not just as individuals and sisters, but as churches who have the same goal—to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and to spur one another on as we do that.
“I’m thrilled to link arms with other leaders—perhaps some of whom we’ve never had the privilege to serve—to accomplish great things for the Kingdom and in the lives of women.”
The theme of the forum is “Flourish,” which focuses on the important role of mentoring in disciple-making.
With its focus verse of Acts 12:24, King said, “Scripture has a lot of metaphors about planting seeds and where the seed falls. The result is fruitfulness. Our job is to plant the seeds, water them—do that part of it—but allow the Lord to bring the growth.”
The women’s forum is for women who lead or serve in the local church in women’s and girl’s ministry or by teaching Bible studies, as well entrepreneurs, stay-at-home moms and working professionals who walk out their leadership calling in their day-to-day life.
Women attending the forum will sit under the teaching of today’s top ministry leaders and authors, participate in breakout sessions led by experienced trainers, and learn from peers who serve in the local church.
Not only is it mission-crucial for LifeWay to host an equipping event such as the forum in the West, said King, but it’s timely, given the theme and one of society’s current challenges: loneliness.
“We live in an age of isolation,” she explained. “It’s a real issue that results in anxiety and depression. And we can find accountability and spiritual growth through mentoring relationships.”
Ruth Chou Simons, founder and CEO of Colorado-based GraceLaced Co., is a keynote speaker for the forum.
GraceLaced, according to its website, is “a multi-faceted company rooted in ministry” that serves customers around the world through its offerings of gospel-inspired original prints, books and other gifts.
“I’m excited to serve and encourage women at the Women’s Leadership Forum,” Simons said.
“Nothing will impact our leadership as sisters serving sisters more than a steady commitment to the Word of God and the tools that help us to use our gifts in service. I can’t wait to see how the Lord builds women through the forum.”
LifeWay author Kelly Minter, another keynote speaker at the forum, said she’s eager to break geographical ground for LifeWay’s women’s ministry on the West Coast.
“I can’t think of a better part of the country to equip and encourage leaders in their ministries, especially since our culture is longing for truth and purpose,” Minter said.
“We want to make Jesus known from East Coast to West, and I can’t wait to see how the timelessness of God’s Word ministers through the forum in Southern California.”
The forum will also include smaller breakout sessions that allow leaders to customize their equipping experience based on their ministry roles. Attendees will hear testimonies of mentoring relationships, and there will be emphases on family and marketplace ministry.
“Collaborative Conversations”—opportunities to network with other women who lead and trade ideas, strategies and inspiration—will be available to all in attendance.
There will also be an on-site LifeWay store, which will offer books, Bible studies, apparel and other gifts.
The film industry will have representation through the main stage at the forum. Shari Rigby, who has starred in notable films like “October Baby” and most recently, the Kendrick Brothers’ “Overcomer” is scheduled as a keynote speaker.
“LifeWay is bringing women leaders together to encourage and inspire them by uniting the East and the West—women empowering women,” Rigby said.
“The world we live in today teaches us to focus on all that we see, spinning us out of control and causing anxiety to fill our lives. We must mentor women, reminding them to keep their eyes on Jesus.”
Other forum speakers include LifeWay authors Jen Wilkin and Beth Moore, along with Mariners Church Pastor Eric Geiger.
Immediately following the conclusion of the leadership forum, LifeWay Women will host Living Proof Live with Beth Moore (Feb. 21-22), also at Mariners Church. Bundle pricing is available for women to attend both the forum and Living Proof Live at a discounted price.
Visit the forum website for more information and to register.
Joy Allmond is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.