Local churches to host IF: Gathering 2018 Feb. 9-10

MARSHALL — What if there is a God? What if we followed God with perseverance instead of insecurity? How will others know him, if we don’t tell them?

These are questions to be discussed at the IF: Gathering 2018 to be held at Living Word Lutheran Church in Marshall Feb. 9 and 10 and hosted by several of the churches in town.

The IF: Gathering is a Beth Moore Simulcast event with multiple live speakers. It will also feature low-key group work at tables to discuss several such questions based on the theme provided in II Timothy 1:6-7, which says, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Two of the event leaders Jeanne Allex of Living Word and Samantha Flack of the SMSU Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) shared some of the highlights planned for the events.

“I attended the IF: Gathering 2016 in Los Angeles,” Allex said. “I thought it was very good. I brought back all the materials I could and gave them to Kris Campion (Living Word). Members of her family attended last year’s and also came back and told Kris she had to host one here in Marshall — it was so good.”

Event leader Heidi Beck said she hadn’t been to an If: Gathering, yet, but went to a leadership training for this one.

“The training I went to in November was called ‘IF: Lead’ at Calvary Church in Roseville,” Beck said. “Shannon Schultz went with me. It was so encouraging and uplifting. Women who were strangers became close through prayer and sharing scripture passages. I’m looking forward to February 9-10 for more inspiration from God.”

“I’ve never been to one, either,” Flack said, “but I’m excited to see one.”

Participants are asked to bring a Bible, notebook, pen and a water bottle to the event, Allex said. They will be seated at tables and given discussion cards and a program book with which to follow along.

“Heidi made the program books,” Allex said. “They contain Bible passages, the schedule, discussion topics and note pages. She’s very thorough.”

The program will be included in a registration packet, Flack said.

The schedule includes one session from 6-9 p.m. Friday. Session Two is from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday and Session Three is from 2-5 p.m. Saturday.

Beck, Allex and Flack are just three of the 11 women in charge of setting up this major ecumenical event.

“Each of us has shared what our God-given gifts are and will be serving in that capacity,” Allex said. “My gift is in the area of serving, so I will be helping set up and get the meals lined up.”

There will also be snacks provided, she said.

Flack is in charge of getting the word out at the college.

“I’ll be hanging up posters and sharing about it at the many groups I belong to,” she said and listed of some like ShineOn, CRU and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

While this is a women’s discipleship event, Allex said that men from the area churches will be asked to man the prayer room at Living Word during certain times during the event.

“Men will also be asked to serve the light breakfast and lunch on Saturday so that the women can participate in the discussion groups,” she said.

The goal, Allex said, is to prepare women to disciple each other and to perpetuate the table discussions in monthly meeting throughout the coming year. Ideally the meetings would be held in participants’ homes and serve to train participants to be stronger disciples of Jesus Christ by discipling each other.

“It is about discipling a generation,” Campion said. “Lots of awesome speakers that want to equip and encourage women to walk their faith and be bold in their faith.”

“The way the program is set up, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you miss a meeting, but it’s good to go to as many monthly meetings as you can,” Flack said, “because a month is a long time to miss.”

“That’s how we grow in our faith is by spending time with each other,” Allex said.

“There has also been discussion on holding seasonal/quarterly meetings for all the small table groups to get together at the participating churches in town,” Flack said. “Everyone coming together regularly is an option.”

Tens of thousands of women worldwide will participate in the IF: Gathering on Feb. 9-10, via live-stream from a sold-out event in Austin, Texas. With a variety of cultures and denominations represented, these women hold one thing in common: They want to live like God is real.

“The IF: Gathering exists to gather, equip and unleash this generation of women to live out their calling and to make disciples who make disciples,” its poster reads.

“The nonprofit was born out of a God-given vision from Jennie Allen, the author of Restless and Nothing to Prove.

Allen founded a global community out of the desire to gather this generation of women by creating a pure, honest space to wrestle with the essential question: IF God is real, THEN what?

“IF: Gathering is coming alongside women around the world, digging into God’s Word in the Scriptures, fostering relationships and utilizing women’s God-given gifts to not only transform hearts but also leave a tangible impact on the entire world for Jesus.”

“The registration fee is whatever you are comfortable with giving,” Allex said. “The suggested amount is $25 to cover the cost of meals and materials.”

The event is open to women ages teens in 9th grade to adult.

Anyone interested in registering for the conference can stop by Living Word Lutheran Church at 800 Southview Court to sign up in person or go online to www.IFGathering.com or Facebook IF:Marshall.