The Gospel Coalition Women's Conference Recap

The Gospel Coalition Women's Conference Recap

Last weekend found me in Indianapolis, Indiana for the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference. A few months ago, one of my brothers suggested I go and offered to pay for my registration as a graduation gift. Immediately, I dismissed the possibility because I didn’t know anyone who was going and didn’t feel comfortable traveling by myself, but I admitted to him that I had been influenced by many of the authors and speakers who would be there. A few weeks later, I was on the phone with both him and my parents, and he told them that I “wanted” to go. Well, my parents encouraged me to pray and send some emails to see if I could find a ride, and someone I’d never met from my oldest brother’s church received my email via a forward and offered to drive me and share her hotel room. I was shocked, and it also bolstered my faith in God hearing and answering prayer.


The conference started at 12:30 PM on a Thursday and ended at noon on a Saturday. My new friend drove us there on Thursday morning, and then I headed back with another friend and her family, who I found out were attending, on Saturday afternoon. The three conference days were packed with activity. There were keynote speakers where the nearly 9,000 women in attendance gathered in a stadium to hear speakers preach on the "I am" statements of Jesus and worship together with Shane and Shane leading. Then there were smaller breakout sessions on a variety of topics, such as why we need women in ministry, gratitude, finding hope in suffering, and more. There were auxiliary events, too, and business and ministry booths to visit. 


My favorite auxiliary event was hosted by Stand for Life. They provided free boxed lunches to eat while listening to Ann Voskamp give a talk, and then they had a panel discussion. I signed up for that event expecting it to mostly be about protecting the unborn, but it was about valuing all life, whether someone be chronically ill, a refugee, you name it. Adoption was also discussed. As someone who was homebound and bedridden for many years, a calling on my heart is to show love to those who can’t go to church and other activities and often feel alone and forgotten, but I had never really thought about that as being a pro-life issue. That event helped me realize that being pro-life is really about valuing all life, loving and supporting people, and not just voting for people who promise to fight abortion. I blinked back tears when I went up to Ann Voskamp afterwards to thank her for sharing that message.


To the surprise of many people, I didn’t buy any books at the conference. There were many good books there for reduced prices, but I already owned the ones I would have considered buying. I also utilize the library system and buy used when possible if there is a book I think is worth owning, but that definitely does not mean I didn’t come home with books! The Gospel Coalition and various ministries and businesses generously gave away the following books: Before You Share Your Faith: Five Ways to Be Evangelism Ready by Matt Smethurst, Is Christianity Good for the World by Sharon James, Neighborhoods Reimagined: How the Beatitudes Inspire our Call to be Good Neighbors by Chris and Elizabeth McKinney, Growing Together: Taking Mentoring Beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests by Melissa Kruger, the Gospel of John with journaling pages, Withstand: The Culture War Is a Spiritual Battle by Ryan Kimmel and Jonathan Delger, The Sing! Hymnal: Eight-Hymn Sampler, the NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible edited by R. Albert Mohler, Jr, and the ESV Prayer Journal: 30 Days on Hope. (As you can see, I couldn't find links for a few of the books, so I think they were printed exclusively for the conference.)



During the second to last keynote on Saturday, I heard muffled screaming in the bleachers behind me. For a second or two I wasn't sure what was going on and wondered if I needed to run. The room was somewhat dark--had someone pulled a gun? But it quickly became obvious that a medical emergency was the cause of the screaming. Someone needed CPR and an AED. Thankfully, by the time I saw the paramedics carry her down the bleachers, she was responsive. I since heard that the woman was released from the hospital and was at her church on Sunday. It sounds strange, but that medical emergency was one of the most touching parts of the conference to me. I bowed my head in prayer, and I saw so many women respond the same way. When I lifted my head, I saw two of the event organizers on stage praying with Ruth Chou Simons, whose session had been interrupted. After her session was finished, we had an organized time of ACTS prayer. Everyone was encouraged to pray with the person besides them.



When I got home, my mom asked me if the conference was life changing. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how to answer. I definitely would consider it a mountaintop experience. Worshiping and hearing nearly 9,000 voices in unison was incredibly powerful. Being surrounded by so many women who love God was encouraging. Hearing inspiring talks helped to fan into flame my desire to share Jesus with the world. I also networked and made new friends. But at the same time, it is easy to leave a conference hyped up but also wondering what one really learned and how to apply it because so much was crammed into three days. It’s easy to feel energized, but then for life to go on as it always has unless you are intentional. So, to that end, I’m planning to relisten to some of the talks I attended, as well as listen to the breakouts that I missed since multiple ones were happening at the same time. I’m planning to dig deeper by blogging about some of them and discussing them with friends and family. Would I recommend going to a Gospel Coalition Conference? Definitely. Just don’t expect it to be all you need to be fed and discipled. 

If I take the time to be intentional, I think one day I will look back at my three days at the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference as a pivotal point in something truly life changing. I'm thankful that God provided a way for me to attend!



Mrs. Dean, yes, that part was amazing!

Lauren Watt

Thank you for sharing this. My favorite part is how our provident Father got you there and a room to share too!

Mara Dean

I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Rachel! Seeing God answering prayers was definitely a theme for me at the conference, too.

Lauren Watt

What a blessing that you were able to go! It was really neat to read about how God answered your prayer and provided a ride. Thank you for telling us about the conference! It sounds like it was very good!


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