More than 13 years ago, God planted in my heart a dream to encourage women through speaking. Although I’ve seen parts of that happen in the last decade – speaking at conferences and retreats – I believe the dream is really coming to fulfillment now. And I am amazed to see how God also began planting seeds for this dream in MANY other people as well.
The old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is true in ALL areas of life.
It takes a village to start a company
It takes a village to plant a church
It takes a village to get you through college
It takes a village to run a restaurant
God created us to be in community one with another. He planted different gifts and abilities in each of us so that together we could accomplish more.
When God first planted the dream in my heart, I had no idea what He wanted to do with it. I’d lay in bed and dream things up in my head and heart. Through the years of waiting I was meeting people from all over the country who would end up being a part of this vision.
God was “networking” – building a team and I didn’t realize it.
It actually started in kindergarten. I met Chris Greaser (maiden name: Pitera) the first day of school and we became instant friends.
Being raised in a Christian home with parents who were vocal about their love for God made it natural for me to talk about church and Jesus. Chris was very interested in what I had to say and wanted to visit our church. In no time at all, Chris became a follower of Jesus along with her entire family.
God brought her into my life all those years ago and is still using our friendship to enhance the Kingdom of God. Chris and I are serving alongside each other to propel Influence Conference forward.
At the conference you’ll find Chris at the merchandise table and when you meet her, you’ll say, like everyone else does, “She is such a kind, warm lady.” She’s one you’d want to walk alongside and follow Christ as she follows Christ.
When I was 16 years old I worked at Family Heritage Bakery in Franconia, Pennsylvania. Early one morning a beautiful woman, Eunice Landis, walked in to purchase a valentine cake for her husband. She was filled with such grace and beauty – she captured my attention. I loved how she talked about her husband as she ordered the cake. I remember thinking, “I want to be like that to my husband one day”.
That day was the beginning of a life-long friendship with Eunice. Today she is a part of the team of women who are working so hard to get the word out about Influence Conference. She believes in the mission and vision of this ministry and has taken an active roll in advancing the ministry.
Then there is my dear friend Christy Milas. Christy and her husband Antony pastor an incredible church in Salem, New Hampshire. Christy asked me to speak at her conference back in the 90’s. She believed in me before I ever believed in myself.
Our friendship is a treasure to me. We cheer each other on across the miles. Through my time with Christy I got to know some beautiful ladies in New England – women who have been taught how to love God and love others and are passionate about advancing the kingdom of God. Several of them are a part of this beautiful team.
Behind the scenes is Scott Mills and his team at Engage Media. I met Scott through Sherry Neal, one of the co-founders of Influence Conference. They went to college together but had not stayed in touch until Sherry reached out to him a couple of years ago to talk about developing the speaking ministry. We met with Scott at Panera Bread in Hendersonville, Tennessee and shared with him our dreams and vision. Immediately he began to pour into us some wisdom and direction. He so graciously met with us several times since then and has been instrumental in getting this conference off the ground. He and his team have a true heart for the Kingdom of God and work with excellence. Their desire is to help people fulfill their ministry dreams.
There’s COUNTLESS stories that I could write about different people in different seasons of my life that God is using in the ministry. Like my dear friend Teresa O’Neal in North Carolina, Christi from Kentucky, Liz and Laurie from Texas and the incredible group from Ohio. God brought us all together to help advance His kingdom.
I’ve LOVED watching God work out the details. He may have put a dream in my heart but He is gathered women and men from all over the country to be a part of the dream. And to think this is just the beginning. October 20th is the pilot conference….look out 2018.
If you feel uncertain about how God is going to work out the details on the dream He has for you, be encouraged. God has a plan for your life and He will work out the details. He longs to use you to help advance His Kingdom and INFLUENCE your world.
Don’t give up!! Do stay down!! Don’t isolate yourself in the waiting!! Keep your focus on Him. He is the GREATEST networker of all!!
Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].”
For details about the conference or to register, go to www.influenceconference.us