Register Now for 2012 National Women's Conference
The Gospel Coalition’s 2012 National Women’s Conference (June 22 to 24, 2012, in Orlando, Florida) is taking shape on the horizon. We thought we’d share some of the excitement, as TGC anticipates this landmark event by opening registration today.
We're excited about the people who have committed to this event. There are several different layers of attraction here—not just the lineup of speakers, although that list represents a remarkable array of Bible teachers. What a huge, gracious blessing to have three founding TGC council members preaching in plenary sessions and offering pre-conference workshops. The presence of Don Carson, Tim Keller, and John Piper speaks volumes about TGC’s enthusiasm and support for its initiative to encourage the women of today's and tomorrow’s church.
The women plenary speakers and workshop leaders are coming from all over the United States and all over the world. We Americans can learn much from cultures that are “ahead” of us in the drift away from biblical values; in England and Australia, for example, biblically committed church leaders have made excellent progress in raising up women well equipped to study, live, and teach the Scriptures in family, church, and broader social contexts. Carrie Sandom and Jenny Salt will let us glimpse and learn from that progress. Miyon Chung will open a window for us into the gospel at work in Asia. Keri Folmar and Leeann Stiles come from life and ministry in Muslim contexts. Such voices will combine with others from closer to home for many of us, voices representing the spectrum of vibrant churches enfolded in The Gospel Coalition.
But the excitement about people encompasses more than the speakers. Like the speakers, the women desiring to attend represent the breadth of TGC’s world of churches and ministry. They share the common biblical commitment found in TGC’s founding documents and the shared passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ evident at the 2011 national conference in Chicago. The women's conference is aimed not only for women in ministry of various kinds; it's aimed also for any and all women who want to focus on the gospel, grow in the Word, and connect with other biblically minded women not just from their own contexts. What an opportunity to bring our worlds and our voices together! The Gospel Coalition has never aimed to pull people into a separate ministry; it is indeed a coalition led by pastors in gospel work on many different fronts. TGC’s women’s initiative aims to build up and connect women from all these different fronts, and from various contexts of life and work, so that through online materials and periodic conferences the whole church might be increasingly strengthened and built up for the glory of Christ.
We shouldn’t mention people without mentioning Keith and Kristyn Getty, who will lead in musical worship with their Bible-filled words wound round with melodies and harmonies that settle into minds and hearts. With every passing year Keith and Kristyn seem to contribute more and more of lasting musical substance to the church. We will be joyfully blessed by their music!
Not just the people at the conference but the content of the conference is attracting a great deal of interest. We’ve said that this conference is “for women but not all about women.” That’s just one way of saying that we care deeply to minister to the women of the church, but that we believe the best way to do that is to immerse ourselves not just in study of women but most importantly in study of the Scriptures, so that we’ll be better able to live and articulate just what and why we believe. The plenary sessions (focused around the theme “Here Is Our God!”) will take us into biblical passages where God shows himself to human beings. We’ll focus on God himself—seeing him as he presents himself to us. The teaching will focus our eyes, feed our souls, and encourage us with models of faithful women teaching the Word to women. The workshops offer a spectrum of voices applying this focus on God and his Word to different areas of life, many of special interest to women and many in which particular women have served with distinction. The point is to build up women in the living out of the biblical gospel, as we hear and speak the Word (and learn to hear and speak the Word) more and more faithfully to each other and to the world around us.
Of course there’s the venue of the conference—not the most important thing, but important, and in this case downright lovely! The Orlando Hilton conference center was chosen not only for beauty and comfort (and helpful prices!), but also because it offers an efficient hub for women to stay, to attend the meetings, and to gather for meals and fellowship, all on the same campus. We’re planning meal gatherings that will connect various interest groups; in this venue the rooms for such gatherings, the hotel rooms, meeting rooms, as well as the bookstore and other displays will all be easily accessible.
You'll want to check the website periodically for additional information and events; we’re still adding here and there! It’s a delight to find interest coming not just from many women but also from many pastors anxious to send women younger and older from their churches. Some are planning trips with friends or family around the conference. At least one college I know of is looking to send a host of college women! In all the planning, we’re seeing God’s hand clearly at work, shaping this event on next June’s horizon. We look forward to seeing you there as part of it!
Note from Collin Hansen, TGC's editorial director: It's a privilege to serve alongside Kathleen Nielson, TGC's director of women's initiatives. She helped plan the many workshops led by women at our 2011 national conference in Chicago, and she's coordinating with the rest of our staff to organize the 2012 women's conference. There she will be delivering a plenary address, "Through the Open Door: The Transcendent and Redeeming God (Revelation 4-5)."
You'll get to know her better by watching this interview with Don Carson in which Nielson talks about the joy of her life, teaching the Bible to women. Pay particular attention to her answer to Carson's question about daydreaming for how this women's initiative might promote a culture of serious study of God's Word as women delight in encouraging one another with the gospel promises.
Then watch Nielson and Carson preview this women's conference by expressing TGC's hope that these talks will model for women how to teach effectively and expositionally from Scripture in the variety of contexts where they minister, whether in Bible studies, one-on-one discipleship, parenting, or other settings. Workshop speakers will bring the Bible to bear on a wide variety of topics, from training women to teach the Bible, how to be a godly wife, how to faithfully endure suffering, and how to memorize Scripture. Tim and Kathy Keller will lead a pre-conference workshop on marriage.
So if you're a woman looking to grow in your faith by digging deeper into God's Word, we hope you'll register today to join us and many other friends next summer in Orlando.