Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes here at Lifeway Women? From Bible study tapings, simulcasts, traveling for live events, leadership training, podcasts, webinars, social media, and so much more, a lot happens that goes unseen.
We’re “pulling back the curtain” on all things Lifeway Women and giving you a look at what we do to make it all happen.
This month, we’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look at You Lead.
1. Tell us a little bit about the history of You Lead. How did it get started?
For this question, I reached out to Chris Adams! She was Lifeway’s Women’s ministry specialist when You Lead first started at Lifeway. She shared the following with me:
In 1997, Lifeway’s first leadership book, Women Reaching Women: Beginning & Building a Growing Women’s Ministry, was released and we had a conference at Lifeway that we called Women Reaching Women to introduce it and begin training leaders.
In 1999, we began to provide Women Reaching Women training events all over the country. In 2010 we realized that women were desperate for leadership training in general, not just in women’s ministry, so we retitled these events YOU Lead and included more general training along with women’s ministry and spiritual growth training topics.
Fun fact: I attended my first You Lead in 2010, and it changed my life!
2. What do you do to prepare for each You Lead event?
Preparation begins years in advance as we work with the Going Beyond Live and Lifeway Women Live event teams on the locations and dates of the scheduled conferences. We plan, plan, plan, plan, but we also take time to bathe the planning in prayer and seek God’s will and direction for these decisions. Once we land a city, I start looking for a church that could potentially be a host church for us. Sometimes I find a church because someone has recommended it to me, and sometimes I find a church through other connections and research.
During this time, we will also assign our Lifeway Women trainers to the event where they will teach. Our trainer team is made up of twenty-five diverse, experienced leaders from all over the country. Once we assign the trainers to a city, we ask them to submit three topics/descriptions and handouts. Their topics fall into each category—general/ministry leadership, personal equipping, and biblical literacy.
As we get closer to the event, I work with the hosting church to secure a worship leader, people to help with A/V (audio/visual) and tech, and other volunteers for our various needs. To help everyone stay organized, I create a production schedule, a general session schedule, and an overall schedule for each event. I also work with other teams at Lifeway to ensure that information gets uploaded to our website, that pre-event and post-event emails are ready to be sent, and that the items we need for the event are ready to be shipped to the host church.
3. What does the process look like for each event?
Our team arrives the day before the event. As I said earlier, we are spread out throughout the country, but we all try to arrive around the same time. Once we all meet up at the airport, we head over to the church to set up. We do a walk through with our host and check on our A/V needs for each breakout room. After setting up at the church, we head to dinner. At dinner, we have a meeting to discuss the production schedule for the next day and go over the final details. Then, we head to the hotel and try to get a good night of rest.
We wake up early the next morning to be at the church by 7 a.m. I meet with the volunteers while the breakout leaders have another meeting. We all pray over the event and the attendees. We open the doors at 8 a.m. and begin the conference at 8:30 a.m. We end the day at 3:30 p.m., and then we’ll tear down. We are usually out of the church by 4 p.m. and head straight to the airport to go home. It’s a busy day, but our hearts are always full when we depart.
4. Do you have a memorable moment from a You Lead event?
I don’t have just one memorable moment, but there is always a special moment that takes place at every You Lead. At the very beginning, women enter You Lead a little nervous about what to expect for the day. They are reserved and hesitant yet hopeful and expectant. Once we start worship, you can see some of the nerves start to drift away. Then, after the first breakout, more women start to open up. By the end of the day, it feels like a completely different group of women. I love that we get to create a safe space for women in leadership to be equipped and encouraged.
5. What is something you hope people take away from each You Lead Event?
You can do it! You can lead that Bible study in your community. You can mentor a younger woman. You can learn theology. And you don’t have to do it alone. You don’t have to rely on your own strength. God has uniquely crafted you with gifts to use for the kingdom to point others toward Him. I hope when women leave You Lead that they understand themselves better, but most importantly, I hope they understand God better and feel better equipped to lead wherever He has called them—whether that is at home, in the marketplace, or at church.
Here’s a glimpse at what you can expect during a You Lead event:
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