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Why most women hate women’s conferences

Elyse Fitzpatrick » Family Marriage Worship Church Conferences Gospel

Avoid women’s seminars like the plague? So does Elyse, generally. And she’ll be speaking at Mars Hill Church at the end of this month.

Part of what I’m privileged to do for the Lord involves attending women’s conferences. I attend about 20 of them every year, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be with so many of my sisters.

But let me be frank: with a few notable exceptions, I wouldn’t go to these conferences if I weren’t the speaker. I don’t have much interest in listening to other women at conferences. And I’m not alone. I’ve heard this same thought from so many women for so long that I know it’s generally true. Most women hate women’s conferences.

If you like crafts I’m happy for you. Sometimes I paint. But crafts won’t feed my soul.

There are two primary reasons women give me when they tell me why they don’t have much interest in attending women’s conferences.

1. Women don’t want fluff

Many women simply hate fluff. They’re not frilly. They don’t want to hear cotton-candy stories about how some other woman went through some problem and learned to love herself more. Seriously. With these fluff-hating women I say, “Who cares?” I’m nearly 62 now and I’ve heard everyone’s story twice. They make me yawn.

Another form fluff takes is seminars on Napkin Folding while weaving a little quasi-Bible story into it, like how we’re folded into the church. If you like to fold napkins in special ways, that’s lovely. I have no interest in it. My soul needs real food and I’m a big girl now. You don’t have to sneak truth in folded up like a craft. Again, if you like crafts I’m happy for you. Sometimes I paint. But crafts won’t feed my soul and I don’t need truth to be disguised in pretty napkins.

2. They don’t need more bricks

Most of the churches I get invited to are filled with women who are serious about their faith. And these women say they don’t want to attend women’s conferences because they’re tired. They’ve been lugging around 78-pound backpacks filled with bricks inscribed with thousands of rules about how to get rid of wrinkles, have abs of steel, produce children who are little Augustine clones, and make nutritious casseroles for hubby, all perfectly within their budget while single-handedly bringing revival to their neighborhood and smiling all the while. Most of the women I know don’t need any more bricks or tips or Laws or helpful hints. They’re exhausted. For crying out loud, they get bricks when they stand in line at the grocery store!

Perhaps men don’t internalize the rules like women do . . . but women do and we really don’t need any more. Again, I’m nearly 62 and I’ve been in church for over 40 years. I know what I’m supposed to do. I know God’s Law. I need a rest that will refresh my soul and fill me with zeal.

Another form brick-seminars take is the 4 or 17 or 432 Steps to Become a Better Me. In these seminars, you’ll get bricks but they’re wrapped in fluff. They still hurt when you get hit in the head with them, but while you’re lying half-dazed on the floor, you can eat the cotton candy and feel better about yourself.

Here’s my promise: No fluff. No bricks. Just the good news of Jesus’ gospel.

Now for the really sweet stuff

In a few weeks, I’ll have the opportunity to attend another women’s conference. I’m looking forward to it because we won’t waste our time with fluff or bricks. I’ll be in Seattle at Mars Hill Church at the end of this month, and here’s what we’ll be talking about: deep, liberating, smile-producing good news for women who are tired of silly stories and exhausted with lugging around backpacks full of bricks and who want to know how to help other women discover joyous zeal in Christ.

Here’s my promise to the women who come: No fluff. No bricks. Just the good news of Jesus’ gospel. And this good news will be practical and helpful, and by the work of the Holy Spirit, you’ll leave crying and smiling and filled with joyous zeal for yourself.

Wanna come to a women’s conference? Oh, I hope so. No fluff. No bricks. Just really sweet good news. I could use some good news today. Can’t you?

Elyse will be speaking on Saturday, October 27, at our Resurgence Women’s Training Seminar: Counsel from the Cross (based off her book of the same name), at Mars Hill Downtown Bellevue. Sign up today and we promise we will not give you some complimentary cotton candy.


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