I'm telling you. This conference just gets better and better. I've just returned home from my 3rd Influence Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the 3rd conference over all, which means that yes, I've been to all three. And yes, I already purchased my ticket for next year.
I T ' S T H A T G O O D!
This year was unique in that I ended up in a room where I only knew one of my roommates. But y'all. God did that. I'm so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to experience Influence with these awesome ladies above. If you don't know them, you should.
Shannon from The Scribble Pad
Amy K - upcoming blogger! (find her on instagram)
And Amy-Lou, helicopter pilot and crafter to the core (also find her on instagram)
Our room was diverse and loud and so so fun. We kept making comment how we constantly felt like we were shouting instead of talking to one another (in the best way!)
The conference started with a greeting from the Influence Network team who are truly special women with a passion for making much of Jesus both online and offline ( < --- that's a thing.)
After the initial introduction, T H I N G S G O T R E A L with a truly epic Lip Sync Battle!
I mean, R I G H T ??
INFLUENCE IS FUN. But it's also deep and moving and GOD SHOWS UP. I love how my friend Amy put it: It's not a blogging conference for Christian women. It's a Christian women's conference with a ton of knowledge on how to live out the gospel in your online life - be it a blog, a shop, or an instagram account. It all starts in your real, face-to-face life with the people around you.
Throughout the sessions, God was threading together a message. The message was this: It's time to build. Not my kingdom, but His. What are my motivations for that picture I post or that story I tell? When Jess Connolly asked us if we are talking about God but, really, if we were hoping for a little praise for ourselves, I had to seriously stop and think. It's so easy to make this life about me me me. When really it's all about Him Him Him.
Each speaker spoke on that same topic (although I'm certain it wasn't planned that way). In Whitney English's session we talked about fear and how it leads to comparison which leads to nothing but arrogance or insecurity. In Lara Casey's workshop, talked about being FOR each other and what it looks like to be truly vulnerable. We confessed our fears and insecurities and literally stood alongside one another in that. Sammy Rhodes challenged us to be present with the people right in front of us. He warned us of the fake "vulnerability" that comes with baring our souls online but being unable to do so in person. That one hit hard, you guys. I am so much more comfortable behind a screen, letting the keyboard do my talking. I walked away from his session with a desire to dig deep in relationships, to get actually vulnerable and awkward and to let people in.
In their Keynotes, Jess Connolly put it so well (and so bluntly) when she said the words, "God loves His Kingsom. He hates my kingdom... But, He loves when I build His Kingdom." And Haley Morgan declared hope over us when she said that "His Spirit lives within me – so it pushes out all that try-hard and look-at-me."
I left the weekend examining my motives and desires, asking myself if they lined up with God's and who they actually made much of. I can't wait to unpack this weekend a bit more in detail here at Life On a Mission, but until then I urge you to join us next year by purchasing an Influence Conference ticket and also to go to the Influence Network to read through posts by the other attendees on their IC experience. There is community here; and we want YOU to be a part of that!