“My life is like an open book.”
any of us have heard people use this expression. It is, in some ways, a metaphor for a person whose thoughts are easily discerned. These individuals are open, often very transparent, authentic, easy to understand, not complicated…someone who is “easy to read”.
Our lives are, in many ways, a compilation of our own stories. Those personal stories, within us, cover different “genres” of our lives including our adventures, romances, dramas, travels, and history to name but a few subjects within our “books”. Having said that, as Christians, our own stories, within the genre of our faith, are the most important. Those stories are entrusted to us, by God, not only for us but for those around us. We are to be good stewards of our stories.
God can, and will, use our stories to touch the lives of others, on their own journeys. Our struggles as Christians, our victories, our insights, our discoveries, our ability to inspire others, to teach others, to bring someone to faith or strengthen their faith can all be used by God, yet it is all based on our willingness to share our stories.
Sharing stories is a calling that is biblically grounded and can help to evangelize, disciple, inspire, encourage and spiritually mature those around us. Most people are simply called to share their faith, the stories of their faith journey and to give reasons for their hope. Yet, some are called to not only share their stories verbally but also, to do so, through the written word.
So where do you start, if you feel called to write? The best place is to surround yourself with those who have travelled this road before you, who will help to mentor, train, encourage and equip you in your calling. In addition, as writing can be a lonely and intimidating journey, this is where connecting with others is so important. One of the best ways to move forward, in your ministry of stories, is through Christian writer’s conferences.
One of the nation’s leading conferences, for both aspiring and established writers, is held in the Charlotte area each summer, through Proverbs 31 Ministries. This writer’s conference has been held for the last 17 years and spaces sell out very quickly, with very long waiting lists. This year the capacity is around 700 and spaces are going quickly.
For those readers unfamiliar with Proverbs 31 Ministries, it is a non-profit ministry that “seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ” and Proverbs 31 has been making a difference in the lives of women for the last 25 years. They have wonderful resources for women including daily devotionals, online Bible studies, radio broadcasts, reading resources and an incredible support system for both established and aspiring writers, including their “She Speaks” Writer’s Conference coming up this July.
I had the opportunity to speak with Lisa Allen, Executive Director of Ministry Training with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Lisa noted that Proverbs 31 has had a commitment to train and equip women, in writing and speaking, from almost the very beginning of the ministry when Proverbs 31 President, Lysa TerKeurst, made it a priority.
Lisa noted that the leadership, at Proverbs 31 Ministries, is very conscious of the women coming to the conference. “We think about the one woman, holding a fragile dream, a message. It could be stewarding a very painful experience that she has seen God’s faithfulness in and she wants to help another woman steward a similar experience.” Through the Writer’s Conference, Proverbs 31 helps to equip and encourage every woman who attends to live out her calling.
“God has given us all such unique messages and Godly assignments”
Lisa Allen, Executive Director
The Conference is held July 26th-28th in Concord, North Carolina. The Conference includes over 40 different workshops to choose from, keynote speakers and an opportunity to meet, one on one, with a publisher from a variety of top Christian publishing companies (these slots book up early and are limited to first come first serve).
This year, workshops cover professional training in topics such as: “How to Write a Compelling Memoir”, “Testimony Writing: The Story God Wants You to Tell”, “Beginning Writing Techniques”, “Marketing Yourself as a Speaker”, “Podcasting 101: Can You Hear Me Now?”, “Why an E-Mail Database Should be Your #1 Priority”, and “Building Your Personal Brand” to name just a few.
Beyond the vast array of speakers and workshops, those who attend have the opportunity to make connections with other women who have been called to write, to share their stories entrusted to them by God. A chance to become a part of a writing community, setting out to make kingdom differences, by being good stewards of their stories.
Lisa added that while this Writer’s Conference is a great personal investment for a woman to make for herself, it is also a wonderful idea for a gif